KL is such an expat friendly city. It’s like Singapore, Hong Kong, and even Manila (yes, people! Manila is expat friendly! Come see it!). There are so many different things you can do that it’s actually hard to get bored.
Which is a good thing since my husband worries about me getting bored (which might lead to me getting cranky) here while he’s in the office. See, back in Manila I worked as a full-time journalist. I did TV and multimedia and was always on the go. I was doing things like this and before that, things like this and this. I’m pretty much out all day till a bit late at night – like 5 to 6 times a week.
I did stories on diplomats, foreign policy, and politicians. I covered the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice and did stories on the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea issue. I met lots of fun and interesting people. I also did stories on art, beauty, fashion, travel, and food which you can find here. It was so much fun but I was as crazy busy as my husband was back in the home office, making the move here to KL a welcomed change. Now, only one of us is crazy busy! ;)
I definitely and obviously miss my job but the time to lie down and actually get to do some reading (I brought a lot of my books from Manila!) is such a glorious feeling! So different from squeezing in a couple of pages while my crew cab zig zags along Manila traffic!
Sometimes, I wake up basically asking myself: Do I really have free time? Or am I just forgetting something?
There are household chores, of course. But I’m lucky since my husband is always very helpful during the weekends when we do major cleaning. And I like to squeeze in a 1-hour run or short cardio exercises (like 10 minute routines) every now and then just to keep my blood pumping nicely and to get a bit stronger. At 5’6 1/2″, my weight hovers between 110 and 115 lbs (ideal weight is 128lbs). If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to maintain this and not go back to my 99-105lbs weight range in college (wearing XXS! Crazy!).
Man, I used to be like skin and bones which was helpful when I was modelling part time but not when I was already doing real-life, full-time work.
I didn’t want to look like a sickly kid on camera. I won’t have any credibility talking about the South China Sea if I looked like I hadn’t eaten in days. Right before I became a journalist, I decided to ditch the cigarettes and slow down on the liquor. That did wonders to my health. Now, I’m still underweight, wearing XS clothes – but at least my cheeks aren’t hollow anymore! Now I’m hoping to get into an S-M range soon enough and be a bit stronger and healthier – so I can make up for all the ciggies I consumed all throughout high school and college due to stress. (Sorry mom!)
I’m also not allowed to work here in Malaysia since I am considered as a diplomat’s dependent. It would’ve been fun to work for a news agency or maybe a magazine here in KL. They have lots here and even local versions of the well-known international ones. However, our Ambassador, (Ambassador M) told me that I am not hindered from doing volunteer work. Sooooo, I’ve been thinking of doing some ‘voluntary’ writing. Just so I won’t get rusty. He also gave me the phone number (out of the blue) of the current head of the ASEAN Ladies’ Circle. “Call her and volunteer,” he said knowingly during a small party at the Embassy. We’ve known each other in Manila, before my husband and I even got married. I’ve also interviewed Ambassador M over a couple of issues before so he knows my kind of life back in Manila. He and Alvin have been very helpful in keeping me occupied.
I’m actually excited to volunteer. I hope I can help out in some charity work or a couple of fund raisers – I think fund raising for a cause I’m passionate about is another one of my hidden talents.
A couple of days ago, I thought about getting one of those home-based job things that my pregnant friends told me about. They say it’s a good way to get some extra income when you’ve got some free time so I tried to check out some sites that offer those things. I made an account, applied for a couple of them, and ended up deleting reply emails from those that I applied to before I even read them. I know I won’t be able to stand it. (And I’m sure my friends were only able to because they were pregnant and not allowed to go out most of the time. ;) I know you well, Lara and Lanel!)
See, I associate the home to a place of relaxation where I can shut down or reboot when I need to. A place where I can read and do some personal writing. I really don’t see myself becoming a slave to my computer for most of the day while not being able to get some sun or actually meet people (interesting ones that I can write about, I hope!) in the flesh.
I’m into blogging but that’s mainly personal. I guess I’m just too much of a free-spirit to be tied down like that. And when Alvin and I finally decide to have kids, I’d want time to look after them and not be glued to a screen all the time. It becomes boring if you do that everyday. I might just turn into a monster wife. Haha!
I’ve been told that such jobs can be demanding and I’ve told a couple of friends that If I’m gonna have a job that’s gonna make me busy, I’d want something like my old job since it’s more fulfilling for me. If it’s like writing remotely for an organisation like say, UNICEF or UNESCO, I don’t think I’ll feel unfulfilled. However, people from the UN Information Office in Manila told me that organisations like that need their writers to be physically present in their offices.
I guess we’re all just different people and some things that suit others, even my friends, can be something that I won’t be able to stand. Even Alvin knows that it will bore the hell out of me as I’m the type of person who likes being where the action is. So I will keep going out and find some things to write about and share it with you either here or some place else on the internet or print.
The past few weeks have been great. We’re approaching our first month here! Wow, time flies fast when you’re really having a good time. During the past weekends, we’ve done lots of furniture hunting and more exploring around the city. My husband is so good at researching for places where we can go next! There’s a long weekend coming up so I guess I’ll have more material soon. To think that I have a couple of pending write-ups already – I’ll write about our afternoon in Putrajaya and our little walking adventure to Jalan Alor (for some Chinese food!) soon. I really want to keep this blog updated and make it a helpful little place on the internet for tourists who might want to visit Malaysia, Philippines and other places I’ve been to which I plan to post here as well.
Two weeks ago, I met other expat-wives through an organisation here in KL. There are lots of international organisations here, by the way. I think there’s one for every kind of expat – a wife, a diplomat, somebody working in ___ industry, etc. The expat-wives’ org recently went on a Batik Painting lesson and I tagged along! It was a fun experience and I was able to exercise my creativity! I’ll post about that soon as well.
Another thing that keeps me busy is having a good time with the people from the Embassy. There were a couple of going away parties for the people whose tour of duties have ended, there was a time when we went to a hotel lounge with Ambassador M and some of his Filipino businessmen friends to see a Filipino band (writing about this too!) and some mini get togethers which I think I’ve already posted photos of here in the blog and on my Instagram.
Ambassador M always tells us that life at post can be hard or even lonely because you’re away from family so it’s up to us to make it fun. I see his people are busy all the time – including my husband who sometimes gets home at 9pm. There’s lots of work but everyone seems satisfied and fulfilled by what they do and it’s really cute when they have get togethers where there’s food and singing so they can blow off some steam.
I’ve heard from several expat-wives and read online that the major enemy when they’re abroad is boredom. And so far, I’m the farthest thing from being bored. So stop worrying about me, husband! ;) I won’t be joining the fabled ‘Bored Diplomat’s Wives’ Club any time soon.