I know a lot of you wondering. But, so far, my friends assumed it is nice to live abroad. They had the best imagination when it come to this. Like;
“It is so nice, Alaska is very beautiful. You are one lucky girl”
“You must know how to cook western food very well now”
“TV Channel over there must be great right?”
“Wahh, you get to eat Salmon everyday, you will have a nice slim figure soon”
and the list keep on going…
Living abroad, especially in Alaska isn’t like what the travelers and Vacationers portrayed through Instagram or blog. Experience you get through short traveling or vacation is too little comparing to those who live in one country and live their daily live like locals. I can guarantee that experience you get during your short trip abroad is 150% better since you get to stay at nice hotel with good spread of breakfast. You don’t have to think about cleaning after meals and make up your room. You have designated driver or tour guide to drive you around for sightseeing. You brought 7 kind of outfit for your 7 days trip and play dress up for #OOTD and #OOTN complete with big sunglasses and your make up is on point. You checked in on Facebook and Four Square at fancy restaurant and order yourself a piece of pretty cake and Instagram it, show how pretty the food you eat in foreign country. I can’t with picture of Laduree Macaroon. It seems like whoever been to overseas, Laduree Macaroon is a must. But deep down inside you know that your home country’s delicacies is 10 times better than Laduree Macaroons. You came back to your home city, get your salary end of the month. Continue shopping at Mid Valley and post a picture of Baskin Robin on Instagram again. Suddenly you have all the position in the world to say shitty things about your home country after you visited foreign country for 7 days, 10 days, 15 days. Just because your home country doesn’t have Laduree Outlet. Am I right? I know. Because I used to be that jerk before. LOL.
But if you talk about landscape and non urban living, Alaska is the best. Except, Alaska has nothing going on after dinner time unlike Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. Jakel Seksyen 7 Shah Alam is even more lively and happening than here 🙁
Is it nice to live abroad?
Let me tell you my story.
Malaysian and good foods were meant to coexist in this universe together, like a destiny for eternity. My husband admitted that Malaysian food has the taste of its own where you couldn’t get anywhere else. Malaysian took Thai, Indo, China and India cooking style and reinvented it, turned it into Malaysian. Although he been to Malaysia for a very short time, every year, Malaysian food somehow twist his taste buds in no time and no Asian Restaurant in USA can give him the same feeling and taste since then. That’s how good Malaysian food is. He’s like being hypnotised and no words can describe the taste of my sister’s cook when we visited her back in Slim River. My sister has a pair of magic hands – Her simple cook can cure you sickness and all. Her cooking is a total body and soul healing.
However, a bless can be a curse too. Malaysian food is so good until it annoys. Let me tell you my experience. When I worked in Travel Agency not long ago, my client did SMS me from Norway, complaining on his meals just because he didn’t see rice and curry on the menu. Nothing in Scandinavia country can take his mind and palate off Malaysian food for 12 days. Not even the Scandinavian beautiful scenery and culture. My time dealing with Malay clients traveling abroad was a morbid experience when it comes to meals. I still can cope with getting them the HALAL food and I can always replace it with Kosher food when Halal eateries is impossible. But, if you still expect ‘Sambal Belacan’ and ‘Gulai Singgang’ from your home country while you are in Perth, I think you better not to step out from Malaysia at all. Or just do a day trip.
There is a Halal grocery store in Anchorage, nearby airport area and one Halal Restaurant called Capri. That’s all that I know so far. But I am staying with my parent in law in Wasilla, which is 1 hour drive from Anchorage. So my menu for these few months is merely vegetables (cooked and raw), fish, rice, eggs, potatoes and anything that made from wheat. Hey! That’s a lot! Those were the list that I had when back in Malaysia too! I switched it between fried style and soup kind, alternate day. Sometimes my mother in law is so thoughtful and brought back pre pack Kosher certified sausage and turkey meat. She looks so happy every time she showed me her purchases. I will tell you about my parent in law some other time. If others are so lucky having a well paid career, big house and fancy cars, I have a very loving and caring parent in law.
