Sunday, January 23, 2011

Long Way Home

If you've been reading me before (or if you just browse through my archives), you'll notice that I have been talking about going back home for good for a long time. When I mentioned our intention 2 years ago, our time in Saudi was extended by PokCik Smith. Then we were told we were moving to Oman. While preparing to move to Oman, PokCik Smith then told us we were moving to Dubai instead. Here we still are, one year later.
Suffice to say that I've been telling people I am going home so many times, but never get around to it, that it's getting kinda embarrassing. I have almost come to the point of not telling people about my 'schedule' anymore. So you are forgiven if you think, "Yeah , right... she's never going home" when I tell you this time that I will be going home this July.
This time we are sure, because this time, we are in control. Come July, Taufik will quit PokCik Smith (Insya-Allah), and we will be able to go wherever we want to go, and it will definitely back home to Malaysia (again, Insya-Allah).

The prospect of retiring at the age of 40 can be quite scary, especially with 4 school-going children, but we've been planning this for almost 20 years, I think we'll be okay, Insya-Allah. We have been saving up ever since we started working, and Alhamdulillah, we now think we have enough for the children's education, for emergencies (Na'udzubillah) and for living out a simple lifestyle for the rest of our lives.
The life that we are looking to live for the rest of our lives is not the life of luxury. I am not eyeing fancy cars, designer clothes and to be draped in jewelery. We plan to live in Kedah, where the low cost of living there would probably stretch out our savings further compared to if we were to live in a big city place like KL or PJ.
To sustain ourselves financially, we have a small fruit orchard and Taufik had also acquired some palm oil land. We will do our best to maintain these two small pieces of land and pray to Allah to bless our land so that we can reap what we sow ourself into the earth.
I'm gonna be a farmer, y'all.
Perhaps you would see me at my stall by the PLUS highway one day, selling my durians and rambutans and manggis :) (While facebook-ing, of course).

Am I looking forward to this change in lifestyle? I have been asking myself the same question, and you know what, I actually am.
I wasn't really looking forward going back to KL, because compared to Al-Khobar and Dubai, our capital is actually quite a scary place to live and raise a family in. I get stressed out just thinking about the traffic, the potential of being road-bullied, or the possibility of my house getting broken into. I am sure it's not really *that* bad, since I've lived most of my life in PJ and Alhamdulillah nothing untoward has ever happened to me, but I still find it kinda tiring to always be on-guard, after 6 years of not worrying about it.
So moving to the less metropolitan and more laidback state of Kedah is definitely more appealing to me.
I long for those days when an afternoon walk does not involve dodging traffic or dogs and you'd encounter a huge patch of nature in five minute's time. Taufik longs to be able to just go fishing whenever he wishes. He also longs to teach the children how to live a simple life, be self-sufficient, not be too dependent or distracted by technology. We long to teach our children to appreciate whatever they have, no matter how little and we found that to be very difficult in the current environment where so much is available.
I know we would probably get a few (a lot) of protests from the kids at first, but I am sure after a while they'd get used to it. Well, they better get use to it, coz they would have no choice.

The one thing that worries me the most is the children's education.
After being exposed to such an independent style of learning, would they be able to cope with the regimented Malaysian school environment? Will they lose out in the future because of the drastic school change?
My worries, however, are alleviated by looking at the children of other friends who have moved back to Malaysia. Alhamdulillah, they seem to be doing well. I think it all boils down to parent's attitude. We have to know when to push our children and how much. We are the ones who have to make sure that they turn out to be a well-rounded person who are comfortable and confident with their own selves, and not always comparing them with other children.
Insya-Allah I will try to do that. I will try to stay calm and not freak out too much when it comes to exams. ;)

Well, that is our plan. Only Allah is the disposer, so we will pray that our plan comes to fruition, and be accepting of whatever He decides is best for us.


  1. Fadil has been talking about retiring too but it's not gonna happen anytime soon, insyaAllah in 2 years time. And we're gonna live in Terengganu. *sigh*...

