First Days in Singapore

If you’ve been to the Iowa State Fair, you might be a little more prepared for Singapore’s weather than, perhaps, other folks. Even though I grew up in Iowa (and spent many summers without air con), the heat and humidity of Singapore has been the biggest shock to my system.

It took me about 23 hours to get to Singapore. I spent the first 10 hours of the journey completely incapable of relaxing, vacilating between excitement, nervousness, sheer panic, and feeling sad about leaving school and Seattle.

And then there was the travel incident…

Inspired by her recent travel to Asia, one of my friends gave me a homeopathic remedy to combat jet lag. The box told me it would relieve the stress of travel, promote relaxation, etc. Perfect, I thought. Well… for me, it had the opposite effect. About a third of the way to Tokyo, the “No Jet Lag” induced hives and inspired an asthma attack. Classic.  “No Jet Lag” is not worth it for me!

When I finally arrived in Singapore, I was met at the airport by my “teacher buddy,” Sharin, and, to my surprise, a fellow Singaporean Fulbrighter I had met at our orientation last summer. After such a long journey, it was wonderful to see warm and friendly faces. They are both amazingly kind and generous women, and greeted me warmly at 1 in the morning. 

Sharin and her husband helped me drag my suitcases across town and to my new apartment in the neighborhood of Clementi, on the western side of the island.

My apartment is luxuriously huge – 3 bedrooms / 2 baths. There is a big balcony, a huge kitchen, and a nice couch and dining room table. Only the bedrooms have air conditioning, however, so it gets really hot in here during the day and takes awhile to cool down in the evening. Great motivation to spend as little time as possible here in the early / mid evening.

The apartment didn’t have a television, so a few generous souls from the Academy of Singapore Teachers acquired a tv for me and dragged it to my apartment yesterday. So kind!

My place is about equidistance from two MRT (metro) stations, and they are both within walking distance. I’m also pretty near the Clementi Mall which has a bunch of eateries, a grocery store, and other shops. In addition to the very welcome air con at the mall, I’m currently obsessed with a fresh juice stand. (I’ve already visited several of these, in fact.) Today I had star fruit juice. It was fantastic.

Over the last few days Sharin and her husband have been so generous with their time, taking me out for lunch at a Hong Kong restaurant, helping me to figure out the MRT and other essentials, and introducing me to the amazing people at the Academy of Singaporean Teachers.

I’m now an official student at the National University of Singapore. I will start my classes next week. When we finally got all the paperwork completed, they gave me a welcome packet. It included an NUS thermometer. I like it.

The jet lag is easing and I’m starting to settle in. Now, I just need to get used to the heat….

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3 thoughts on “First Days in Singapore

  1. I had a feeling that the heat might be a shocker…but hives and asthma enroute?? What an unwelcome addition to the long journey. I am so glad that you’re safely there, enjoyed a warm welcome, and are getting well-oriented. Acclimation might take a little longer! I miss the the fresh fruit juices and rows of tantalizing fresh fruit. Eat some guava with sour plum powder for me 🙂 Have fun brand new NUS student!

  2. was that one question you didn’t ask? the AC .. at least you can hang out at the mall drinking juices! and there had to be a NO JET LAG kind of story. happy you’re safe, and you’ll only be getting happier. is winter coming there soon?? grin!

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