A week ago I was posed with the question how I got accustomed to the life again in Malaysia after living overseas for many years during my college days.
Tough, I said. First and foremost, it was difficult to get used to the heat and humidity in equatorial Malaysia again, especially when the last place I spent a big chunk of my youthful life prior to coming home was bonny but very cold Scotland where warm summer days are rare! Then it was the lifestyle and getting used to the work ethics and attitude of the people. It was almost like a culture shock. But you are from Malaysia I hear you say… true, but the thing is I left for the UK when I was in my late teens fresh from school and was not exposed much to life generally then. After spending close to a decade in Scotland it was like I practically grew up there away from home and learning to be independent in this country where people speak a very different tongue (heavy local accent that took me months before I could fully comprehend what people were saying!) and men wear skirts (I know my Scottish friends are going to kill me for saying that! Ok, they are kilts!).
When I was back in Malaysia I missed terribly the lifestyle, the conveniences of life and my friends in Scotland. But as I started settling in, working a job and feeling glad to be back with my family again, I gradually got accustomed to the life in the place where I am originally from. Now more than 20 years later, it is not difficult to see that there have been many positive changes in my home town Kota Kinabalu (KK) since the day I came back. The endless developments everywhere through the years and the growth in all aspects helped improve on the infrastructure of the city and the quality of life in general. Although the Malaysian government and the fiasco at the political front leave a lot to be desired, Malaysia is my home and I am here to stay.
Had I had the chance to stay on in the UK all those years ago, I am sure things would have turned out very differently from how I live my life now in small town KK. As I look back and reflect, my journey for the last 20 years has not been all smooth-sailing but full of ups and downs probably just like anyone else’s. I won some, I lost some. Some of the challenges, trials and events I encountered on the path that I was travelling on had caused some serious stresses, distress, disappointments and heartaches but they helped to shape and mould me, and caused me to grow. I am grateful of how far I have come.
The biggest turning point of my life was when I accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour over 13 years ago. I turned over a new leaf and life has never been more exciting. I am happy and almost contended with what I have now – a job that I love, a lifestyle that I enjoy, my family and a great circle of friends, my creativity, growing faith on my amazing journey of faith and seeing how the Lord leads me from one pasture to another, and from one season through to the next. Living in Christ gives me hope in a world that has seen too much despair and anguish. I count my blessings every day and take things as they come, one at a time.
I told the friend who asked me the question in the beginning that irrespective of whether it was the right decision then to come back to Malaysia, I would never look back as nothing could compare to what I have and who I have become now. It truly has been a remarkable journey, and the awesome thing is — the best is yet to be!