  2. If I had a choice, I wanna live in trengganu too!!! *jealous*
    Tapi nak buat camner, we bought our land in Kedah :P Furthermore, parents taufik are in Kedah, so the 'support system' banyak kat sana. If I were to live in Trengganu, I'd be terkontang kanting sorang2 coz most of my relatives are in KL anyway.

  3. reading this..and wht comes first into my mind was the children's education...and true enough towards the end you mentioned this. I hope it will all turns out any case you are one my role model tau..if I do become a wife and maybe Insha Allah a mother I would like to have a bit of your skill..hehehe..

  4. Kak Elisa, admire with ur plan. Hope to see you one time. Good luck and all the best! Keep fb & blog k. Love reading it :)

  5. Hazlinda12:01 PM

    Well, I wish you all the best. I am sure that both of you have made the best of decisions since you 2 have planned for this. Be positive and open to changes as time goes by. After so many years away I am sure you want to come back. I guess in my case, it is the opposite as we prefer to work overseas and definitely will have to remain so since we started out late. I am currently taking up a course in Law in University Malaya, all because here in Malaysia many lawyers have resorted to cheating their customers to ear a living. I for one, will not want to remain being a victim. The option is to take the subject up myself to enable me to fight for my rights and that of my family, should the need arises. Anak-anak you masih kecil jadi you still have a long way to go before they reach uni level. With two of mine on that path, we need to be self sufficient to send them overseas as assistance on education is begining to get scarce. Congrats for taking that bold step to come back to Malaysia. The PM must be proud of the fact that his hopes of seeing Malaysians coming back to contribute to the country is materialising ya. See you dear.

  6. nanti bila i pencen ke jogja, u datang la visit i k?

    mabrook! i am so inpired by this,masyaAllah, as this is the very model that anwar and i aspire to look fwd to...i.e retire to a quieter more organic life, insyaAllah.

    nak kena belajar part saving for kid's university fees.we're being hindered by the 60k deposit for my singaporean son should we still live outside of SG when he's 13gasp!!! i hope the business we're trying to set up back home would pave our way faster to our early retirement, insyaAllah

    all the very best, elisa! taufik seems very optimistic and gungho about this plan, and i am actually excited to see a technologically-enhanced farm that can be emulated into all the farms in Msia. Imagine the possibilities!!!

    elisa, jom bukak alimkids in kedah yuk??? kita share!

  7. I envy your plan. I really do! Wish I can be a farmer somewhere but KL but I do not have any land... I wish I can have a herd of kambing to take care instead of some human beings in the office... Anyway, wish you all the best and hope to taste your durian one day ya :P

  8. huiyo! that's a big big change... how exciting! :D

  9. hallo from Germany...

    your plans look good, and we have lots to learn from you :)

    Kedah is kind of far from Klang... else we will certainly drop by for the "free" fruits :P

    take care and keep in touch...

  10. woww...that's a big decision but I know you two will do very well since u have planned for this for years. And I also think that you guys settling in Kedah is a lot better than in KL/PJ and I do agree on all the things you said abt living in Kedah. Bestnya!!

    Whenever we go up north, bolehla singgah your hse and dusun :)

  11. 20-year plan???!!!

    Tabik springgg for having it to fruition. Kita jeles yang amat. I'm inspired to have one myself, so by 60 I'll have something to my name.

  12. MashaAllah, you know we will miss you loads, but on the other hand, I'll have a friend in Kedah :) May Allah make your path easy for you all. I have no idea about farming but I believe there is a blessing in it, even by feeding the birds, you'll get the hasanat for it, Ameen. Habibi is travelling next week to acquire our first land InshaAllah :) All the best sis. I'll be watching this space for your progress!


  13. Mas - I am your role model??? *eeeeks* kesian nya kat anak2 you... *lol*
    emulate yang baik2 aje tau.. yang terjerit2 marah anak tu janganlah buat... ha ha ha

    Hany - Insya-Allah, kalau panjang umur we will meet :)
    You have relatives in Perlis, kan?

