Here’s the lowdown on Malaysia so far:
KL is really interesting and very comfortable. I feel like everything is well set up to cater to consumers and to make life comfortable and easy. We have definitely found our transition here a breeze. We basically set up our apartment and phones, TV, furniture, etc in about 24 hours.
The weather has been really great. It’s hot, but no too hot (Alex is constantly sweating though, he doesn’t take heat very well). We haven’t used the air conditioning at all so far. It seems to rain a bit in the afternoon which really cools things off and it’s very comfortable at night. Every place is air-conditioned though, and it’s usually very very cold inside. The area where we are living is hilly and so green. Trees everywhere. Our view from our balcony is just big, rolling hills covered in trees. So far we haven’t seen any monkeys or crazy bugs, but maybe we just haven’t noticed yet.
A really unique thing about Malaysia is the cultural diversity. There are three main cultures in Malaysia — Malay, Chinese and Indian. So everywhere you look you see something different. The best part is the food. We have been enjoying some awesome Indian and Chinese food since we’ve been here. We haven’t been able to figure out too much of the Malay food because the dishes are not always listed in English like the other types of food. We’ve also found Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, and all sorts of “Western” food all over the place. I definitely think we will eat well here.
It’s very cool, because all of these very different people consider themselves Malaysian, since, usually they have been living here for generations, so you can really see how they are invested in the culture and economy of the country. It’s really amazing how such a small country is so welcoming and accepting of the diverse requirements of each culture. For example, we were allowed to pick our telephone numbers because each culture has numbers that are especially lucky and unlucky so the phone company just lets you choose your own from a list. Plus, even though Malaysia is Muslim, you can always find pork products or alcohol in any grocery store or restaurant. They just put simple signs out front advertising if the location is halal or not.
The Malaysian people are amazing! Everyone is just so friendly and nice. People are anxious to help everywhere we go. Everyone is always smiling and laughing. It has certainly made all our “business” and settling-in errands seem easy.
Our apartment is really great. Much, much larger than our old flat in Munich. We actually have four rooms in this place, and we just started using the third one yesterday. It’s so weird to have so much space after spending five years figuring out how to fit into a two room place. I’m sure we’ll adjust quickly We have plenty of room for guests though. A whole guest room with it’s own bathroom too! In addition to our two bedrooms and two bath, we have a nice little study all set up for Alex. He has a nice big desk and lots of bookshelves to keep his books all safe in the humidity. Our living room is huge with a nice big balcony overlooking the school. Our kitchen is smaller than I would have liked, but it’s much bigger than our old kitchen and better equipped. We have a gas stove, which is new for me, but I really like it. It seems to cook more evenly and I like how it can be entirely shut off in an instant. We even have a smaller second balcony off the kitchen where the washing machine and dryer are. It’s not a balcony you can really sit out at because of the washer and dryer, but it’s amazing to have 2 balconies!
Another great thing about our new apartment is our landlord. She is so nice! She has basically been our tour guide for the past few weeks. She took us everywhere and really made us feel at home. Every time I had to delay paying her because I didn’t have enough money, she was so nice and understanding about it. It’s like she treats us as part of her family.
The neighborhood where we are living (Mont’Kiara) is fantastic. It’s development just outside the city with lots of foreigners. There are lot of huge high-rise apartment buildings (I’m guessing 10-15) in the neighborhood. All have pools and tennis courts like ours. There is a nice plaza just down the street with lots of restaurants and fancy shops (and the Starbucks that we’re at right now, with free internet). Almost every day there is something going on at the plaza, a night market or a day market, jazz festivals and street parties. It’s very lively. Across the street, outside of Mont’Kiara, is another outdoor shopping plaza. This one is more for locals and things are really cheap. Lots of great outdoor restaurants and little shops. The ubiquitous DVD/CD stands (DVDs run about $3) are everywhere. This is where Alex and I usually go out for dinner. Yummy tandoori chicken and naan or spicy fried noodles. Delish!