KL seemed to be all about contrast – modern skyscrapers towering over old rain trees and state of the art shopping centers next door to traditional street hawker stands. With cold and gloomy skies lurking outside my London window right now, the image of a sparkly new pool couldn’t be any more different. An entire new world awaits. A very hot and humid one in fact. Just as I had curated a great little collection of wool and cashmere sweaters it’s time to trade them in for cotton tops and linen dresses. Definitely not complaining though because as a So Cal girl I’m happiest in sandals and denim shorts anyway. It felt strange to show my shoulders and legs again after months of hibernation and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was okay to do so. Malaysia is a predominately Muslim country but the difference is that everyone is free to practice and express as they wish. That means that a woman won’t be (our shouldn’t be) chastised for not following the hijab dress code. Nevertheless, I’m used to traveling to places where it’s one or the other so I wasn’t quite sure what to do when I turned a corner and realized that I was the only female in sight not covered from head to toe. Going to the mall reassured me that I was going to be fine – I could have been in LA with hundreds of fellow flip flop, tank top, wearing peers! It was definitely the place to be. Shopping centers are a BIG DEAL but I’m pretty sure it has more to do with the omg-this-feels-so-good air conditioning than anything else.
In the evening I found myself giddy with joy at the fact that we were sipping mojitos outside without a coat or scarf in sight. Other things that I loved and look forward to is the incredible hospitably and customer service, amazing food both in proper restaurants and street-side stalls, and the awesome afternoon shows that thunderstorms put on for the city. Not to mention that with the exchange rate everything is either dirt cheap or at least LA equivalent – much easier to stomach than London Town’s high premiums. And of course, I’m rreaaalllyyy looking forward to our new swanky pad in KLCC (city center)! I can’t wait to settle in, decorate, and jump into that pool! It’s so different from our charming, traditional flat in London – ultra modern, brand new building, gym facilities, and city views. Basically, I’ll be pinching myself for the next two years. A few suburban neighborhoods were suggested to us but a) we don’t want a car as is necessary to live there b) we don’t need that much space and c) we like to live where we play. It seems like the “nobody walks” mentality is prevelant due to the heat but we’re down with at least giving it a go. Only thing is that the sidewalks are either non-exitent or in terrible shape in some parts but we’ll eventually learn the best routes for what we need.
One thing is for sure: with KL being so modern and western yet also deep rooted in ancient cultures and traditions, I really want to make an effort to explore the latter as much as possible. I can imagine it being far too easy to simply float along with the modern aspects of the city once we settle in. I don’t want to be that kind of expat. Between the humidity and the pool, I will, however, turn into a three shower a day person. That much I can guarantee.