Why we left Singapore after all
It’s been a while since I posted in this diary. I have left you off with just a one-liner and disappeared afterward. Since then, I have received lots of questions and comments from you, asking about my whereabouts and whether we have returned to Germany after all. I appreciated all the kind messages and wanted to thank you for your patience despite my absence!
The decision to leave Singapore earlier than expected was anything but easy for us. But not because the parting hurt so much but because we couldn’t find a way out for the longest time.
The pandemic has shown Singapore’s true colors. The city-state in Southeast Asia may look chic, clean, and tidy on the outside, but for me, it felt more and more like a gilded cage. Don’t get me wrong, I fundamentally believe that as a foreigner, you should comply and adapt to the local conditions. That’s why I was careful not to complain. Singapore is the way it is, and that has its justification. After all, at a time when people were worried about their health and financial security, it could offer us a true “safety bubble” with superb infrastructure and excellent food on shiny rooftops. But in the end, the city-state was just that, a bubble. One that increasingly felt like a (very expensive) prison. I mean, we had to wear tracking devices whenever we left our house!
With time progressing and borders not opening up (while Europe and the US were returning to a kind-of-normal state), we increasingly felt trapped, and it was hard to find the way out. The Trueman Show becoming a painful reality.
Over time I felt so insecure that I no longer dared to write about my honest feelings and opinions on the things that happened in Singapore. At one point, I would actually become afraid. That’s the ugly truth. So it was inevitable that we would leave Singapore sooner rather than later. But being trapped in a golden cage on top of constant broadcasting messages of the dangers of traveling and the virtues of staying home (again, very Trueman Show!), we didn’t dare to head off.
On top of that, we had not only invested an incredible amount of money in our stay abroad, but we also had a few ongoing contracts that made it difficult for us to just leave the country. Looking back and–––while being in a very safe space now–––some of the things sound incredibly ridiculous, and some may even come off a little vain. But after all, we didn’t want to end up broke on our parents’ sofa, you know.
Life is full of surprises…
If one idiom were to describe our Singapore experience, it would be “life is full of surprises”. I can’t count the times I thought, how did we end up here? Initially planning on going to the US, we moved to the entire opposite of the world, despite never having visited Asia before. We were amazed by the idea of leaving our comfort zone and attracted by the countless countries we could travel to. Well, eventually, we ended up stretching out our comfort zone wayyyy too far while not moving at all. How ironic!
… and sometimes, when you least expect it, good things happen.
After all, suddenly and unexpectedly, life turned around again. This time in a good way. And we were FINALLY able to see the light at the tunnel, shiny and bright. It was so easy to take the lead and just get the f out. We literally left within one week after making the decision. And it felt so good! We are in Germany at the moment. It is a blessing to finally see family and friends again and enjoy the so much-needed freedom after all. But we won’t stay. The adventure abroad is not over. Actually, it seems to have just begun.
PS: I am aware that those living in Singapore do enjoy the city-state and their lives there. In honor and appreciation of everyone in the little red dot, I want to emphasize that my texts are not intended to malign the culture, life, and folkways, or anyone or anything in Singapore, nor do they want to disrespect living in Singapore in general. My expat diary merely reflects my personal feelings, founded on various very individual events that I was facing personally. Please don’t take anything written as offensive.