Leaving for Malaysia

How do you go from a humdrum life to a point of no return?

As I’m typing this, I’m sitting on my bed in an apartment in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Next month I’ll start in a new job as a software engineer (this is my day job). Hali is staying in the Philippines, as he’s got a career in animation and photography there.

How did I get here, you ask?

Last summer had been a difficult time. I’d gotten depressed. There’s really not much point talking about it now, just that it happened. I spent most days in my sister’s apartment in Mandaluyong, sleeping for hours (or not at all) and eating chips. I’d stopped doing meditation and waved off the Wesak celebration. It was really bad.

I believe that when you’re in a situation similar to this, something unexpected and good usually happens. You decide you’re no longer in the right place (and I don’t mean literally) or you need to change your life. Not sooner or later, but now.

In one of those days of bumming, a recruiter called me for a job opportunity in Malaysia. When I could not find happiness even in things I used to enjoy, something lit up.

Malaysia, Malaysia, Malaysia.

How do I describe I felt then? There was a momentary peace, as if the crazy thoughts in my head decided to calm down and go into a quiet flow. There was a gut feel saying, that sounds right.

After 3 weeks of applications (I forgot what happened to that initial call — I probably didn’t pass), I got accepted to a job as a software engineer in a different company. I’d started with the paperwork for moving abroad in July.

Now here, this is the part I wanted to tell you friends about.

There were a couple of hiccups when I was completing my requirements (e.g., lack of appointment slots in DFA for passport renewal, etc.). My flight date was moved a few times. So instead, I spent the last few weeks at Hali’s house, with its large backyard full of trees. We took care of his puppies and newly adopted stray kittens. When both of us weren’t busy with freelance projects, we’d stay in their sala and watch Netflix series and movies. We’d sleep late, wake up late and then go outside for a walk sometime in the late afternoon. It was a routine.

Andy from The Office once said, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” I was so caught up with the paperwork delays that I didn’t immediately realize I was in the good days.

When all was smoothened over and I finally had a booked ticket, the fact that I would be living abroad finally started to sink in. I would be in a foreign country, alone. I wouldn’t see Hali for a while for economic reasons, and whatever rendezvous we’d have would be limited to days-long vacations.

I cried for a few days before I left.

I told Hali about the time I stayed in Singapore for 2 weeks, when I was in college. After 3-4 days, I felt homesick and wanted to rebook my return flight to an earlier date. What if the same thing happened?

Hali reminded me that I’m a different person now and that the universe will somehow make a way to bring us together soon.

I will hold on to that.

So here’s a glimpse of my first few days in Malaysia. I’d stayed in a hotel for 4-5 days and found an apartment, with fellow Filipino roommates. I’m starting to get used to living here, although with just a few days here, what do I know? I’m getting that good feeling back.

On a different subject, anybody who wants to donate a good camera? πŸ™‚

Arriving in my hotel room in Kuala Lumpur.
View from hotel room.
Nasi lemak, Malaysia’s national dish. It consists of rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf. Comes with fried or curried chicken (which I honestly can do without). Love the combination of flavors. Had it thrice on my first days.
A warm soya pudding similar to taho in the Philippines. The syrup is less sweet, which to me is perfect — our taho is too sugary.
Chinatown in Sri Petaling street, one of the most famous tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur. It’s a bit like Baclaran with Chinese lanterns, but there are great restaurants around the area.
Sri Maha Mariamman temple near the Chinatown.
Tandoori chicken with naan bread. Sooo good.
Tom yum: a spicy, sour and savory soup. This is seafood variant and served with rice.
Cakes in a local bakery. Snapped a photo since I thought my niece back in the Philippines would like it.
Found a room in a condo with Pinoy housemates. Here’s the view from my room.
Oh, and we have a pool.
Roti canai with chicken curry. I should make a post called Love at First Bite: Malaysia edition.

If it’s your first time to work abroad, I’d love to hear about your stories. πŸ™‚


  1. Congrats on the new adventure with regards to your career! The condo you’re renting has got quite a nice swimming pool and I’m kinda jealous! The one in the condo we’re staying at kinda sucks because it’s not that deep and also tiny. But anyway, if ever I’ll be in an ldr with my boyfriend, I guess my anxiety would just swell up at some point. I hope you do enjoy this new chapter in your life!

    1. Are you in Malaysia, too? I think a lot of pools here are only a few feet deep, otherwise the management has to hire lifeguards.

      LDR is challenging. I thought that’s just people’s drama haha. πŸ™‚ Thanks, Maria!

  2. Aww. I know how it feels like.. Nakakatakot. Sobrang daming what ifs. Pero sa umpisa lang mahirap and malungkot talaga pero kakayanin!! Good luck on your new journey, Ate. Ingat ka lagi d’yan. πŸ™‚

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