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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I'm a self-made expat!

Skimming through my email inbox from my ipad, I recently came across a newsletter from an expat site I occasionally browse.

One of the articles was titled "self-made expat", a term new to me but describing me to a tee!

Expatriatism is growing all around the world with better living conditions, job offers and the thrill of travel all large factors. But I'm not any usual expat.

I didn't get sent to Malaysia by a company, neither did I relocate here with my whole family for any specific reason. I have a number of expat friends, mostly in Kuala Lumpur, who were sent here on a working assignment with their company from back home. It usually lasts for 2 or 3 years before the contract is up and they return home.

I am a self-made expat. 

I came here to Malaysia with no job, no money, all by myself. My Malaysian fiancee and later, wife, was the reason I expatriated to Malaysia.

Another factor was that I already knew Malaysia very well after living there for 2 years before I met Fidelia. I had already developed a love for the place, the people and the lifestyle.

Nobody sorted out my flight tickets. Nobody took care of a work placement and contract for me. Nobody took the time to organise insurance plans for me. Nobody transported all of my possessions half way around the world for me.

I am a self-made expat.

I took what I could in my suitcase and completely started my life over in Kuantan, just me and my wife. Now that sounds scary, and for a short while it was, but it has also provided me with an immense sense of achievement and satisfaction. I made it! I started with nothing, in a foreign town and country, and made it!


I'm also unlike other expats in that I don't really mix with fellow expats at all. I am immersed into life with the local Malaysians. My wife and I have found some magnificent Malaysian friends, both here in Kuantan and around the country. I couldn't ask for anything more in my life. Several years ago, it was an impossible dream. 

We send our daughter to the local kindergarten. When I'm sick I go to the local clinic or hospital. We go shopping down the road and buy Malaysian food. In another 4 years I'm planning to become a Permanent Resident and have my own IC card. 


Rather than living the 'expat life', I'd say I'm living the 'Malaysian life.'


2013 marks 7 years of living as a self-made expat in Kuantan, Malaysia. 7 exciting years where I've grown a lot, have my dream job, am my own boss, and best of all, there is no expiration date for my time here!


20 comments:

Sally said...

What a great post.

Bob Bushell said...

I am very pleased that you have made it, good for you Duncan.

Jennifer Hoppins said...

Your bravery inspires me Duncan! And love can conquer all! How absolutely wonderful that you have found your bliss with Fidelia and your beautiful children. I know that all of you could live anywhere in the world and be content. Malaysia is incredibly special though...I would live there too.

Leovi said...

I love those beautiful smiling faces. nice photo!

magiceye said...

Good on you Duncan! Way to go!!

Cezar and Léia said...

What a great article and I love your picture, you have an adorable family!
Your article also made me think of our own story as expatriates. :)
hugs
Léia

PerthDailyPhoto said...

My Dad did the very same thing 55 years ago Duncan. After the war he decided living in a small Scottish village wasn't for him and he uprooted his very young family and emigrated to Rhodesia, now Harare (central Africa). I thank the heavens so much that he did, growing up in Africa was the best experience. The expression 'travel broadens the mind' is so true don't you think? I hope you spend another happy seven years in your adopted homeland.

ordinary malaysian said...

I think that phrase "I am a self-made expat" fits you to a tee like you said. And well done! Much of the success, I think, is owing to your familiarity with the country through you Christian work at first; and later your love for the country and your wife and, of course, your two lovely daughters. Welcome! And I do hope you get your IC soon!

Randy said...

Marvelous post.

ler said...

It was a beautiful sharing. The simple word touch my heart. sometime we just forget we can make our own destiny. thank you

Doug Hickok said...

Great story Duncan!

thomas said...

Duncan,
I think that's the best way to live here,adapting to the local life.

Maria said...

Fabulous post Duncan, very uplifting and inspiring for everyone reading.

I wish you much happiness.

JM said...

If I was an expat I don't think I would mix with others, I would prefer to socialize with nice local people and learn their culture as much as I could.

Haddock said...

Hats off to you. One needs guts and determination to start like that.

LONDONLULU said...

Wonderful phrase, "self-made expat"! I love that idea of immersing oneself with the culture, not just hanging out with other expats. May you enjoy many more lovely months and years there. And bravo:)

Cloudia said...

Glad to know you!
Over a quarter of a century ago, my husband and I left the east coast of the us and moved to a coffee shack on the slopes of the Big Island Hawaii. We made Hawaii our home and understand your well earned satisfaction!


ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° > <3

Bill Nicholls said...

Well done mate, somting I should have done when I was young. Fair play to you.
Passing through on my roadtrip

Joanna Horne said...

I am very proud of you Duncan. You have carved out the perfect life so far away from home. I really respect the courage it took to leave home and family and go off into the "unknown". Well done, all my love, Mum xxxx

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I think this is wonderful and wish I or should I say my husband would brave it and move out of the UK .. He loves Malaysia .. and I am sure I would get used to it. Even if it was for a year or so.

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