Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Great Car Search

Two weeks into our school year, we moved locations. We knew we would be doing this going in, but it didn't really make the transition any easier. Since the location we moved to is about 10 extra minutes away (at the 'right' time of day... 15 minutes - forever longer at the "wrong" time) and kind of in the middle of nowhere, I felt my life would be so much less stressful if I had my own car. At the other school it was very easy to walk to the mall, restaurants, or even home, and very easy to get a taxi as well. Not the case with the new place.

So, my search started over the summer with me emailing a few families here to ask if anyone knew of a budget car for sale. For whatever reason, cars in Malaysia are incredibly expensive. Like, ridiculously. Multiple times when I told people my price range, they looked at me with a strange "are you joking?" sort of look. I figured I only needed the car for a year and it only had to get me around town. I didn't need anything fancy, just something that runs. Also, since I know absolutely nothing about cars except how to turn them on and drive them, I was thinking it'd be nice to go through a trusted source. The only other car I've bought in my life was in America, with my parents, test driven by my car-fixing uncle, and inspected by our family mechanic before purchase. As you can imagine, that is not how it went here.

Enter Car #1. One of the families from our school has a business and said they had an extra car they could sell me. The price was right, I waited until they could bring it... and it was a manual. Oops. I guess I should have clarified, I don't know how to drive that. And I'd prefer not to learn on the other side of the road in a country that doesn't really follow traffic laws. But, it was ok. They said they had another one that was automatic. So, I waited another week, they brought it out to me and...

Yes, yes that is a cassette tape player.
Yes, yes that is 417,493 KM on the odometer (259,418 mi).

But, no big deal. I said I didn't need anything fancy as long as it ran. Right. Except it didn't. For the first day, everywhere I drove it would shake, make weird noises, check engine light flashed, etc. On the second day, it had a flat tire. On the third day, it wouldn't start in the morning. Prayed. Tried again. It worked. Got it to school and it didn't start that afternoon. I texted our friends and told them I so appreciated their help and effort in getting me wheels, but I was going to look for something with a few less miles.

Thankfully, mom showed up for a short visit the day it didn't start, so for the next two days we were checking websites, making phone calls, visiting dealers, and eating lots of yummy food. After one other test drive that just didn't feel right and a few other "Malaysia" moments, we found "the car."

It's a 1998 Kia Sephia (yes, I understand that that is more than twice as old as my students, but I told you I had a budget!). It has less than 150,000 km on it. It's purple and has a CD player. What more could I need? Oh yeah, and it works... pretty well. It's definitely not the 2005 Altima that I had in VA, but it's perfect for what I need it for.

I couldn't get that 'dead yak' (as my co-worker called it) off my dashboard quickly enough! WHY would that ever be put there?!
I'm so blessed by and thankful for this car! It's been amazing having the freedom to go wherever I want whenever I want without having to rely on taxis or friends. The driving itself has been interesting, but that's a blog for another day.. :)


  1. Sorry Ms.Wacek, we were only trying to help you with whatever we had, we are not in the business of selling cars, we told you the situation. Sorry for the trouble. I am glad you found something good.

    1. I know! I'm so appreciative of all the time and effort you took to find me something! It ended up to work out fine. Thank you so much again!