At the start of July I celebrated my first year in Singapore something I have not, up until now made reference to here. This is partly because I have previously written similar pieces, after I made the decision to remain in Singapore with my fiance and at Christmas time about how life has changed since the move, how I've settled in and so on. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there was a possibility we were about to begin an expat adventure somewhere else. So writing a piece about my first year here seemed to be tempting fate.
My fiance had not been happy in his previous role for sometime and had been looking for something else. Whilst he was looking at roles in Singapore there were also other vacancies presented to him by various recruitment consultants based in other parts of the world too. For me personally this meant having to give serious thought to the fact that when I returned from the UK as a newly wed it might be to somewhere new and not Singapore. This uncertainty was something that was especially hard given that other than close friends I was not in a position to tell people what was happening and, if needed, say proper farewells. To all intents and purposes I had to act as if I would be back in Singapore in October after our wedding and accept I might have to announce a move, if necessary, on here and via various forms of social media. Ideally this is something I would much rather tell people close to me first and then share more widely.
I admit from a selfish point of view that the thought of a relocation to another country on top of organising a wedding was stressful and daunting. I have spent much time over the past few months wondering what the outcome would be. Even though, if we had been required to relocate, it would have been my fiance who would have had to organise most of that being as I'm currently back in the UK. I hoped I'd know for definite what was happening before I came back to the UK but this was not the case and every morning I've been wondering if my fiance will have had any life changing (again) news whilst I was asleep. Of course I also hoped my fiance would have heard something concrete so he too could plan and organise what needed to happen next and start a new chapter in his working life.
All along I have hoped that we'd be staying in Singapore so I admit to a certain relief now that for the time being at least, I know that is the case. I hoped before I moved out that I would settle in to my expat life but I never imagined how much I would grow to love living in Singapore. Therefore the sudden realisation of perhaps having to leave hit me harder than I imagined it would. I've felt selfish at times as there were moments when I was incredibly unfair on my fiance with my hopes that we would be able to stay where we were. I also knew though that if the right role presented itself in another country then I would have to adjust to a move. Whilst I knew from my experience of relocating previously that I would settle in, meet new people and discover a new city I wanted to stay in Singapore as there is still so much to discover there. As well as many opportunities still to travel easily to other places in the region.
I've come to appreciate that the expat life is transitory in its nature. In the time I've lived in Singapore I've known people who arrived after me and have already moved on. Similarly though I'm continuously presented with opportunities to meet new people, both expats and locals. Through mutual friends, casual conversations and chance meetings with strangers in shops and bars and from writing this blog. When I think back to when I first moved here I was naive to a lot, perhaps just as well. I truly believed we would only be here a couple of years then head back to the UK. Almost as if we had never been away. I know now that won't be the case and I do not think I'm the same person, in some ways, that I was when I first arrived (remember I never had any plans to live abroad) and I would be sad to see my expat life end. Having said that I could not contemplate never returning to the UK either. This past week one of my parents beloved pet cats had to be put to sleep and I was so glad I was in the UK to be with him too. I guess this proves that no matter how much I may love living in Singapore and view it as my home, there will always be times where there is no place better to be than the UK and the security it provides.
I do know we will not be here forever and that it is likely we'll move on somewhere else at some point. Hopefully though we'll both have time to prepare and plan for that, perhaps even selecting places we might prefer. Even if we don't have that luxury I'm sure I'll settle in and have just as much fun as I've so far had in Singapore, but for now I'm glad to be staying and I know not to take a second of this opportunity for granted.