Sunday, October 19, 2008

Homeward Bound?

The most common question we get during our raya open house rounds was
"Dengar cerita, Elisa dah nak balik, betul ke?"
"I heard that you were going home, is it true?"

Yes, it's true.
The last time we were back in Malaysia, Taufik made his annual visit to his old office in KL, and his former boss asked if he could come back. They wanted him back end of this year, but to be fair to his team in Saudi, Taufik negotiated a later date, most probably in July next year.

When we told everyone we were moving here four years ago, we were asked how long we were planning to be away from home. Our standard answer was "Sampai kaya, atau sampai boring" ("Until we're rich, or until we're bored"). Well, you can be assured that we are not 'kaya' yet. Even though our definition of 'rich' is very simple, i.e. be debt free (and not necessarily own lotsa stuff), we are still a long way from there.
So I guess you can say that we're moving back home because we're 'bored'.
Well, Taufik is, at least. Not that the work is not challenging, it is VERY challenging. Not that he's not up to the challenge.. it's just that... hm.. I guess he just misses home. He misses gardening. He misses his parents. He misses the weather.

If you ask me, I have mixed feelings about moving.
I am really going to miss the laidback, almost pampered life in the kingdom. I'm sure when I go back to Malaysia, I'm going to be expected to drive again. I know it means 'independence', but it also means 'commitments'. I would have to drive the kids to/from school. I'd have to buy groceries myself. I'd prolly have to do alot of stuff myself, and not be able to 'bermanja' with Taufik anymore.. :P
Having to drive would also probably mean I'd have less time for myself. Would I have time to bake? Would I have time to blog? (How in the world did I do it before? Especially when I was working? I have forgotten!)
I feel like I have not done enough travelling. There's still so much I want to see, within the kingdom and also within the region. I still have not been to Shaybah, Madinah, or gone dune bashing. I still have not been to Jordan, or Lebanon. There's still so many things I want to experience and buy...! Trivial things, really...

The main thing I'm worried about is my children's education. Will they be able to cope with the demands and pressure of the Malaysian Education system? Will I? Will they enjoy school as much as they do here? Or will they get bored and discouraged?
We checked out a few schools the last time we came back and most of them stress on academic performance, citing their achievements in nationwide exams. They told me to prepare my child for the BM paper from *now*, and not wait till they take UPSR. When I ask the teachers here in DBGS about the SATS exam, they all said the same thing - "It's just one little exam, we focus more on the total development of your child, so don't worry about it". I'm going to miss *that*!!!

Otherwise, I'm pretty psyched about coming home.
I miss my family. I miss my house. I miss being able to go to the mosque whenever I want. I miss friday lunch dates with my girlfriends. I miss burger special daging garing bungkus telur sayur lebih taknak bawang sos hitam. I miss being able to find food anytime I want. I miss being able to shop anytime I want. I miss taking the LRT. I miss looking at billowy clouds. I miss the rain.

Well, I still have 8 to 9 months to enjoy this place I've called "home away from home" for the past three and a half years... so I'm gonna make the most of it :)


  1. Kalau akak kan elisa, memang tak nak balik...hujan emas di negeri orang la katakan....
    And you are right about the education fact now education ministry nak turn around ajar balik maths and science in bm. rumors kata next year! we teachers are dumbfounded! mission yang sedia ada belum selesai. anak2 kita jadi bahan experiment ketamakan politik menteri2. entahlah. cikgu lagi kan confuse ni kan pulak murid2...
    Anyway, bagus jugak balik...tapi hujan batu la, he he

  2. 8-9 months lagi? who knows by then sempat change reason-to-balik-msia from 'dah boring' to 'dah kaya' :)

    hmmm... rasanya next year you'd balik just in time to renew lesen syarikat. bolehlah kita adakan AGM hee hee hee

  3. I'm jealous that you get to go home. I miss stuff in Malaysia too.

  4. Hi elisa,

    Who sends your kids around in the kingdom? ada chauffer ke? Well, enjoy your time there sebelum u pulang.

  5. If it is up to you, I think you shouldn't go back.Apa best sangat Malaysia.

    Did you forget KL traffic jam. Did you forget Malaysian education system. The crime rate. The negative attitude of the people (Malay, Chinese, etc).

    I have no double meaning here. I am saying it straight. Some place are good for working, earning money, etc: like Middle East. Some place are good for retiring: Maybe Terengganu. KL is only good for shopping or spend money. For me lahhh, the last part tu.

  6. i'll have to come visit you before you leave Saudi Arabia. :-)

  7. elisa, malaysian education system is not as bad as it's being potrayed. it really depends on yr own stand, influences are there but make yr stand and stick to it. ok what ... we survive ... we are part of the system, and we turn out to be ok lah.well of course, that's my personal take.