Generally, I don’t have issue with food here in Alaska. Actually, I think I have more choice here. You can get any type of food that suit to your diet and sickness. Be it Vegetarian, Diabetic, Atkins or Low Carb diet, food stores in Alaska have it all. It took me 20 minutes to decide which milk for my coffee for the first time I was here. Non fat, low fat, full milk, goat and cow milk, almond milk, soy milk, vegetable based milk.. it comes in many sizes and brand. You name it. Except breast milk.
But I struggled with constipation for the first two months here. That’s how hard my body adjusting to the food and diet here.
When it comes to snack and chocolate, I have no issues too. The ingredients printed clearly on the label. Now, I started to wonder why in Malaysia, the food ingredients always has to be in scientific – laboratory manner even for simple drink like coffee. E71, E275, E888, N1234567890. I don’t think Malaysian has the time to do research on such codes since we have JAKIM. An average Malaysian hardly get B+ in Maths and now you want them to figure out something like e=mc2? People pay taxes so that the government able to pocketed the money to pay work carried by department like JAKIM to ensure the reliability of the foods and yet, we still found lard contained in some chocolate and coffee drinks? I’ve been here less than 6 months and yet I realized how people in Malaysia struggled with everything, even with a bar of chocolate. And fake eggs. And fake rice.
Except, here, I unable to enjoy grilled sting ray with its special spicy sauce. I tried to cook curry the other day with a pack of BABAS curry powder I brought from Malaysia, somehow it turned out bitter. So, after leaving Malaysia for MONTHS, you can’t help it but in rage and sad when you see people and friends posted up Malaysian food on Facebok and Instagram. Sometimes, I feel like to unfriend them over a simple food they posted up on timeline. Now, Ramadhan is near the corner. I will be effin upset to see pictures of food from Bazaar Ramadhan even though I know the foods suck and not worth the price. Not to mention updates of them having buffet at 5 star hotel for iftar too. I think I worry too much on the food wise more than the new clothes I’m planning to get for Hari Raya since I can buy it online anytime, anywhere.
One more thing, I must remind you again and again that Alaska isn’t like other metropolitan city such as LA, NYC or SF, where, immigrant from all over the world preferred to settle down in those cities. Pakistani, Arabian, Iranian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese groceries and restaurants can be easily found in big city like that. Although, Alaska do have ‘Asian Food’ section in Carrs, Wallmart or Fred Myer but, it still limited since the number of Asian in Alaska is very small.
When I was in Malaysia, I love to go to Sushi King, at least once a week. I love their sashimi and the rice that came with it. But now, I have to eat the same kind of sticky Japanese rice everyday since this is the only type of rice I can find here in Wasilla. Just forget about Basmathi rice lah.
Mike and I went to this newly opened Thai restaurant here in Wasilla once. My crave towards tomyum was unbearable until I almost feel to go back to Malaysia earlier for it. You know how much a bowl of tomyum cost here? USD20. But the taste is like Sirap Bandung. My blood shoot right to the top of my skull when I saw the bill that came after that. It was USD50 (if I’m not mistaken) for tasteless meals for two people. All of the sudden, I miss the foodcourt in Seksyen 2 Shah Alam, the dirtiest food court with full with rats.
However, just like I mentioned before, while other people are so lucky by having well paid career, big house and fancy cars, I have the best parent in law AND friends. Few of my friends are so thoughtful, they are sending me packages containing pre mix cooking stuff like Tomyum paste, Siam soup paste, fried mee paste, serunding and Ketupat Nona for iftar during Ramadhan.
Maybe you think I am having a blast here, by posting pictures like pie and mammoth size strawberry. But let me tell you one thing, those aren’t meant anything if you are Malay living (not visiting, but living) in a foreign country.
and maybe you think I am being such a big baby here. Well, at least, those students who study abroad have friends or room mate from home country to talk and share food with. As for me, all I have is my American husband and his family. Well, at least my friends still willing to bug me on Whatapps and Facebook though. I wonder if I get all teared up listening Raya song through Youtube in the next 3-4 weeks time? We shall wait and see.