About one month from now we will be spending our first full week at home after our 24ish hour flight home. As I start putting things in piles to bring home, give away, and toss off the balcony, many people have asked me what I will miss about living in Malaysia. No matter how much I can’t wait to pack it all in, there are some thing about living abroad for two years that I have grown to love that I thought I would share.
Without a doubt, traveling has been one of the best part of this adventure. In our two years, we were able to go to seven countries and 17 cities. Taking a risk and living on the other side of the world wasn’t easy, but we were lucky enough to be able to tick off things on our list that we didn’t even know were on our list! Things like taking a hot air balloon ride over western Australia, participating in a lantern festival with the locals in Thailand, riding elephants, feeding a kangaroo, rock climbing in New Zealand and eating durian in Penang, Malaysia, among other amazing adventures. Plus, we got to meet some really cool people along the way. Even now, looking back at the pictures, it makes us smile at the memories. And want to rush to book our next cool vacation.
Our hot air balloon for Dad’s 60th birthday over western Australia.
2) Spa and Movies
Both of these things are quite inexpensive here and I go to the spa and movies like I’m on one of those famous housewives shows. Facials, massages, manicures and pedicures are all things that are easily within the budget and I don’t feel (nearly as) guilty when I get them here. To go to the movies here is only about $3 USD, and although you might have to wait a little while to get the latest blockbuster movies, in my book, it’s worth the wait. I’m pretty sure you can’t even park in the parking lot of the movies for $3 at home.
I’m not going to lie. I haven’t ironed a shirt or cleaned a bathroom in close to two years. We don’t have a maid (or “helper” as they are called here) live in or come every day or even every week, like a lot of people have in this part of the world, but we do have someone come every other week, which is oh-so-nice.
I love that I can get any kind of fruit, at any time of the year, all super cheap. The mangos in Southeast Asia have been particularly tasty and I have a feeling they will be hard to match when we get back home. Confession: Sometimes I eat the mango like a cave person without peeling it at all. Just slice a chunk off and go. It’s that good.
Thanks to the delay in when television shows are shown here, I am all caught up on the last several seasons of Desperate Housewives, Private Practice, 30 Rock, Dog the Bounty Hunter, How I Met Your Mother, Everybody Loves Raymond, CSI and a smattering of other shows that I don’t think made it even one season in the US market. I have also seen every episode ever made of Law and Order (original), Law and Order: Los Angeles, Law and Order: SVU. I’m not really proud of how much television I digested over here, but you will want me on your team for trivia if the category is mediocre television from the mid 1990’s to early 2000’s, guaranteed.
Like any experience worth talking about, it’s really all about the people you are with along the way, isn’t it? We have been lucky enough to make friends with people from literally all over the world by living abroad. People that we wouldn’t have met at home and that aren’t just like us. People that have stood in the place of family for two years and who have become our close friends. People that we know we can count on to be friends with for a long time. It seems silly and small to say, but from sharing your dinners, to bargaining in Chinatown to working out in the insane heat, to crying, laughing and sometimes cursing together, thanks so much for sharing your lives with us. And, at the risk of this sounding even more like a high school year book, you will always have a place to stay at our house, where ever in the world that might be.
Dan and his tri buddies in Phuket, Thailand.
My partner in crime on one of our many adventures!