People are asking me how I'm settling in. I gotta tell ya, like a duck to water, baby, a duck to water. Most of you reading this probably remember the way my face would screw up and my voice would crack when you asked how I liked Switzerland in the early days. I felt isolated and unable to communicate, even with some of the other English speakers. At this point I haven't felt even remotely that way in Singapore. I know there will be transitions, but right here, right now, life here feels incredibly normal.
The most immediate thing I've had to learn here is to make sure I look the correct way crossing the street and walk on the correct side of the sidewalk. I am anxious to learn more of the local customs, but it is hard to know where to start when the local customs cover Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Malay and lots of others. The great thing? I can ask and read about them IN ENGLISH!
While people aren't randomly hugging me, there is plenty of small talk. I've been asked about Auggie numerous times, asked for directions and best yet, an elderly Chinese woman asked me to reach for cookies on the highest shelf in the grocery store. Another kind woman taught me how to use the fully-automated dry-cleaning closet.
The British influence is still very strong here. It can be seen in the restaurants (fish & chips), the street names (Clarke Street) and even the shops (Hello Marks & Spencers and Topshop!) When you see another expat they are typically British with the Aussies not far behind.
The thing that has surprised me most is how beautiful I find the island. I've never been a city girl, but the skyline at night is impressive.
I had never thought I would find man-made stuff particularly cool, but the originality is stunning.
|Marina Bay Sands by day|
|The Marina Bay Sands infinity pool by night|
|Gardens by the Bay|
and natural beauty...
Oh, another adjustment for me to make. See those mosquito sculptures? Those are life size replicas when pest control has not been maintained.
The heat has not bothered either of us, though Auggie is suffering. The coolest it has been is around 78 degrees...in the middle of the night. We try to walk early, a very quick mid-day outing and another walk around the block at night. The air-conditioning is left on mainly for her. That might change once we are paying for our utilities. None of my sources hyperbolized the humidity. It hovers around 90% while sometimes dipping down to 80%. Locals have told us we arrived during the "cool" season. I'll keep you posted on the "hot" season.
I've already applied for a few jobs, one out of my reach because I do not speak Mandarin, but the majority of positions I've seen do not have language requirements.
So that's where we are our second week arrival anniversary. Mr. Shoe is settling in nicely with work and we've found an apartment we like and have made a move on it. Until then, I have learned when to be gone so that Housekeeping can clean our serviced apartment.
Things wrapped up well in Swissyland, things are going well in Singapore. We know we didn't do it on our own, we know we are incredibly blessed. I know that I have to avoid falling back into routines that can spiral down quickly. Showering, writing and taking photos are good steps in making sure I take care of myself. Letting myself enjoy an easier life as an expat is also important. Finding a doctor is the most important step in remaining healthy and this isn't my first rodeo. I'm not spending these first months planning my escape. It's time to make Singapore another one of my homes.
Now if you'll excuse me, it's time to head to the pool on a Monday that feels like a Saturday. Me and the Dowager Countess of Grantham do have this in common. Weekends?!