Simply because I feel like I’m still in this limbo phase. Still waiting for things to… get there.
I’m not saying that things are not good. They’re just very… different.
Of course I had expectations that things would be hard and that there would be some adjusting and getting used to life here.
But honestly, there were so many things that I didn’t even expect or know to expect.
I guess I’m a lot more westernized (or used to the American way of doing things) than I thought.
Who was I kidding when I thought I would fit right back in haha.
I think the fact that I was born and raised in Singapore almost makes it worse – because fellow Singaporeans see me and they see that I speak Singlish, I get (some) Singaporean things, yet at the same time, I don’t understand certain references or have no idea how the banks work here.
It’s almost like I have an identity crisis haha.
Thankfully my friends and coworkers are very understanding and totally get it when I don’t get certain things.
But I think sometimes it still takes them by surprise haha.
I’m trying to think about how to write about my struggles but I don’t even know where to begin really.
I guess let’s start with work since that takes up most of my time all day every day.
Work is okay – very different from what I’m used to in the U.S. for sure.
The things that I was most worried about at the beginning were waking up early and surviving the long commute to and from work.
And guess what, those have been the easiest things to do haha.
I thought I would have to go to bed at 10:30 p.m. every night in order to wake up on time and be able to function with sufficient sleep haha.
Surprisingly, I have not had a hard time waking up even if I go to bed close to midnight (not sure how that is possible because I’ve always been an I-can-only-function-if-I’ve-had-8-hours-of-sleep kind of person).
The commute has also not been that bad because the train ride is pretty quick since there’s the circle line now.
I also just pass the time catching up on shows on my phone.
Sometimes I get to work and I’m like that was fast/dang it I still want to watch this episode haha.
The things I struggle with more are work culture and learning a lot of things from scratch again.
At Penna Powers, I finally got to a point where I was familiar with all the internal processes and how to do things.
It was comfortable and I’ve long forgotten what it’s like to be new at a company.
And needless to say, I dislike being new, not knowing what to do and feeling like I’m always bugging my coworkers.
Also, government acronyms and lingos and what not. O.M.G. haha.
I was dying at the start also because I wasn't used to having so much free time but things have since picked up and I'm getting there.
The other big adjustment has to be personal space/freedom?
I’m not sure I’m using the right words but in the U.S., I was used to the fact that we all did our own thing for lunch.
Of course, I’m sure it was due to the fact that the account managers all had very different schedules with client meetings and what not.
But I got used to just having my lunch at my desk (okay why does this sound so sad and pathetic haha) by myself on my own time or running errands on my own during lunch time.
It sounds weird but I’m not used to going out with coworkers for lunch every day at a set time. But at the same time, I feel anti-social if I don’t join.
But this is getting better and I really do enjoy chatting and eating with my coworkers during lunchtime and then just leaving early if I need to run errands, etc.
And I think maybe it’s due to the fact that I used to have my own office but I have a hard time functioning in a noisy environment where everyone is always talking even when you’re on the phone and trying hard to hear over the noise.
Also, not to sound like I’m complaining, but I was really shocked at how there are no before/after work hours or weekend boundaries.
There are many many Whatsapp group chats and there is an expectation that you will respond even if you’re off work.
I remember there was one night after work and I was at the gym when someone from an organization we work with called me.
I didn’t answer the phone call since I was running. Right after, a text message came in.
In the U.S., people don’t call or text you after hours if it’s not urgent. And this question was definitely not urgent. He could definitely have just sent me an email or contacted me the next day.
It feels a little suffocating and like I mentioned previously, I appreciate personal space and balance.
But it’s just one thing that I will have to get used to.
There are many more work-related things that I’m having a hard time with but I think I’ll leave that in my personal journal in order not to sound like I’m criticizing or complaining too much.
And honestly, people who are used to working in Singapore probably can’t even understand why I find these things hard to deal with.
So it’s kind of hard to share these things with others as well because I simply get blank stares.
One thing I have to be most grateful for is the fact that my bosses and coworkers are all really nice.
I’ve heard horror stories of some Singapore bosses literally yelling at their employees and so I have to count my blessings really.
And also, since I work in communications, there are a lot of girls and you know how girls can be bitchy.
But you know what, all the girls I work with are so great and fun!
We have a group chat that we have hilarious and random conversations in outside work and it’s a fun way to connect.
These are coworkers you will hang out with outside of work as well and to me that’s awesome.