    Kak Linda - Wow, you're taking up law? That is so admirable. I don't think I have the patience or discipline to attend classes anymore. Hence the retirement plan that involves wide open spaces and flexible working hours. tee hee

  14. Nazrah - oh will definitely visit you in Jogja!! Make sure you have a guest room for me and my brood ya.
    Re: AlimKids? Haiya.. I baru aje plan nak lepak-lepak aje.. ha ha ha

    Bear - Tanah in Lipis is murah, no? Selow selow lah simpan duit. Insya-Allah! Bela kambing is a really good idea, you know. Taufik was thinking about that too, but I didn't want to deal with poop. (mengada-ngada kan?)
    In fact he was seriously considering talking to Bertique about it. Mana pegi mamat itu?

  15. Nutty - It's gonna be a really big change for my kids, for sure! I'm gonna appease them by keeping the PS3. Think it'll work?

    Lau & TzeYing - Your next holiday, plan to go to Langkawi lah. Then on the way you can stop by in alorstar. By that time I am sure the little tyke can run around in our dusun.

    zan - Sila lah datang!! I will be that makcik in kain batik listening to PearlJam.

  16. Hanafi - yup. Taufik and I have been talking about retiring young (well, semi-young) ever since I've known him. And that would be when we were in MSM, 20 years ago.
    First thing we did when we came back from the US was open up an ASB account to dump all our money into.
    Never too late to start, dude.
    Cukup2lah kumpul bini. Kumpul duit lah pulak. heh heh

    Rubes - You know I will miss you loads too!!! Tapi still got FB kan :)
    Oooh where is your habibi buying the land? Egypt kah?

  17. Elisa, tanah kat lipis tak sure la plak tapi tak mau ler duduk situ... I don't mind a quite place but not a "dead" place (ngada jugak)... as for bert, the last time he was in Dubai pastu tetiba ada kat johor but in summary, he is simply hiding... not sure why though...

  18. kak lisa..i nak nangis baca nih..

    i do not know, part of me i wanna be like this, like how my mum was but part of me i love all those 'kebendaan' too..hahahhahaa i have to say it..i just love it too..i do not know how to put a stop to it...asik2 insaf kejap tapi menggila nya 2-3 kali ganda

    susah susahh

    but whatever it is, i am praying the best for u and ur family.

    anyway anytime nk dtg tganu bgtau ok...

  19. elisa: forget about langkawi, if come up sure lepak around alorstar lah!

  20. Elisa, I admire you for this... for thinking so far ahead and planning, and actualy able to do so, so soon.

    We've always planned to retire in Kedah too, & now you have motivated me to actually consider doing this sooner then later...:)

    All the best & let me know once you have your fruitstall. Will definitely drop by when I'm back in Kedah :)

  21. btw I'm going to blog about this post. just you wait.

    I remember meeting Taufik in 1998 and even at that time he talked about quitting his job and selling durian by the roadside.

    you wait aaah

  22. salam kak lisa.

    i had been your silent reader for quite a while. ever since ilham had just finished with salsabila i guess. hehe yeah, that long! i found your blog very very interesting! kalau tak sebab blog akak takdelah saya rasa nak makan ketupat sotong anyway! haha dulu banyak resepi idiot proof akak saya simpan tau!

    memang bes dengar plan akak n family nak balik mesia for good. nak duduk alor setar lagi tuh! BRAVO for choosing alor setar instead of kayhell! hehe orang KL jangan marah ye. saya pon tak pernah langsung fikir KL as a good place to raise a family. for entertainment just once in a while ok lah i guess. saya pon macam akak, lebih suka kampong yang aman damai dengan alam semulajadi yang menghijau! saya juga perlu space yang sangat LUAS! rumah taman tak main ler. rumah kampung jugak yang bes kan? laman luas, puas anak-anak nak main.

    saya sunguh-sungguh bertuah dapat bekerja jadi seorang cikgu! sebab kat ceruk kampung or atas gunung banang sekali pon ada sekolah! at least saya still boleh ada career and family both at the same time!

