Somehow, some way it is now July. I arrived in Singapore just over three months ago, and yet it feels like last year. In that time we’ve made lots of new friends (mostly American but also British, Australian, German, Singaporean and Japanese). We went home to the U.S. for the first time in two years and managed to see family, friends, and five states between us. I traveled to Bangkok for work, and the hubs has just traveled to Sri Lanka. Thus far living here is every bit as exciting and fun as I’d hoped it would be. One of these days maybe we’ll even manage a trip for fun!
I’m quite sure that our experience in Australia helped ease the adjustment in terms of being open to the unfamiliar, or dealing with the major time difference from back home, but I also think Singapore is just a really easy place for a childless 20-30-something couple to adapt to. I have a 5-minute bus ride to work, and the hubs has a 10-minute walk (either on the sidewalk or via air-conditioned underground passageway…through a mall… of course). Sometimes it takes some searching (or even just random luck), but there’s a sense that you can find and buy any American brand or item here (we unfortunately have a bag-a-day goldfish habit, thanks to a 2-year deprivation period in Australia).
Because almost everyone here (that we cross paths with) seems to be from somewhere else, everyone is eager to make new friends and try new things. God, that sentence sounds so corny, but when you’re in a new place (and especially when you’re coming from a place where everyone has family and lifelong “mates” and therefore less incentive to make new transient friends) it’s totally refreshing. We’ve been to karaoke, we’ve been to multiple random hawker centres, we’ve been to two different rooftop bars (btw 1-Altitude, the highest rooftop bar in the world, is kind of overrated) and we’ve been to a few delicious brunches. This Sunday we’re going to “champagne brunch” at one of the big hotels (Unlimited champagne? Yes, please). Oh and tomorrow night we’ll be attending 4th of July fireworks sponsored by the American Association of Singapore. Judging by what I’ve heard from friends and the blogosphere, I’m pretty sure every American in Singapore might be going. Today I had a meeting with a client (and friend) from Bali who’s in town for the weekend, and even she knew about the fireworks and was planning to attend.
There were many things I loved about Australia and I was lucky enough to make some amazing Aussie (and British) friends, but the American population in Sydney was spread fairly thin. Plus, the 4th of July there occurs in the dead of Australian winter, which always felt just plain wrong. Here, on the other hand, it’s never too hard to get a critical mass of Americans, and obviously it’s always summertime. I can’t wait to hear the National Anthem, and eat cotton candy, and perhaps get into a friendly argument with a stranger about why Boston is America’s best sports city (I usually can’t help myself on that one).
I absolutely love that Singapore is a place where we can feel truly at home among lots of fellow Americans, but I can also wander the back streets of Little India or order kopi kosong from the friendly auntie at the kopitiam by my office, and feel truly inspired by this diverse and vibrant place that differs from the U.S. in so many ways.
Obviously nothing is perfect and there have been some truly painful obstacles to overcome, but I’m happy to report that three months into this crazy and unexpected gamble, I’m enjoying it even more than I could have realistically hoped to.