  8. Anonymous3:59 AM

    Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yg alim.

    Yay! yay! Elisa balik! Elisa balik! kata Pak Malim sambil tergolek.

  9. Elisa... your posting makes me having the "this life is hettic in KL - I should have live some where else...." feelings.... hehehehe......

  10. Im stumped.ok not really, since i did hear some wind.

    Ooooh im going to miss you...who else am i going to turn to for "elisa who is ..." *smile*

    there isnt a right time, i guess never.cherish now.

  11. yay..boleh join us for friday lunches ;) sekarang nie pun musin hujan elisa...byk gila guruh :P

  12. i am going back in 10 days. 10 days je tinggal kat bumi orang putih ni. i feel that i should be making the most of it, but i'm not. haha.

    on one hand, i am going to miss the NHS, miss the winters (as long as it doesn't get too cold-tapi bukannya US pun),miss being able to walk and not breathe in smog, miss the quaint and quirky little shops, miss the closeness of the little malaysian community that i am a part of.

    but i look forward to the ability to find food at any time, i look forward to going to Jaya Jusco and buying the roast chicken instead of just drooling of it here at ASDA, look forward to seeing family and friends, look forward to *cheaper* things (currency conversion of course, coz we don't work here kan), look forward to moving into our own apartment, and most of all, i miss the familiarity of KL, where i can whizz off wherever i want, whenever i want. but will i be familiar with KL, although i've only been here for a year?

    such mixed feelings.

    alamak, tibe2 terblog pulak haha.. might as well post this on FB!

  13. a malaysian in riyadh9:01 AM

    Since we got back, we've not enrolled Ainaa in any tuition classes. We just let her roams free and her soul sings openly. She prefers watching the countless Indonesian dramas on Astro channels and Malay drama with title such as Di bawah ketiak isteri to completing her homework satisfactorily.

    When asked the meaning of "masuk bakul angkat sendiri", she answered selambaly "jual ikan". I'm not worried about her, but Zura said, she will start ferrying her to tuition centres all over Jitra and Alor Setar soon.

    How about visiting Damascus and Isfahan before returning to Malaysia?


  14. Hope we could meet in Saudi before you leave..

  15. there are always pros and cons in everything, even the best or worst things imaginable. of all people, you'd be one of those to make the best out of everything you are in :)

  16. tak pa la Elisa...balik kejap. boring lagi, ciao lah! at least taufik boleh 'apply' should he want to work overseas if you guys rasa nak beralih angin, kan? (can he??? memandai akew aje..hehe)

    but yeah, the kids. if pindah lagi, pindah belajar lagi. nak enrol into international-syllabus schools so that mana-mana pi in the world boleh easily cope with the education system... mak ai satu sem RM20k kot? (coz my niece is into one)

    and yeah, the commitments, i tell ya.

    no lah... you wouldn't miss getting on the packed LRTs. and walking in the humidity. and breathing in smog. and walking around in KL with hands clutching your handbag like your life depends on it (memang pun life depends on it). and running helter skelter when it starts to rain cats and dogs with all the lightning and thunder. and the traffic jam. and mat rempits. and mechanics cekik darah. and people who don't hold the doors for you. and the bureaucracies. and the spit in the elevators. and.. and... and.. aiyoh... maybe i should just stop, ey.

    but oh yeah, one of the good sides? you could have FaemesAhy at your whims and fancies!


  17. kak alya,
    aduhai... you make me lagi takut nak balik.. :P
    We will just ahve to try our best and hope for the best, lah kan?

    still tak sempat to 'dah kaya' :D :D
    orait... agenda pertama selepas settle sekolah budak2 - EnF Events AGM! in Chilli's? Friday's? ;)

    eh tapi you guys macam seronooook aje duduk sini :)

    Right now they take the compound bus to go to/from school. I pun take the compound bus to go shopping. Private driver mahal lah.. :P

  18. hans,
    hm.. If you think about making money aje, memang lah we should stay here.. but I think Taufik and the kids really miss Malaysia. We miss going to the beach, hanging out with family.. bak kata kak alya, hujan emas di negeri orang, hujan batu di negeri sendiri, lebih baik di negeri sendiri.
    Macam you tak nak move jauh2 dari sarawak lah, gitu, lebih kurang.

    Come and visit me!! :)

    Tapi i think during our time, takdelah rasa pressure camni. Furthermore, I was not exposed to other school systems/culture, so I didnt know any better. I wish I had as much fun as my kids are having in school now.
    I'm not saying the ed system is all bad, I'm saying teachers and parents tend to be more exam centric, which might be discouraging for my children.

