So, let’s review the things I’m not so fond of:
- the humidity. I have not acclimatised and I doubt I ever will. Having now seen a full year I do know that Singapore has seasons – subtle seasons – with Nov-March being quite comfortable but the middle of the year is revolting. I live in air-conditioning. I refuse to sweat in my own house.
- shopping. clothes and food shopping were extraordinarily hard in the beginning. Clothes shopping was hard as they just don’t generally cater to my size of body here, but I’ve found some places where I can buy stuff so I have stopped even looking in 95% of clothes shops here. Grocery shopping brought me to tears in the early days. Who knew meat was cut differently in other countries? Who knew that searching for coriander was futile because it was called Chinese parsley? Who knew beef mince could cost $35SG a kilo?
- the loneliness. I’m not the most social person on the planet (this is something I have learnt as I have got older) but I missed the few friendships I had that really knew me. They knew my history, they knew my moods, they just got me. When every friendship you have is a ‘starter friendship’ it’s exhausting. I’m not ashamed to admit that for the first six months I secluded myself from others, deliberately choosing to not pursue getting to know school mums until the new school year (January). Apparently, this means I made one of the 5 Mistakes That Trailing Spouses Commonly Make but…..pffffttt. Forcing myself into social situations that made me uncomfortable would have left me miserable and while I was lonely I knew I needed to take that time to settle. To wait until the fog in my head lifted and then venture forth and make friends.
The things I love:
- Internet, cable TV and home phone that was connected and working within 24 hours of moving into our house.
- being able to use email for as much as possible. If I can take the language barrier out of the equation I get things done a lot faster!
- I’ve had a few medical needs and it’s MUCH easier to get appointments here than it is in Australia. Need a dental check up? How about tomorrow? When I called a new gynaecologists office to make an appointment I got one in an hours time!
- people are polite. Whilst drivers here have a desperate need to be FIRST (known as kiasu) I’ve yet to see an incident of road rage and it’s rare to hear anyone toot their car horn. I know some people who say they find the people here to be rude, but I don’t find that at all.
- no hayfever. I was never without tissues in Melbourne, and over Spring I was also not without nasal spray and allergy eye drops because of the spring pollen or grass seeds or whatever it was my face didn’t like. I have bought 2 boxes of tissues in twelve months and have almost lost my habit of sniffling.
- being able to text a cab and not have to mortgage my house to pay the taxi fare.
- the mix of cultures and the acceptance of other cultures (as far as I can tell). Want to stick a skewer through your cheek to honour your God? Go for it. Want to fast between sun up and sun down? Not a problem. Want to sing Hallelujah? Go right ahead.
- that post codes are specific to each property, not a whole suburb.
- feeling safe and being able to take my girls out to places without worring about weirdos.
- the travel opportunities. Langkawi, Phuket (x3), Cambodia, Vietnam, Bintan Island, Hong Kong, Perth, and Kuala Lumpur all in the space of a year!
- Our house. It’s a very, very nice house but I miss the cosiness of our Australian house. I miss the carpet. I miss it all being on a single level. I miss the roof gutters that would stop water cascading off the roof 3 storeys above, creating a very loud waterfall in our internal courtyard.