30 October 2015

Any Questions?

The end of October means the end of talking about the past. If you've read my blog before the month of October, you know that in the last few years, my husband and I have moved from Michigan to China to Malaysia. I just couldn't stay away, and, it turns out, neither could he.

For the finale to my series, I thought I'd open up the comment section to any questions--I'll plan on answering questions in the comment section if possible, so check back to see an answer. Do you wonder anything? 

Possible questions: 

What is your favorite Malaysian food? 

How do you say "The girl used a credit card to buy a new blue dress." in Bahasa Malaysia?

What should I make sure to see when I visit Malaysia?

If you were a hot dog, and you were on a desert island starving to death, would you eat yourself?
Gillian said...

This has been such a heartfelt series and I enjoyed every minute of it. :)

I guess my question would be, what's it like coming back to live in Malaysia as a married adult, verses when you were a student? Was there anything that surprised you because you hadn't encountered it as an adult yet?

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

Rachel, I've enjoyed 31 days of growing up in Malaysia immensely. It's always interesting reading about life in other parts of the world. You've added such a warm and personal aspect to your stories, something you always do so well.

I do have a question, and I've had it since you started the series. The question is perhaps not yours to answer though. I've been curious what compelled your parents to move overseas in general, and to Malaysia in particular. If I read between the lines, I imagine that they wanted their family to really experience life in a broader context. But then I think of the logistics. I remember you writing that your Dad 'was walking home from work', and I think of the daunting challenge of employment, language, even housing. Obviously, these aren't concerns that your child self would have been faced with, but it's still a curiosity of mine. And...if my question is impertinent, my apologies! I totally understand and respect that many aspects of our 'blogging' lives are meant to remain private.

Rachel said...

My parents' jobs were what originally brought them here--and you're right that since I was a child at the time, I didn't have much of say in anything, nor did I really understand at the time what a huge undertaking that must have been. Our first move for my Dad's work was from Michigan to Kentucky, and we've always joked that that was the practice round, a way of dipping our toes into the things life had in store for us later. Work assignments brought them here, but they've stayed this long because what was once an adventure has, in every sense, turned into home.

Rachel said...

Oh yes, there differences! As a kid, I never had to think about visas and banking and international job searches and international medical insurance and taxes for two different countries....need I continue, haha? I will say that the move here this time around has been much harder than the first time. There's a different feeling re-entering a community where you were known as a "kid," but this time as an adult with a husband in tow and adult responsibilities. But I'm really, really grateful to be able to share this part of the world with Angel and experience this with him, it's teaching me so much.

Tayrina said...

It sounds like a great series, an adventure!

Moonofsilver said...

What American foods do they not have in Malaysia that you miss?

What Chinese foods do they not have in Malaysia that you miss?

Ummm...I think my questions were brought to you by hunger.

Jen Lud said...

I just love your blog Rach :)

So my #1 question comes from a place of pure ignorance and Americanized stupidity.

Do you ever get afraid living abroad? Meaning, afraid of the government, the health culture, the social culture...I am afraid to travel to the far east because I am ignorant about the culture - I'm afraid I'd be looked down upon by the men because I'm a woman, or disrespect someone on accident and get thrown in a Chinese prison without Americanized representation. Do you know what I mean? It's such a stupid question but I genuinely want to know how you handle yourself out there. Because after reading your posts, I know you handle yourself!!

The Lady Okie said...

You've probably blogged about this, but what are some things you miss about American culture (if anything) and what are some things about Asia that are much better than what we have here? Like just a few that stand out?

Donna said...

I've loved reading your series this month! I've learned a lot about Malaysia. :) I know travelling varies a lot from between countries but how does that stuff work while you're living in Malaysia? I would assume you would need more than a travel visa but wouldn't be considered a Malaysia citizen?

Rachel said...

There are a couple different types of visas that allow you to stay in the country long-term. Angel has a work visa through his job--it's a matter of getting hired and then filing a paperwork-heavy application with immigration and waiting and hoping for it to get approved. There was much dancing when we finally got a 2-year visa!

Rachel said...

American foods that I miss: The top thing that comes to mind is, I miss being able to buy tortilla chips and salsa for really cheap prices. I can still cook American food pretty easily but I sometimes miss having an oven.
Chinese foods: I miss SiChuan pepper cabbage, which I've tried to make here, but it's just not quite the same because I haven't been able to find actual SiChuan peppercorns, which differ a little from normal black peppercorns. I also miss good beef dumplings.

Rachel said...

From America--I miss the fact of large parking lots with large parking spaces. And big flat yards and parks with green grass and not having to worry about pollution. Obviously, I've never lived in a big city in America, so for me, it feels like more of a comparison between country life and city life. And sometimes I do miss the privacy and isolation of country life--being able to go on long bike rides down empty roads. There's no such thing as empty roads where we live now, because it's a city.

Also, housework is way, way easier in America. It has to do with the different climates and the way that American houses tend to be fairly sealed off from the outside, while Malaysian houses are very open to the air.

Things I like more about this place? I feel like it's just easier to feel closer to your community here--people don't really worry about making impositions, they ask you to be a part of all manner of interesting events and projects, even if it's inconvenient. They ask questions that in America would be seen as "rude", but actually, in their own way, those questions facilitate relationships. People actually notice the people around them to a much greater extent. Maybe because I'm not naturally a gregarious extrovert, I really appreciate how easy it is to feel like a part of a larger community here.

Rachel said...

Actually, I think the far east is one of the safest places to be as a foreigner...but I know I'm probably biased. I feel especially safe where I live, because I feel like there's a lot of people in my community looking out for me.

Traveling around this region is not the most comfortable of undertakings--but more for the really practical reasons. I know that bathrooms won't be clean or easily found or non-smelly, unless I'm in a mall. Bus drivers will probably drive way faster on winding roads than I'd prefer them to. I'm experienced enough to know not to expect anyone in Asia to speak English. (Once I read a blog post where the writer was complaining about how hard traveling about Beijing was because it was hard to find people who spoke English...and I just had to laugh). I don't want to put myself in a situation where I can't communicate at all. My Mandarin skills are great, and I can make an educated guess at anything in Bahasa, but non-Mandarin, non-Bahasa countries are a whole different matter. And I know most travelers don't get the luxury of speaking the language of every country they travel to--that's brave! I am not the most adventurous of travelers, I like my little home very much.

Though probably the lack of fear is more based on the internal than the external, to be honest. My mom raised us to not see fear as a legitimate response to life, so why even bother with it?

Brianna Wachter said...

Forgive me if you've already answered this question... Do you and Angel plan on staying in Malaysia long term?

Rachel said...

We hope to! We hope that once Angel's current work contract expires that we'll be able to renew it and continue staying here, so we'll see what the future brings!

Unknown said...

I love this series of posts about your new home! My husband and I will be moving out of the country this week for 6 months and you've inspired me to do something similar.

All the Best,