The last time I remember being this light, this joyfully happy, this optimistic, and this positive was the summer of 2013. I can pinpoint triggers in my mind and there are precisely two to be exact. The first was in July when my daughter and I went on a very fun weeklong road trip in India before she moved away to head to uni in the UK. We drove the chauffer (not Shiva!) mad for hours-on-end singing our favourite songs from the 60s to 2000s, had wonderfully long talks that touched my heart, and shared special and dodgy moments adventuring around South India. The second was the next month when I flew back to the U.S. to renew my India visa and had a wild weekend with my brother and sister in San Francisco. It was indulgent, hilarious, and a bit naughty … everything you want from a reunion, right?
Since then I’ve had a shit storm of bad luck fall my way, which I know I need to take responsibility for but that’s a hard order at times. It was how my path was supposed to unfold and for that I’m happy for it today. In a nutshell, it went like this:
- Blacklisted in India in 2013! Upon returning to India later in the summer with a brand new visa in my passport, the Indian government wouldn’t let me back in. My cats were there, my new company was there (with a huge contract from Huawei pending on my arrival), and I was helpless. I tried for half a year to fix it by throwing lawyers at the problem and paying bribes but I finally gave up trying to sort it out. It was a paperwork error and they refused to fix it and I fell out of love with India in the process.
- Shanghaied in China in 2014! My new job as a director in China didn’t work out because they expected me to pay fees associated to my visa and my employment yet didn’t tell me that until after I was there and had put down deposits on an apartment and setup home!
- Hong Kong in 2015 wasn’t a fit for me but I’d prefer not to go into that one out of care and respect for all parties.
- Litigation in Malaysia in 2016! After moving to Malaysia in early 2016, that process ended in litigation to get the company to do the right thing with me when they changed their mind.
And that’s where my current story really begins.
I didn’t really blog but a handful of times from the day I left India to the summer of 2016 … and anyone who has a passion or hobby can probably relate. When we’re not at our best, not very happy, or having problems … our passions fade away. I know when I have deep problems that I get writer’s block altogether. I saw it earlier this year when I had problems with a family member that rocked me to my core. If you look back you’ll see about 2+ months that I didn’t post anything at all. I just … couldn’t. It’s quite strange but pain is paralysing on many levels.
Sorry, I digress.
Last year when the litigation ended and I was mentally liberated from all of that I hit the road and decided to explore Malaysia while I looked for a new job. I was targeting KL and the capitols of surrounding SEA countries and I would fly to interviews when they came up. At the beginning I had several offers but the salaries were too low because I pay for my life and my daughter’s life and university fees because my ex-husband doesn’t believe in paying for an education (yeah, seriously WTH!?!). It was frustrating because KL is growing as a startup hub but the salaries are still so low that most startups are unable to import the top talent (not that I’m TOP talent, but you know what I mean).
Yet a funny thing happened in that time. I fell coo coo, crazy, madly in love with Malaysia. I love its beauty, the people, the food, the perfection of Kuala Lumpur, the diversity, and the adventure of it all. Sure it’s missing a push forward in LGBTQ rights and the religious groups need to calm down and stop protesting concerts so KL can start hosting the world’s top musicians but those are my only heartfelt complaints about the country.
So I fought to stay. Five people in my life here really helped turn my dream of calling KL my home into a reality. If it weren’t for their generosity and care and kindness I would be working in Singapore or back home in my sister’s basement looking for a job right now! But I had them, and they changed my life.
And now I’m happier than I’ve been in years.
I remember feeling this in India. That feeling of optimism. Like I’m planning for my future and that’s OK. I am carrying a lighter load because ‘when you love what you do you never feel like you’re working’ kind of thing.
I don’t want to jinx it because … come on, look at my track record! My recent past has shown me I’m not always smart about my life choices. So I’ll get it sorted first then reveal all. But a new job is in the visa process and I’m thrilled.
I’ve been blogging more this year than the past few years COMBINED. I’m now shooting and editing my own videos left and right. I’m still a wobbly, terrible videographer and a shit editor but I’m doing it all myself and I’m okay with that for now because I do it with positivity and pep! And truth be told, I’m actually quite proud to be telling more stories that showcase this beautiful life I experience daily here in Southeast Asia.
Please show some love and subscribe to my YouTube channel for all those wobbly, peppy videos 😉
So Malaysia (and Malaysians) …
I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m actually starting to cry as I write this. I thank you for all that you’re doing for me, all that you’ve taught me, and for all that I love now that you’ve shown me. I’m getting smarter about what I will tolerate from others. And I’m learning how to harness my skills and passions in a new way so that ‘by day’ I can help others to succeed here in Malaysia. And that makes me happy.
I love you, Malaysia. From the bottom of my heart … and forever.