Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Last Post

I'm writing this from the airport lounge at Changi. This is it, folks. Three years and a bit of blogging on Sent to Singapore ends when I hit "Publish" after I'm done writing. More of the experience of moving back to the USA will be posted on Back to Boston, since that all is part of the experience. Photos I haven't uploaded on here will go there, such as Boxville, the luggage, and Marina Bay Sands.

Singapore was an amazing home for three years. I tried things I had never heard of, graduated high school, partied my heart out and got lost and found myself again. I travelled to more places than some people go in their lifetimes and found the love of my high school years. Singapore gave me more than I could ever give it, and I am nothing but grateful.

Today my mom and I started by swimming in the Infinity Pool at Marina Bay Sands. It's crowded and really just an illusion of being on the edge of the place, but it was a sort of magical experience. We could see the buildings that were near our house, but again, not our apartment itself. I looked down onto Scape and Cathay Cineleisure and tried to remember the last time I was there. Getting MOS Burger and bubble tea, I think? I can't remember, but I do know at the time I didn't think it was the last time we'd be there. I saw ION and thought about how I hated navigating Orchard Station and the million tourists. My last few days in Singapore, I was a tourist. I went to the ArtScience Museum and was impressed by their massive dinosaur exhibit. We saw the Annie Leibovitz exhibit and wondered how one woman managed to shape our perspectives of the world so simply through the lens of her camera. We ate overpriced cupcakes (High Society in Marina Bay Sands, not impressive). Today was our last day, and we tried to live it without thinking about the clock ticking over our heads, reminding us that our time was limited.

Now we're in the airport, and there are people running around like ants. Everyone here thinks they know where they are going, but they don't really. They don't know what awaits them wherever they go, even if it's the place they call home. There's a certain amount of mystery that the future holds, no matter how well we try to plan it out.

So, farewell Singapore. It was a good ride.

Friday, July 25, 2014

From Marina Bay Sands

I meant to post last night, but I guess that just didn't end up happening. Anyways, hi! I'm writing from Marina Bay Sands.

The hotel is pretty different from others I've been too. It's a little more public than most other hotels of this class, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. We're facing the city (which is the view to have), and it's beautiful. I can see the Mandarin Orchard Hotel, Takashimaya, ION, and the Singtel building... so close to where I used to live!

Today I went to the Sky at 57 for breakfast, which was really something else. For quite a sum of money you can get access to a huge buffet plus two generous menu items. It was something else! I had ramen and Eggs Benedict. Both were generous portions and it was quite lovely.

After that, we finally went to the River Safari. I'd been wanting to go since I saw the adverts months and months ago. It was a pretty great experience! We went on the very short little boat ride thing, saw manatees and jaguars, and even cute little crocodiles. Though I must saw I think my order-of-liking of the zoo park things is Jurong Bird Park, Zoo, River Safari and Night Safari, all are worth doing. But if you only have time for one, go for Jurong Bird Park. There's a cool tram thing that lets you see basically everything, and it's not very expensive. Also, my family likes birds, and I'm bias towards it.

So many things have changed in the past three years. I thought about how my food preferences had changed while walking to Gong Cha today.

I'm not reaching for Starbucks, I'm reaching for Gong Cha.
I don't eat chicken noodle soup when I'm feeling down, I get chicken congee.
A quick treat isn't a candy bar, it's a macaroon from TWG or a mochi from Mochi Sweets.
Froyo isn't really a thing here, but it's growing quickly with Yoguru and Yogurberry.

I was really disappointed that the Gong Cha in MBS was closed. I walked over there after getting back from closing up the apartment, and the darn thing was boarded up all pretty-like. The floor was too shiny and the people too loud. Singapore is home, but MBS is weirdly like a cruise, or a resort. You could spend a while here without ever really leaving the complex. Live in a bubble within a bubble of a bubble. That's MBS, in downtown, in Singapore. It's suspended in luxury, and a most marvellous, if fragile, work of art.

