Ten years ago, in mid 1999, my spouse was informed that he has been transferred to Newbury, UK to work for 3 years. At that time, we were newlyweds - just been married for 5 months. I was working in a bank as a senior IT officer. I have been working there for 4 years since graduating from a local university in the Pearl of the Orient. Many questions came to mind when I heard the news:
- Should I quit my job and follow my spouse to live in a foreign country? In 3 years time, when we move back, I would need to find a job and start my career all over again. What if I can't resume my career?
- Should I just stay in Malaysia and let him go alone since it is only for 3 years. I could visit him twice a year or vice versa.
- Should I just let him go first and once when he is up to speed with his work there and has saved up quite a bit, then I will join him.
At that time, I have just taken a staff housing loan of around 230 thousand (MYR) so if I quit my job, how am I going to afford the installment payment for my loan? There wasn't enough time for me to sell my condo unit before he leaves for UK. As his spouse, I was allowed to work in UK but the question was could I find a job in UK with my local Computer Science degree?
After thinking about it for a long time, I decided to quit my job and go with him from day 1. To me, this is what a marriage is about - to be with your spouse through thick and thin and to create experiences and memories together.
On hindsight, it all worked out. We lived in UK for 4 years, from 1999 to 2003. His 3-year UK work permit was extended for another 5 years to 2007 but we decided to cut short our stint in UK and return to Malaysia at the end of 2003 to be closer to our families in Malaysia.
The view from our place in UK during a white winter.
This is me (ten years ago), standing in front of our rental unit where we lived for 4 years. The rent was £575 per month and our landlord is a very nice English man (I think he may be Welsh not English) who did not increase our rent for the 4 years we were living there. He wanted to sell his place but decided to wait until we left.
This is my spouse, coming up the stairs to our rental unit.
Christmas 2000 in Newbury