A story of safety, fear and serendipity

At last I can share this story. I’ve been sitting on it for two weeks not daring to share it until I knew it was true – but it is! Today, we heard, we ARE moving into our new flat on Friday. Only, it is not the same one I wrote about a few weeks ago, remember, the one with the amazing view? No, it’s one we saw back in May when we had a week here and had a peek at housing just in case we got posted. Here’s what happened. I think it’s interesting and a just a little ‘woowoo’ and hope you do too:

Remember how ill I was a few weeks ago? Well, I am inordinately grateful now for the first flu of my life that felled me like a dead tree to fester on the sofa for two whole days unable to even read a book.

Just as I was beginning to feel a bit grotty I heard from a friend about the security issues in the city. I already knew that crime was on the up and had seen the yellow triangular warning signs on certain streets that handbag snatchers were on the loose. I’d already started to wear what I call a ‘bum bag’ and Americans call a ‘fanny pack’. Neither of which sounds at all appealing, but wearing my lovely blue one made me feel much safer. I put a photo of it here because I wish someone would start making attractive ones commercially available and it’s a hint.

it's mine! Bought in Trinité-sur-mer a gozillion years ago
it’s mine! Bought in Trinité-sur-mer a gozillion years ago

But then I heard how it was unwise to wander quiet streets alone as it would make me vulnerable to thieves. Anyway, this worried me. The reason we had picked that apartment precisely so I could walk through relatively quiet, green streets to one of two decent shopping malls. The walk was just over a kilometre in either direction and when Ian and I had walked the routes we had not seen another soul. And so, in one fell swoop, one of the main reasons for picking that property was snatched away. I realised that, working alone from home as I do, I need my daily walks in the ‘fresh’ [sic] air. I needed them for my quiet time, my thinking time, my meditation and to fill my well of things that feed my soul – nature!

As I lay there thinking. Okay, not thinking so much as worrying, the niggle I had begun to feel got bigger and bigger and bigger until it kept me awake all one night with a fever that would not drop and immobile for the following day as I obsessed about the fact that I’d not be able to walk anywhere from my own front doo. I wasn’t sure how I’d survive if I could not walk outside every day. Walking in a mall or on streets lined with shops are not good enough. I felt heartbroken. But I was ill, talking made me cough, my head thumped, I felt sick and wondering how to cope with my runny nose when I could not leave the flat and had used up all the tissues and loo roll was a real problem. I could not sit at the computer because that made me feel dizzy. And so I lay and wallowed and felt sorry for myself.

During this period I consulted my trusty Louise Hay book You Can Heal Your Life, a book I love for its dictionary of the emotional causes of illness. A book that goes with me everywhere. She told me that a fever is borne from obsession and fear. Deep down I already knew that. Then, suddenly, from somewhere in the darkest place of illness and self-pity I found my solution. We could renege on the huge airy flat with the amazing view and see if anything was available at Federal Hill, in the condos we’d loved back in May. Back then they told us four bedroomed ones are rarely free and ones high enough to miss the noise of traffic were like hen’s teeth. But I’d rejected the idea of living there this time round because in September I  decided that the ability to walk to shops was way higher on my priority list than being safe. By being at rock bottom and focusing on my fear forced m to ask it what was really the root of my illness. It was fear of being vulnerable and unsafe in the streets outside the apartment.

I was too exhausted to have a conversation with Ian so kept this to myself for two days and fretted. Then, on the Friday I felt well enough to get dressed for the first time in a week and wanted to leave the flat. At 8pm, as we walked to The Top Hat for dinner, I took a deep breath.

“I don’t want to move to the Loft,” I said, distracted conveniently by crossing the road so I did not have to look at him.

“Oh, okay,” he said calmly. That surprised me. I knew he was a good bloke, but this was a remarkable reaction. “So?”

“But I know where I do want to live.” I told him why and where and he remained circumspect. In fact he was delighted!

“All that matters is that you are happy,” he said slightly cheesily, but I knew he meant it. “Anyway, that place is way better for me as am closer to the office.”

Ah! So he had an ulterior motive!

So, we rang our relocation agent with the bad news. Then we learned that this was alos the very day that the contract was about to be signed on the other place. We caught them in the nick of time and put things on hold.  We spent the weekend worrying whether there was anything available and kept sending her links to things we could see online only to be told they did not really exist. By now, this was frankly, the only place I wanted to live. Seriously.

At 9pm on Sunday, when we’d been on tenterhooks for 49 hours we got the call. There was one place, not really on the market yet, only just available. If we’d called a day earlier it would not have shown on the radar. What’s more it was such a gem that if we’d called a day later we’d have lost it!

And so, the very next day at an agonisingly late 4pm we visited a light, large apartment in a low density condo in a gated community, where any trespassers need to get through two lots of ferocious security. A place where I can wander in its streets, because there are houses there too. A place high enough up that we can see and hear birds and have the most amazing green views, with the city in the distance. A place with jungle on one side that cannot be built on. A place where our great friends, Joe and Emma, live too. The only trouble was we were the first to see it and had til 5pm to make our minds up.

That last bit was easy.

“110% yes!” I said to Ian while the owner was out of earshot, a wide grin from ear to ear.

Ian walked back to the living room. “We’ll take it,” he said.

And, just today, Ian sent me an email saying the contract is signed. It’s ours. We move on Friday.

Want the even better news – it has four bedrooms so plenty of room for guests as well as a pool, a gym, a library and a jogging track. It even has a gas hob in the kitchen. What more can I want?

You see, if I had not been, literally, sick with fear and if I had not been too ill to talk to Ian and if I had said anything a day sooner or a day later we would not have had such incredible luck.

I’ve never been so grateful for being ill!

Coming to visit?

Not this block but almost!
Not this block but almost!
Where we will live
Where we will live


12 thoughts on “A story of safety, fear and serendipity

  1. I just emailed you my reservation request yesterday. Maybe now I’ll come with a friend or two. Just kidding. 😉 Sorry to hear you were so ill. I must have missed that info but glad it was only 48 hours and so serendipitous. Mazel Tov!


  2. What a story. If more people realized that illness was often brought on by emotional upheaval and took steps to address and alleviate the source of the upheaval, so many crises would be averted! So happy for you and glad you’re in a safe and naturally beautiful environment. Check! Check!

    See you soon,
    Anne 🙂


    1. Indeed, Anne. I have been into mind-body connection for years, helped hugely by having Siv Harestad, a Summertime author and friend, mentor and therapist. Her new videos (out on Youtube) are stupendous. Lots in Norwegian, but we’re helping to get the English ones out there – about 6 so far.


  3. I’d read an article about growing crime in KL and worrying a bit, but had nothing to offer by way of advice and figured you knew what you were doing. Turns out you do, and the results reflect that. Mind-body connections? Yep. That’s why they figure prominently in my book(s). Glad it all worked out.


  4. Hi Jo. I am loving reading your blog and your honesty about the ups and downs of your adventures and how you keep going forward :). Thank you. I wish you good adventures this week and when you get settled. Kathyx


  5. Wow! that was a close call, security is one of the reasons I did not want Richard to find an acreage in “the boonies”, I like living near neighbours, even if I don’t see them every day. All I need to do, is open the door and yell my head off, that’ll scare the wildlife!
    Welcome to your new home!


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