lördag 28 mars 2015

Flat hunt

Today for the first time since I came here I woke up happy.
All these day, all these weeks has been filled with stress, worry and resistance, but finally I reached a day when I woke up happy and relaxed.

One reason is the I finally found a place to stay, and not just anyother place: I found the most beautiful duplex in a place that is like a jungle resort but 3 metro stops away from where I work.

To find a place has been an interesting journey, of course things work differently here than what I am used to.

I had been investing on the internet a lot, starting already from Barcelona and understood that here it is condo living that is the thing, so no use even thinking about a normal flat. After searching for a while I realised all the places has more or less the same concept; the difference is more about interior design of the flat, the pool area and the location. My biggest concerns was that I want to live close to work, preferably in a nice area where it is safe and I want a nice pool. I do nothing more than work and go home so for me finding the right place where I really can feel at home was top priority. At first I was obsessed with finding Europe in KL, I wanted a place like my Palace at home. I wanted a place where I can go out in the morning, go to a nice cafe with a terrass and have my coffee, or just go for a walk on the streets and all the stores I would ever need is just there. Thats not how they roll down here, everything is located in shopping malls and what you want is to live close to a mall. On the streets there is nothing, this city is not made for pedestrians or street life.

The streets I walk  
(N.B this is central KL in a nice area)

So basically I just had to push down the European in me and accept the way of the road down here.

First place I went to was set up by this super sweet guy at work, he heard I was looking so he wanted to help and his friend had some flats he could show. Friend came pick us up with his car and his Russian girl, traffic was jammed as always so you go a distance that would take less then 5 min without jam took us about 20 min but meanwhile the Russian girl was entertaining. She spoke with very strong accent and was ranting on about how bad everything was in KL, people did not speak proper english - I mean common she had ordered a burger without cheese and when she got it there was cheese on it! She also told me about how great Putin is, that we in the west did not understand what a wonderful man and leader he is. The bad guys are NATO and USA and Putin did everything right, even Ukraine was right of him. Everything in Russia is perfect and all the people are very happy. Very interesting to hear the other side of the story, I mean from our end its the other way around; Putin is the bad guy and NATO/USA the heroes saving the world. Now, probably the so called "truth" is some were in the middle, usually the world does not consist of bad guys and heroes but human beings with very different view of the world and how it should be ruled.  But I can assure you it was a very interesting car ride...
Once we got there the building is next to highway in an area that felt dirty and very impersonal. A high rise condo complex made of concrete, the corridors where dark and when we came to the pool area all the people, including men, where bathing with their clothes on. I knew immediately I would not feel comfortable. First of all the place was so cold, so impersonal and second, I do´t want to go swim with my clothes on, but neither would I feel very relaxed with being the only one in bikini having a beer by the pool. Luckily the owners never showed up so we never saw the actual flat but it wouldn't have matter, that was not the place for me.

Once home again I felt very upset, thinking is this what there is? Is this how I have to live? I would not feel neither safe or at home in a place like that. I decided to see what other expats does so I posted on an expat side on FB and immediately got contacted by a person having a flat that seemed really nice. I loved the photos from the page, it is like a Sci-Fi luxury paradise and everything felt much better, this is more the place I am looking for: http://setiaskyresidences.com.my/
The flat was all new, so beautiful and big. 2 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, big kitchen and a balcony with KLCC view (that is very valued here)

View from the living room

I  instantly fell in love, but there where some issues: No furniture, too high rent and worst of all there is no metro station close, the way I could walk to work is not safe or nice (its along a high way) The residence has foreseen those objections from future tenants so they offer a shuttle service so they drive you to the closest metro station 1.5 km away. But still I would lose my freedom and always have to organise my wishes according to their time table or pay a taxi every time I want to leave my house. Also the rent could be fixed, the owner was willing to negotiate since, as the very embarrassed agent told me: They prefer people like you as tenants (referring to me being European) 

Shortly after the owner contacted me with an offer that was still to expensive for me even though he added in furniture, I told him and it did not take him long to accept to rent it to me for the sum I suggested. I was all thrilled: I had my flat! In a Sci-Fi paradise! However I had already made some appointments the day after to see some more things so i thought I might do it, just to compare. Bu I should have know nothing could compare to Setia Sky, the place where my condo was located. Or so I thought... 

The most striking here at my office is that everyone is so incredibly nice and considerate, so when they learned I was looking for a place to stay everyone gave their tips and tricks. And one guy actually took it one step further and decided he would find me a place. He heard me complain about that I wanted Europe, that I wanted to live in an area where I had a cafe  close to where I stay. So Monday this week he took me to see a place, it was nothing like I had ever seen, the idea is low rise, village like feeling: http://www.propwall.my/setiawangsa/kampung_warisan?tab=photos (just so you can se the pool and the surroundings) And there is a small mall just beside where they have cafes and restaurants. The actual flat was a duplex with wooden floor and really nice interior design.

Master bedroom, upstairs

Guest bedroom, downstairs

Kitchen, downstairs

Living room, dining space, downstairs 
with Muhammed the agent smiling to the camera

The best part with this place is that it is 3 stops away with the metro from where I work, and below photo is taken from the metro station. You see the bridge taking you cross the road and then the buildings you see is where the duplex is located.


Of course I fell in love with the place! But of course nothing is ever a walk in a rose-garden: The price was to high and what about the snakes? I asked everyone I met at the place about the snakes, and they told me this is with a lot of green just beside the jungle so there are snakes, but don´t worry they don´t come here. One guy told he had seen 1 snake in 7 years, but you know me, that was enough to make me panic and sweat and decide I could not live there. Everyone was laughing at me but Im dead serious, me and snakes don´t match. I hate them with a frenzy that would put the most dedicated white supremacist to shame. I can not live with snakes. However the price for the condo was negotiable so at least that obstacle could be solved, but what about the snakes?

It took me many hours of thinking, many hours of taking advise from my friends and an offer I could not refuse on the rent before I finally decided, snakes or not this is my place. In the end of the day Malaysia is full of snakes, they are everywhere so I might just face it and try to challenge myself. Once again, isn´t that what life is all about? How can we ever grow if we never go outside our comfort zone and do things that scare us? This whole moving to Malaysia thing is just one big scary adventure so I guess I will just learn to go with it, let go of safe Europe and start embracing Asia.

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