I have never expect myself to be an expatriate wife. At a twinkle of eyes, it has been more than 10 years since living away from my home country, Malaysia.
It all started in 1998, when the financial crisis hit Asia. Many companies were forced to close down and lay off workers. Among those that were still surviving, many were struggling and had taken drastic measures.
The company where my husband worked had decided to impose pay cut on all its staffs. As a young man then who was full of aspirations and looking for more challenging career, my husband decided it was time to look for greener pastures. He started applying for other jobs. Among the many job applications, there was an application to a company in Nigeria. He did not take it seriously as we had no intention to leave our family, friends and our beautiful country. Besides, the company was looking for someone who was older and with more working experience.
To our greatest surprise, the company in Nigeria through a local recruitment company called up my husband for an interview. This was later followed by a series of paper examinations and an interview with the owner of the Nigerian company himself who flew in from Nigeria. Finally, an interview over dinner where I was also invited with the owner of the company and his family who were holidaying in Malaysia. Everything went on very fast. Before we could settle down to take note what was happening, came the offer for my husband to head the Human Resource Department in this Nigerian manufacturing company.
We were flattered by the offer and at the same time we were in dilemma. We were flattered as the expatriate package was attractive and I was also offered a secretarial job! We were in dilemma because mentally we were not prepared to leave behind our family, many good friends and our country for Africa!
After much prayers and consultation with friends and family, we plucked up our courage and headed for Africa. That marked the beginning of our expatriate life in Africa. A life that is full of challenges and fill with life lessons which I would have never learnt if I was not in Africa.