03 March 2012

project 52: a great leap

Well, the time has come. We're not even close to being ready. But even my hairdresser has banished the faux sun-kissed blonde from my locks in preparation for our return to the UK, so there's no turning back now.

Moving to Singapore in 2010 was a great leap for us, a family who had never lived abroad, and knew not a thing or a body in this tiny island in the South China Sea. Honestly, I'm not even sure that we knew it was an island in the South China Sea. But our great leap paid off a hundred times over and we've had the most wonderful experience.

the morning the packers came, no-one can possibly need this much kitchen ware... can they?

eighty one boxes later...
I had planned lots of posts detailing our Singapore highlights, so that I will remember them for more than about two days after we leave. The best places to eat, the best places to shop, the best places to drink coffee and our favourite little hidden, off-the-radar places to drink cocktails. But time has run out, so I guess it's suffice to say: if you're stopping over in Singapore for any reason and don't know your way about, leave me message and I'll give you the lowdown... if I can remember it.

In short, in Singapore I have learned:
  1. how to stay presentable while eating noodle soup with chopsticks while wearing a white shirt
  2. that there is a caveat to lesson one: choose your noodles wisely. Ramen or wanton mee = childsplay, pho and udon = trickier, la mian = almost impossible, and laksa = don't even try it, especially if you have to share your table with a stranger (which is quite usual in Singapore). You will ruin that busy businessman's shirt for ever 
  3. that it's curiously impossible to avoid getting a bit weepy at the National Day Parade song - even when it's not your own nation
  4. how to design and draw fine jewellery
  5. more fascinating and heartbreaking history than during my whole previous 30 years - if you've never heard of the Fall of Singapore, I urge you to read Tanamera by Noel Barber, or A Different Sky by Meira Chand
  6. that hor fun is a lip-lickingly indulgent dinner, not some kind of illegal activity, and nobody will snigger when you ask for some
  7. that Kampong Glam is the oldest, most historic and most stunning part of the city, and not a specialist nightclub
  8. that I love roti prata more than it loves me (plate full of fried lardy dough with curry sauce, indigestion much? Trust me, it has to be tried to be believed.)
  9. to take an umbrella - always take an umbrella - always
  10. that no matter how different your surroundings, you will remain, fundamentally, the same. So there's no point in saying "I'll do more xxx once I've moved house" or "I'd make more time for yyy if we lived in this place or that situation". Personally, I've found that my habits, my preferences, my style, my flaws and my abundant neuroses are exactly the same in Singapore as they are in Scotland. Enriched perhaps, with wider horizons certainly, but I haven't morphed into the smoothly tanned, svelte, stylish, relaxed, tropical uber-femme that I had in mind two years ago. Turns out, I'm still me. Bummer eh?!
In Singapore I have not:
  1. learned to love seafood - I really wish I had
  2. decided what the national sport is; between shopping and eating, it's just too close to call
  3. learned a single Chinese character or Mandarin phrase, much to my daughter's amusement
  4. lost a single pound; despite the onsite swimming pool and gym the scales remain steadfast (which I actually consider no small achievement given points 1, 2, 6 and 8 above)
  5. got to the bottom of the concept of "heatiness", a subject which I find endlessly fascinating
  6. had my eyebrows threaded, as my hairdresser assures me that it would make me cry
  7. eaten a durian
  8. learned to love the wildlife - ants, snakes, roaches, rats, monkeys, countless tail-less feral cats - I shan't miss even the very idea of you
  9. taken any of the photography classes I intended to - d'oh
  10. acclimatised; between March and October air con has been my most constant friend, albeit a fickle, cranky and financially demanding one who needs endless supervision and medical attention
So long Singa-ling, ta ta to the tai tai life, it's been fun... sniff.

    project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge my3boybarians.com


    1. Exciting to be coming home. It was a good and brave thing to move to such a different way of life for a while, but welcome back to the land of no air conditioning. Who knows how much you've changed - maybe you will start eating macaroni pies with curry sauce! I still have two boxes of kitchenware unpacked. xx

      1. Omg, I had totally forgotten about Mac pies... I can't wait to have one!!!

    2. you are one lucky woman that you have packers!!! and of course - you were lucky to have the great experience of living on an island - one i was lucky to have too when we lived on st. maarten for two years. i hope you enjoy your return home.

    3. 81 boxes stacked and ready is quite the sight to behold. I've never had packers to pack me, that must be so awesome. And yes one could totally need that much kitchen stuff. I don't think it is possible to have too much kitchen stuff.

    4. Good luck with your move back home! Transitions are always intense, so I hope it is a smooth one for you and your family! :)

    5. Good luck with your move..am looking forward to more pictures from you on your blog. It was great that you were able to have such a fun stay here in Singapore. I'm sure you will miss the food here.

    6. i look at the list of things you've learnt in singapore and can agree with almost all of them! point 9 about the umbrella sounds totally like my mum. i never learn though. i'm sorry you had to leave singapore, but I'm excited for your move back to scotland too! hope all goes well x

    7. that is a great leap! great pictures too!

    8. Your friends in Scotland are very excited to have you back! Xx

    9. No.6 on your what you have learned in Singapore list made me snort into my coffee. I must admit I had to suppress a giggle when I ordered my first hor fun.

    10. What an experience! Safe journeys back home..

    11. I hope that the move went well and as smoothly as possible – no matter how organised you try to be, time always just seems to disappear, particularly in those last few days!!
      Hopefully the return to wintery Scotland hasn't been too brutal a change from the tropics!


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