i can't believe it's been 10 years since i left Singapore as a wide-eyed girl in my teens not knowing what to expect about living overseas and away from my family.
i started college and had a blast with my newfound freedom - i learned to make friends, cook, make my own decisions (sometimes staying up till too late and then regretting it in class the next day), set my own curfew, etc.
(here are some photos from my transition: i loved looking through photos from freshman year)
my first apartment freshman year - the elms
freshman year in my first apartment, receiving my first package
freshman year room decoration - looks so sad haha
i actually really loved my roommates freshman year - 6 girls in a tiny apartment but everyone was so nice and we had so much fun together!
went on my first road trip and forgot to tell my roommates (also didn't have a cellphone then) so they freaked out haha
spent many random late nights at IHOP whenever the boys were hungry cause IHOP is open 24 hours
experienced my first corn maze
took up ballroom dancing
experienced snow for the first time
went sledding for the first time
and then i got my first big girl job and started on a path of responsibilities and paying my own bills, getting my own apartment, furniture, etc.
how has it been 5 1/2 years since i started this amazing job
if you can dream it, you can do it!
building my own bed frame
it has not been an easy adventure.
there have been challenges along the way but it has been an amazing adventure.
living overseas has been one of the best decisions of my life.
i've learned so much about myself, learned to be independent and learned what's important in life and how to navigate through life (with lots of good food, travels and solid friends).
as much as America will always have a special place in my heart (no matter how i complain about certain things), it's time for home.
needless to say, i'm extremely nervous.
i have not lived at home for a long time and a lot of things have changed.
not to mention, i've never worked in Singapore or lived adult life in Singapore.
what credit card should i get? should i get a car and how do i go about that?
while people my age know how to navigate their way around adult life in Singapore, i'm literally starting from the beginning and that can be scary.
there is a lot of navigating that remains ahead.
but my family and friends are still here and at least i know how to use the MRT haha.
but whatever lies ahead, my motto in life has always been, "it's an adventure!/adventure is out there."
so here we go.
it won't be easy (life isn't easy) but i hope people are kind along the way.
and honestly, looking at photos from my first year in college and remembering how much fun i had along the way while adapting to a whole new country and culture, i'm optimistic.
a lot of people have asked me why i'm giving up the life i have in the U.S. to move back and why now?
if you know me well, home has always been my ultimate goal.
along the way, i think people started to doubt that i would ever move home because year after year went by and i continued to work here.
there have been many points in my career that i was like okay i think this year is the year.
but time and time again, God told me, "not yet."
and so i waited.
last year after my trip back to Singapore for CNY, i felt a strong longing feeling that okay i'm done, i really want to go home.
and so i started the job hunt process.
but honestly, since i was always so busy at work and with social stuff, i would literally just apply for a handful of jobs here and there.
and really wasn't putting enough effort into it - typing up a cover letter quickly or just applying for all the jobs that only required you to submit your resume and fill up a short application.
and then suddenly at the beginning of the year, i had two really good opportunities come up and i was in full interview prep mode.
since all my interviews were scheduled for when i was back in Singapore for CNY, i felt like i couldn't even really enjoy myself properly.
everything went by so fast and the reality that i could be moving back to Singapore not long after my CNY vacation actually really scared me.
it was almost like i started having cold feet and wasn't sure if i was doing the right thing anymore.
then the job offers came in and i could not sleep well or feel good about making a decision.
it was a horrible time but i finally decided to just press forward.
having the last two months to prep for my return home was amazing.
i don't feel the same anxiety i did anymore and time has helped me ease into everything.
i'm still slightly nervous (which is normal) but i'm excited for the adventure that lies ahead.
needless to say, there are many things i'm going to miss.
i lived in the U.S. for 10 years and we all know 10 years is a long time.
my friends asked me what i'm going to miss the most.
for sure that would be my little sister who is still living in the states (it's been so fun being roommates and doing everything together).
and then my friends said besides her since that's a given.
you know what, i'm definitely going to miss my car and driving on wide roads the most haha.
but, i'm also going to miss (not in any particular order): non-humid weather (hello sticky sweaty singapore haha), non-oily hair, my walk-in closet, $5 movies in the luxury recliner seats movie theaters, the dollar movie theater, my own office (hello office cubicle sigh), late night/last minute grocery runs, the freedom to drive to a friend's house late at night, dinner parties with friends, my amazing coworkers, the best boss ever, long weekend trips to LA/NYC, temple trips, unlimited data, cheap baking ingredients (i will never bake again because a block of cream cheese in Singapore is like $5), not sweating like mad when baking (again, i will never bake again), cheap gas, game nights with my friends, cheap and good shopping, american work culture, gospel-focused friends and so much more. i couldn't possibly list everything.
thank you to the country that taught me to always be appreciative of good asian food, to learn how to cook the singaporean food i couldn't find here, to learn how to deal and negotiate with car salesmen, that gave me the best of friends over the years, that helped me learn to serve in my callings in church, that gave me the best first job experience and the best bosses and coworkers ever, that allowed me to visit Disneyland at least once a year as well as some of my favorite places like NYC, and many more. the list is endless.
i didn't tell a lot of people about this big decision in my life, simply because i consider myself to be a somewhat private person and didn't feel like i needed to broadcast it.
so if i didn't get to say bye to you in person, here's my announcement/goodbye.
thank you to everyone who made time to see me before i left, and for all the notes, gifts and kind words.
love the shih siblings!
sophomore year roommates - 10 years ago!
Disney girls reunion (missing Tawni)
BFFs. as we were going our separate ways, we were like, 'we've lived apart before, we can do this' hahahaha
going to miss our monthly fish outings
we will keep in touch! and baby Liam, please don't grow up too fast!
my second family <3
who's going to play games with me now?
the sweetest girl! i'm going to continue stalking your IG so make sure you post lots of instastories haha
on my last day of work, my boss wouldn't let me pack and go home alone because she didn't want me to walk out alone. so she stayed and waited for me :)
when you're great friends and show up to the same place at the same time haha
see you in Asia!
these girls <3<3<3
everyone, please come visit me in Singapore!
i seriously think one of the best things in life is continually crossing paths in different places in different points of my life.
my friends always like to tease me about literally always having a friend in any city i travel to.
and you know what, i love that!
we all move on in life and move apart but i always love those moments when we find ourselves in the same city and can catch up.
so, don't be a stranger.
ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE