I left Singapore in June. I haven't blogged for a while--and I do apologize about that--so I thought it would be nice to say a proper goodbye . . .
Here's how I started this piece, a while back in June, when I had originally planned to post this . . . I was a bit overwhelmed at the time. "Okay. I’m crying. Like completely, devastated and crying. I just watched The Second Best Marigold Hotel. I miss Singapore. I kept thinking about the wedding I was invited to in India by my friend Shikha. I thought about all of the people I acknowledged during my walks to school in the morning. Just over the past year, I met a man on a bike, a jogger, and my 3 coffee ladies. None of them wanted or expected me to make a connection to them, but I did. The jogger would always wave to me or nod her head, smiling ear to ear. The biker-man was older, but he was always there with his kind face and sweet off-balance wave. I told the coffee ladies this morning that I was moving and they kept shouting: “ Go back, go back? To your country? Okay, goodbye. Goodbye!” It wasn’t as emotional as I wanted it to be, but it was pleasing."
That's as far as I got. I had tears streaming down my face, and looked vaguely like a crazy person. Singapore was an incredible first venture into international teaching. I met some of the most amazing people there . . . People that I will call my friends for years to come. And I learned so much about myself. I taught myself how to travel on my own, create exciting--and sometimes life-threatening-- experiences, and I learned the great, great value of being adaptable.
Learning to be adaptable to all different kinds of situations is so incredibly rewarding. Not only do you learn about where you are traveling in new and unique ways, but being adaptable can strengthen you as a human being. I have been trapped on a train in central Vietnam for 36 hours. I've hiked down a very steep mountain in Thailand during a forest fire. I danced in a parade in Delhi at an Indian wedding. And I held a very large tiger's head in my lap, during that same trip to Thailand. None of these things were planned. They were sort of offshoots of what I had actually planned. But I rolled with it, and came out a better person on the other side of these experiences.
Three years was a good amount of time to live in one place. So instead of retelling everything that I had the pleasure of taking part in during my time there, I have decided to break it up into lists and links and images. Make sure you do in fact click on the links . . . Enjoy!
1. Malaysia - I went to Borneo twice. It was incredible both times! The first time was for October Break, 2014. The second time was for a weekend trip with my friends visiting from San Francisco, January 2015. That last trip was the time I almost drowned. I still haven't been able to write about that experience yet, but it's coming . . . Please note below in list of items to always bring on vacation, regardless of destination: life jacket. Do not discount it's importance!
2. Thailand - I went to Thailand for Spring Break, 2014. It was my most adventurous trip to date. I lived with elephants, took a five day cooking course, and hiked up and down a giant mountain (that was partially on fire).
3. India - I visited India twice, both times in Delhi. Once for a month as an artist in residence and once for a wedding. Both times, it was breathtaking! Get thee to India and now!
4. Indonesia - I visited Bali every Thanksgiving for 3 years. I also went to a small spa in Batam via ferry from Singapore several times a year. To visit Bali took about 3 hours flight time. Via ferry from Singapore to Batam took around 45 minutes.
5. China - I was asked to participate in a festival, and stayed for a week in May/June, 2015. It was marvelous!
6. The Philippines - I stayed for a week with my dear friend Katti during October Break, 2012.
7. Vietnam - I stayed for a week during October Break, 2013.
8. Australia - I went to Australia twice. Once for a week in Adelaide, January of 2013. And once for a week in Perth, October 2014.
9. Singapore - I lived here for 3 years and loved all of the new things I came into contact with!
10.United Arab Emirates - I visited Dubai for a workshop in February of 2014.
Items of note to always bring in your suitcase, regardless of your destination:
- nail care
- flip flops
- electrical adaptors
- sunblock for face and body
- a life jacket
Two unfortunate things that happened while living in Singapore:
1. I missed two flights, at two different times. One was to the States. And one was back to Singapore from Indonesia. These unfortunate mishaps ended up costing me roughly $4500USD (taxis, flights, extended stays).
2. I ate fast food! Oh my goodness, did you know that in Singapore you can have McDonald's and Pizza Hut delivered to your door at night? I think the last time I had either of those items in the States, I was still in high school. But fast food joints are so clean and friendly in Singapore. And it was so easy to just have it delivered. Right to your door. After a busy and long day at school. During my three years in Singapore, I think I ordered fast food roughly 30 - 40 times. Gasp! I guess that averages out to 10 - 12 times a year, which doesn't sound so bad . . . It was fun while it lasted!
Community projects completed with organizations that I had the absolute pleasure to work with:
Bottle Caps - Color Field with Bukit Batok
Plastic Bottles - Plastic Fantastic with Toh Payoh
Neighborhood Mural - Kallang Community and Stamford Students
SG50 Mural - Vibrant Singapore! with Bukit Panjang
Woven Hut - Origami Hut with Bedok
Lantern Parade - Kallang Community and Stamford Students
Guest artists who facilitated projects in my classroom:
1. Joseph Chiang
2. Mohamed Indera
3. Dave Lieu
Projects I did with my students that I am proud of:
All of the sets and design for James and The Giant Peach . . .
Clay projects: teapots, cups, and masks!!
Painting the big, giant lion . . . Second grade's swimming pool portraits!
Big, cardboard robots!
Cardboard box lid characters . . .
Friends: So many faces that I care about and miss dearly! Some of these fabulous smiles, I will see again when I travel back to the States. I can't wait!