After moving back from UK, I wanted some time off to assimilate with the culture and language.
Looking back, it has been quite a journey…
I came across really different practices back here:
- Feng Shui: I saw a ceramic water jug placed on top of a front roof in one of the terrace house. Does it bring in more wealth?
- Rituals: My neighbours house that held funeral requested for water. They could not source it from their own house. Symbolize purification from the ‘water of Ganges river’?
- Customs: During a full moon party, one guest had insisted that she had to give a red packet to the baby personally instead of handing it to the team of host. Brings good luck and ward off evil spirit?
It was a big culture shock for me…
Another one is diet. Mine is based on plant based diet, Mediterranean diet and 5 a day. Traditional Chinese Medicine and ying and yang was introduced to me when I got back. I have been eating a lot more chinese herbal stuff and diet in the family is more meat based. I think I have eaten way more meat in the past month in Malaysia compared to 1 year in Glasgow.
I do have cravings… takeaway fish and chips, blood pudding, dairy products…
Ironically when I was in Glasgow, I craved Malaysian food. You can’t win…
My Cantonese language skill is close to zero. Thank goodness my fallback is Mandarin. I can actually understand Glaswegian English better than Cantonese if you consider it as a language on its own.
I have gotten used to listening to and trying to understand Malay Language now but still have ‘word finding difficulty’ when I speak.
Yes, it is warmer and humid in Malaysia. Fortunately I don’t miss the cold weather in Glasgow thanks to ‘Beast of the East’ incident when I was snowed inside my workplace. It’s one experience I will never forget.
I have learnt to sleep without air conditioning (room temperature of 29-30°C).
I used to be able leave a bowl of sugar sitting on the countertop. I only get several visits from a housefly during the hottest part of summer. Or weevils from the Thai rice I buy from the Chinese supermarket. Other than that, no pest.
Which means no rats, no cockroaches, no ants in my Glasgow accomodation…
Imagine my horror when I spotted
- A trail of ants in my sugar container
- Dead mouse in a cement and water mixture
- Cockroaches underneath the sink
Career & Projects
This is one of my bugbears just now. Initially I was looking forward for some time off. Maybe for a few months to half a year?
Others dream of a nice holiday, wedding or a car. For me, it was a kitchen I have been dreaming of for years. To ensure that is renovated the way I wanted, I had put aside my career but I did not anticipate that the kitchen renovation start date to be postponed for 2 months and then take more than 8 months to complete. It has been a great learning experience.
Being off work for 1 year so far has taught me how important my career is to me. My career fulfills me and gives me a purpose in life. I can’t wait to go back to work… Might think otherwise though after I go back to work.