I have about a month until I return to Singapore and I've really missed it. Not just because my fiance is there but also because I feel like my life is there now. Its been great seeing all my family and friends and having longer to do it all in of course but I'm living out of a suitcase and have nothing here other than what's in that case. Luckily I've been very busy wedding organising but there have been times when I've been bored here and somehow I don't get bored in Singapore. All of this got me thinking about what things I've been missing and what I'm looking forward to getting back too.
Firstly it has to be the weather, I know I was not in the UK when they had the really bad weather at the end of last year but I've been so cold at times and the endless gloomy days have been miserable. Luckily now it looks like Spring might be here, at least in the South, they still have snow in Scotland (tempting fate no doubt there). The days though have been much milder and brighter and I feel a whole lot better for it. I miss Singapore's consistent warm weather though, even the thunderstorms, in fact especially the thunderstorms. Watching the storms roll in is brilliant and you don't get to do that in the UK. Never having to think about putting on a jumper, let alone a coat and just being able to go out as you are is simply great and I miss it.
I really do think my palate has altered a bit, well my diet has at least, I'm missing the food. Now I know you can get Western food in Singapore and we do eat that and similarly you can get Chinese and Indian food here in the UK. Let's be honest though it is no where near the same as what I can get in Singapore. My fiance has travelled and worked extensively in Asia and before Singapore was even in our thoughts if we had Chinese takeaway he would often say he struggled to enjoy it after eating the real thing. I never really understood that but I definitely do now. I've had takeaway since I've been back and it was delicious but definitely definitely not as good! Asides from the food I do not eat much in the way of chocolates, biscuits, desserts and so on in Singapore and being back in the UK I've been more than making up for it, so if nothing else, I need to return so I can get back into better habits!
Not that there is a lot of what could be regarded as large wildlife wandering around but I do miss the wildlife and plants you just do not get in the UK (or at least not naturally). In particular I miss a bird called an Asian Koel. Although they are actually incredibly noisy, loud and many people moan about the noise they make, now I'm not hearing them everyday I miss waking up to it. I do not see monkey's where we live but I do miss knowing that just a short ride from our condo will take me to places where I can see them in the wild without too much difficulty. Lastly I miss seeing the tiny little lizards running around, blink and you'll miss them but I'm fond of them.
The Mix of the Old and the New
I love the mix of old and new buildings here, particularly the traditional beautifully decorated shop houses. There are so many lovely examples of these buildings dotted all over the island and I've grown very fond of them. I'd love to have my own but that is likely to be an unfulfilled dream. I also love how the many colonial style buildings dotted around sit so comfortably besides the new and modern high rise buildings. These modern buildings are just as lovely, though totally different and there is some fabulous architecture around. Any skyline photo of Singapore will usually feature the Central Business District and I'm looking forward to being back there again. I gather there is a new tapas bar on Boat Quay which needs to be investigated for a start!
The Orderliness and Cleaniness
I like the orderliness and cleaniness of Singapore and I now really notice how different the UK can be from this at times. Generally everything works well and runs on time in Singapore and can be relied upon, the MRT for example. Singapore is famed for having fines for pretty much everything and yes it does but the majority of the fines relate to things that are common sense and in reality the majority of people are happy to abide by. Ultimately it does seem to make for a better living environment on the whole.
I have a definite routine which at the moment is a bit up in the air and I'm missing that. I'm not working at the moment (not for a lack of trying) and many of my friends ask me what I actually do. Well firstly I do not spend all day in bed, I could not think of anything worse! I get up when my fiance leaves for work (usually around 7am) so I'm up and ready to tackle the day. There are the chores, no matter where you live they still have to be done. As it is only my fiance and I we don't need live in help (in fact that would feel a bit weird) and don't need a cleaner either. That's not to say when I'm working up a sweat in the heat I would not happily let someone else do the chores for me, but at the moment there does not seem much point. The good thing is I can spread these over the week and can now effectively have the weekend's off instead of, as when we lived in the UK trying to enjoy the weekend plus get all the chores done for the week ahead!
I've spent a lot of time job hunting, which fills a great deal of time. I'll also take myself off to places that catch my eye, many of them my fiance is not too worried about going to or else if I think he'll enjoy them we go again together. I have friends that both work and do not so I'll meet the workers for lunch and the others at other times. I also have the advantage of being able to go out with friends on week day evenings without having to worry about getting up for work for the next day.
Our weekends have a distinct routine usually, Friday evenings are normally spent with a group of friends enjoying a few drinks and food, something I really look forward too. At the weekend we'll often go somewhere new on our long 'to do' list, or else catch up with other friends. Even if we are having a quiet weekend it is nice to spend some proper time with my fiance as, like most, he works long hours and is often away with work during the week. One of my all time favourite things to do on a Saturday evening (if we are not out) is to sit on our balcony (the advantages of all year round good weather) with some wine and music and just enjoy having a chat about everything and anything and speculating about the lives our neighbours both in the condo and the houses nearby live!
I cannot wait to be back there and enjoying all of these things again. Despite all this though there is plenty I miss and will miss still about the UK when I return (and indeed things about Singapore that I'm not so in love with) so I think it is only fair that I share my thoughts on that too with you before long. For the sake of balance if nothing else!