Monday, May 31

The ozzy dream part 2

Okk.. this entry is a one of a kind. Its describing our adventures moving to Oz and I hope we like it so much here we are not moving anywhere else. Insyallah/God permit.

So lets start off with the flight. We are really glad we choose MAS instead of Air Asia. Our luggage was about 21kg overweight cause our IMAC box handle broke off (intended to be carry on - tawakal je lah IMAC selamat check-in) but the counter staff just brushed it off and didnt ask us to pay anything. He even had a separate handling box for our fragile IMAC box. This might be due the mother-in-law chattering away at him non-stop. Either we was kind hearted or didnt want any trouble from MIL. I might be biased but I think air asia wont be so nice especially when the extra income goes back to the staffs.

The flight itself was punctual and smooth as zara's bottom. It was about 70% full and being Malaysian and with kids the stewards was really accomodating and moved me and zareef the better empty seats with kids meal/toys and all. We were worried the kids will act out and stuff in the plane but syukur they slept not to soon after take-off but zareef sempat lagi layan avatar movie. The adults on the other hand didnt sleep as well. So when we touched down everybody was a little groggy and grumpy. The kids cause kacau tidur and the adults lack of sleep.

Our flight was really early at about 7am so the luggage claim was easy. Took us less than 5 minutes. The only porblem was that we had to get our IMAC at a special fragile counter. Ohh I forgot to mention the airport (Tullamarine) was small and a little old not like our KLIA but somehow it was kinda busy. Watching Australian Borders on Discovery we were expecting really tight checks on our luggage. With the posters on the walls and stuff (even certain animal products like untreated belts and boomerang from certain wood) telling what can and cannot be allowed made us a little anxious. But everything went well at the checks apart from suspicious baby wipes in our IMAC box. They were worried cause it was wet and all.

So as we walked off, we were greated by the ever-happy-go lucky Farah Clayton/Kenyir. She was there with ever-macho bf Faiz. Nice couple.

*iklan penting = as I am writing this, Maz got a call from HR confirming her to start work this Monday (7/6/10). Alhamdulillah.. looks like I lost a bet with her and sapa lambat dapat kerja kena belanja makan*

So back to the story (after the big syukur/happy/congrats family group hug). Farah was really nice enough to cook us breakfast. Mee-hoon goreng terbaik and lots of it i might say. Sampai malam tu tak habis2 lagi. Along with the mee-hoon she introduced us a sambal udang kering in a jar which sampai sekarang kitorang makan (as ganti of our sambal belacan). So we had breakfast at the airport with hot chocolate (minuman panas time sejuk memang layan) grabbed a maxi-taxi (big wagon) and headed to Malaysian hall. Although the maxi-cab was huge diorang particular on the number of passengers, child seat and all so the MIL had to tag along in Faiz's borrowed car. The ride took us along the City-link. Macam Plus kita lah tapi highway kita berkali ganda lagi cantik but fewer lanes. So u have to have the City link pass like our Smart-Tag tapi diorang takyah pakai toll booth, its just mounted on steel beams like signboards. So those yang takde City link pass pun can still use it but have to call within 3 days to pay kalau tak saman banyak giler. Kesimpulannya takyah lah berjuta2 spend buat tol and pandai2 lah kalau nak guna highway ni beli lah pass dia and be honest and pay for what you use.

Lesson 1 in Oz, its all about rules and people follow rules cause the penalty is severe. Ohh yeah they penalize you every chance they get just like any other business. So honesty does pay off and you wouldnt feel like a chump doing so.

So when we reached Malaysian Hall, at first sight it looked kinda small as do all other oz houses but actually its huge. The houses arent very wide but its volume comes from its length. Smarter I think cause less roads and normally they are several other houses behind connected to the driveway. Malaysian Hall is situated near the city/CBD (tram ride takes 10-15 minutes but about 30minutes to the airport) and I believe has more than 40 rooms, surau, living room, kitchen etc...Seriously its huge but really cold. Takde central heating. Ohhh the tandas is reallllllllyyyyy cold. pikir 10 kali nak tahan or not... mau2 task yg kena duduk.

