Well shit. That didn’t go as planned.

I should be writing this from Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. The big city that was calling our names. The place to wear heels, eat glorious food (not just street food) and get our big city fix.

We were planning to move there for a month for meetings, to network, hang out with friends, and build our online businesses. Ya know, to see what opportunities came our way.

We were super excited, and I, for one, was dying to trade my shorts and flips for sexy heels and dresses. I got my hair dyed. I had a mani and a pedi–the first time in a year. I was prepped and ready. I was looking fresh. We were ready to tear it up.

We miss living in a big city. I miss feeling sexy and lounge hopping. I miss excellent restaurants that serve proper cocktails. I miss customer service and good waitstaff. In those ways, I miss Chicago. But in so many other ways, I don’t.

I miss networking and going out as a couple, and making new friends over dinner at a new place. Kuala Lumpur was going to be all of those things and more.

We had lots of plans with new and old friends. I had my Tuesday ladies’ nights accounted for.

We were going to Live. It. Up

We rented a tiny two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, sight unseen. Because I could live anywhere for a month.  

It was def small, and I wouldn’t really call the second bedroom a BEDroom. It was just a room with a twin bed abutted next to a bookshelf. Perfect for storing our suitcases. Or when Mark is in the doghouse, I kid.😉

The apartment was super basic. It only had 1 pan, a couple of knives, 3 plates. There wasn’t a pot or a bowl in sight, let alone an oven. And for those of you who saw our House Hunters International show, I’m all about an oven.

But whatever, I could live anywhere for a month.

So, we packed up the Panty Dropper 🚙 for a month. Or should I say, we over packed it for a month.

Our packing list:

  • 2 suitcases of clothes: Marks suits, my heels, every nice thing I own because I wanted to be fancy in the big city.
  • 1 queen size mattress topper. Because we’ve lived in Malaysia long enough to know that most mattresses here are like cement blocks. There are no box springs. Comfort isn’t a factor. Not sure why. If anyone has a clue why Malaysian mattresses are so damned uncomfortable, do tell.
  • 1 Mac mini with a large monitor. Before I started writing for International Living, I bought a desktop because I was being cheap. And who needs a laptop? Where am I going? Ha!
  • 2 laptops – one for Mark and another one for me, because six months after I bought my Mac mini, I got hired as a travel writer. Funny that huh? Can’t be a travel writer without a laptop.
  • 1 cooler with all our fridge contents because why throw that out when we have a kitchen-kind of. Said cooler also had wine, rum, whisky, and vodka, because ya know, life.
  • Mark’s light equipment for his videos
  • 1 wok
  • 2 knives
  • 1 yoga mat, 2 sets of weights, and a yoga block for my at-home workouts.

Ready, over-prepared, and over packed.

But….

Silly us. Covid had another plan in its beastly little mind, and it all went pear-shaped.

Covid numbers have been spiking in Malaysia. Not like US numbers. But high for Malaysia. We are around 3000 cases a day. Which isn’t horrible for a population of 30 million. But still. The cases are rising and are the highest since this whole Covid-bitch reared its ugly head.

Admittedly, there were rumblings of a lockdown, but no one knew the details, or if it was even true.  

Over the last year, I’ve learned to take everything on Whatsapp, Facebook, and most media sources with a grain of salt. The media here, just like in the US, takes liberties, makes assumptions, and calls the shots. Whether they are the right shots or not is a different story.

Fake news is a thing here, just like it is in every other country. Except China, maybe. And like most places, fake news travels fast.

Nevertheless, we had already rented the apartment, so we were going.

We assumed that if there was some sort of a lockdown, it wouldn’t be the full monty as it was in March. We would have at least a few days to make our meetings and get stuff done before we had to decide where to ride out the lockdown. We’ve been through MCOs, CMCOs, RMCOs, EMCOs, WHO-THE-HELL-KNOWS-MCOs, so we thought we had that shit sorted.

Shoulda known better.

My momma always taught me that assuming makes an ASS out of U and ME (get it? Ass-U-Me).

So, off we went.

Monday at 1pm, we left Penang in our freshly packed low rider. Full to the brim with all useless crap that would have been perfect for our month-long adventure. We turned on our audible book, Second Skin, a thriller about killers and reincarnation, and got going.  

We arrived in KL at 5:15. We checked in and got the keys out of the mailbox. We got a flatbed cart from the security guard to unload the masses and skipped our way into our new life in Kuala Lumpur.

By the time we unloaded it all, parked the car, and made our way through the maze back to our new pad, our phones were BLOWING UP.

Friends in KL and Penang were reaching out with translations of what the PM had just announced.

There was going to be a FULL LOCKDOWN. Starting tomorrow. At midnight. FUCKKKK!

Full lockdown means FULL LOCKDOWN:

  • No work
  • 95% of all businesses are closed
  • Restaurants, cafes, coffee shops only open for take away
  • Only 2 people allowed in a car
  • Only allowed to jog or bike outside–but the parks are closed
  • Can only drive within a 10km (6 miles) radius of your home. There are roadblocks and police checkpoints to monitor.
  • No interstate travel (Penang and KL are in two different states)
  • No friends over
  • No meetups
  • Nowhere to go

So basically, it’s house arrest, again.

Now we had to make a decision. Stay in our apartment, which was absolutely filthy, by the way, for the 2-week lockdown. Or turn around and drive back to Penang tomorrow before midnight.

The thing is, since this whole Covid-disaster started, the powers that be announce a two-week lockdown, and then it gets extended for another two. And another two. And so on. It’s been like that since March. We know better than to believe it will only be two weeks. We know it’s just the beginning.

After a lot of stress and a bottle of bubbly, we decided to forgo our apartment (and the rent). Best laid (or paid) plans, right?

And so, as quickly as our month-long dream of KL rushed into sight, it was stolen from under us like the cookie monster steels cookies. Like a thief in the night.

The next morning, we had a quick breakfast with a friend and then came back to our dirty little pad, repacked our overstuffed car, and around 1 pm started our journey back to Penang. Time to return home to the safety of our little island bubble.

Because I can live anywhere for a month, right? Except for a filthy little apartment under house arrest.

So here I sit in Penang, typing away on my Mac mini, with my freshly manicured fingers, that no one will see.

Thanks, Covid. You’re a dick.

PS: Your turn. Tell me how your January is going in the comments below.

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