Two years this month, I packed my bags, left home, and tried my luck in Singapore.
I’ll just stay there for two years, I said.
I’ll just go home if I get homesick, I said.
There’s no guarantee I’ll be able to find a job anyway, I said.
But this week already marked my second year in the Little Red Dot, and I’m already in my second job and in my second home. So much has happened in the past two years, but also so little!
Two years fly by so quickly when you’re in the middle of a pandemic, isn’t it?
Days coming into my second anniversary, I had so many things I wanted to say and write, but I ended up getting too caught up with life that I didn’t really have time to sit down to blog. (Aside from accepting too much work when I didn’t really need to, I also marathoned four season of Haikyuu!! So there’s that.)
Then I started writing and not knowing exactly what I wanted to say. Few weeks after I have written the first draft and I still contemplated if whether I should publish the post at all. Then again, why the heck not? And I’m paying for the hosting so might as well use it! Haha
Before working overseas, I had this delusion that I’ll be able to document every little detail of my life if I do work abroad. But of course that didn’t happen! Well, I do update my journal twice a month (sometimes once a month or every other month, oops), but lately I post Instagram stories almost everyday so I guess I did document a part of it!
I really did think I’d do a better job of documenting my life abroad, but I found myself spending more time resting on the weekend than actually going out. Choosing to rant on Twitter than spend time writing here.
Anyway, I digress.
I really wish I can say something more about my two years here, but more than half of it was spent in the middle of a pandemic. That means being cooped up safe at home. I don’t plan to belittle it though, because I am lucky, I am blessed to be where I am. Fully vaxxed and all!
I lost count how many times family and friends from home would tell me, “Buti pa d’yan nakakalabas kayo.” Despite all the restrictions, there’s really no denying that this is one of the best places to be at this time in history. (I’m trying to make it sound dramatic…) The only downside, really, and it’s a really big downside, is how I miss my family. I haven’t been home in 18 months, and I’m not exactly sure when I’ll get to go home again.
To be honest, it was only this year when I was finally, finally sure that I’ll probably be staying longer. When I YOLO’d and quit my job without a backup plan here, I was ready to go home. I’ll go where God wants me to go, I thought. If that meant going back to the Philippines, then so be it!
But here I am, less than six months later, still here, and feeling more and more that maybe I really will be staying a little while longer.
Unlike before when I didn’t want to buy anything that would offer a semblance of permanence (such as a dresser!) or sign for a two-year mobile phone contract because it would tie me down, I am starting to think long term, which I never allowed myself to do during my first year here.
At first a part of me didn’t really want to enjoy Singapore as much as I should or as much as I can, due to the nagging feeling that I’m not really here for an adventure. The main reason I went here was just to work, and save, then go home after two years.
But it has been two years and I am still here. And thankfully, I have grown out of that mindset.
Of course, Singapore is not perfect. No country is. But there are so many things I love about Singapore.
- I no longer have to worry about getting robbed on my way home. As an absent-minded klutz, this is the best part. Just last night I went home late from a friend’s house and rode the wrong bus. I had to walk through a deserted street alone just to get to the nearest bus stop. Past midnight. And I still felt safe. (First two weeks in Makati, fresh out of college, I was mugged on my way to the provincial bus terminal. A hard lesson to learn for a twenty-year-old probinsyana.)
- I like how the hiking spots are so accessible. I could hike in the morning and be home by noon! I haven’t hiked much, but I just recently bought hiking shoes (again, something I wouldn’t have done before).
- I can leave my house with just my phone and be able to do everything. I love the cashless transactions and numerous payment methods available. I love how I can use my phone to pay for my bus and MRT ride and even hawker stores allow cashless payments now.
- It’s pleasant not to get cat-called every time I go out, I guess. I was never the fashionista, but slowly, little by little, I’m learning to dress up. And like what my friends say, showing some skin haha.
- Parks! There are so many parks and walking spots anywhere I go.
- I fell in love with bak kut teh, u-mian, mala, salted egg chicken, kaya toast, and prata.
- The public transportation system is A+++. As someone who had to commute more than an hour to and from work on my first job, I appreciated the convenience the MRT and public buses had to offer.
- The Filipino community is so welcoming. The found families OFWs have are really something else!
But most of all, from here, I like how I started to see that the world really offers so much possibilities. Limitless even! This is coming from a girl who once cried over not having a dream and feeling as if she didn’t deserve to have a dream!
I’m not sure until when I’ll be here or where I’ll be going next, which sounds like I don’t have a plan. But I have come to realize that sometimes, despite all our planning, life offers us the most surprising of choices.
So while keeping my eyes open for possibilities, I’ll stay here for now, learning how to swim and how to cycle and exploring more hobbies than I probably should.