I'm going to miss Singapore. I've been saying that for a while now, but today confirmed it. As I walked around in the apartment in my shoes and stood in the rooms that we once called home, I realised that for right now, I don't have a home. I have places I want to call home, but I'm quickly leaving this place, will not spend much time in New Jersey where my parents will live, and have to wait for Boston. Right now, I don't know where my home is. I'm suspended, like Marina Bay Sands.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Last Post from the Apartment

It's official. I'm trying to type this as fast as I can, because once my mom's computer stops updating we're shutting off the Internet here and bringing it back to Singapore. I'm sitting on the floor surrounded by suitcases, most closed, a few open and spilling its contents everywhere.

I took photos of the apartment that I'll upload later. Boxville is quickly turning into Nothingville. The apartment may be still ours in name, but there's very little of it that identifies it as such now.

For a treat, I ran out to Great World City to buy bubble tea, lime juice, and local sweets for my family. That was the last time I'll be there for a long, long time.

It's quickly becoming the last of everything. Will the MRT ride home from Plaza Singapura be the last? How strange...  everyday events are quickly becoming memories.

So, goodbye from the apartment. Next update will be from a hotel!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Living in Boxville

I live in a place called Boxville now. It used to be called "The Apartment" where my family lives, but it's thoroughly Boxville now. There's no colour in Boxville but brown, and it smells like a forest of cardboard and adhesive.

Need a plate? Have a paper one, because the proper ones are living in Boxville.
Need a chair? Have the floor, because there's only one chair left in this apartment that didn't move to Boxville.

I don't even have a bed anymore... I have a mattress on the floor like I did when I was a child for a couple of months.

Today was sort of an eventful day. I spent a good deal of it lounging around on my bed before the movers started packing my room, only to go to the current luggage holding area (former guest room) to find my dad sitting on the floor zoning out. Mom was on her computer (and the only chair in the house), so I put my blankets on the floor for Dad and I to sit on. We ate Boon Tong Kee leftovers, which was fantastically good. I'm going to miss Boon Tong Kee a lot... everyone in Singapore ought to go there at least once! I then had a terrific headache and ended up napping on the floor. When I woke up, my room was only a Boxville replica of what it had been before.

When I moved from Bedford, I had a funny feeling the room would somehow remember that I grew up in it. I'm not sure if this room will remember me, or if this apartment will even be standing next year. However, I'm going to miss the built-in bookcase that helped me pick this room, and the lovely, if outdated, blue paisley bathroom. As I look up from the mattress on the floor, I notice that this apartment has really high ceilings. It's a beautiful place, and I wish Singapore wouldn't tear it down because it's outdated. It's old-fashioned, but sometimes we all need a little of that.

Someone who read my blog for a good long while before moving to Singapore herself asked me if I'd keep blogging here. I won't be, but the new URL is here. I'm pretty confident that I'm going to be blogging more in Boston, and I'm toying with the idea of doing reviews and possibly adding some ads for a little extra money. As a college student, I don't want to burden my parents with my personal expenses, so as much as possible, I want to help out. We'll see.

What won't change is that I like Singapore. High school wasn't the greatest, but at least I didn't peak in it. However, I don't think I've ever really hated the lifestyle here. In fact, I'm going to miss it greatly. Where else in the world can I walk down the street to 10+ shopping centres and eat whatever I'd like? Where else can I feel this safe? Where else has the variety and the opportunities that Singapore had for me?

Singapore, I'm glad I was sent here.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

The 25kg Monster

It's big. It's purple. It weighs what feels like half a ton. It only moves on two "legs".

That's right folks, it's my suitcase. I've managed to stuff most of my wardrobe into a big purple monster that's going to fly within a week all the way from Singapore to the US. To be honest, I had no idea how many clothes I had until the suitcase started getting full. Then I started thinking. 