    impian saya pulak kan ialah nak berhijrah ke pulau mantanani, kota belud, sabah! saya boleh mengajar kat situ and kalau saya kahwin, saya harap husband saya boleh bukak dive centre kat mantanani tu! berangan jek lebih saya ni. actually calon bakall suami pon takde lagi! hehehe

    eh, sori sangat ye kak lisa sebab berjela-jela saya kasi komen ni. saya ni memang suka bercakap! hehe salam perkenalan btw. eventho saya tak pernah jumpa akak, tapi thru ur blog jek saya rasa macam dah laaaama sangat kenal kak lisa. boleh tak letak gambar izani yang the latest? dah laaaaama tak tengok izani in action. nasib baik akak aktif blogging balik.

    saya selalu jugak baca blog kak ruby, kak nazrah n blog hansac pon saya follow jugak tau abang hansac oi! hehe lama dah abang hansac tak letak gambau family dia. rasa macam dah lost contact pulak! hahaha tahniah and takziah anyway to abg hansac sebab dapat baby baru num 7 tapi kehilangan baby num 6. tumpang sedih dan gembira untuk abang. last saya tahu 4 jek anak abang. so, shahid dah jadi abanglah yek sekarang nih? shahid dah start sekolah ke belom eh? ulfah darjah berapa dah?

    salam perkenalan juga buat kak ruby, kak nazrah n abang hansac! ;-)


    - cikgu noli -

  23. Bear - Lipis best apa... mestu hari2 boleh gi mancing! Tapi best kalau you suka mancing lah kan :) Sure nanti Diah boleh jadi tokay kek in Lipis :)

    Elin - alahai.. jangan lah nangis.. Dah berapa kali I cakap, everyone has their own preferences and priorities, kan. Yours are just different from mine. There is no wrong or right ones (except those explicitly mentioned in Qur'an and Sunnah lah kan).
    Whatever it is, you need to make your own retirement plan. The earlier you start lagi bagus, but it is never too late. Well, maybe 'too late' would be when you reach retirement age lah kan.. then it'll really be too late for a retirement plan. ha ha ha.
    I am sure your husband already has one, even if it's just in his head.
    Cuba tanya.
    I am praying for the best for your family too!

  24. Lau&TzeYing - AlorStar also nice! Cheap food, great environment :)

    Hani - Jom ramai2 retire in Kedah! :D
    Maybe ummikusayang boleh bukak a branch in AlorSetar and incorporate a small healthy&halal cafe pulak? I know your sister could surely cook!
    More than like borders, coz it'll also have a children's area for playgroups and readalouds. JOM!!

  25. Hanafi - okay lah whatever lah, as long as you don't start making up stories how I don't know how to pronounce 'subtle' dah lah.

    Cikgu Noli - wah best nya kalau cikgu bukak dive center in Mantanani. Boleh lah kami pergi bercuti-cuti kesana satu hari. Kawin lah cepat.
    ha ha ha

  26. Hanafi - okay lah whatever lah, as long as you don't start making up stories about how I don't know how to pronounce 'subtle' dah lah.

    Cikgu Noli - wah best nya kalau cikgu bukak dive center in Mantanani. Boleh lah kami pergi bercuti-cuti kesana satu hari. Kawin lah cepat.
    ha ha ha

  27. sure kak lisa. jemputlah datang bawak family pergi Mantanani kalau saya dah berjaya bukak dive centre kat situ! tahun biler tak tahu lagi lah tuh. hehe

  28. inazaki9:07 PM

    ini sangat inspiring . While I was reading, I kept thinking " really? Wow! Really? Bestnya!Betul ke ni? Wow lagi" Tabik la to be able to do all the things that you wanted to do, and terbuktilah kalau ada planning berserta determination tu, InsyaAllah menjadi..

  29. I envy you...So great that you and Taufik have it all planned. Very inspiring. I always thought the same, but not as early as now. Maybe in a few years time when the finance is better. For the children, I mean. Shahrin and I can just settle in a small pondok with some land. Maybe in Perak. But you know, make doa banyak2...we can always plan, but Allah plan as well. Sometimes deep in my heart I know that what I really want is those that i won't get. Allah will test me instead....Go for it Elisa...Akak will always want to share your experience...
    May Allah help us all.