I want to go into details about Malaysian Hall cause I think it would be helpful for others. Its reallllyyy cheap $12 for non-students and $4 for undergrades and $6 for postgrades a day. You wouldnt get a better deal than that in Melbourne (it is a very expensive city even more expensive than NY city i feel.. i feel lahh but i have been to NYC more than 20 times). Because we were non-students and temporary stay the people they were not as friendly as I hope they would not all but once you get involved with them and all that they were kinda nice.

The assistant warden (Ustad Hasnizul) was the person in charge at the hall. Although he was ok but at first I would think he would be more helpful (jenis kalau tanya baru jawab). The first day we were there he knew that kitorang takde heater and said nanti dia tolong.. to cut the story short we slept with more than a few layers on (although Idwal ada pinjamkan heater kecik satu - life saver). Internet pun takde... this one really stressed us out cause we had a lot of errands to run and everything is online. So the following day, pitying the children and MIL asked the ustad about the heater, he asked me to take it from the empty rooms upstairs. To my surprise the heaters were huge, old and berlambak kat empty rooms tu. Sejuk malam tak hilang dari hati yg panas time tu. Another issue with the ustad, I told him that although kitorang diluluskan 5 hari stay he said previously we can extend our stay if there werent fully booked. The place was really empty but he was really hesitant to extend our stay being non-student (the was also an officer from sydney i met at the parking lot acting bagus/stuck-up and say the place was in demand and told me to get a house soon b- i thought i had ran away from ppl like this). This really hightened the pressure on me personally... tak tidur and makan tak lalu etc. Pikir balik giler datang sini rumah takde and kerja takde bawak anak bini lepas tu tak lama lagi kena halau. Stresss giler time tu. If it was just me I wouldnt mind so much, with the kids it was really worrying.

Living from out of the bags. Please not the heater in the background.

I would like to end the entry here hanging....will continue soon.. sekarang i want to peak the wifes offer letter, nak tengok gaji dia beraper. Berahsia betul dia. All in good fun

The life changing letter from Esso Australia Pty Ltd

The ozzy dream part 1

Note: Another long entry with parts cause i dont want to leave anything out.

We have always wanted to work overseas since we got back studying from the states. Realizing my US student allowances being more than my salary kinda gave me a reality check. USD700 vs RM1900. It took me more than 4 years increment to get the same amount when I was a student. What a system right especially when there is a 7 year bond mounting to RM700K cancellation fees. Knowing about the price tag 4 years after the deal was another 'great' feeling. Kalah Along Bukit Beruntung!

So I studied every possible way to find a better life for the family. Invested here and there. But nothing "cash cow" especially with low capital. Risk and reward lah katakan. So decided that I should find an avenue about migrating. Being American educated and pro america (except the stupid politics and scandals..oh and its non-metric system) it was our first choice but its just too hard to get a green card. So in the end I researched Ozland which was found very wanting. I even went to an agent way back in 2007. Doing the math and timeline (bond is up in sept 2010) I decided to postpone a year or so and decide later.

Nearly a year later, the wife was FB-ing with a friend who just migrated to Perth. Her name is Sheri . After a few nudges towards the door by her the wife was all excited and asked me seriously what I think about it. Of course I was all for it, I just need to time it well as not to pay the bond I told her. So it was decided then we were moving to Ozland. Kinda knowing the timeline of the whole process and having extra cash we started lodging in Dec 2008 (I can still remember the first day I was assessed by the agents and how broke i felt afterwards).

There were ups and downs to the process. Leceh betull but the end justify the means. Had to take IELTS (result = very competant in English), medical, resumes, paperwork, translations etc etc.. and the most feared is the police checks both in Malaysia and the US. I was a little worried that my troubles in the states was in the record but alhamdulillah everything was A ok!! Just a little broke after the whole thing. It cost around RM18k-20k. After i found out that it cost more here in Oz I was a little happier.

