SOME OF THE MOST STUNNING HOMES IN MALAYSIA ARE OWNED AND OCCUPIED BY EXPATS SEEKING TO CREATE AN OASIS FOR THEMSELVES IN THEIR NEW COUNTRY. HERE, SARAH REES TAKES US ON A TOUR OF ONE OF THESE BEAUTIFUL HABITATS
“People told me that the expat lifestyle isn’t real life,” mused Jane MacLeod as we shared a glass of orange juice and marvelled at the Twin Towers gleaming out of her wall-length balcony window. “This is wonderful!”
Jane and her husband Donald moved to Malaysia just four months ago, and as this marks the first time the MacLeods and their two young girls have lived away from their native Scotland, it was quite an adjustment.
“Donald had just four days’ notice,” recalls Jane, “so I stayed behind in Scotland to pack up our lives and then bring the girls over a few months later.” After the stress of the final frantic weeks in Scotland, the family were eager to find a home in KL that would offer them the comfort they needed.
“We initially wanted to live in a house,” Jane explains. “I had the idea of having a garden and a pool, but we looked at a few houses and they weren’t what we expected at all, so we decided we would find an apartment instead.”
Donald lined up a few viewings at condominiums in the city centre, but within moments of entering the 32nd-floor apartment in exclusive Binjai on the Park and catching sight of the Twin Towers out of the window, they knew the search was over. “We just walked in and knew we had come home,” she says. They moved in immediately, and couldn’t be happier.
The huge balcony not only offers a superb view across the park to the Towers and the city skyline beyond, it also allows ample light to flood into the spacious apartment, brightening the roomy living and dining area where the MacLeod’s two young children are happily playing as Jane relates her story.
Despite having been here such a short time, the family are embracing KL life with gusto. Both girls already attend nursery while Jane is thrilled to have the opportunity to get involved with sports. “I am having my first polo lesson tomorrow,” she tells me excitedly, “and it has been great to get back into playing tennis. There is a court downstairs, which is super.”
The facilities in Binjai helped seal the deal after their hearts were won by the view, and with the tennis court complemented by a large swimming pool that “the girls love to play in,” the condo complex delivers everything the family sought and more. “The staff are so friendly and the security is fantastic,” Jane continued. “This is the securest place we looked at, and that makes a huge difference when you have two little ones.”
The girls – Chloe and Eve – are bouncing balls of energy and keen to show me their rooms, which are already adorned with pretty pink touches and many of their toys from home. The girls also have the run of the study, which has been transformed into a playroom, while Jane can escape to the kitchen and cook up some simple, Western meals to remind them of home. “I do enjoy cooking,” she says, “but going out to eat is much more tempting. The food is so good here! And I want to learn how to make some of the local dishes.”
There are many things still to do, one of which is properly decorating the new home. “We brought furniture over with us,” Jane explains, as she shows me the dark wooden beds and cabinets that add simple elegance to the three bedrooms, “but all the fun stuff is still to get!” She wants to buy cushions, art works, and decorative items, and enliven the plain walls with splashes of colour. “I haven’t decided what scheme to go for yet,” she admits, “but I will certainly enjoy it! It’s just finding the time.”
Having two young girls under the age of six keeps her occupied, but the central location of their apartment allows the trio to explore the city and its environs very easily. “We have already been out and about a lot. Recently we went to the elephant sanctuary,” Jane says. “We end up going out every day to explore, or we just go out to the park,” she gestures out of the window. “I was never much of a city girl but this location is brilliant.”
Being right on the park allows Donald to walk to work each morning – “It takes him eleven minutes!” Jane tells me proudly – while a free shuttle provided by Binjai takes Jane over to KLCC when she wants to do a spot of shopping. She is glad to find she finally has some time on her hands thanks to the help of a charming Filipina lady called Delia. “She is my fairy godmother,” gushes Jane delightedly. “I wasn’t sure about getting help in the house, but she is just brilliant with the girls and like a friend to me. I am so lucky to have her!”
It seems life has fallen into place for the MacLeod family, and their stunning home has been the icing on the cake. “We are really happy here,” Jane says as I prepare to leave. “It already feels like home.”
This article was written by Sarah Rees for The Expat magazine.
Source: The Expat November 2012
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