I find myself asking a lot of questions of people who have been here longer than I have …Questions like:
Is it safe to walk at night in this area?
Is the food good over at that part of town?
What’s the shopping centre like where you are?
Can I get X item here?
No matter what the question is, the answer always seems to be the same:
I always laugh at that, and then I try to explain that yes, I know it’s Singapore, but what does that mean?
It’s a way of life, of having what you want (if you’re prepared to pay for it), and of being safe and taken care of. My meals are cooked for me, I can walk on a dark street late at night and be relatively safe (as the local police say, low crime doesn’t mean no crime), and things are cheap enough over here that I can jump in a taxi when I’m running late (but not enough that I’m allowed to run late more than twice a month). It’s Singapore.
I think I’m coming to understand what it means to be in Singapore. I still have little moments when I feel a sudden sense of awareness that I’m in Singapore. I arrived with a flurry of chaos and activity around packing up and arriving that now I’m actually settled (well, as much as a nomad like me can be) it’s strange to think this is Singapore, and I’m here, and I’m going to be here for a long time (remembering that, to me, more than one month of committment is a darn long time).
People ask me if I’m settling in well or if I need anything or if I miss anything … Well, I feel perfectly at home. Sure, there are days when I miss my cat (seriously, I really miss my cat), crave a cup of coffee with a friend, or have a moment of confusion when I go to pour two cups of tea and discover my mother isn’t at my elbow asking if I remembered the sweeteners, but overall I really do feel perfectly at home.
I mean, come on … It’s Singapore.