I’ve been enjoying a little down time to finalize where we are going on the blog and in the world in 2014! Looking forward to sharing more of my plans soon so stay tuned!
For now, here’s a new Expat Story from Singapore! Boiling Wok (as she prefers to be called on the internet) hails from India but has been living in Singapore now for over four years! I hope you find her story as interesting as I did!
Expat Story: Singapore
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a 26 year old Indian female, currently living in Singapore. I like writing, reading, organic cosmetics, organizing, walking and watching action movies. I originally came here to do my post graduate studies 4.5 years ago and am currently working here. This is my first experience of living abroad. I usually rent a room from the owner or share a flat with other people because rents are crazy high in this place. Currently, I am sharing the flat with an owner and her dog. I actually enjoy living as a single woman doing things on my schedule!
I have seen this city change over time and things change rapidly over here. New buildings keep cropping up all the time. Lately, it has become very crowded and as I don’t like crowds, I may to move to another country. However, despite the crowds, Singapore is very convenient and safe. All the grocery shops are open till late and many are open 24 hours.
What are some of the surprises and challenges of living abroad?
I have never lived away from my family until I came to Singapore and honestly, I was really scared and reluctant to move abroad, but now I love it and cannot imagine going back to live with my family. I value my living alone so much!
The biggest difficulty about living abroad is making a new network of people to support you when you are in need. Making friends as an adult is not easy.
Also, I found it difficult to manage a kitchen and run my own house in the beginning. I cried when I had to move places in the new city for the first time! It was raining, I could not get a cab, all my stuff was downstairs, I didn’t know what to pack and what to throw. Fast forward, I am very good at moving places now. It is tough not to have your own place and keep on renting out so one day I really want to have a flat all to myself and organize it the way I want and have a proper kitchen all to myself.
Another thing that surprised me was that I always assumed Singapore was a concrete jungle but it does have its wildlife and trees. (see photo above!) Imagine running into a python crawling by when you are walking on the sidewalk!
What new tradition or habit do you want to take away from your present home?
Women here wear a lot of dresses. Before I came here, I did not wear a lot of dresses but I love them and I wear them all the time now. It is great for the hot humid weather here.
Living alone has enabled me to create my own traditions. Most Saturdays, I like to go to an independent cafe and drink coffee or go exploring in the less crowded parts of the city.
There are so many fresh fruits & fruit juice stalls here and I drink ABC (apple, beetroot, carrot) almost daily along with eating some cut fruits – papaya, watermelon, guava. Along with drinking ice lemon tea (homemade not those canned versions), those are some of my favorite traditions.
If a friend came to visit you in your current city for one day, what would you take them to see?
I like taking people to off beat spots, rather than the usual touristy fare (which I am sure, they will check out on their own). I would take them to:
Tanjong Pagar Conservation Area: This is one of the few areas left with the traditional shop houses which are really charming and rapidly being replaced by high rise buildings.
A breakfast of kopi (local coffee) and Kaya toast at the many coffee shops around the city.
A walk along the canals which lead to the water reservoir because you will find only locals there. It is nice, peaceful with lot of plants and birds.
If you are not Indian, I would take you to little India because it is a world unto itself and very different from the rest of the city.
What advice would you give to someone who is hoping to live abroad one day?
Living abroad is as much about learning about yourself as it is about learning of another culture. You know what cultures you will fit in and what you like and what you can’t live with. Use this opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself and understand other cultures. It is okay if you don’t fit in. Make new friends and keep in touch with your friends back home.
Definitely explore some local places and food.
Thank you so much Boiling Wok for sharing your expat story with us! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or you can read her blog where she writes about reducing stereotypes, trying out organic cosmetics and debunking menstruation myths (which I did not know existed).