I think it’s time I be truly honest on this blog. I’ve never spoke of my current trials or how hard it has been for me these past few months because well, family back at home read this and I didn’t want them to worry unnecessarily. Perhaps it wasn’t really a good move to begin with considering how I do rant about my really uncomfortable situation often enough to friends and Nil.
It’s been six months since I joined the Malaysian diaspora and become one of those people who so-called left home for “greener” pastures. Yes, it was around this time in February that I made the move to join my foreigner of a husband working in foreign country. Unlike the other regular M’sian expats, I moved to a country where I don’t speak the language, and one that only become a full member of the UN in 2002.
When it dawned on my family that I was leaving, I could sense that while many were happy for me, there was that twinge of envy at mine being able to leave a place they would gladly label as turbulent and fraught with much racial tension. It doesn’t help that there are many parties in Malaysia who see no qualm in telling us Chinese to go back to where we came from; never mind that we come from Malaysia.
Anyway, “greener” pastures, you say? Call me sadistic but reading a new friend’s entry about her own experiences as an educated expat from an Asian country made me feel some form of relief and crazy gladness. I’m not alone, I like to think. While she speaks mostly of her encounter with other Filipinos, my story probably revolves more around integrating into the community here – in terms of employment mostly. Granted that I’ve just been here for six months, I still find it hard to adjust to the fact that looking for a job suddenly isn’t so easy anymore.
There is just something about Swiss companies/people in general – even if the job requires you to converse only in English, a lack of fluent French can prove to be a downfall. I can’t help but feel a twinge of envy when I read about another Malaysian’s success at securing a job in Italy so quickly upon her arrival in the country here. In my case, it has taken me nearly 20 applications, excluding the nine that I’m about to send out tomorrow – and six months AND still, I’m no where close to securing an interview much or less a job. This coupled with rules tied to the permit that I currently hold…well, things aren’t so green really.
Jay-Ann, that new friend of mine, shares her ups and downs very candidly and honestly in her blog. Seriously we have so many things in common that you can almost find it unbelievable – considering that we have never met until my first French class last week. Reading her post and many others brings a twang of sadness; sometimes I think I lack the conviction which I so vehemently advise others to undertake.
I can’t help but feel that I have a love-hate relationship with this country. Sometimes I wonder if the problem lies with me and my qualifications, if it’s a lack of faith that I have or simply that the system isn’t just so simple anymore. The lack of friends, the lack of unemployment…things have become somewhat challenging. I can’t really say for sure that I’m homesick – naturally I miss my family and friends; it’s not so much the feeling of homesickness in me but more of the wanting and longing to be whole again, to not carry out the burden of having a double identity, to not feel as if your life is just limited to life in the little apartment that you are in control over…
Making friends with the neighbours is out of the norm in these parts – mine just keep themselves, the young ones that is; the elderly are more generous with their greetings and smiles but it’s like nothing back at home. My mum did ask what I do all day cooped up in my apartment; while I did answer that there was always something to do, there is a part of me that can’t help but feel the same way she must have felt when she arrived in June for a visit.
The transition from having a career to being a femme au foyer isn’t going so smoothly actually…and here I am, six months on and still trying to make a sense of things… Maybe I ought to drown myself in good old-fashioned pumpkin pie – it’s the season for it anyway…