Malaysia: One Year On

It was only a year and five months ago when I first stepped my foot in KL, with nothing but my luggage, a tourist visa, and the hope of getting a job. After only a month, I landed myself a job in a middle-sized IT company and tried my best to build my life here from scratch. At that moment in time, my journey in Malaysia had – more or less — started.

I have to admit though — it has not been an easy journey for me. I was (and I still am) very much struggling with the battle of living in KL. It has been a year-long-never-ending fight. I never expected that moving to another country would be this hard. The concept of a nomad is not new to me. I have been nomadic for most of my life. After all, this is the sixth country that I have lived. Being a third-culture kid, I can usually adapt to a new place, environment, and culture so easily. It was never hard to find new friends to rely on, a new community to mingle, and new routines to make myself occupied. Moving to a new country was always an exciting journey and although I faced some minor difficulties in the beginning, these problems perished within a year of living in that particular country.

I’ve been trying so hard to find positive things about living in KL. It’s true what my friends said: most people would probably dream about being in my shoes right now. KL is a not-so-crowded city compared to Jakarta. The traffic jam is bearable. It has enough green open spaces that I can always go to whenever I need fresh air. Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country so mosques and halal foods can be found everywhere. The IT company I work at is totally awesome — I definitely fit into its open culture, it offers me flexibility in terms of taking leave days and the location where I work (i.e. work from home or at office), and I always discouraged to work overtime — if this is required, there is always an extra “reward” for it (which does not happen in a lot of IT companies in Asia). Most importantly, I have the luxury of travelling to countries I have never visited before with cheaper prices due to the fact that AirAsia’s headquarter is in KL. What more could I ask?

Yes, I ask that question over and over again. The answer is, unfortunately, still the same. I miss having a small community that I belong to and can rely on every time; just like I had back in Eindhoven. I miss the togetherness, warmth, and closeness that I had with those people back in those days. I keep saying to myself to never compare Eindhoven to KL, but it’s very hard not to do that. When I badly need a person to talk to and I don’t even know who to contact, that’s when the loneliness starts to hit me really hard. Sure, I can always contact my friends in other countries, but sometimes you really need a friend that is physically there, close to you. I even force myself to reach out to anyone, but I always find myself disappointed because he/she either does not understand me or have a totally different mindset. To me, not having my family here means that friends and community are those that I would heavily rely on. But if I don’t even have such luxury, I’d feel quite empty and lost. Nothing but tears can exactly explain how lost I am now.

Every time I tell myself, I want to quit. I want to move out of here. I want to go somewhere. But every time I ask myself, where shall I go? Where shall I head to? To be honest, right now, the answer is still unknown. Home is still nonexistent to me. Jakarta seems to be the easiest pick, but God knows how disconnected I am to that city. Jakarta would be my very last resort. Oh well, I’m still trying to figure this out; hoping that this feeling will go away within a few months so that I don’t need to go anywhere.

For now, my temporary heal is to travel overseas. I travel so often to the point that I have no “emergency money” to back me up. I don’t mind travelling rather than allowing myself to be emotionally depressed. It works, albeit temporarily, as this is just a trick to suppress the feeling. The wound is still there and instead of getting smaller, it’s getting bigger and deeper.

Whatever difficulties I am going through now, I hope that I will come out stronger one day… InsyaAllah there will be a better way for me soon. Amin.


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