On A Lim is a play on my surname, Lim, and the phrase “on a whim.”
After spending more than a decade overseas, I quit my job in the United States, said goodbye to friends and packed my things up to move back to Malaysia, with a cat in tow.
I was 18 when I left. Although I’ve been back for (very) short breaks to see the family, I didn’t have enough time to take in all the changes happening in Malaysia.
While I’ve been busy travelling elsewhere in the world, my childhood hometown has been evolving — the ebb and flow of buildings, landmarks and the latest “it” scenes has been so constant, I feel like a stranger in my own home when I’m there.
I used to know where to go for the best nasi lemak, or the names of who’s who in Kuala Lumpur circles. Now when I bring up names and places to local friends, they laugh and tell me those are passé.
It’s as if I was standing still, looking at an old picture; then I blinked, and it got replaced with something (almost) unrecognizable.
The changes — big and small — seem overwhelming, and yet, they could also be exciting developments. I’m returning to Malaysia with a fresh mindset fostered by over a decade of travel and life overseas.
Exploring all the new offerings and seeing what’s up on the social, cultural and political scene — it’s a new adventure that I’m embarking on, this time one that’s right in my own backyard. I get to rediscover what it’s like to live in a newer Malaysia, while trying to connect the dots back to the 1990s Malaysia that I grew up with, and I’m looking forward!
On the flip side, I’m also sorry to leave Washington D.C. behind. It’s where I worked my first job out of college, got my masters, found love, gave a sweet cat a good home, made many dear friends (some who are like family,) and pushed the boundaries of me as an individual.
I’ve enjoyed the challenges, taking each head-on, but the biggest challenge is yet to come. Moving back, taking in all the changes and most importantly, making a difference on home turf — or try to, at the least.
Bring on the adventures.