In terms of life outside of work, it’s been quite an adventure trying to figure out what to do with myself during public holidays or on the weekends.
I have a core group of friends from JC (high school) that I still hang out with but they too have their own lives (that they’ve built over the years and are used to not having me around for basically all year) and can’t just hang out with me all the time.
Besides me, they have their university friends, their past coworkers or just other friendships that they have built up over the past 10 years I was in the U.S.
And I just feel like weekend time is so precious that I feel like I’m imposing (so weird I know haha) because they probably want to spend it with other core groups of friends who have always been physically here over the years/they’ve established a pattern of hanging out with other people over the years.
I feel like there’s a huge gap for me that I won’t be able to fill in terms of the number of friends I have and hang out with in Singapore. I too have made great friends over the past 10 years, just that now I live many many miles apart from them.
I’m not saying that I had a lot of friends while I was in the U.S. but I had different friends to meet up with on different weekends, and I never felt like I didn’t have stuff to do on the weekends.
It’s like I lost out on years that I could have made friends in Singapore and thus the gap haha.
And it’s not that I don’t have stuff to do on the weekends too.
I do run errands with my parents, etc. but something about it feels very different from life in the states.
I miss dinner parties and game nights – things that I won’t host much now because I no longer live on my own/it’s too hot to cook in Singapore, etc.
Things are also just slightly more inconvenient without a car because I can’t just drive out to do something – it just feels like it’s much harder to be spontaneous on the whole or even want to plan something haha (sorry if I sound like a spoiled brat haha).
On the up side, I’ve actually had many friends who I have not kept in close contact with over the past 10 years who have reached out to me to catch up.
And it’s been really heartwarming. It’s also been super good to catch up even if it’s been 10 years. 10 years is a long time but it’s amazing how we can still connect, talk for hours and have common growing experiences to share.
So if any of you want to catch up, let me know! I would love to catch up even if it’s been years.
The best part (and the main reason why I moved home anyway) has definitely been being close to family again.
The loneliest thing about living overseas is not having family close by and always feeling like you’re just not at home.
Living at home again is an adjustment because it’s so different from living on your own and having that independence.
But I do enjoy coming home and chatting with my parents about my day and random things that happened.
Or just simply eating dinner together or watching TV together.
I usually meet my mother at the train station after work and then we would gym together after work.
We also make it a point to do family dinners every Friday.
Honestly, nothing beats living at home with family even if sometimes we get on each other’s nerves haha.
Also, I’ve forgotten how spoilt Asian kids are haha.
Every morning my mother makes it a point to prepare our breakfast for us so I literally finish getting ready, come out, take my breakfast and water bottle (filled and prepared for me on the table by my mother again) and just leave haha.
And then my daddy buys dinner at night, my mother does the laundry for us, etc.
We Asian kids literally don’t do anything…
I always offer to help iron the clothes, etc. but my mother always just tells me to go rest.
It’s just funny how I want her to rest and she wants me to rest.
I guess that’s just how our parents show love for us.
I do my best to be appreciative and not take things for granted – I really hope I don’t just get used to it again and then become an ungrateful brat.
Anyway, so that’s how my transition’s been going in a nutshell haha.
Some days I still somehow forget that I’m back for good.
It still feels like I’m just back home visiting even though it’s been almost two months and I’ve established a living pattern here.
And some days I feel so frustrated because I don’t know the supposedly simple things of life like when I should tap my credit card for PayWave or when I’m supposed to hand my credit card to the cashier for payment?
These small things make me feel so much like a foreigner haha.
But I’m sure I’ll get there and just need to be patient.
I can almost feel like it’s better each day.
I’ll return with an update on the whole transition in a few months :)
and here are some photos from the past two months to end off this super long post:
last unemployed friday before work started
quick bintan getaway for mother's day
that morning commute // everyday after my workout - the drip is real hahaha
my all time favorite mochi donut with mango sticky rice soft serve
my first official work event
celebrating my daddy's birthday
finally got to try man man!
rooftop bar view
work birthday celebration
one of our weekly friday night dinners - at nakhon kitchen
reunited with my favorite duck rice
i get to play with this kid every sunday now
lunch party with the jc friends over hari raya puasa
apparently my house is a good place to sleep at haha
cone of shame hahaha
watching incredibles 2 at the platinum movie suite
"let's eat brown things today" hahaha
on site visits at our different properties // accidental OOTD with my unglam water bottle gracing the photo hahaha
presents from taiwan