Red Dot Reflections

1/27/12

I'm still finding it hard to believe that we're about to head back to California for good, leaving Singapore and all the great friends we've made here. It was a little under a year and a half ago that I arrived in Singapore with Stan and Joe to join Jeff in our new home. This was the first time either of us had lived abroad, and the experience of living outside of the US had been life-changing. In a good way, of course. I really hope it's not the last time we live abroad because I've loved just about every second of it. 

One of the things I've learned is that home isn't necessarily a place, but a feeling. I used to always think "home" was our parents' houses, because it was where we always returned to. I've realized home is where you feel comfortable, surrounded by people and/or things you love. To me, home is wherever Jeff is. Right now I'm writing from my hotel bed, surrounded by Jeff and the dogs. This feels like home to me. 

Singapore has taught me how to pack light. I used to be the girl that always overpacked for really short trips. All our getaways out of Singapore on cheap regional airlines have taught me to cram a week's worth of clothes into a backpack to avoid paying to check my bags. Packing light can also be applied in a more philosophical way for us. We've both really learned to let go of things. Don't sweat the small shit. It's a work in progress and often easier said than done, but when it works it's incredibly cathartic. 

The Merlion

I feel as though I've become so much more independent now. I am no longer afraid to walk into a restaurant at dinnertime and ask for a table for one. I figure things out on my own much more than I used to. I've ventured all over this island on my own, often not knowing where I was going. This is not due to a lack of friends or resources; it's because I enjoy doing things on my own. I like facing the challenges that sometimes come with it. 

On the other hand, my relationship with Jeff has grown so much stronger in the past 17 months. Maybe it's because for the first year or so, we were still getting used to life abroad and we really had to rely on each other. We communicate a lot better now. A big thing we've worked on is our budgeting skills. I'd like to thank Singapore's expensive prices and crappy sales for helping with that. 

I guess worth mentioning is that my tolerance for spicy foods has increased dramatically. "But aren't you Mexican?" you might ask. Yeah, but as a kid my Mom used to tell us not to eat spicy food because she didn't want us to burn our mouths. We always ate really flavorful foods at home, but I generally stayed away from the spicy stuff. I didn't want to miss out on any of the great food I encountered while in Singapore, so I forced myself to get used to the heat. It's been worth the pain! Now I don't even think twice about ordering spicy foods on the menu. 

I'm sure over the next few months I'll reminisce about life in Singapore on the blog. I'll probably write about the repatriation process, too. Tomorrow we're moving back to our hometown, the city we lived in right before we moved to Singapore. Although San Jose will be pretty much the same as when we left, I think it's safe to say that we aren't. Jeff and I have learned a lot about ourselves and have become much more aware of our place in the world. We see things a bit differently now. And we owe it all to the great time we spent living on the Little Red Dot. 

20 comments:

  1. Have a safe flight back :) Looking forward to more blog posts

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  2. Have a safe trip back to San Jose! Too bad we didn't get to meet up again before you guys leave. You'll be missed!

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  3. i'm literally shaking i'm so excited... Can... not... wait!

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  4. I. Love. This. Post.

    Fren thank you for sharing the amazing internal transitions and growth you have made as a person on this planet :o) I remmy the questions, doubt, and fear people had about your move over to Singapore and I was super excited because I knew it would change you...and it has, for the better. I'm so glad to hear it! I hope you are changed forever and that you never keep still. There is much jeflo to be had around the world just as much as there is much world to be had for you both. I look forward to reading and listening live to your observations and analysis of this society as you read it with new and different eyes. Happy smooth flight today! See you very soon! I love yousss, all fours ;o)

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  5. What a lovely post. Yours was one of the first expat blogs I came across when we were researching moving here, so I always felt like you were a bit of a guide. Thanks for sharing your adventures so thoughtfully :) Safe travels and enjoy life back in California.

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  6. once again, another great post ..... sure am gonna miss you. Thanks for all the good times we spent together. But enjoy the new adventures that await you. L xxx

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  7. I'm really interested to hear about the positives and the negatives of repatriation.

    But we will miss you! Remember you have tons of friends here should you want to visit!

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    1. So far, it's been incredibly easy. I'll have to write about it. Our dogs took the move well, we're all moved in at our new (temporary) apartment, and we have a car. It really helps that we don't have much physical stuff to worry about.

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  8. Thta's a quick contract? <2 years?

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    1. We knew Jeff's work assignment would bring is here for about two years, so it's not like we were caught off guard. Now his work is taking him to the Bay Area again.

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  9. So sad you are going. I thought you were staying longer than 17 months. What happened? You did not have nearly enough time. Are you sad?

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    1. A little sad about leaving, especially leaving behind so many great people I met. I'm looking forward to new challenges and adventures though. Change is good.

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  10. Great post. And re: spicy food - I was the same! My friends and family still can't believe I'll actually reach for the tabasco now. Shame we never met up in Singapore but best of luck in California!

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  11. Great post and again best of luck with everything that lies ahead for you both - look forward to reading all about it!

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  12. What is your favourite spicy dish in Singapore?

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  13. Aww, Singapore won't be the same without you!

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  14. Goodbye, glad to e-know you and your lovely dogs. :)

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  15. loved that post flora.... i am sure you will always look back on your time in singapore with a smile on your face. living in asia, especially singapore with the rest of SEA just a short flight away, is wonderful! i enjoyed it so much.
    but as you say, change is good! hope you will have more adventures back home in san jose... :)

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