Basically, we ain’t strangers to aeroplanes and moving boxes y’all.
I read an article recently which included the line "Marry the boy who travels and together you will make the whole world your home” and I couldn't agree with it more.
As much as my inner lawyer likes structure, hates change and would LOVE to stay in one place, let's be frank, we were never going to settle down into married London life and never move. We're from different countries, different backgrounds and the Frenchman currently spends half of his life at over 10,000ft… when you do the math it adds up: it wasn't going to be long before there was a new adventure on the cards.
So the Frenchman and I just got back from a one-week trip to Singapore to get a feel for our new ‘home’ on a whole new continent, with a new culture (actually many new cultures!) and an 8 hour time difference from where we are now.
Yup, your thinking is correct: I too am pretty sure these ‘look-see’ trips are supposed to be planned BEFORE you sign the contract to move, not three weeks before you go for good...
But what the hell, we were leaping before looking this time….. and what’s the worst that can happen?! Taking a look at the (most vitally important!) lessons I've learnt from our one week trip, in my opinion, not much at all...
1. I forgot how bad imported chocolate tastes (the preservatives added to protect it from the heat make it taste like bad American 'chocolate'). I now vividly recall why our family used to bring us suitcases full when we lived in South Africa.
2. I then discovered Royce chocolate (delicious Japanese choccies) and quickly got over no.1. Problem solved.
3. No.2 does not mean visitors to Chez Rondy will not be obligated to bring a suitcase full of chocolate to help solve no.1, on each visit.
4. Due to the shortage of Asian ‘fros, I may be planning my trips home around my hairdresser’s availability in London.
5. Due to the humidity and no.4, I’m going to have bad hair ‘years’, not days.
6. Luckily due to the nature of the ‘fro, most people in Singapore probably won’t even notice the difference of no.5. Problem solved.
7. I have a serious shoe addiction. Admittedly, this has not really been learnt from a week in Singapore, rather from the frustrations of trying to pack all the shoes I want to take with me for the 4-6 weeks until our container arrives and still stay within our luggage allowance.
8. Singapore has enough shoe shops to even cope with no.7. Problem solved.
9. Even better, Singaporean women seem to love shoes as much as me. Pretty shoes are one of the (very few) things that appear to be quite cheap in Singapore. Hell, I could buy a different pair for every day of the year.
10. I have taken no. 9 as a personal challenge. We are going to have a 3 bedroom apartment after all….
11. Supermarkets selling western food are a complete rip off. You (yes, Cold Storage I’m looking at you) can get lost charging me £8 for a box of cereal.
12. The Mustafa Centre in Little India makes trips to no. 11 unnecessary in all but emergencies. It stocks everything you could ever think of, plus MILLIONS of types of more MUCH more exciting stuff. It is my new favourite place. Problem solved.
13. My second personal challenge is to see if I can work out why I might need about 100 different types of rice (to be found in no.12) in the time I’m in Singapore.
14. We’re most definitely going to have a swimming pool. This is super cool.
15. I don’t like swimming, but I get to lie by no.14. Still cool.
16. I’ve already been signed up for two 10kms and two triathlons by the Frenchman. Which means I need to learn to swim properly. Which means I have to get over no.15. Not so cool. Damn you Singapore and your sport-friendly life.
17. Singaporean women are tiny. I will need to lose a serious amount of weight and/or whittle away my hips/ass somehow if I’m to fit into any non-western brands.
18. As much as I want to assimilate into the culture here, I draw the line at wearing a size 3 times higher than normal due to no.17 (yes, for any men reading this, I know that sounds ridiculous, but I’m a girl and it’s a girl thing, leave us to it).
19. Do I actually give a sh*t about no. 17 or no.18? I’ll be living in vest top and shorts outside of work (see no.23 below). WAHOO!! Problem solved.
20. Singapore is an amazing base to travel from. We haven’t moved yet, but already we have trips booked to Abu Dhabi, Indonesia and Hong Kong in the diary in the first month and a half.
21. Maybe I should actually have given some more thought to just being an expat wife rather than working, in order to maximise the potential of no. 20.
22. However, that may mean I would have to give up No.7. or maybe take up tennis. On second thoughts, forget 21. Problem solved.
23. Singapore has 4 seasons too: hot, hotter, rainy, rainier.
24. No. 23 means you can leave the flat at 5.30am in just a vest and shorts to go running, cycling, boot camp, yoga, swimming (etc. etc. you get the picture) rather than being dressed up like a slightly chubby ninja in layers of black lycra. This is, unsurprisingly, wonderfully refreshing. Even if the actual exercise itself isn’t quite so refreshing.
25. Sleeping without aircon or a fan is not so refreshing either.
26. No. 25 means we have to pay more in electricity.
27. Funnily enough, I think we’ll live with no.26. Problem solved.
SO….The main lesson learnt?
I'm so happy I married the boy who travels.
This is throwing me out of my comfort zone and forcing me to try something I never would have had the guts to do by myself. It may be a bit weird to begin with as we find our feet, but for every new challenge we come across in settling into our new ‘home’, there will be a new adventure to be found, a new exciting way of doing things to be learnt and hell, probably a new pair of shoes to be bought.
For everything else? There’s M*stercard.
And we can’t wait.
If only because it’s so friggin cold here I can’t feel my fingers properly as I'm typing this….