Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spouse or career

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


  1. We have more in common, I think. I'm also comp. science student though from local college not uni. I would do the same if I were you. I believe a marriage should keep two persons together and not separated no matter how short or long the period. I also believe things will always work out if both husband and wife work them out together. You made the right choice. Do tell us more...hehe...

  2. I wouldnt think twice to pack my bags and go...lols... always been dreaming of this kind of experience.

  3. Jennifer, nice to know you studied comp sc too! you are right, both husband and wife have to be fully committed to their marriage to have a happy one. Will try to write more when I indulge in reminiscence. :)

    Hi Redbabe, wish I was like you - so adventurous and full of energy!

  4. Just pack and there is no turning back! Nice one, i like the way you express your thoughts in your blog. Nice to meet you (via Jennifer) ^_^

  5. Hello sdovelly, Thanks for your comment! Nice to "know" you too. :-)

  6. I think we also have some common, my hubby also got relocated to China after few months we signed the paper in KL. His contract that time was 2 years. Well, it has now been close to 5 years. Time flies.

    And I totally agree with you. Must follow lah. "marry chicken follow chicken" mah;)

  7. hmmm... why return to malaysia... should stay there forever :P

  8. Hi Elizebeth, I agree fully with you about "marry chicken follow chicken".

    zewt: we returned to Malaysia due to family ties here. There was one time when I dream about my mother and I wanted to visit her the very next day to see her but I couldn't due to the long distance between UK and M'sia. Now I could visit my mother every day. Furthermore we plan not to have children so we do not need to move to another country to give our children a better future.

  9. Wow, what a nice landlord you have! When I was living in London, the landlord was such a miser who wanted to raise the rent even though market was going down. We called his bluff! :)

    So you went to USM? I have friends from Malacca who studied there.

    Still reading through your blog, lots of interesting stuff.

  10. Hi Lilian, thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, I went to USM.

  11. wah 575 pound monthly that time leh~ how about now? sad...

    1. Now should be more expensive, I think but if you rent a room only should be cheaper.