I have not been coping.
The past six months have been pretty rough.
Not all of it has been culture shock. A bit has been the normal slings and arrows of life’s outrageous fortune.
I’ve made some classic rookie-expat mistakes and the biggest one is that I didn’t get “out there” enough and pursue friendships and interests. I made the exact same mistakes when I relocated from NSW to Victoria when I was 21 so you’d think I know better, but my instinctual behaviour of hiding at home took over and rendered me immobile. I planned to be Ms Social Expat but that’s just not who I am and no matter how many pep talks I gave myself I just couldn’t push through the cocoon I had built around myself.
Maybe I was slightly depressed?
But the second half of the year has dawned and I have realised that I am the only person who can change things. Sitting at home and talking to myself all day was not helping and was having flow-on effects in my marriage and parenting. In a family one person’s unhappiness seeps out and poisons everyone and I don’t want to do that to my family any longer.
So, this week I have written To Do lists and things are changing. I am studying again (after I withdrew first semester when I realised the course I enrolled in was wholly unsuited to me) which gives shape and routine to my days. And as my course is Teacher Librarianism I have arranged to work in a school library one day each week. I had to arrange this without thinking about it too much as otherwise I would have talked myself out of it, convincing myself that having me in the library would be a hinderance to the librarian. The librarian seemed genuinely delighted for me to be there, so that has given me great confidence.
Maybe I’m actually shy? Is this what shy people feel?
Anyway, I also enrolled (again without over thinking it) in a Conversational Mandarin class at one of Singapore’s community centres. Both the Missies have three lessons of Mandarin at school each week and I’d like to be able to understand what they’re learning. I also deliberately chose a class at a community centre over a private class so that I was getting out into the real Singapore, rather than “expat Singapore”.
So, I am feeling in a much better head space now than I was a couple of months ago.
Fingers crossed it continues.