Strangers in a familiar land

It’s been 18 months living in Sydney. And we’ve been back in Singapore for the last 2 months (with just under a month to go, before making our way back) – and somehow, it seems to be familiar and yet unfamiliar all at the same time.

Maybe it’s the Aussie (slow) pace of life that I’ve grown accustomed to. I get a tad irritated when drivers start rolling forward, as I’m crossing the road with my kids, or drivers who think it is okay to cross the zebra crossing when I’ve already started walking down. I find Singaporeans walk SO fast now. I miss the oh-so-fresh produce I can get from Coles back in Sydney. I am craving for my regular Chai Latte at the Muffin Break at Westfield Eastgardens.

Just last weekend, during church, there was a “2014 in review” video, and as footage after footage of the events and happenings in church, I had the “emo” moment of feeling like I missed out on so, so much that has gone on. Not just the big stuff. Not just the work stuff. Not just the church stuff. But the little things. Department lunches I’ve missed. Long chats with colleagues. Family birthday celebrations. Cell group meetings. Zone meetings. Prayer meetings. Things that used to be so central to our lives and schedules.

So yeah, I miss those things.

Life in Singapore isn’t as idyllic as I naively thought it would be. Haha! As we no longer have a house of our own, and also because it has been some time since the grandparents on both sides have seen the kids, we’ve taken to have a pretty nomadic lifestyle, shuttling between the East of the island to the West every single weekend. Quite literally, we’re living out of the suitcases we brought over. I managed to squeeze in coffee chats and the sporadic lunch dates, but it hasn’t been easy arranging time, and I reckon I will hear a lot of “What? You’re leaving already?” remarks. So yup. We’re leaving in less than a month. Haha! And yeah, let’s meet.

But the challenges aside – and the huge one was on my finances, this trip back coupled with a suspension of the hubby’s stipend has pretty much bottomed out whatever savings we have – I am thankful for the opportunity to be back.

Thankful for the chance to order my favourite cup of kopi every morning, after I send Jayvon to school, and hearing the coffee uncle call out to me, “Xiao Mei, yi yang ah?” (Girl, the same order for you?)

Thankful for all the yummilicious food. I’ve missed Singapore food SO SO SO much in Sydney, and really, while there may be restaurants that tout to be Singaporean, their dishes taste anything but. So we get good Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Lebanese, etc cuisine, but true Singapore fare is pretty lacking, which is sad – cos sometimes all I want to eat (in Sydney) is a bowl of bak chor mee! Haha!

Thankful to be back in church. Oh, how I have missed church so. The vibrancy. The life. The Presence of God. The fellowship.

Thankful for good friends. I know I haven’t had the chance to catch up with all of you. (Just come down to Sydney for your next holiday laaaaa… Haha!) and it’s amazing how many of our friends have gotten married, given birth all in the last few months while we are away. We missed out on so much of their lives, yet when we are back, they’ve welcomed us with open arms, and helped our kids feel right at home.

Thankful for the chance for Zoie to interact and have fun with her grandparents and aunties and cousins. “Grandpa” and “Grandma” hardly rang any bell for her before this, but now she happily screams out “MAMA!” or “GONG GONG!” much to the elders’ delight. She is generous with her hugs and kisses (mostly).

Thankful for family. For the kids to also know there is a large network of said grandparents, aunties, cousins who adore them to bits. Oh, the toys and presents… the treats and snacks.

So where is home?

Singapore or Sydney?

Honestly, I have no idea now. Singapore is home – because this is where my family is. And yet there is a sense that we are strnagers. Sydney is home – because that is where our literal house is (or at least a space we dont need to share with other people), and where our normal routine (school, childcare, work) lies. And yet, we are also strangers there.

So I guess for now, we will just make do. The five of us – we make up our family, our home, and where we stay, THAT place, I guess, is home.'s Talkative Thursdays

3 Responses to “Strangers in a familiar land”

  1. Michelle

    Logistically, I’m completely opposite of you but yet, we are on the same boat. My girls are both Australian but they are born and raised (up to this point) in Sg, so I wonder how it would be like for them to adjust to life in Oz when we do decide to go back. But I guess we can ponder when the time comes but right now, I’m making the best of life here in Singapore.
    Michelle recently posted…Developmental Activities For Your 0 to 6 Months Old BabyMy Profile

  2. Grace

    I so feel you. Just that for me, I will not be going back to Australia…well not until hubby gets a job back there. We have been back a bit more than half a year already, and I have not felt totally felt settled. Still missing the fresh and cheap produce, the fresh air, the beautiful walks, the privacy, the friendliness, the slowness, the simplicity. We had beautiful memories there and we will create more back in Sg now that we are back, so keep making memories wherever you are!


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