Thursday, August 19, 2010

Likes and Dislikes

So according to my relocation guide I should be in the 'honeymoon' stage of culture shock. It is described as: "Everything is new and exciting. You are excited about being in a new place where there are new sights and sounds, new smells and tastes. You feel ready to take on new challenges!"

I feel like I'm moreso in pre-honeymoon stage (which apparently doesn't exist in my guide). I'm partially excited about the new place, and partially feeling homesick, missing people, a little panicky that I'm actually here for a whole year etc. I'm adjusting quite well, but when I think about it I feel slightly trapped (also since I found out if you leave early you have to pay back your relocation fee, first month housing fee, and airline ticket... so I'm totes here for a year).

Work is great, I love it. I made friends quickly, am settling slowly and easily into my role and enjoying it a lot. There are some things that are a little more difficult outside of work however. Here is my first week analysis of the transition period.


1. I am not hot inside anymore. My house at home was very, very warm at night and sometimes hard to sleep.

2. Food is extremely cheap and very accessable.

3. Transit is also cheap and convenient.

4. We are so central in Asia. There are cheap and easy flights, trains, busses and ferries to countries nearby. Go travel!

5. I already have a couple buddies here, so I don't feel as lonely as I might otherwise.

6. For some reason my shoulder pain went away as soon as I got here. I guestimated that it was due to humidity, but Teen mocked me. I really have no idea, but they went from daily bothering pain to none at all.

7. The maid cleans 3 times a week, she makes the bed and does the dishes. Nice maid.


1. Renting an apartment is insane. It took me all week for an agent (required) to get back to me. It will apparently cost me at least $2,500/month for a place, plus a 1 month rent security deposit, plus the agent fee which is also equivalent to 1 month's rent. There is also some other random fee which I forget... but basically it costs at least $8,000 to move into a place. No wonder they gave such a big reloaction allowance!

2. Them not accepting Teen and I as a couple is really screwing up our plans as far as she's concerned. It's stressful for her to have to come in and out of the country, so we'll have to figure something out there...

3. Amazingly I'm already missing 'white' food. The white food here isn't actually cheap, it's around the price at home, but once you pay $2.50 for lunch then $15 seems insane. I miss salad, Whole Foods, sandwiches and home cookin'!

4. I miss my bed! I love my bed at home, it's so comfy. Here the bed is a lot harder and the sheets aren't very soft.

5. Not that I'm planning on getting one, but cars (an average, honda civic type) cost $80,000!! Plus insane registration and licensing fees. Good luck with that one. MRT it is.

Interesting Tidbits

1. Apparently to 'alight' means to get off/out of a vehicle. On the MRT they say 'please alight at the next station'. I'd never heard this phrase before, but dictionary knows best.

2. It doesn't appear that the rules I was scared about have much affect on the general population. I even chewed gum here (inside the studio). As I mentioned previously there is j-walking everywhere and people smoke on the street. There are barely any police (I've only seen 1). I don't dispute that these rules exist, but I don't know how strictly they are enforced.

3. People say 'la' at the end of many sentences randomly. I don't think it has a particular meaning, but is likely something along the lines of 'eh'. "This is pretty cool la?" or "Look over here la." It doesn't have to be a question. Odd la?

4. On that same note, people also say "blah, blah, blah" after sentences often. Even in semi-professional situations like work meetings, they'll partially read something 'If you require medical reimbursement blah blah blah...' Come to think of it this might be a problem...

5. A GECKO ALMOST FELL ON MY HEAD TODAY! While walking home to the MRT, along a treed sidewalk, a loud thud occured on my right. I looked down to see a stunned gecko beside me. I then looked up, got worried, and hurried along. I will not look up again, in case it falls in my eye. If one does land on me however, I will name him la la and he will be mine *forever.

*remainder of contract

I'm sure there's more but it's 10pm now and way past my bedtime. I think over the next month once I have all my employment pass, banking, new home set up I will be able to settle down and relax a bit more. I'm gonna get planning my September long weekend trip with Ed and Teen this weekend, where oh where to go...


  1. Aw... the no gum thing was the best thing about Singapore.

  2. You can't buy gum here, but Rob smuggled some in from Thailand. I won't chance chewing it on the street, mostly because I only use gum about 2 times a year as it is.

    And I do have a maid currently, but only in the service apartment for a month. Next month, likely no maid. That's what Teen is for ;)

  3. I love the star beside forever in your post. Hilarious. And as for the pain in your shoulder, my sis in law also found that when we went to new york, the heat and humidity also removed her pain, and as soon as she returned to air conditioning or cooler less humid temperatures, the pain returned.....I think there is something too this!