Snow is Fun — Sometimes

We started off nice and cutesy…

I’ve made it clear on more than one occasion how much I dislike snow, but when good old friends show up for a visit in this weather, even I can’t stay moody. Della, my Taiwanese friend whom I’ve known since freshman year of college came down from New Jersey for a farewell visit, and we decided to have a little fun with the snow, even though it was already beginning to melt.

Continue reading

What to Pack When Moving Long-Term to Another Country

After 11 years of living abroad in the United States, I’m packing up my life (and the cat) for my move back to Malaysia.

Eleven years worth of belongings. Deciding what to bring back, what to sell, give away or simply leave behind — it’s a bit of a nightmare.

I’ve mailed about 118 kilograms (260 pounds) of items back, spread out over about 10 medium-sized boxes. On my flight, I’ll be carrying a total of about 45 kilos (100 pounds) in carry-on and checked luggage. And the cat.

“It’s just STUFF! Just throw EVERYTHING away,” one of my older lady friends practically screamed. Continue reading

Interview With LiveWorkTravelUSA

What’s it like to move one’s life to America?, an expat survival guide blog, recently interviewed me on my personal experiences with adjusting to a new home, cultural differences and what I like most about living in the States. If you’re curious to learn more in a nutshell, click the image to check out the rest of the interview! Continue reading

Where to Buy International Groceries in the D.C. Region

Yum…home made curry laksa.

You know you’ve had that issue before. The day when you had a craving for your mum’s home-made specialty dish. You emailed her for the recipe; she emailed back quickly and you got all fired up about making it. Except, you weren’t sure if you’d be able to find the ingredients in the regular stores. And sure enough, their “international aisle” was very limited.

The lovely thing about living in D.C. are the many ethnic grocery stores in neighbouring Maryland and Virginia suburbs. So many in fact that I’d never be able to do justice in compiling a full list of stores, so I’m giving you a selection of my personal favourites.

Continue reading

How Does A Traveller Define Home?

“No celebrations as there is little meaning without you and Xx around. I miss the family togetherness every once in a while maybe because I am getting on in age.”

One thing you should know about my dad. He never says things like that. Not in print; and definitely not in person. Even on the rare occasion that he did say “love you,” it was because one of us said it first.

So when I read this line in his email awhile back, I gulped with guilt. Here I was, blissfully involved in my own world here in the D.C. area. Nary a thought for my dad’s feelings. Still, I stuffed away his words into the deepest crevice of my mind and carried on. Moved in with the (then) boyfriend. Attended socials, birthday parties and weddings of friends. Travelled. Adopted a cat. Broke up with boyfriend. Started a new job.

Recently, a post on the International Herald Tribune’s Rendezvous blog, which was titled, “Dark Side of the Expat Life” made me think of his email again. Continue reading

You Say Tomaydo, I Say You Need To Adapt

From behind a glass screen, a young man in a grey green apron and baseball hat, in charge of putting together ingredients for my turkey sub (sandwich bread) asked what I wanted on my sandwich. “LeT-Tuce,” I said. But the response I received wasn’t quite what I expected. A blank stare, a couple of blinks and a moment of silence before he seemed to register what I said. People behind me looked on, waiting for a reaction. “OH. You mean leD-Duce,” he finally answered, shooting me an accusing look as if displeased that I’d put him in an awkward spot. Continue reading