Malaysia Bound – A New Family Adventure

Our family is moving to Malaysia.

Neil wasn’t expecting the response from his girls that he received. When he shared that he was being considered for a position in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia – he wasn’t certain that his family would be open to the opportunity. We proved him wrong.


When Neil first brought this up to me, I immediately responded with eager excitement – heck, I moved from Australia to begin my life with him 20 years ago, why wouldn’t I travel to Malaysia as a family? Both our daughters, although tentative with the thought of leaving their friends, were also excited at the prospect of living in KL. So the next step, we’re interested, what now?


At the end of August our family travelled to KL. We wanted to get a sense of the city, schools and places to live. Thankfully we found schools that fit with our daughters, a beautiful place to live, and the city of KL itself – a place we could live in.¬†When we visited the first school, the Director of Admissions asked “Are you SimpLee Serene?” we all looked at each other in shock. To find out that my book has impacted another family so far away, and to hear it in this manner was humbling and so surprising. Such a small world.

Neil and Miss T enjoying the view of KL from the pool at the Mandarin Oriental.

We did take one day to explore a little, and visited the breathtaking Batu Caves. One of the many reasons KL impressed me so much, was the way in which so many cultures and beliefs are openly accepted. Visiting this awe inspiring Hindu temple and shrine allowed us to experience one of the many religions embraced in this incredible place.



The girls thought it was so funny that people wanted to take photos with them.


The beautiful peacock dance.


Inside Batu Caves.

I was so touched by the commitment to their beliefs. This older lady walked down the stairs bare foot, having to stop every couple of steps to catch her breath and rest. Her family members patiently stayed with her, looking back to make sure she was ok.


The monkeys roaming freely were cheeky and entertaining.


I loved seeing this Buddhist monk talking and the colourful contrast of the umbrellas to the entrance of the caves.


Our friends Jim and Shannon have played a huge role. Two years ago they made this same move, it’s Jim’s position that Neil will be taking over. When Jim and Shannon moved to KL, the job was a new position, everything was new to them – they alone had to find schools, places to live and navigate all the new adjustments. Thankfully for us, Jim and Shannon have so graciously supported us in showing us all the ins and outs of living an expat life. Without them, this whole experience would’ve been much different.

Interestingly enough, we are pretty much assuming the life that Jim and Shannon have lived for two years. Our daughters will be attending the same school that their three children attend, we will be moving into the home they have loved and cherished for two years, we will be continuing the relationship they have built with their helper, we will be buying their vehicles and assuming some of the items they are unable to take with them on their next family adventure. It has been a blessing to learn from them, be guided by them, and soon live a similar life that they have enjoyed for two years.

Dinner with our friends Jim and Shannon started with drinks at Marini’s on 57 in the incredible Petronas Towers.



Our girls are tentative. It’s been a difficult and challenging time this past couple of months – so much change and a great deal of the unknown.
What if I can’t make friends?
What if I get homesick?
What if it doesn’t work out?
I’m going to miss my friends!
I’m going to miss Riggs (our 10 year old yellow lab), Charlie (our ginger cat) and Tilly (our sweet little tabby)!
What if no one remembers us when we come back?
What if my friends forget me?
Will friends and family come to visit?


There have been many anxiety filled moments in our home. The most anxiety is over the fact that our family will be apart for over six months. Neil starts his job early January 2015, and we’ve decided that the girls will finish their school year in Calgary, which means we won’t move to join Neil in KL until July 2015. This in itself, has brought up a whole lot of challenges and pain.


To overcome the anxiety, we’ve been focusing on the positives and the excitement of the adventure that awaits:

  • The opportunity to meet new friends.
  • A home with a common pool right next to us.
  • A great playground in the complex.
  • A school with it’s own pool.
  • A beautiful home with big rooms and space.
  • The ability to experience so many different places.
  • Snorkel and scuba dive in some of the most pristine locations in the world.
  • Closer to our family and friends in Australia.

The opportunities are endless.

So our adventure begins. We’ve been busily working on coordinating the moving of our furniture for the end of November. We’ve been going through the detailed process of applying to the schools we hope our girls will attend. We’ve been focused on a huge shift in our life, one in which the opportunities are endless.


We are grateful that Neil’s parents will be moving into our home in Calgary. Knowing they will be here looking after our cherished fur friends eases the pain a little bit of leaving them behind.


We look forward to sharing our experiences with you over the next couple of years. It will be a two to three year adventure in this blessing called life. Where will life take us? We’ll see. We look forward to inviting you along for some of the journey.



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