29 March 2011


My husband and I have explored most of New England and long for the day when we are able to settle down in Connecticut, Massachusetts or Maine. We love the history, the old (by America's definition) buildings, the scenery, the air, the food, the atmosphere. We want so badly to own a house on a body of water where the waves crash into the rocks like we saw all over Maine. We like the brisk air and the low humidity levels, and we like going to Cape Cod and Nantucket in the off season before all of the crazy tourists swarm. The changing leaves are such a sight in the fall as they change to amber, red and bright orange. And the buds on the trees as they bloom in the spring is one of my favorite images. 

From what we have learned, Singapore is nothing like New England. Singapore is hot all the time, it never snows, there are no seasons other than really wet and less wet and the humidity, we are told, will be more than we can bear from the moment we land on the island. Most would think that Singapore would be similar to its Asian counterparts like China, Thailand or Indonesia, but the city-state is quite westernized. In fact, Singapore is often referred to as "Asia 101." English is the primary language. 

Singapore, to me, is a mythical place. Though my husband and I have researched the island, its economy, religions, regulations, food and neighborhoods, I do not have a physical picture in my mind of what we will see when we arrive. The lack of concrete images makes me somewhat apathetic about our move. Yes, the thought of a new city/country all in one is exciting - and a bit confusing. Dropping everything to move across the world is exciting, and the thought of not knowing what we will do or where we will live when we get there is a thrill. But I can't quite picture Singapore in my mind.

We have read that Singapore is basically a cleaner version of Manhattan - skyscrapers, subways, taxis and all. Singapore even has a China Town. The city has numerous attractions including parks, botanical gardens, museums, an acclaimed zoo and some of the best food in the world according to Anthony Bourdain. Singapore supplies approximately 15 percent of the world's orchids; I wouldn't mind looking out my window and seeing a patch of the gorgeous buds. 

When I read that we have the option of living in high-rise condos or bungalows, I began to picture the tiki huts with the wooden walls and the grass roofs. For any other uncultured Americans out there, bungalows are actual houses with sturdy walls and real roofs. 

Holland Village, Tanglin Village and Rochester Park, three neighborhoods on the west side of the island, seem to be quite similar to Columbus' German Village and Short North and Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhoods. When it comes to finding a place to live, in my mind, these are three places at the top of my list. 

I am looking forward to the end of my 22-hour flight and to exploring my new home. While Singapore may not be the house on the rocks like we have planned, the opportunity is one of a lifetime, and we are thrilled to be embarking upon this new life on the other side of the world. The best part is that I finally get something I have waited my entire life to obtain - a stamp on my passport. 

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