I am so incredibly lucky that I've been able to live in Singapore. When I was walking home today from baking a cheesecake with the lady I used to work for, I considered how amazing things really are for me. I've been to more foreign countries than US states, something I'm pretty impressed with. I have fantastic clothes from places people haven't even heard of, and I've see crazy things. 

I've also learned that the more you see, the easier it is to put one's own life into perspective. We think we are the heroes of amazing journeys, but in fact are little more than tiny units in this big world. There are paths that will never cross and places that may never be discovered. We are so small. Moving to Singapore expanded my horizons and in many ways shrunk my belief of self-importance. 

So even as I pack to leave this island, I think about how lucky I am to have been able to live a charmed life, which few people can ever say they truly did. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dwindling Days...

I have less than ten days left in Singapore. Ten days, and I will no longer be "Sent to Singapore"...

As I was walking home from work today, I thought about the things I will miss the most in Singapore. Some were obvious, like the MRT and fantastic food. Other things were less so- the fact that I am surrounded by Asians is both a blessing and a curse, for example. Or odd things like the fact that safety precautions for roadwork are so relaxed... sure, it's more dangerous, but it also means that here people are expected to take responsibility for their own actions.

Something I must confess is at the end of the day, I did not really get to know Singapore. Sure, I know Orchard Road and Woodlands pretty well, but I can't say I truly managed to grasp what it's like to be a local here. My experience here, by choice, has been one of an expat. It's not a bad thing in many ways. I've been to Japan and England and Turkey with my school. I finishing my America education without too much difficultly, and was privileged to be part of an excellent dance program. Yet, I never became really local.

Before I know it, I'll be back in a land where people don't question what language I speak. Unlike Singapore, where people can tell I'm somewhere between 18-24, in the United States people honestly don't know. While some consider the United States the greatest country in the world, I've been to enough places now to know that all are different, with their own strengths and weaknesses. I've tried to shed my ignorance of the world around me to the best of my ability, and I think I've succeeded to an extent. There's no way that three years living abroad has made me a truly global citizen, whatever that catchphrase means, but it has made me aware.

As the days here come to an end, I'm constantly wondering when things will be my last of something. Did I just eat my last Pepper Lunch today? Or the last Mochi Sweet? When is the next time I will take the MRT, if I take it again at all? Where is next place I will go that has such a great MRT (It's not Boston)? Is anyone still around?

It's also made me wonder what will happen to this blog. I'm sure in a few years I'll have to take it down, or it will get lost, or for professional reasons it won't be wise to keep it up. In the meantime, though, I'm going to try writing as much as I can, and try not to waste a moment.

Check out my new blog:  Back to Boston

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Countdown Begins

I just got back from two weeks in the USA, and a lot happened there. I can't talk about everything, because that's crazy and I'm stupidly jetlagged.

The first week in the USA was spent primarily in New Jersey. We searched for a house during the first three days, and actually found a house we are interested in on day 2. To prevent jinxing anything to do with the house, I will stop there. We also looked around for cars, got oriented with the area (haha, what the heck is a township?), and found that New Jersey people say "coffee" as "cwafee". I was pretty surprised that New Jersey is so... rural. Some houses we saw were essentially in the middle of no-where. The "funniest house award" goes to a property with a pool directly under low-hanging power lines. Not really sure who decided that was safe!

The second week was spent in Massachusetts, during which time I did my BU orientation. I stayed three extra nights (only Thursday night was mandatory), but it was a lot of fun. I met more people than I could possibly remember and even, oddly enough, three kids from my old school. One was kind enough to catch me up on all the town's gossip. Small town stuff :D

I also got to visit my boyfriend, which was neat. I saw the show he was working, which comprised of two monologues, Monocular Man (his website) and one about going to and getting sick in India (Madras). When I remember the second one's name, I'll try and edit this post. We took the T to the theatre, which left much to be desired after taking Singapore's MRT for three years.

Well, I'm home now, and about ready to pass out. I took a nap earlier but still feel like death. Here's to holding out until... 8 pm!

The countdown for moving back to the USA starts... now!