Sunday, April 28, 2013

Building and Abandoning Nests

I see why birds and other animals often claim nests that have been abandoned. It is hard work building a new nest. And birds have many fewer necessities than we humans do.

For me, building a new nest (setting up a new home) in a foreign country was a difficult experience. The first 6 weeks was pretty unsettling, trying to get into some kind of routine and figure out the basics: where to do my shopping, what kinds of foods to cook, whether the water was safe to drink, how to hail taxis and get to my destination, how to maintain personal safety (esp for the kids), how to find my way around the school, how to get around KL, deciding what to visit in KL, where to exercise, how to pay bills, figuring out what a reasonable budget was, and how to get my social interaction needs met in a meaningful way. 

By eight weeks, life solidified into more of a routine and by 10-12 weeks, it became a comfortable routine. Very different from what I had been doing at home in the U.S., but still bounded by Joe’s work, the kids’ school, my exercise, and the constants of shopping, cooking, laundry, and cleaning (fortunately mostly done by the weekly maid service).

Other regular daily, weekly, and monthly events included Mahjong, Bahasa Malaysia, coffee dates, guitar and ukelele lessons and practice, blogging, photography and photo classes, massages, school events, lectures, and skyping with friends and family.

Now, almost 9 months into our year, it is time to begin the process of dismantling our Malaysian nest and plan for our return trip home. It has been a good, though challenging year. I will miss some parts of living in Malaysia like the swimming pool and tennis courts in our backyard, wearing flip flops and shorts year round, having school, the grocery store, and my gym all within a 5 minute walk of our condominium, thunderstorms, no tipping, fruit smoothies, growing orchids, my new friends, daily tropical fruits, easy, exotic travel opportunities, the interesting cultural mix, and not being responsible for any of the maintenance on our Malaysian nest. I will not miss the crazy car and motorcycle drivers, the ants and weevils, the bathrooms, the sewer smells, the uneven sidewalks, the worry about dengue fever, the humidity, ringworm, the cost of the kid’s school, the ineptitude of the computer repair people, the throw away culture, the necessary safety restrictions placed on the kids, the security guards, being followed around in stores, the traffic, mega malls, the difficulty communicating with people, being sticky all the time, the continuous air conditioning necessary, and the weekly mosquito spraying required.

We all look forward to seeing you back in California in the near future (early July)!!!

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