musings · Places

Notes from Singapore

I’m writing this post from Singapore. Here because of my partner’s work, am helping him out a bit. We are staying somewhere in the city centre, Chinatown area. Am delighted. Enjoying the bustling urban vibe, adorned with tidy green parks and sparkling waterfront views. We can see the Singapore Flyer from our window, a couple of shopping centres, some government offices. You can have fun here, lots of it, but the price tag attached to the lifestyle reminds you of the much needed hustling. True in every country, I know, but I suspect people here have to put in more hours.

I could live here, I told him, and we both imagined for a bit how would that be like. The only other time I said those words was when I was visiting New York, January 2015. A blizzard met me at the airport that made the shuttle ride last over an hour. Temperature dipped as low as negative nine during my stay. If that is not delusional, I don’t know what is.

At least, I recognize the delusion.

I live in a suburb close to Vancouver now, which is fairly desirable, reaching top ranks in livability surveys. My immediate family is there, met my partner there too. It’s home at the moment and I like it. But the truth is, ever since I left Manila in 2006, I have a looser notion of home. My loved ones are home. Writing is home. I’m generally attracted to cities, where you can get to the essentials and recreation by foot, where the population is huge, too busy to be nosing around in your business.

Here in Singapore, I find home in fresh seafood and tropical fruits, but the heat and humidity is making me long for the crisp Pacific Northwest air. I don’t even like winter, but I like wool coats with matching cap and gloves, scarf around my neck. Moist armpits and the back of my legs sticking to leather seats? Not so much.

I could live here–I mean it when I say this. But I say it too casually. Changing residences, getting acclimatized to a new culture, leaving loved ones behind, those things are hard. (I spent Christmas here–that was already slightly disorienting.) For now, I should just be a content and present tourist, happily finding pieces of home away from home. And be thankful for the opportunity to travel.


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