Keep calm and eat fish balls.

One year ago, and several miles of camel dotted sand dunes away, I left my life overseas, took a hiatus from collecting stamps in my passport, and moved back to my home in Bellingham, Washington to start a new life with my husband to-be. You can imagine my surprise then to find myself here: jet-lagged, eating a bowl of fish ball soup for breakfast, staring at a metro map and preparing myself for the wave of humidity that I only wish behaved like a cooling wave is supposed to when it hits me on the way out the door. The here I am referring to is Singapore and I arrived exactly fifteen hours ago.

I have a “To-do upon arrival” list conveniently hidden somewhere that I knew I would not remember to look, that includes the Ministry of Manpower, a blood-work lab, a bank, and several days of paperwork and waiting in line. But my to-do list today looks something like this:

  • Find street food vendor
  •  Unpack and tune mandolin
  • Begin to memorize local transportation routes
  • Call mom and tell her I am here, I am safe and I am drinking plenty of water

I have done this before, several times in fact, move to a new country and navigate those first few days of disoriented acclimation. It is hard, but worth it. When in a few months I order my fish soup in Mandarin, and catch the last MRT home I won’t remember the process just the reward of living in a city like Singapore as an expat. But I can guarantee I will still be eating fish ball soup for breakfast, because it is delicious.

fish ball soup

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4 Comments on “Keep calm and eat fish balls.

  1. Welcome back Emily! I missed your delightful writing and photos. Singapore is a kick; I like the Peranikan Museum. Have you read Lisa See’s books? Just completed
    Snowflower and the Secret Fan (16th C); Peony in Love (19th C); On Gold Mountain
    (her own family history in Chinatown) and then Dreams of Joy (post revolution China.
    Wonderful insight into Chinese history and culture.
    Bonnie (we met at the Dhafra Beach Hotel some years ago)

      • Hi Emily!
        In Saskatchewan at mom’s waiting on a visa to go to KSA. Going stir crazy because I’d like to be at work. Let me know your views if you get to the books and the museum.

  2. I just love Singapore, especially the hawker stand culture. I could eat green beans from a stand in West Jurong every single day. Please eat an extra big meal, washed down with an icy Tiger, for me tonight!

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