I thought tomorrow (the 19th) was our 2 year anniversary here in Singapore, but according to this post, it was today. Which highlights nicely how quickly time flies, how unreliable memory is, and how crap I am at basic skills like reading a calendar.
Two years ago today, I was wondering around Singapore in a jet lagged haze while Ravi was at work. I would move our belonging into a serviced apartment (and the very next day into a different serviced apartment after the first was bug infested-fun times!). I remember staring stupidly and blurrily at Orchard Road, and having no clue where anything was in relation to anything else.
Today Ravi headed off to work (okay, so his life isn’t all that different than two years ago). Ellie had crawled into our bed at some point in the night, and I woke up with a three year old snuggled up against me (which is actually something I really enjoy, even if it means I get a grand total of 2 inches or so of bed) and the six month old starting to stir. We hung out in our apartment (surrounded by our stuff, as opposed to the serviced apartment and a multitude of suitcases full of stuff). I took Ellie to school, where we met up with my friend Claire. Claire, Rhi and I drove over to the Titanic Exhibit at the ArtScience Museum–it was my 2nd time and Claire’s first (see my review here–only in Singapore for two more weeks!) Then we picked Ellie up from school. We chatted with other moms and some of the teachers who had to come coo over Rhiannon. After parting ways with Claire, Ellie and I picked up some supplies from the grocery store and headed home. Dinner. TV. Bathtime. Storytime. Bedtime.
I could go into some long-winded sincere post about how different life is from two years ago.
Instead, I’m going to talk about the shallow ways in which Singapore has changed me. These are totally off the cuff, and in no way comprehensive or in any sort of order.
Another Day, Another Maserati
Granted, I’ve never been a “car person,” so to speak, but I would stop and stare at the random sports cars I ran into in my previous life. I’d hear the purr of a sports car engine and my heart would give a small flip of envy.
In Singapore, sports cars (and not just sports cars–Maserati’s, Ferrari’s, etc) are so ubiquitous that I barely even register them. Or if I do register a sports car, my far more frequent and irritated reaction is “gee, I wish I were important enough to have a car so freaking loud I can hear you drag racing down my street at 1am from the sixth floor!” Having a car is so expensive in the first place, that if you’re going to own a car, I guess you might as well own a Bentley?
So what grabs my attention in the car department these days? There are two (or maybe 3) London style taxis; one of them bright pink. It just makes my day to see one. I’ve seen maybe 3 Priuses (Priuii? What’s the plural of Prius?) which makes them stand out, whereas back home they were a super common sight. Claire and I also once saw a perfectly made up woman riding a vespa with stilettos on (something we were both awed by and admitted we could never replicate ourselves), which was fairly impressive.
But a Maserati? Meh–see those all the time.
I’m never going to remember which is the wiper blades baton and which is the directional
After driving on both sides of the road for so long, I have no clue what side of the car I’m supposed to get into, and I still occasionally screw up my wiper blades and directional–which has taught Elanor all sorts of colorful words and terms.
I hate closed-toe shoes now
I have always enjoyed a good sandal in the summertime. But in Boston, at least for half the year if you don’t cover your toes you’re going to lose them to frostbite. However, in the equatorial heat of Singapore, a closed toed shoe makes your foot feel like it’s dying slowly in a sauna. Socks and closed toed shoes begin to gather dust as you strap on flip flops and sandals.
On my most recent trip home, even though it was very chilly, my toes felt like they were being held hostage by my sneakers and boots. Pointy toed heels did me in the night of the Wicked Gala with Kirsten, and she can attest to the fact that on the walk back to the taxi, I had to step out of my shoes or I was going to have to crawl to the cab stand.
As you might expect, given that I live in flip flops, my toe nails are far more nurtured than they were in the US. I will grant that the state of my post-partum toes is tragic, but dudes, I had a baby six months ago–I feel lucky I shower most days. But before the baby, they were kept pretty with regular pedicures (some in nail salons, some self-done).
I am pathetically grateful when I can return something
In the US, I have a hard time thinking of anyone who doesn’t accept returns. In Singapore, I have the inverse problem. So I have to be far more careful about purchases, as they are permanent. (Witness my dishwasher FAIL of English vs English)
When I go home, I’ll confess sometimes I buy things just so I can return them for the novelty of it all.
I realize it’s a safety measure and I should be grateful that Singapore is trying to keep my identity from being stolen, and blah blah blah…Verified by Visa is a pain in the ass.
For those lucky enough to not know it, Verified by Visa is a process by which whenever you shop online, the purchase isn’t finalized until you enter a pin number sent to your phone. This makes shopping online, whether for 9 dollar movie tickets or 900 dollar airfare a giant pain in the ass. Especially if you have a joint card, but have not yet set both of your cellphones up (which meant for a few months, I had to call Ravi for the pin).
I have no clue what people without cellphones do in this situation. Seriously–does anyone know? Now that I’ve posed the question, I really really want to know the answer!
What’s a weather report?
The weather in Singapore is so consistent that I don’t ever think about what I might need to wear. I live in shorts, a tank top, and flip flops. End of story. The only thing that affects how I dress the girls is the intensity of the air conditioning at our destination.
This has and will continue to result in a sartorial comedy of errors when I travel outside of Singapore.
What is this jack-et of which you speak?
I quite literally can’t seem to wrap my head around “weather” and that it varies in other places. Witness me trying to pack for our trip to Australia…first I need to convert all the temps into Farenheit, and then I try to remember what they feel like and what sort of clothing that might call far. Anyone who wants to lay bets on us having to buy one or two things because I screw it up may as well start the pool now.
I’m always going to be able to identify durian blindfolded
Once smelled and tasted, durian is something that sticks with you for life. A waft of stinky gym socks moldering in a plastic bag for a month will always make me nostalgic for Singapore.