Singapore Adventure

Friday, February 03, 2006

God, No
by venitha

Last night, we met some fellow HP expats for drinks at Brewerkz, where the raspberry beer is really good. Or perhaps my standards have fallen dramatically given a meager diet of Tiger, the beer equivalent of bread crusts, for the last eight months.

I slowly sipped my tasty brew while the six of us, new acquaintances who met through HP's e-mail wives' spousal support network, ran through the standard questions. How long have you been here? How long will you be here? Where are you from? Where do you live in Singapore? Do you have a car/a maid/children? Where have you travelled? Have you tried durian?

Everyone is nice and friendly, and being that we are all U.S. expats in Singapore courtesy of HP, we have plenty in common. We lament our difficulty in making Singaporean friends. We laugh about the funny products we request from visitors from home. We rave about Singapore's incredible mass transit system.

As I finish my beer, I look quietly around our small table and contemplate before me a short human timeline documenting my life in Singapore.

One couple has been here less than a month. I remember their "excited about everything, thinking it's all going to be easy and fun" stage. So naive.

One couple has been here four months. I remember their "irritated with everything, one bad day short of full blown depression" stage. So awful.

I look across the table at Jim, animatedly talking with the guys about sugar cane juice(?), and ponder my own current state of mind. What stage is this?

On our MRT ride home, Jim and I discuss our relief in being through those initial stages and remark how heartening it is to have survived and to be on the other side. I silently wonder what stages, both good and bad, lie ahead.

As the lift delivers us to our 19th floor apartment, I ask, "So if you had it to do over, would you come to Singapore?"

Jim, giving me more proof, as if I need it, of his exceedingly poor memory, responds, "I don't think so. But I'm much closer to maybe than I was two months ago."

He unlocks our door and ushers me inside, squeezing my shoulder gently as I take off my sandals. He doesn't bother to turn my question back on me. We can both hear my answer, "God, no!" without my saying a word.