Before moving to Singapore I would have assumed that after 3 years living in a place that things would make sense. That I would innately have some insight and understanding into how the country and its people operated, but I keep getting surprised.
Last week I had to go into the National Library in order to access the Singapore Collection to research a university assignment but, lo and behold, the whole floor of the library that I needed was shut. There’d been some issues with the windows and they needed reinforcing and the whole floor was shut for a month. To me and my sensibilities this just seems illogical and inconvenient when there are (I assume) other alternatives that would have been available that would inconvenience library users less.
This post isn’t to argue about the logic of this particular situation but this incident (and another one which involved an ‘interesting’ interpretation of the Dewey decimal system at another library) made me wonder – can you ever be completely at home in a country that you were not raised in? If you move to a place in adulthood will you ever get to a point where the whole place makes sense?
I’ve made some headway with this. I know that if I book a tradesman or a delivery that there is a better than average chance they will turn up EARLY so I put away 40 years of conditioning of tradies/deliveries turning up LATE and make sure I’m home at least an hour before they say they’ll be here (even then I have returned home to find the air conditioning men sitting on the front step).
But can you ever get to the point where a country and its idiosyncrasies stop surprising you?