    Jom kita makang nasik dagang! kata elisa sambil tangkap ikang.

  19. Anonymous1:04 PM

    yay! add to pot luck contributors.

  20. Rodziah,
    eh sorry... didnt mean to do that :)
    Tapi ya lah, life in KL is sungguh hectic!

    eh i didnt tell you about this ke?
    You're gonna miss me? Ces.. macam lah hari2 bersua muka.. I will still be online lah.

    Looking forward to friday lunches! Tapi this time entah2 kena angkut all the kids sekali :P hee hee

    I didnt know you were coming home for good.. i ingatkan for holiday aje.. So dah beli kitchenaid?

  21. Che'Wan,
    Dont know whether we'll get a chance to visit Damascus or Isfahan, but we're planning a road trip to Oman next spring, insya-Allah.
    Sekarang ni nak make sure dapat buat haji dulu :D

    your id ni kalau silap baca/type, teramatlah bahaya nya.. hahaha
    Would love to meet you!! Di mana dan Bila?? ;)

    That's my defence mechanism - making the best out of what I have!
    Elisa Boleh! :)

    Tak tahulah boleh 'ciao' sesuka hati ke tidak.. Kalau ikutkan taufik, dia nak retire aje terus! Ha ha.
    Oh FaemesAhy tu boleh order je bila-bila sesuka hati ya? bukan time raya aje ek? What about Udy's cucur rwanda? is that for sale as well? hehehe

    Kita ingat nak beli oven lah balik nanti.. kalau tidak, limited lah sikit choices of potluck dishes.. ;)

  22. actually kan kan..i feel sadlah baca ni. tak mo komenlah. huwaaaaaaaaa

    *kena gi saudi sebelum u balik ni*

  23. lolls,
    eh janganlah camtu...
    actually kalau I ingatkan kawan2 yang I akan leave behind, memang sedih giller!!!

    come visit me before I go! anak2 you belum terjun swimming pool canary village lagi nih..

  24. i will check with you again in 5 mths time ok?

    *tergamam taktau apa nak kata*

  25. saya pun nak balik!!!

    huuwwaaaa ...

    insyaallah, sama la rasanya time i nak balik msia tuh nnt ngan u .. around 8/9 2009.

  26. elisa... u expressed exactly how i felt about leaving alex.. leaving the "pampered" life, not sightseeing enough, children's education, everything as i am feeling right now.. (wah..wah...wah..)..i will miss going to your blog, takut balik nnt takde time. dahla kerja, single parent pulak tu until hubby comes back..

    u cheered me up with all yr postings from afar... thanks sis..

    hope to meet u in person when u get home, wherever home is where our heart is...

    lotsa love, kak olie

  27. nazrah,
    I singgah visit you on my way to Oman in the spring, want or not?

    you pun nak balik??
    tak sempat jumpa pun lagi kat sini.. takde plan nak jalan2 bahrain ke, qatar ke..?

    kak Olie,
    ha.. I ada baca on your blog, but got a little confused.. you ni nak balik KL ke, tidak ke.. and when, and what the family arrangement will be like..
    Takper, keep in touch and insya-Allah, kita jumpa di sana! (sooner or later).

  28. mmg, original plan taknak balik kalau x dapat sambung kerja kat sini.. ingat nk resign la... tapi after consultation with wiser people..tak jadi.. so olie balik dulu dgn yg kecik..yg besar continue tinggal dgn their father until june. so they all will stay in Asrama Ariffin i call it.. just like boarding school tapi the difference with father around..ha ha ha

  29. Anonymous8:04 AM

    oh! oh! i just read this!

    hopefully after july next year, i'd still be dropped off at lrt tmn bahagia heh! i did write few short poems inspired by that station tuari. update next time am online.

    but this is unexpected news but i can always pop by next time you cool anything drool worthy!


  30. Anonymous5:33 AM

    aku nak balik gak! wait.. baru 3 bulan kerja.. ishhh

  31. Note to self - Plan a trip to Dammam before Elisa leaves...Swahili to come along if possible...

  32. kak olie,
    Takpelah.. sekejap je June tu.. lagi 8 bulan je. Cuti sekolah pegi Alex or diorang balik Malaysia?

    ha.. nak datang, warning siang-siang, or else drool is all you will get.
    ha ha
    p/s tunggu I beli oven dulu!

    you balik every weekend what...

    ahlan ahlan!! :)
    We might even go to Riyadh one of these days, actually. Plan nya nak berjalan sakan before balik Malaysia!
    woo hoo!

  33. thanks for yr usual cheery support..

    i hope the 8 months will fly.. it depends, on school holidays they come back to KL or i will fly to alex..tengokla..

    i will go with the flow...