It’s a Small World After All - Meet Expats in Malaysia

Published: 13 Jun at 3 PM
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Filed: Meeting Expats,Malaysia
Ok, be honest, how many of you are now singing or humming along to the tune of “It’s a Small World” now? And if you weren’t already, now you are. Sorry for that!

Joking aside, it never ceases to amaze me just how small the world really is. I am a serial world traveler, I just can’t get enough of new cultures and places. There is nothing more exciting to me than jetting off to a new city and diving into a previously unknown culture, learning, absorbing (and definitely getting frustrated at times), but more than that, enlightened along the way.

It seems throughout my travels that one theme amid the illustrious chaos, colorful cultures and lovely locations reigns supreme and binds together all previously distinct adventures. Any takers on what that theme could be? Ok, Ok, I’ll tell you. It is: serendipitous encounters.

From the lush jungles of Costa Rica, to the fairytale-esque castles of the Czech Republic, to the mesmerizing deserts of the Middle East to the opulent malls of Singapore and everywhere in between, I have randomly bumped into people oddly similar to my past and present circumstances. Fellow alum from my graduate school, folks born and raised in my hometown, Americans with the same globe-trekking addiction (which, let me tell you, not all Americans are as open-minded, willing to adapt, and culturally curious as I)! And now to the non-American readers you are probably scoffing to yourself thinking ‘thank you captain obvious for stating that insightful insider piece of information about Americans – I knew there was something weird about them.’

Sarcasm aside and back to the point, these random rendezvous with people across the countries just continue to further affirm in my mind that the world is paradoxically getting smaller by the day. This shrinking-trend, figuratively speaking of course, is only further enhanced by technology and the Internet, especially social media.

When traveling, or in this case, moving to a new place, one is likely to first hop on the Internet to find local expat community groups that can facilitate transition to the new city. This then lends itself to happy hours, coffee dates and dinner meetings where, much like the exponential effect, once you meet one expat, they can introduce to a few of their friends and their friends can introduce you to many more! Before you know it, you have a en entire network of fellow expats amid an unfamiliar land that can help with everything from hair stylists to doctors to restaurants to more important things like immigration and local lay of the land. And pretty soon, you feel less and less like a one-man circus act attracting unwanted attention from locals thinking to themselves who that crazy foreigner is, and more like you actually know what you’re doing, like you actually belong.

Such groups are a wonderful way to meet fellow foreigners. However, do you know what is also a good way to meet other expats? Blogs! Yes, that’s right, blogs! Collections of blogs like this very site, or random unaffiliated blogs that show up in your Google searches. This is precisely what happened to me. Long story short, I met my virtually identical (in experiences and circumstances) twin the other day through a random Google search of pregnancy- and Mom-type resources in the Kuala Lumpur area. With just a month before my due date, and baby girl itching to make an appearance I was frantically scouring the Internet in hopes of finding anything and everything mom-related, from parenting support groups to where to buy cloth diapers and everything in between.

Then, one afternoon I stumbled upon a blog of a fellow American gal living in Kuala Lumpur who is also pregnant and had conveniently bulleted out every single helpful resource (online and physical meet up) she had found throughout her pregnancy-related searches in the area. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to contact her through her blog, and bing bang boom a week later we were meeting up over coffee and chocolate cake. Hey, we are pregnant remember, we are allowed to indulge in such things every once in awhile, don’t judge.

From a simple Google search, I was able to meet and connect with a fellow expat who, are you ready for this, is not only also pregnant, but also due the same month, in fact only one day before me, and plans to deliver at the same hospital. We have both virtually lived in the same cities in the US (pacific northwest, San Diego, Phoenix), and her husband is an alum of the same graduate school where my husband and I met, graduating just one year before us. The similarities are striking, but more than that was totally random and unexpected, although quite fortunate, way in which we met.

So, I said all that to say this, sometimes meeting new people goes beyond the expat groups to the Internet, more specifically blogs. Simple research can yield folks with the same interests or circumstances as you. I know, I know, one of the main perks to living abroad is getting to meet and interact with people vastly different than yourself to challenge and adapt your worldview, but let’s face it, sometimes it’s nice to have friends in similar situations to chat to, especially over coffee and chocolate cake.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingLauren is an American expat living in Malaysia. Blog description: Navigating cultures, immigration and distance for love
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Liz Dolby wrote 10 years ago:

Oh Lauren..... I wish I could write like you!! Yes, I am constantly reminded of how small a world it is every day!! My world is a bit smaller that yours but truly so much is at our fingertips!! The most important thing is to be open to meeting and chatting..... and bang.... the world opens up!! Love you!!

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