Before I had children, my company sent me to London for a two-week business trip (or secondment, as they so fancily called it) to fill in for one of my counterparts in public relations who was away on her honeymoon. Not only was it my first time in the U.K., it was my first time to travel internationally by myself.
I had a bit of a rocky start, thanks to a mix-up with my hotel, which landed me in a NON-AIRCONDITIONED room during a midsummer heat wave. And I swear the hotel looked just like the one in The Shining, although the elevators didn’t start bleeding, thankfully. Everything in the city was different—the hotel, the food, the complicated subway (or tubes) system, and the accents that I sometimes had a hard time understanding.
One foot after another…
After my jet lag wore off, I started exploring the city after work each day. Because it was July, it didn’t get dark until after 10 pm, and so I walked everywhere. One day, my sightseeing walk randomly took me by a beautiful Anglican church in the heart of the city, and I was just in time to pop in and attend a service. When the choir sang the first song, “One More Step Along the World I Go,” I knew it was no coincidence that I had walked by that church.
That song became my anthem for my two-week business trip, and I no longer felt like the lonely little traveler. Gratitude and awe replaced frustration and nervousness, and I fell in love not just with London, but also with experiencing the unfamiliar.
Fast-forward 10+ years, and my husband’s job has taken my family and me even farther away from home. And instead of two weeks, it’s two+ years, and this time I’m literally on the other side of the world… in Singapore! We now have the title of expats, short for expatriots, since we’re living outside our home country.
So our expat adventure has begun, and I’m roughly 10,000 miles away from home. But I don’t feel like I’m hitting the pause button on my life and career. I’m trying to embrace this opportunity to see more, learn more and write more about our venture beyond the familiar to a new city, new climate, and new culture.
Small hurdles, big hurdles
We’ve been in Singapore for three weeks, and I won’t lie and say everything has been easy so far. Being so far away from our family and friends is hard and we miss them dearly. Also, there’s a significant learning curve because there are (of course) so many differences between life in Texas and in Singapore: the kitchen appliances (completely different!), the light switches (off is up and on is down), and the biggie for me—driving on the left side of the road and on the right side of the car. Even the windshield wiper and turn signal levers are on opposite sides!
Also, as I’m writing this post, I’m trying to tune out the continuous jack-hammering noise coming from the floor above me. Our condo’s management office reassured us that the demolition work would “only” last from 9am-3pm Monday through Friday, for three weeks. Thank goodness for that.
But, in my new world where everything right is left and down is up, I’ve become a mad-crazy Googler, searching for everything from “is pink meat inside dumplings safe to eat” to “where to pick up mail packages when Singpost doesn’t leave them at your door because you weren’t there because you left your condo due to ear-splitting jack-hammering noises.”
In all of my Googling, I’ve come across some amazing websites out there with info about Singapore, such as Sassy Mama Singapore and Expat Living Singapore. And, before I moved here, my fellow Singapore expat friend, Toni, gave me the book The Expats’ Guide to Singapore. Seriously, for anyone moving here, this should be the FIRST thing you pack in your suitcase. It’s loaded with great information and it’s written in a fun, relatable style.
…Cue the music…
So if my expat adventure had a theme song, there would be no song more fitting than the sweet hymn I heard at the quaint church in London years ago. Check out Billy Doze’s version of “One More Step Along the World I Turn.” I’d love to hear what you think about it!
My top five alternative theme songs for our expat adventure:
- Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot
- Walking on Sunshine
- Who’ll Stop the Rain?
- Bright Lights Big City
- Lost in the Rain
Thanks for stopping by!