So, our days living in Kemaman are now numbered as we are set to transfer to Kuala Lumpur within a few short weeks for my husband’s new position. Like any change, it’s a bittersweet time, which comes as a surprise to me considering my initial not-so-favourable reactions to Kemaman. But who am I kidding, I am an extremely sentimental person in every sense of the word and I never fail to attach myself deeply to my surroundings, often finding it difficult to let go of people, places, and things that I hold dear. You would think that after a decade of changing homes and cities, relocating would become easier, but it is not so.
The view of Kemaman from the mountain (a highly recommended trek). I say it looks better from the top, no?
The truth is that I actually liked living in Kemaman. There I said it. Do I want to live here forever? heck no. Is it my city of choice? Definitely not. Do I feel out of place here? Most of the time. But Kemaman forced me to face myself in a way nothing else really has. Here, I was forced to deal with many of my fears. For example, the fact that I can now live peacefully with lizards in my habitat is perhaps the biggest indicator of personal growth, as silly as it may sound. To prove how far I’ve come, take a look at how I once hashtagged a lizard photo on Instagram:
#saveme #cantdeal #omg #unprepared #thisisserious #weneedhelp #imscared
Ha! I now see how ridiculous I was being but truth be told, it’s not that ridiculous at all. There is no way to know how to deal with certain things if you’ve never had to. Also, I used to want to pull all my hair out for sheer frustration over the slow-moving, slow-acting local Malays, who I felt never worked hard or fast enough to meet my personal needs and deadlines. And then I looked around me, and relaxing really was the only option…
When you’ve got coconuts and the sea, you have all the time in the world.
Kemaman River, a popular place for locals to lounge
Most importantly, I’ve developed skills that allow me to be comfortable being by myself. For almost the entire length of our 4-year marriage, my husband has worked offshore. This makes for a life that only functions with a lack of planning and a heavy dose of spontaneity and independence. For somebody who used to be glued to her day planner, I have had to shake free from such tendencies in order to adopt a more flexible approach to life. While this was also the case in Canada, it was the only option in Kemaman. Not only was I alone more often here, it was much more isolating and disorienting. So, while this may not be the roughest place in the world by a long shot, the fact that I was able to survive here (half the time alone), makes me believe I can survive anywhere. This probably isn’t true but I like to say that anyway. Don’t forget that I’m also a flood survivor title holder. Oh and there were cobras that lived right around my house. Okay fine, I know what you’re thinking- it’s true, I can survive anywhere.
Regardless, this upcoming move to KL brings with it so many exciting opportunities that it’s impossible to not to look forward to living in a place where there are employment prospects for me as an Art Therapist, yoga studios, language classes, and all that good stuff I can’t wait to fill my days with.
Like a blank canvas, or should I say, a batik painting in the making, it’s time to color my world again…
So, a heartfelt farewell to Kemaman and all of the lovely friendships that were made and nurtured here. Without them, it simply would not have turned into a home and indeed it did. (Trust me, I was surprised too) So, Kemaman, I will miss you and I won’t miss you all at the same time.
..And I certainly won’t take the saying “never judge a book by its cover” lightly ever again.