Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Settling in Back Home


It has been about seven months since I left Penang to move back home to the US, so I thought I should write a note here. We have settled in to our new home in Upstate New York State in the US, a country like setting just outside of Rochester.We have a big house with quite a bit of land, including a pool, decks, gardens and 2 puppies. I didn't realize how much I missed having a yard, a garden and a dog! Autumn is here and the leaves are beginning to change color giving us beautiful views wherever you go. It's so nice to have 4 distinct seasons again. After this past winter here I realized that I would rather have a few months of very cold snowy weather than have 12 months of extreme heat and humidity. With winter approaching we are looking forward to the coziness and comfort of our fireplace.

I have discovered that the cost of living where we now live is actually cheaper than in Penang. Food, gasoline, housing, clothing, alcohol and consumer goods are all cheaper. Even though Penang had a variety of good South Asian food, I missed European and American food, such as Greek, Italian and Mexican. I do miss Curry Mee, but we have found quite a variety of authentic Chinese, Korean, Indian, Thai and Japanese food here. There are a number of Asian grocery stores here that have everything found in Malaysia, including durian! So if we don't eat out we can make it ourselves. One aspect of back home that I missed was the variety of consumer goods. There are many, many more brands to chose from here and the prices are a fraction of the cost in Penang. Our car cost a mere fraction of what it would have in Malaysia too.

Last month I had emergency gall bladder surgery for a problem that was misdiagnosed in Penang and it was all paid for by my Medicare. I was constantly worried about getting sick and needing surgery in Malaysia, especially with my money tied up in a fixed deposit under MM2H. Sure medical costs are more expensive here, but the quality is excellent and I am covered by Medicare. Kevin is settling in and is a bit overwhelmed by the educational choices offered to him here.He also likes the cold and snow.

I feel as though we made the right choice by moving. It's not perfect, but if you don't like things you can complain, criticize the government without reprisal and vote to make yourself heard. I do not regret for one minute the 7 years I lived in Penang. It just wasn't for me.  I do miss the people there and also chatting over lunch at the local food court, but I am sure I will return to visit Penang on occasion. Most likely I will not be posting here any more, but if anyone is interested in following my adventures you can read my other blog, Steveso Thinks. Thank you.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Goodbye Penang, Malaysia

By the time this post is read I shall have already left Malaysia and headed back home to the US. I will have left extreme heat for extreme cold, but with hopes of spring being right around the corner.

For those who have been following my departure from Malaysia, I can say that at the time of my departure I still have not received my sinking fund deposit. The attorney said he will transfer the money to my US account, but I am not holding my breath. I have received emails from the Management Committee blaming anyone and everyone for not receiving information regarding the sinking fund. Typical. They blamed everybody, but offered no solution. Utterly useless.

It is too bad that a number of incompetent, corrupt, lazy and greedy people have clouded the wonderful memories I have of Malaysia and in particular, Penang. The memories of the bad will soon be replaced by all of the good. I will be returning to Penang, to visit friends and family, but I will not be returning to live under MM2H. It has gotten just too expensive for me. I am afraid that in the very near future only the super rich will be able to afford this concrete jungle, which I can still remember as a tropical rain forest retreat.

To all of my followers I say thank you and to all of my Malaysian friends and all Malaysians I say thank you and I will miss you all. Good bye, good fortune and good health.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

MM2H Fixed Deposit Withdrawal




One aspect of moving back home that I was worried about was the withdrawal of my MM2H Fixed deposit. When I sold my house I went to the Ministry of Tourism's MM2H website to see what I had to do. It all seemed so simple, except for having to travel to Kuala Lumpur twice.  I contacted Alter Domus and was informed that they would do this for me. The cost of doing this was much less than traveling to KL, staying in a hotel overnight and returning. Also I would be wasting much needed time.

I simply sent a copy of my passport, visa, my MM2H fixed deposit certificates and my airline ticket to Nita at Alter Domus and then handed over my passport before they went to KL and they did the rest. I picked up my authorization letter, took it to the bank and waited. Today I checked my US account and saw that everything was successfully transferred. The whole process took only 2 weeks. What a pleasant surprise! Thanks Alter Domus and Nita.

Still waiting for the Sinking Fund deposit. I am not holding my breath on that one. I have a feeling I can chalk that up for a loss. The condo is all cleared out and just waiting for the big day. If anyone is interested in renting this unit please message me. The unit has a great view of Gurney Drive and is fully furnished with a new American style stove with a big oven and it has great neighbors!