To commemorate my first year as a SAHM, and to pay my tribute to Sasha Cohen’s new movie which is making big waves here in the US although I haven’t watched it myself but I loved the trailer, I have compiled a list of things that all new moms with little children moving to the US, particularly if you’re Malaysian, should know.

Loghat means ‘slang’ in Malay.

Here we go:

1. ‘Sausage’ does not always mean the same thing as it does back home. Well, not always. If you can’t find ground pork at your neighbourhood supermarket, look for packs of ground meat that are somehow labeled ‘sausage’. Warning though, they’re more often than not seasoned with garlic and/or herbs.

2. Those electric coils on your electric stove can be removed and cleaned. You can also buy the metal ‘drip bowls’ (aka the metal thingie underneath the coil) from most major supermarkets if you can’t be bothered to scrub them or if they’re too far gone.

3. Most, if not everything, is DIY in the US. From changing your locks to changing diapers, don’t think you can just call for a maid or a locksmith. They are often very expensive (changing locks can cost up to $100 for about four doors) so if you’re not prepared to pay, DIY! Unless it’s to shampoo your carpet (about $250 for 2000+sqft is considered cheap).

4. Instant coffee is sacrilegious in the US, particularly here in Seattle, who can guess why? You will, if you’re anything like me, buy a coffee machine first thing. Note that once coffee is done dripping, TURN IT OFF or it will burn the damn coffee and nasty smells will permeate your home. Warm cold coffee in a microwave (and not keep the damn coffee machine on).

5. Vitamin D milk is whole milk (or we call it full cream milk in M’sia). Whole because it has all of its fat, aka 4% of it.  2% milk is whole milk with 2% fat. 1% means 1% fat. Skim is non-fat milk. Half-and-half is light cream used for cooking or coffee. If lazy to remember, just buy Coffeemate powder creamer. There is no milk powder here to bancur susu, all fresh milk. Or as fresh as it can get. More on milk here.

6. Driving on the wrong side of the road is difficult enough, so for God’s sake, don’t be stupid/stingy and get a carseat. IT IS CRUCIAL. I saw a lady (emigrant) in my old neighbourhood driving with three kids at the back, sans carseats. Mistakes will cost you more than you can bear.

7. Don’t try to be clever and try cosying up to a fellow Chinese by speaking Cantonese. Most are from Hong Kong and you, as a Malaysian speaking half-past-six Cantonese, may inadvertently offend them. Just use English and live with the shame.

8. Buy home owner’s insurance! Again, don’t just want to save money. There are floods/fires/hurricanes here. It only costs $100+ a year!

9. Remember to clean the lint net in your dryer. Don’t know where? God bless you.

10. The sooner you learn to speak proper American, the sooner your kids are able to communicate with their peers. Don’t resist it. My preschooler went through months of “I don’t know what you’re saying!” from her friends at school. Broke my heart. I had to speak proper English so she could learn as well, so no more Manglish!

High five!



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