Friends pleasantly surprised at Malaysian culture, food and facilities
For friends Gillian Robertson, 45, and Jane Grimme, 47, leading the expat life in a country like Malaysia is all about indulging in the opportunities available to them.
By opportunities, they mean everything from the availability of creative courses to variety of food, sports and culture, and of course, the polite people.
The women and their families, who have been living in Kuala Lumpur for the past two and three years, met at a jewellery-making course in Kuala Lumpur.
Jewellery-making, they say, is a great pasttime for them, as it provides them with a creative avenue.
Besides, it is also a place for them to meet new friends.
Shared hobby: Grimme (left) and Robertson are chatting away while doing their beadwork
“This is great. One of the best things about Kuala Lumpur is opportunities like this jewellery-making course where you cannot probably find in another city with such ease.
“It also helps that these opportunities come with great affordability, where, again you cannot find in another city,” said Grimme, an American who has lived in England and the Philippines before coming to Kuala Lumpur.
The mother-of-four finds Malaysia’s unique mix of culture a pleasant surprise for her and is beyond her expectations.
“Before I came here, I did not expect that it will be multi-cultural where there is a blend of Chinese, Indian and Malay.
“That also transpires in all the other aspects especially food, and I must say that Malaysia has the most variety and mix of food compared to all the countries I have been to. It is amazing,” said Grimme.
Robertson could not agree more. The mother-of-three, who is also here due to her husband’s job, said she had started incorporating stir-fry in her cooking style after living here.
“That is because of the interesting spices and herbs that are found in the local market.
“The availability of spices is inspiring,” Grimme chipped in.
Robertson, who is a Scot, said they also met up with other expatriates on social occasions.
“My typical day involves going to the gym, meeting up with friends for coffee and being at home with the children.
“I help out at my children’s school sometimes,” said Robertson who has lived in Houston, the United States for 10 years.
Both friends also agreed that KL is a ‘word-of-mouth city’.
“There is always a network of people who communicate, and that is a nice thing for an expat because we know how to get around thanks to this network.
“From that, we know how to get a good turkey and other stuff. It is all by word-of-mouth rather than what you learn from advertisements,” explained Grimme.
Grimme and her family take the opportunity to go hiking, biking and skateboarding too, and are pleased with the facilities here.
If there is one thing that they are unpleasantly surprised about the city is the traffic and driving culture that seem to put safety in the back seat.
“It is mind-boggling to see children roaming around in moving vehicles without a seatbelt, and the habit of rushing and trying to cut queue is new to us.
“You will get a ticket or even jail time for such offences back home,” said Robertson.
Source: The Star Publications
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