I moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in November. (No, it's not in China.)
My second night in KL, I got locked out of my friend’s apartment with no cell service until 1am. Around 10pm, while I was waiting outside of the apartment, a woman who I’d met briefly at church earlier that day came up to me. She just so happened to live in the same building and invited me crash on her couch until my friend eventually got in a few hours later.
I was shocked that someone would make room for a total stranger (I’d seen her at church earlier but we hadn’t even had a full convo up to this point) to stay with her family in the middle of the night, especially for an unknown amount of time. She could have easily gone inside without checking on me. I knew then that God has a plan for me out here and He will not leave me stranded, no matter how “alone” I feel in the moment.
The next weekend, I went to a latin dance festival that I had been looking forward to since I first decided to move. I quickly learned that the dance scene in Malaysia is vastly different from what I’m used to in LA. The entire night, not a single person asked me to dance. Not one. I left the festival that night feeling discouraged and I told myself that I would give up dancing while I’m in Asia. Maybe I should find a new hobby because anything would be better than this.
Nevertheless, I decided to come back the next day and I ended up joining a bachata performance team. It was my first time ever performing in front of anyone. The team was made up of 9 girls from all across Asia/Australia and we had only a couple of hours to learn the routine before performing at the festival that evening. Though I had not planned to perform that weekend, this dance performance turned out to be one of my favorite experiences so far in Asia — not because I did a great job (I wish!), but because it was a living testament to myself that I will not give up on something just because I feel unconfident or down in the moment. It was also really fun to get dressed up, make new friends, try something new, and spend all day dancing.
Recently I was producing a major product launch at my company. This is what I came here to do and I was very excited about it — until my computer died on the day that my launch went live. It was a Saturday, so no one from the IT department was in the office with me and even my best googling couldn’t help me turn it back on. And as fate would have it, my manager just so happened to be out of town that weekend with no internet and no way of being contacted.
Frustrated, I came back to my apartment, reconstructed as much as I could from memory, and then called a fellow launch producer on my team who spent a couple of hours online with me, helping me make sure everything was in place for the launch. Knowing that someone had my back and was even willing to take personal time out of her weekend to help me out was both unexpected and reassuring.
As I adjust to life in a new culture, seemingly small things often feel like huge ordeals. The added layer of uncertainty that comes from being far away from anyone I know makes them feel overwhelming. Everyday — rather, every hour — I go back and forth between “this is so awesome and I wish everyone could experience this” and “I don’t even wanna be here to be honest.”
What keeps me going is knowing that I’m where I’m supposed to be. Every time I want to have a pity party, there’s some coincidence, unanticipated opportunity, random act of kindness, or inner strength that is beyond my own which reminds me that He is in control and He has called me here. Above all of my momentary feelings each day, I am extremely grateful for the sense of peace that comes from knowing that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.
Oh, and I also really enjoy my job, my new apartment, my church, the dance studio I eventually found, and Subway cookies, which are baked fresh in my office building every day.
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