Introducing the newest member of the Expatriate Lifestyle team: Kelly Johnstone. Here, she tells us about working in the media, living in Qatar, and the family ties that make Sundays in KL such a joy
WHO ARE YOU?
Name: Kelly Johnstone
Time in Malaysia: 15 months
WORKING IN THE MEDIA
My fascination with magazines started when I was at boarding school in the UK. Having, up to that point, grown up in Saudi Arabia, magazines were an entirely new concept to me and, best of all, we were allowed to order up to three titles.
The pure excitement I felt on the first day of the month when Just 17, Mizz and Pony Magazine arrived in the post was indescribable.
When I graduated from university I landed my first job working in a small PR agency in Tunbridge Wells. From there my PR career took off with senior roles at big agencies in London. It was great getting to read magazines as part of my job.
Then my husband’s first overseas posting came and I had to give it all up (reluctantly) and up sticks to move to Qatar. I applied for a role with Time Out Qatar, got the job and have never looked back!
I love writing, I love magazines and I’m so lucky to have found the perfect career for me that combines both of those things, and all because my husband took a job somewhere I wasn’t keen on going!
THE MOVE FROM QATAR TO KL
We had six fantastic years in Qatar. Like any expat posting, the thing that always makes the difference is the friends you make.
We were very lucky to meet some of the most amazing people who will undoubtedly be lifelong friends wherever we are in the world. When we found out that Kuala Lumpur was our next expat posting, we felt all the usual mixed emotions of excitement and fear.
FAMILY TIES IN MALAYSIA
My parents have been expats my entire life so I am all too aware of how difficult it is to go through heartbreaking goodbye after heartbreaking goodbye. And it doesn’t get any easier the older you get.
Then we moved to KL, where my parents live, and being an expat became so much better! I remind my children regularly how lucky they are to be able to see their nana and papa so often, unlike most of their friends.
That said, I don’t have automatic babysitters whenever I need them like most of my friends believe to be the case — my parents have a busier social life than we do!
ENJOYING LIFE IN MONT KIARA
When we first arrived in KL we lived in a landed property in Damansara Heights. After six years in Qatar where everything is beige and your outside space is restricted to a tiny paved backyard, we were so excited to find a lovely spacious house with a huge green garden and signed up straight away.
Then we started to get the bills in for the watering, the fogging and the electricity, plus my husband travels a lot and the house felt very big when I was home alone, so we decided that maybe condo living would suit us better. We found a fabulous condo in Mont Kiara. The owner is a hotelier so it does feel a bit like living in a hotel.
WEEKEND ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
We always have huge ideas for the weekend. There is so much to do here with or without kids. My son plays rugby on a Saturday morning and we often go to Publika for Wheelie Sunday.
Other than that, we do a lot of swimming. We have had a few weekend road trips to Singapore, Port Dickson and Batu Batu, but one of our favourite weekend activities is Sunday lunch with my parents. My mum cooks a fantastic roast dinner and her roast potatoes are out of this world!