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.