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Monica Tindall, Kuala Lumpur

Who are you?

I am an Australian who loves to eat, travel and make the most of every minute. I have lived the expatriate life for well over 15 years now, having postings in both Asia and South America. I have a special place in my heart for socially responsible organizations and like to promote those on my blog, The Yum List, alongside all of my delicious food, spa and hotel finds. To find the best places to eat, stay and spa in Malaysia and further abroad you can check out my findings at the yumlist.blogspot.com.Where, when and why did you move abroad?

My first overseas posting was in Singapore. I was contracted in Australia and moved there as an expat.
Once there though, I caught the travel bug and have been working around the world ever since.

What challenges did you face during the move?

I was only 23 when I first moved overseas and Singapore was a very easy posting so I didn’t face too many challenges. Everything was an adventure and fun.

How did you find somewhere to live?

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It’s been a different process in each country. A number of postings have organized accommodation. This current contract in Malaysia left us to find our own housing. It was tricky to start with as we met a number of dishonest agents who tried to take advantage of our newness. I strongly advise all newcomers to the country to look around with a number of different agents and negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.

Are there many other expats in your area?

We live close to the city centre so there are many expats in the area.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

We have many friends in Malaysia, a mix of both locals and expats.

What do you like about life where you are?

I love the tropical weather and green trees.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Pollution and motorbike riders.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

Australians in general are very down to earth and up front – basically what you see is what you get. The Asian culture is very different though and even though someone is smiling at you, it doesn’t mean things are good. I find the lack of transparency hard to deal with.

How does shopping (for food/clothes/household items etc.) differ compared to back home?

In general you can get just about anything in Malaysia.

What do you think of the food in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

I LOVE the food in Malaysia. There are so many options and much of it is reasonably priced meaning you could eat out everyday if you so chose to. Nyonya and Assam Laksa have to be two of my favourites.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Be flexible. Smile. Realize that you and your reactions to life in a foreign country are the only person/things that you can change.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m taking it year by year. I came on a two year contract and have been saying, “just one more year” ever since. This is now my 10th year in Malaysia and I continue to say the same thing.

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