Tuesday, 9 February 2010

We have been in Singapore for three years .....

John and I have been in Singapore three years today - February 9 2010.

My first blog post was a week later about our arrival and where we had found an apartment to live in ..... I remember that first evening as we flew into Changi Airport at about 9.30pm. Full of wonder and excitement at this new stage of our lives.

So many people thought we were crazy to leave our home in Melbourne and to uproot ourselves at this stage of our lives. We did not think of it that way .... we looked on it as a new experience and for John to be able to work with a Global Company, something he would not be able to do if we had stayed in Australia.

Our main reasons for moving to Singapore were simple:

For John to gain global experience.

For us to embrace another culture.

To have the experience of living in the Far East.

To travel more often.

To meet new people and learn about their way of life.

To learn to have more understanding of other cultures.

and to do all this long before we are incapable of doing so.

We feel extremely lucky to be able to live and work in Singapore. We hope to be able to live here for a few more years yet .... but we do not know what is in store for us ...... we take each day as it comes and feel blessed that we have the health to do so.

We applied for and obtained our Permanent Residency for Singapore 15 months ago. So we are now called PR's !

This gives us a more permanent feeling to living here.
We love the community we live in ...... the people are friendly and if they are not, we can only assume they are shy or perhaps lack the confidence to even say hello. We shop local and we have most of our meals local. We are often seen at the local hawker market or the Bukit Batok Community Center.

We have traveled a lot and for that I know I am VERY lucky indeed.

Some of the places we have been to in the past three years are:

and we are off to Koh Samui in Thailand this week ....

hhmmmmm better stop there as the list is getting very long!

Not all photos are on my blog, but there are loads of photos of where we have been are on my flickr site if you have the time to wade thru them all.

Most of course are from the time we have been here in Singapore!

People often ask if I miss Melbourne ...... and no, I don't. I miss some of the people, but I do not 'miss my hometown'. Never in a zillion years did I ever think I would say that. I used to think it was the only place I could love and want to live for the rest of my life, but that is a very naive way of thinking. There are many other places in this world that we could all live, why should we even think it has to be the one place?

The more times I have been back to visit, the more I know that I don't want to live there.

But who knows what my future is? None of us know that, so we have to wait and see what is in store for both of us. Where we will live, what we will do and will be happy wherever that maybe?

Not everyone is happy here either, there are many of my friends that have difficulty in adjusting to this way of life. There are others that embrace it with a passion, yet there are others that don't even try.

It is hard for most of them for various personal reasons and we all have to have understanding and compassion for our expat friends that we know and love here.

Some of their comments on Facebook or their bogs, really show their true emotions and in part can be seen here:

..... feels lost in Asia. How come people seem to forget you exist when you are not in sight? Feeling expat-ed, home sick and out of the loop today .

Anyway, I am ok today and probably yesterday was just an emotional roller coaster day, so it was best not to post more than I did.  However, let me say that as an expat, we stick together here as an extended family away from home - and I had many come to my rescue with big group hugs.  I thank God every day for those people that help us get through the difficulties of being an expat.  I love you all!

This visit back to the States has been wonderful and it really has taught us a lot about ourselves and our family (the three of us). A lesson we already knew but had to learn all over again is that Life is just too short. There are way too many people living their lives without realizing that any day could be their last or that any day could be a loved one's last.

Today I went shopping. I don't enjoy shopping so much; I'm more of a "run in and grab the first thing that looks like it'll work and run to my car" kind of shopper. But that kind of shopping doesn't exist here in Singapore, so I dropped the kids off at school and headed to Holland Village.

 I sure hope it gets better with time. Thanks for the encouragement. I will be okay. God is good to us!

I am trying to shake this blasted depression.  It is like a stinking cloud hanging over me.  How do you shake it once and for all?  I will die trying... lol...

First let me say, yesterday was not a good day as most of you could tell.  When you have a bad day, friends and family 'at home' cannot give you a hug when you need it and if there is a misunderstanding, by the time it is realized, everyone at home is sleeping and you cannot call to tell them what you really meant to say.  Yesterday, I had made a statement to someone on Facebook 'teasing' and it was read is critical - not at all meant to be that way.  We joke between us all the time and I just assumed that she would realize it was a joke, but of course she could not read my tone of  voice and said something that hurt my feelers.

Not sure why things are much more difficult to accomplish on this side of the world. :-)

I am not one of those people who will keep a smile on my face all the time and tell everyone how amazing it is to live overseas. It's hard. It's lonely. It's 10,500 miles from home. But its reward is some once-in-a-lifetime experiences that make it worth it.

It is indeed a huge challenge to live here. No matter what we do, we have to adapt to what we can get at the grocery store and what we can buy in a department store. It is indeed not the 'high life' others think it is. We just stay positive because if we didn't we would be in a little puddle bawling. Big hugs . I am right there with you.

..... would really love to whine right now. Anyone who thinks we're over here living the high life is welcome to trade places for a few days. There are parts of this that really stink. Just keepin' it real..... Ok, guess I just whined.

So in a nutshell ..... as much as we all enjoy living here most of the time, most will agree that there are upsides and there are downsides to expat living. 

Missing family events is a big one.

But we have to keep looking for the more positive side to our daily lives, to get us through some of the rough patches and enjoy the upsides where and when possible.

The highlited links above are to blog posts that maybe of interest.
First photo was taken three years ago today (February 9 2007) and the last photo was taken in August 2009 for our 30th Wedding Anniversary.

now I will wait and see what the next three years will bring .........


Tanya said...

Wow you have travelled!
We left NZ for similar reasons and it was a conscious decision to leave (not because we were being told to by a company)which I think helps keep the 'homesickness' in check. We also left knowing while one day we may return to NZ it wont be to where we used to live and although we kept a house there it is not our home -just a rental. Like you I miss people but being an Adult Third Culture Kid who spent the first 10 yrs of my life here in Asia I feel much more Kiwi outside of New Zealand. We too are going to keep doing this for as long as we can- hopefully we'll get to live in a few more fabulous places before we are all done :)

Leone Fabre said...

Spot on Tanya .... we also left Melbourne because we wanted to, not because the company wanted us here in Singapore.

We are not 'packaged expats", we are on a local wage and not on any contract. So it was our own decision to uproot ourselves and move here.

Melbourne really is no longer our 'hometown' .. we have property there too ... but not our hearts.

We will probably move to Australia 'one day' but I cannot see myself living in Melbourne.... I have lived in Canada, US and here .. and realise that I can now live permanently elsewhere, it does not need to be where I was born.

I just love SE Asia and hope that we can stay here for a few more years yet ... who knows? Maybe we will also meet one day!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your 3 year anniversary in Singapore. I liked your funny post on the kopitiam. Hope I can visit as many places as you!! I'm floored by the number of pins you have in your tripadvisor map!! By the way I walk my dog at Bt Batok too!! Happy Chinese New Year!

Unknown said...

WOW congrats on the 3 years anni.
My partner and I are actually from Melbourne. I'm hoping to visit Singapore to show my Partner where i grew up. I saw you ad in house sitter, hopefully we can somehow get to singapore by april.
Anyway Congratulations again

GothicScarlet said...

Stumbled upon your website - and like WOW. I would really love to move over to Australia! Loved the pace of life there - loved the scenery and all the natural beauty of lakes, mountains etc... but Singapore is pretty small and compact, easy for us to get from one point to another - pretty polluted too on the roads if you ask me :)