Monday, August 27, 2012

More on Reverse Culture Shock & Restarting life part 2

I've been feeling lethargic lately and the days are slowly blending together. I have projects, a performance, and a new very part time teaching dance job but I can't seem to muster the energy to hustle for more jobs. I think I'm still feeling woozy from being here.

Living at home with my parents. Again.

I think any normal person who has moved out of your parents' watchful eyes will feel an overwhelming sense of feeling incapable of doing anything independently as an adult. In their eyes, you are still a child (it doesn't matter what age you are). *sigh*

How is it that I have to restart my life but yet also revert back to feeling like a child again.

On the other hand, I feel a responsibility to make sure that I can be available to help my family at any given moment. While I was half a world away, I hated getting the phone calls from my parents about their health checkups or how my baby sister is acting strangely and going through adolescence. (The generation gap is astounding!) My first thought was "What am I supposed to do from halfway across the world? There's not much I can do from here." Now that I'm here, all I can think of is a sense of nostalgia for being able to come home and take time to unwind: take a hot bath before bedtime, watch a guilty pleasure tv show, sip my tea, call delivery, etc.

I'm in a sense, missing my home. The home where I can just be myself.

Now onto more funnier tidbits I've observed or noticed since being in Singapore...

Singapore is so expensive!
I can't believe how much things cost here. Parking, ERP (at different times of the day the rate goes up or down), Gas, Grocery, Wine/Beer/Liquor, etc. The cost of living has definitely increased since I last lived here 11 years ago. Goods have always been more expensive due to everything being imported but I also think inflation has caused the prices to look unbelievable!

Obsession with physical appearance.
In the States, I can usually get away with no make up on a daily basis and comfortable clothing that can also be dressed up or down. I also wear flat walking shoes, orthopedic shoes, or sneakers and will rarely wear shoes with any kind of heel. Before I came back here, I purchased two pairs of cute platform sandals that are also good for walking. These same shoes are being worn almost daily now. My mother has me dressing up so I look "decent" and I am wearing at least a bit of make up if I leave the house. This is not so much as a cultural shock as I already knew this but after a while I'm getting tired of having to do this.

MRT - Why are people walking so slow even during rush hour?!?!
They walk in a much slower pace than folks in New York. I already walk like a Grandma's pace but the people walking in the train stations or malls or sidewalks are generally at a slow stroll! I'm constantly dodging and weaving in/out of people. I couldn't believe that my speed of walking is much faster than most (with some exceptions of course). Back in New York my friends will joke and make fun of how slow I'm walking.

More on my observations in a later post...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Currently Reading: The Art of Coming Home by Craig Storti

I'm currently reading The Art of Coming Home written by Craig Storti for obvious reasons.

To quote the book on Stages of Reentry because it seems very relevant:

1. Leave-taking and departure
2. The Honeymoon
3. Reverse Culture Shock
4. Readjustment

According to this... I'm in Stage 3.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Journey of Reverse Culture Shock (or is it just regular Culture Shock?! I'm confused) part 1

Greetings from Singapore!

I've been here for a little over a month now and it has been a whirlwind of emotions. I am still playing tourist in the city/country that I grew up in and also my birthplace. It has changed so much since I left over a decade ago. 

Oh, little red dot. You have reinvented yourself. I don't recognize you anymore. 

The last time I visited was 2008 and even then, I was a foreigner in a place that was very much my home growing up. 

Some changes based on my observations:
1. The once deserted Marina Bay area is now a sprawling behemoth casino & shopping center known by residents as MBS a.k.a. Marina Bay Sands. 
2. Tanjong Pagar has become a mecca for working expats in the nearby financial area to get expense account dinner & drinks. The old shophouses are now turned into multiple trendy eateries, bars, spas, lounges. 
3. There are so many new condo buildings all around the island! The housing market in Singapore is robust and thriving. Rental rates are through the roof here (even more expensive than Manhattan!)
4. Lots of younger expats. I've noticed that there are a lot of foreigners working here that are around my age bracket. When I was growing up here, most of the expats were older and had families. Now there are quite a number of folks that come here are single, un-married, no children, and younger. 
5. New shopping malls crowd Orchard Road and they are also building up shopping centers in areas that were predominately residential neighborhoods. 

Will post more observations in my next post....

Culture Shock....or rather Reverse Culture Shock

The humidity and heat. I'm constantly sweating. Some days, it will rain and I feel grateful for that because its not as hot. Living in tropical weather has never been comfortable for me. My hair has sucked up all the humidity and moisture in the air resulting in flat, limp, greasy, and life-less hair.

I miss my easy-to-style hair. I like to curl my hair and in the States, I don't have to apply gobs of products to make the style stay put (with the exception of Summer in the East Coast). I have to apply lots of products here and it will still fall limp at the end of the day.

I talk and act differently but yet I look like everyone thus resulting in weird stares. I'm feeling the "hidden immigrant" role that everyone in the TCK world talks about. Back in New York, everyone is from all over and the society embraces the crazies. You have to really work hard to stand out. I stand out here because I talk and act differently but if I were walking on the street, you wouldn't peg me as different. When I open my mouth to talk or make a social faux pas, everyone stares. They are probably either thinking I'm a) an idiot or b) a snob for speaking and acting differently. *sigh*  I'm neither here nor there.  

Such is a confused TCK.

More to come....