Apart from a short stint in Labuan off the coast of Sabah many years ago, I never worked anywhere else but in Kota Kinabalu throughout my professional life, at least not until March this year. When I decided to take up a job offer in Kuala Lumpur with my family’s blessings, almost all of my friends were in disbelief at the drastic change that I would make at this stage of my life, eventhough KL is a mere 2.5-hour flight away.
It was undoubtedly exciting to start a new adventure but it also took time and effort to make adjustments for the unfamiliar and unknown.
My offer package included accommodation and we agreed that in the first 3 months I would stay at the hotel. It might not have the same homely ambiance or space like my three-bedroom cosy patch in KK with an amazing view but after I passed my 3-month probation and some careful consideration later, I have decided to stay put in the junior suite that I have started to grow very fond of. You can call it complacency or pure laziness because I have gotten used to the maid service but in my defence, I am going to quote convenience, comfort and security.
Last week I traded the tiny fridge in my suite for a bigger one from the office and it has made all the difference. Not being able to cook presented a big challenge to me initially but later when I really thought about it, it should not have life-changing effects as I used to eat light at home anyway for most nights when I was living in KK. Therefore, having something simple in my suite is more than doable. Besides, I get the opportunities to refine my skills in making a tasty salad.
In the last 3 months I was exposed to the superb, diverse and wide range of food in and around the area. I find that the standard of food here is generally high and the spicy dishes have more heat than what we have in KK. I find great pleasure in sampling different types of food but I am particularly impressed by two unassuming dishes — the sambal and nyonya kuih! I realised that regardless where I go, from the stalls to the restaurants the sambal served and the variety of nyonya kuih are all very delicious!
I am also blessed with friends who take me out for gastronomic adventures or invite me over for some amazing home cooked meals. After all the treats I guess my simple salad is almost mandatory!
I decided not to bring my car over as the heavy traffic and aggressive driving in this big city intimidates me. Besides, I am almost a hermit on weekdays after work except when friends come and pick me up to go for a quick dinner. I am doing well so far with the very convenient call cars and I almost can call myself a “Grab queen”!
After the first month of adjusting, the team at my new job and I started to bond and I began to enjoy my work, albeit the usual operational challenges. When things get tough, I just look out from the window of my big office and the view calms me.
Finding a church to belong to was the more tricky issue at the time. I was invited by friends to visit 4 churches but in the end, I settled for the 5th church that I visited by myself and knew absolutely no one but felt comfortable with. I approached their hospitality lounge on my third Sunday to introduce myself as I realised I was getting lonely at church for not having made a single friend after 3 weeks. I have since joined a cell group with majority ladies that we meet twice a month for fellowship and spiritual support.
I am more settled now with the life here and will soon start planning some short trips around the region as it is accessible to travel up and down the Peninsula. My first weekend away was a short trip to Tenggol Island on the east coast where my travelling companions went scuba diving and left me, the non-diver basking in the sun and catching up with undisturbed rest.
I am getting along fine in my new environment. It did not take me long to get used to the new place and adjust to the new life. Adaptability is really all about being flexible and ready to be stretched, and the ability to accept and embrace.
I might not have the view of the majestic Mt. Kinabalu from my window as my home in KK but I reckon the skyline and cityscape in the part of the city that I am in certainly has its own charm!