Housing abroad is different than I’m use to in the states. In Malaysia I live in a lovely bungalow, and most of my coworkers live in similar housing.
One of the things I miss from home is my kitchen counter space and outlets. Here I have 2 outlets in the kitchen and they are next to each other. One is used for the over the cook top vent/light, which leaves me one outlet for the microwave, toaster oven, coffee pot, toaster, you get the idea, not enough outlets. I’ve invested in a good quality surge protectors so I have additional outlets, but this little life saver takes up space on my already limited counter top. Last weekend I decided I wanted to make a crockpot dinner, and also make something that required my blender. As you can imagine, I was seriously pressed for space. I have a small additional counter top on the other side of the sink, but that side holds my dish strainer, plus no plugs over there so when cooking it’s no value.
Another kitchen luxury I miss is my cooktop. My current cooktop has two burners, which is adequate for my needs, but for the last 9 months I’ve battled uneven burner grates. I couldn’t get a pot or pan to sit level on either of them. Then last weekend (during my cooking spree) I spilled something on the cooktop and had to take it apart. I didn’t really pay attention on how it came apart I just wanted to get it cleaned. When I started to reassemble it I couldn’t get it back together, at least not the way it was, so I did the logical thing, I stared at it. While staring I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before, there are little indents for what I assumed was the grate, I put it together and, wa la, I have level grates. Whoever put it together didn’t notice it and I just assumed it was right and that’s how cooktops worked in Malaysia. Life in the kitchen is now less frustrating with level cook top grates. Now if I could increase my counter space I would be very happy.
Most of the expats don’t have pets, one or two families brought over their family dog or cat but most left them at home. I was in HR Brad’s office a couple of days ago when Piper Mike walked in and told us a story. Seems he was making toast and jam in his kitchen the night before, he heard something rattling around in the ceiling and wondered if a monkey found its way into his attic. As he was staring at the ceiling tiles deciding what to do a cat fell from a tile in the ceiling. Yep, just dropped out of the ceiling, and no, Mike doesn’t have a cat. I asked what he did, he said, ‘I screamed like a little girl, which scared the cat even more so it took off up the stairs’. He continued telling us, ‘I opened the front door, then tried to convince the cat to leave’. He said it took about 20 minutes to coax it from the upstairs, once it saw the front door open it shot out. HR sent someone out to fix the whole in his roof so his ceiling won’t rain cats again.
My friend Leslie was telling me that last week her neighbor’s house alarm was going off. She wondered about it since it was during the day while they were away, she looked outside to see what was going on, and sitting on her neighbors fence were 3 large monkeys. It appears they wanted something close to the house and must have rattled the bars or maybe they were climbing, but they set off the alarm. The monkey’s then sat watching the house to see what all the noise was about. Life with wild monkeys in your neighborhood can be eventful.
When I first moved to this part of the world I was amazed with all the monkeys. After 9 months, I’m over the love affair. The little guys hiss at me while I ride my bike, and they love to get into the trash, but I am in their neighborhood so I’ll adjust. I’m not so sure I can adjust to the bull frogs. I live next to a vacant field and after a heavy rain the frogs (multiple, several, a lot of them) sit in the field sing and calling to each other all. night. long.
Life is an adventure, we can look at all the little inconveniences as part of our adventure, or we can look at them as a challenge. I choose to see them as part of my adventure. I won’t be here forever, someday I’ll return to the comforts of my home in the states, but until then, I’m enjoying the differences (well most of them) and adding to my memories that I can share with (OK bore) my grandkids someday.