Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo In Real Life\u2019s sentiments. Malaysia\u2019s many lockdowns from the very first MCO in 2020, to the ongoing EMCO has induced a lot of changes in people\u2019s lives. Although the presence of the virus is the main difference during these times as compared to a couple of years ago, we seem to often overlook the stress and anxiety of being cooped up at home. While many of us are fortunate enough to be surrounded by love and comfort in our own home, expatriates are among the many who don't get to enjoy the luxury of being with their loved ones throughout the pandemic. Being thousands of kilometers away from their homes, IRL invited a couple of expats, Patrick & Sabrina (names may have been changed for anonymity), to give their honest opinions on why it was finally time to pack up their bags and go home. \u201cI'm very stressed out. I have plenty of errands to run back in the USA.\u201d Patrick tells IRL that his grandmother passed during his time in Malaysia, and he couldn\u2019t go back for the funeral, nor take care of her assets and deal with the lawyers.\u00a0 While he wanted to leave sooner, he couldn\u2019t. \u201cI'm stuck in my contract at the moment. They didn't let me go because they didn't have a replacement for me. I teach in a school. So, I'm leaving in December instead though I\u2019m dying to leave. I wish it was sooner, but it isn\u2019t up to me.\u201d \u201cMany of my expat friends are leaving too, so I'm starting to feel more isolated.\u201d \u201cI miss my family and my friends. I'm surrounded by locals. Don't get me wrong, I like them. However, I can't get too close to them because our cultures are totally different.\u201d A picture from where I usually go when I'm home: Portland, Oregon. Another expatriate from France, Sabrina shared that she and her hubby first came to Malaysia in 1998. \u201cWe were here for a year at the time and loved it, that's why we always wanted to come back. So through hubby\u2019s work, we came back in 2006 after several expatriations in other countries.\u201d A picture from a hike Sabrina and her hubby took! What was supposed to be a 3 months\u2019 stay, ended up becoming 15 years instead! \u201cWe are extremely sad to leave because we love this country and its people, but everything is getting too complicated. This makes it very difficult for us because staying would mean that we won\u2019t be able to see our kids and grandchildren back in France.\u201d \u201cWith all the restrictions we can\u2019t see much change for the better in the near future, which is why we have no choice but to sell our house here and move back to France for a while, then hopefully house hunt in Spain.\u201d Besides personal reasons, the political climate has made it hard to stay. \u201cMalaysia has changed a lot from when we first came, and in our eyes not for the better but I think that\u2019s particularly about KL.\u201d \u201cPersonally, we\u2019ve seen a lot here. In 1998, we could see the benefit for the country with Tun Dr. Mahatir's leadership. And when we came back in 2006 we were a bit surprised to find him still in the same power struggle.\u201d \u201cAfter the 1MBD scandal, we found this outright corruption such a shame for Malaysians." \u201cWe were all delighted after the GE14 results, expecting change just like everyone else, yet nothing has changed. It seems that politicians here simply do not care about their people. The rakyat have no voice.\u201d \u201cAnd also who can forget about the covid situation and the eternal lockdowns which are achieving nothing as numbers continue to rise. We cannot see anything here improving in the next few years, so as I said we are extremely disappointed to leave but hopefully things will be easier for me and my husband elsewhere.\u201d From the time Sabrina and hubby went to the beach! In addition to that, since the pandemic, both expats echoed each other that the rules that were released were not expatriate-friendly. \u201cA lack of sympathy from the Malaysian government if you ask me.\u201d \u201cThe Malaysian government feels like it has been getting more and more hostile to foreigners,\u201d Patrick told IRL. I asked Patrick what he meant by that. \u201cI recall them announcing to us expats that if we wanted to leave we could, but we shouldn\u2019t bother coming back. Which is not what you\u2019d expect from your everyday government.\u201d \u201cThen, I see other people in charge who are doing questionable and\/or corrupt things, to allow factories to operate while in a pandemic. I just see a lot of "rules for thee but not for me" attitudes going around.\u201d \u201cThey also shut down the government which supposedly gave us permission to leave when we teachers were set to go home to our countries for the break over summer, but here we still are now.\u201d While Patrick enjoys teaching in Malaysia, he feels that the conditions aren't the same as it was pre-covid. \u201cSo, after I leave, I won't be back for maybe around 5 to 10 years.\u201d Patrick has family in Ensenada, Mexico, and Las Vegas. \u201cDocumentation for us is always harder. Lots of visits to the embassy, foreign affairs, JPN, and a lot of jumping around in between them for stamps. We have a lot more hoops to jump through to get something done.\u201d \u201cI would say the primary reason for us expats to leave is more of a personal one.\u201d I asked Patrick what the other expats in his circle were doing about the situation. \u201cMy expat friends are pretty much leaving for personal reasons too, they were in different schools than mine. Family passing, lack of freedom, pay cuts, etc,\u201d Patrick shared. \u201cCOVID really taught me to think of family first before anything else.\u201d \u201cWith the travel restrictions, we have to choose between our personal\/family lives and our professional lives. For me, it's gone on for far too long and I'm tired of having the ultimatum of choosing between my family and my job.\u201d \u201cI love my job, but I love my family more. When my grandma died, it filled me with a lot of guilt. I could have been in the USA and I could have seen her more. And I can\u2019t help but to be filled with the dreadful thought of "What if this happens to another family member?" \u201cI chose to resign when faced with this question.\u201d For more stories like this, read: As A Mamak Living In Malaysia, Here\u2019s What I Wish People Knew About Us and 3 Pros & Cons of Migrating to Australia By A Malaysian Girl.