Say hello to: Kelsie Clayton

For someone used to a 'go, go, go' lifestyle, the more relaxed pace of life in Malaysia is a refreshing change for Kelsie.

by / Published: 16 Nov 2017

Say hello to: Kelsie Clayton
Photo: Bryan Ong

Nationality: American
Occupation: Jewellery maker
In Malaysia since: June 2017

What brought you to Malaysia?

Love! I moved to Malaysia to be with my boyfriend. He plays football here.

Your first reaction when you found out you were moving?

Once I made the decision, my first thought was “Wow! I am really doing this!” Before moving here, I’d lived in
Connecticut my entire life. The majority of my family and friends were in that area as well. For me this was huge.

If you had asked me a few years ago if I could have ever pictured myself moving away, let alone out of the country, I would have said no; but when something is right, you just know. I didn’t think twice about moving.

What do you now know about Malaysia that you didn’t before?

I didn’t know that Malaysia is composed mostly of Malays, Chinese and Indians. The diversity is one of my favourite things in this country. There are all these different types of foods, religions, style of dress and even architecture. They all blend together, making Malaysia colourful and unique.

How are you finding settling in?

It has been slightly difficult adjusting to the pace of life here. In the US everything is ‘go, go, go’. I think time is
valued differently in the US and Malaysia. In the US, time is of the essence. If you have a job, you get it done. If you are expected at a certain time, you arrive then, if not earlier. Some even say if you are on time, you are late.

It seems as though here in Malaysia time is still important, but more so in a way that it should be enjoyed. No one is in a rush.

Encountered any strange cultural customs here?

While I wouldn’t categorise this as strange or a custom, I was taken by surprise at the demo you receive when buying electronics.

When I first arrived I purchased an iron. Before bagging it, the sales person removed it from the box and plugged it in to test it out. This is unheard of in the US but I thought it was neat. It would save you from having to return a faulty item!

Anywhere you’d like to visit while you’re here?

One of the top things on my list was to go to Penang and see Penang Hill. We actually went in August and it did not disappoint. I love art so walking around and seeing all the street art was a huge bonus. I would like to see some of the islands and get outside the city, see what the rest of the country is like.

Learnt any useful Malaysian words?

Tolak and tarik (push and pull). Knowing these two words saved me the embarrassment of barrelling through a door that should be pulled instead of pushed.

Any tips for fellow expats to Asia?

Buy a good umbrella and give yourself extra time if you plan on going anywhere around 5pm!