Goodbye and Goodnight17 May 2016
So, this is IT! This is where my Malaysian journey ends and a new journey is about to begin. I have written this column for nearly 11 years and it’s a very strange feeling to be signing off. I have shared some funny things, some sad things, things that provoked people, things that helped people, but most of all I have shared my story in KL with you (sometimes exaggerated but always mine). And now I must say goodbye.
It is hard to leave KL and it wasn’t an easy decision, but ultimately it’s the best decision we could make for our family. The excitement is high as the date draws near, but the tasks ahead are daunting and stressful with a looming deadline to ‘packing day’.
How on earth have I accumulated so much STUFF in the last 11 years?! When I arrived it was Hubby and me, plus two backpacks and four small boxes. I’m certainly not leaving as such a minimalist. It’s hours and hours of sorting and shuffling things from one area in the apartment to another area, and I’m not even a sentimentalist – and I’m certainly not a hoarder!
But the apartment sorting is just the beginning. The organising of bill cancellation, car selling, school finalising, getting quotes from moving companies, and then of course there is saying goodbye to my family and friends. Now that the shoe is finally on the other foot – so to speak – and I am the leaver and not the leavee, I can honestly say that being left behind is more painful.
It’s not that I’m not deeply sad and extremely nervous about going – because I am – but I am also very excited about what the future holds in our new home. I am going to miss my KL family and friends tremendously. I have people here who know me better than most people will ever know me. I have people that I love as unconditionally as I love my sibling (who can be a right brat at times!) and who I would do absolutely anything for.
And to those people, I want them to know that no matter where I am in the world and where they are, my feelings toward them will always be the same. Knowing that I can’t see you whenever I want breaks my heart, but as we all know expats move and if it wasn’t me leaving it would be you; I just got in first for a change.
I think one of the hardest parts is that my children call themselves Malaysian. My eldest has struggled with the upcoming change because this is her home – this is the only home she has ever known. She is excited to be living near family but she doesn’t want to leave her home. It hurts now but it’s probably better to do it now than when she’s a teenager. I hope.
Fifteen years and 11 months ago I left home. I was 24 years old and 10 hours out of university. I left with the intention of seeing the world and returning home to be a ‘grown up’. Well, now I’m 40, I have two kids, a husband and a head full of amazing memories.
I used to be jealous of my friends back home who stayed and had mortgages and holidayed in the same place every year. But I wouldn’t change my expat life. It has made me who I am and given me lifelong friends from around the world.
So I bid you farewell. It’s been great! xx
P.S. (because there had to be one): I've been saying this for 11 years, but just because I'm leaving doesn't mean you should forget my number one rule for living in Malaysia whether you are an expatriate or a local...WEAR A SEATBELT!