It's always hard to relocate, but somehow, when moving abroad you fall in love with your new home, making moving so difficult.
25 August 2016| Last updated on 30 August 2017
This September marks 10 years since I "left" Singapore to begin our "expat life" in Dubai. Actually, for me it had started about 16 years ago when I left India for Singapore. So even though I technically am a Singaporean I have always been an "outsider" of sorts, and rightly so. Doesn't stop me from loving the country any less, I still miss the place and jump at the chance of going back - for a bit and then run right back.
I missed the fact that my family and friends were always a phone call away, 10 years ago being the pre-Facebook and pre-WhatsApp era (3). I had lost touch with my friends once before when I left India but this time was different.
10 years ago Dubai wasn't the same place as it is now. We have literally seen the country grow in front of our eyes. No Dubai mall, no Dubai Metro and cabs were almost impossible to come by! I missed the "system" Singapore had offered and one I had gotten used to (8). The public transport system actually worked.
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The trains ran on time, the cabs were available easily, buses had the best network. And here I was waiting in 50 degrees on the streets of Deira for 30 minutes with a toddler in my arms for a cab (9). But I was still desperately homeless and without that rice cooker. So standing in the heat it was!
Standing outdoors wasn't so much as a problem, standing without the green and clean air was (10)! Singapore is blessed with the cleanest of air and the greenest of landscapes! I admit it's humid and the air is heavy, and it (now) takes a day to get used to it, but when you do, you would rather spend every minute outside than be stuck in indoors in a mall. The fact that we could take a walk at the reservoir or spend the day at the park or cycle along the beach. Honestly, no amount of air conditioning replaces the goodness of the fresh air. Sigh!
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I could go on about the how "systematic" Singapore is. Some say "robotic", and they may be right but this "system" ensures that everyone living in the country is safeguarded against threats both internal and external (12). The country is safe, kids go to school using the public transport, women enjoy their evenings out without the stress of getting mugged or worse (13).
The system works. And to this day how I long for days when certain decisions are made for me, I don't care if that makes me a robot, at least I know the next course of action without the need for running from pillar to post!
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The advantage of living down the road from the school is - no not that they save time in transit - but that your home help could walk them to and from school (16)! Helper! Yes! Help is easily available through referrals else the agents there are super-efficient. Each one is vetted and approved by the government though bringing the domestic help into the country is a simple process, one that can be done by us online if need be!
I just have to mention the crazy shopping trips to Mustafa at 3 am (17)! No traffic, empty lanes, shorter queues! And really you can't be going home to bed after a heavy dinner can you? Win, win I say!
Ummm I'm beginning to wonder why I moved from Singapore! Surely kicking the tenants out and buying a rice cooker won't be very challenging, right? Right!?