This post is may be a month overdue, but better late than never.
Last June did not only mark the 5th wedding anniversary for my husband and I, but also marked my 5th year living in Singapore. Obviously, not on the same date. I got married on June 1, 2007 in Jakarta, but I did not move to Singapore until the third week of that month, for which I started my first day at work about a week after my move. Hubby had moved here 1.5 years earlier.
This post is not about my anniversary, but about living in Singapore. 5 years! Wow! Although from the beginning, we foresee that we would be living here for the longest time, I still can’t believe that 5 years had passed. It seems like only yesterday that I came to Singapore, eager with a new status and a new role at work, then blink! I have 2 kids now, had purchased an apartment, moved to another role at work (though still working at the same company), had a change of maids twice, had a change of cars twice, and so on and so forth. Wow, yes, 5 years. By next year, I’ll be living here as long as I’ve lived in Jakarta for straight years (I lived 6 straight years in Jakarta then 2.5 years after I returned from US). Within the next 3 years, if I’m still in Singapore, it will become city that I’ve lived the longest time in all of my life.
I’ve moved around so much since I was young. My dad moved us to many different places in such a short time, mostly in Kalimantan island. From west to east, from small villages to big cities. Not until I completed my elementary school in Balikpapan that I moved to Jakarta. Stayed there for six straight years, then moved to United States to continue my school after graduated high school. Even in the US, I moved around to three different cities in three different states. New York City becomes the longest city I’ve lived so far, being there for about 7 years in total.
Nonetheless, I still call Indonesia my home, New York city as my second home and Singapore as my real home, cuz that’s where my physical home lies.
Obviously you know how much I love NYC. This blog started while I was living there and everytime I miss NYC, I can just flipped through the old posts and relive those times I was there. I wrote so many stories about NYC, my love (and sometimes hatred) toward the city, but I never do the same with Singapore. I wonder why. Maybe because I’m not that interested to explore the city? Or maybe because I don’t have much time to explore the city like I used to when I was still single and had plenty of time to explore NYC.
Actually, Singapore is like the mini version of NYC. It’s a melting pot of different races, Chinese being is the largest occupants. The infrastructure for transportation is good, organized, and efficient, just like NYC and there are always new and interesting things going on around the corner. I may not necessarily able to see all of them now that I have kids, but it’s always nice to have that options.
Just like NYC, Singapore also has many museums and parks. People here have healthy lifestyle where you would see them jogging or do sports in every corner of the parks. Eating out is also part of their culture. You’d see many eating places everywhere, though even after 5 years, I’m still not fond of Singapore’s taste buds. Still a bit weird for me, so eating out is not as enjoyable as it was when I was still in NYC. Great thing is I have a maid here, so eating in during weekdays is still good, and I don’t have to cook it myself after work haha..
Compared to Jakarta, Singapore obviously offers a better living condition for me and my family. when I was working in Jakarta, I have to leave the house at 6AM to reach the office by 8AM, then go home around 8-9PM to beat the traffic. By the time I got home, I was so dead tired. Not just from work, but also from the traffic .. so tired that all I want to do is sleep. Weekends are mostly spent staying at home doing nothing, recharging from the busy and hectic weekdays. And that was when I was still single.
Now that I have family, I can’t imagine living with that condition. Therefore, I’m just very grateful to be living here in Singapore, where I can still have time to do my run in the morning before I go to work. Drop my daughter to school in the morning and pick her up from school in the evening while still keeping a full time work at the office and some scattered hours at home. I can be at home quite early after work so I can still spend time with my daughters, watch some TV, do some extra work, relaxing before I go to sleep. I’m not dead tired when I reached at home from work. Weekends will be filled with tons of activities, in and outside of the house and still feel refreshed by Monday.
So yes, for now, I’m grateful to be in Singapore. It has been such a fruitful 5 years. Of course, there are a lot of things I can complain about this country. From the rising prices everywhere, wreckless drivers (seriously! but then again, they are everywhere in the world), the tasteless foods (tho I managed to like some of the local favorites, if I order it right). But most of them are nothing compared to the ones I get better off, like clean air (most of the time, when there aren’t burned forests in Sumatra), safe neighborhood (though doesn’t mean there are no crimes), and less traffic! (yes, there are traffic jams in Singapore, just not as bad as in Jakarta. And most of the times even at the heaviest traffic, it still flows)
I can see that I will grow to love it here. After all, it is where my daughters know as their home. It’s where they were born. Even Naia is speaking with the Singlish accent now. After 5 years, even I pick up the accent when I need to speak with the locals. Cuz we believe, local accent is a key to survival. Many people thought that Singlish accent is the worst accent in the world, well, same goes with American country accents. They’re also really bad or even the accent from those people who lives in the Northern Ireland where you can’t even understand what they gorgle out of their mouth. Yet, it’s not about the accent, it’s about how you understand them and they undersand you, so you can live your life peacefully day by day.
As much as I want to correct their grammar every day, I also realize that who am I to correct their local dialect, an accent that they were brought up with, the unique thing about them? English is also not my first language. I’m sure you can find so many grammatical errors from what I wrote. Just as they cannot slap the Indonesian out of me and how much I love the sambal and spicy food, no matter how long I’ve lived here.
At the end, it’s your own personality, your own being. I’m just happy to be here, providing a good quality life for my children. And I want to get the best out of it.. for the many many years to come.