Change is good right? Isn’t that the sort of thing we often read about in these new age-y articles about people trying to find themselves and all that? I for one have never been the kind of person who was open for change.. at least not the younger version of me. It always seemed so scary to have to change the way you live your life and the everyday people you’re used to being around (even though in my case I barely liked most of them – you know you feel the same).
I remember cringing every time someone asked me, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”. I hated that question. Who really knows where their lives are headed down the road? Here I was, the odd one out in a small village in rural East Malaysia. I was a big girl, I was expressive but timid and I just didn’t gush or giggle at everything like the other girls did. They always seemed to have it all together! I was so jealous of that! When high school (or should I say secondary school – because that’s what it’s called in Malaysia) was nearing the end, I started to panic. “But but but where is every one going? But But But will they remember me??? I have to go to college! What do I do there? Who will be there???” I hated change. It’s scary to be in an environment where no one knows you…. and yet, I survived.
It was the same kind of fear I endured when I moved to Kuala Lumpur and started work at a radio station. I was 19 years old. NINETEEN. What did I know? Living on my own, paying my own bills and having a job was another change and it was scary! 10 years passed and I eventually went through another change – leaving home. I fell in love with an old friend and I married him. Unfortunately for us, we were on opposite sides of the planet. I guess I was too caught up in the marriage and the visa application to let the change fully set in. Next thing you know, I was packing up my apartment and on a plane to Minnesota. Talk about a drastic change.
And finally, here I am. A Malaysian in Minnesota. It’s so different from the life I’m used to but in a way it’s also the most at home I have ever felt. Is that weird? I feel like I fit in here. This is a positive change and I don’t regret anything about it… but I often feel I wasn’t fully prepared for how much more change would happen to me.
As someone who lived on her own for a decade, I have always been earning my own income and been able to spend my money on anything, anytime I want (almost). Right now, I have zero income. Although my husband assures me that I have just as much access to his funds as he does because it’s OUR money after all, I still recoil at the thought of buying whatever I want with the money in the account we share. Most Asian women would be jumping for joy and buying diamonds.(Oh please. I know you know I’m right). I guess I’m not the type. In Kuala Lumpur, I lived in an apartment complex that was steps away from a train station that also served as a taxi stand and bus stop, so commuting was never ever a problem. It’s not a problem here in Minnesota… if you live in the city. My husband and I live in an amazing area that is about 40 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The only downside is, not everything is within walking distance. (Unless you count a 40 min walk – something that is not a problem when the weather is nice and warm). Enter change. I never drove in KL. I don’t know how. I never needed it. Public commute was so easy. Now? I’ll be taking driving lessons soon. (The main reason I haven’t started working. Driving is crucial here) Oh boy oh boy oh boy that’s going to be a trip. Change.
This is my life now. I cook, bake, clean and watch more Netflix than I ever knew a human being could fathom. I read recipe books and homemaking articles. I’m enjoying the conveniences of being in America and I’m absolutely in love with my husband. For the last 4 months or so, I have been a housewife. Wow. There’s a change I never saw coming. But life is funny like that. When you think you have it all figured out, your whole life planned to a T, she decides to throw you a curveball. So what do you do? I guess you can either cry about it or move forward because nothing will stop for you. As my husband and I used to say when we reconnected 3 years ago, “Gamechanger”. The game has indeed changed. Gone is the 19 year old who moved to the big city and the 20something girl who needed to find herself. Taking their place, is me. 30, a lil scared, very excited and ready for more change.
I wish I could talk to my younger self. Preferably the me between ages 19-27. I want to tell that girl that I know all the changes are scary but all the lessons she’ll learn from them will make her appreciate it all. The changes in our lives, good or bad, shape the people we’re meant to be. I used to dread change. I hated it. Now? Bring it on.
You are titanium. Trust me.