So we heard the good news in February. Went crazy with happiness but then I realized the whole stabilizing thing has to be started again. But with hightened spirits, we embraced the adventure and challenge. Told the family and friends the good news. Bought the family one way ticket and made several arrangements. Next you know it we were at the airport flying away leaving everything behind.

Note: This part is a bit boring more on Oz to come. stay tuned. Have to go adventure out to find groceries now.

ps.. our house is still up for sale or rent

Sunday, May 30


Hello everybody. Its been a while since I wrote anything. Been busy migrating. No biggy just leaving everything behind. The family, the friends, the house, the car, the job, the weather... really everything apart from luggage allowed on the plane (not much by the way: 20kg max per person and the bags itself is about 5kg). Opps I forgot to include the wife and the kids... yeahh they are luggage for life in a +ve kind of way.

So before its lost in my memories I want to write and share pics about leaving before i wrote about our adventure in our new home city = Melbourne, Oz which btw is really beautiful and "da besttt!!". So before leaving "tanah tumpahnya darahku" we all made a point to meet everybody saying goodbyes and do as much activity possible with everybody. This includes karaokes, picnic by the river, futsal, family gathering, dinners and so forth.

We were really touched about the support we got about our migration (apan was the only guy with negativity - just his nature and said that i should be a cleaner here) especially the family. My mom and dad were supportive and understood our reasons well. I will always remember my moms first respond "baguslah muda2 cari rezeki.. nanti dah lambat susah". It was enough for me to go all out.

One thing I realized the young people were really intrigued of the idea of migrating while the old were really conserved about it. But what really touched me personally was people were sad that we were leaving especially closed shah alam friends and AZ (apa taknya... every other day lepak sama2 and we help each other in every possible way) but really understand that we are leaving to make a better life for ourselves and wish us well in doing so. So for that I thank every one of you. Sekarang dah jauh2 and kinda lonely (too much kids time and not enough adult time) you kinda feel nostalgic. So enough of the emo stuff, here are some pics and briefs description

NATS futsal family. Yes its a family. We have known each other for more than a decade. We meet every week and play our hearts out. Punya lah semangat we even have a blog and seasonal tourny. check it out at Anyways really nice of u to give me that "comel" Jom-bo-yani football. cool giler.

Our farewell dinner at serai seksyen 3. It was a very memorable dinner. really felt sad about leaving cause so many turned up not to mention that we are very close. I quote wafi's mom " you guys arent close, you guys are GLUE!!". They even gotten us the biggest farewell card. Thank you again.

The office farewells. Great to have the opportunity to say goodbye.

With KYS guys, future leaders of Malaysia lah konon bak kata arwah principle Ramli. Personally I can see it happening. Insyallah.

Pontian family. What a great clan. Happy to have so many great people in our lives. Very sincere and loving.

Office mates/mentors/tani mates. Real smart people who taught me a lot about my career. Shan in particular always paints a good picture for me. I'm gonna miss our "intellectual" talks.

Zareef's last day at school. Just the other day he was randomly/suddenly saying "ayah, i miss my friends and teacher... oh yaa my toys too" But i personally started feeling emotional when i start seeing the kids saying good bye to zareef especially Maimunah the girl that is holding hands in pic above.

With the cousins and aunties. The really like to spend time with each other. we even went ice-skating which lasted for 5 minutes. asik tergolek jee..

Diner and movie with the man and mama. Man nak mintak belanja sebelum pergi.

Office mates... we really struggled together and "powered" the nation.

My PEP batch in TNB. This i can confirm the future leaders of TNB. TNB is in good hands if it does.

Naomi, Amy and Thomas. The loveliest family you will ever meet and we had good food too. Sorry about the thing at the airport the other day thomas.

The wife with the addictive scrapper buddies.

Kakak2 sebelah. Really fortunate to have great neighbors.

Nik and lina... its been a long time since we met them. Dah nak pergi baru jumpa. but it was great to catch up and learn from them about oz. Really nice couple. Thanks for the pens. We love it and use it everyday.

ExxonMobil farewell. A lot of people came to say goodbye to maz. I told her that her office group is really hard to come by. Went to college together and worked together not to mention gossip a lot together.