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.
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.