I have been at a loss for words for the last few weeks and thus, a large, blank space on the blog…
I have been returning.
Returning to my job at the school, returning to my house, returning to my dog, returning to my family and friends.
The return has been a bit overwhelming. During the time I spent in Singapore, I grew professionally, personally, spiritually, and I’m now returning to a life I led before I went to Singapore. It doesn’t fit in the same way. My friendships are different (some are lost), I am different. And I am struggling to figure out how to bring my learnings and growth back to my Seattle life. It’s a very strange experience.
One of the most valuable things I learned and experienced in Singapore was the newness of everything – food, people, systems of transport, acronyms, etc. It was that newness that forced me to open my eyes wider than they had been in years, I was awake in ways I have never been before, finding myself saying yes to situations I may have shied away from in Seattle.
So I have been strategizing about how to keep my eyes open here in Seattle, to experience newness (or, perhaps mindfulness??) in my daily experience of life. I want to be awake without the aid of a Starbucks latte.
Here are the things I have been trying:
1. Staying in contact with friends and colleagues in Singapore (if you haven’t, check out Whatspp for Android, Blackberry, Iphone – it’s glorious!)
2. Doing something new every day – driving to work in a new way, eating at a new restaurant, trying a new coffee shop
3. Talking to at least 3 people I have never met before every day – you never know who you will encounter or learn
4. Meditation (good stuff this! I found a Buddhist center in Seattle where I have been hanging out)
5. Daily exercise
These strategies are kind of working? I have been back in the US a little more than 3 weeks, and every day seems to get a bit easier. I have really been surprised at how deeply reverse culture shock has punched me in the gut… its been harder for me to come “home” than to go abroad.
I liked one of the explanations a Singaporean friend gave me; he said that everywhere is my home because I am a citizen of the world. Aren’t we all? Shouldn’t we be?
By the way: I did finish my Capstone Project (amidst bronchitis, laryngitis, and a sinus infection) at the end of my time in Singapore. The results of the project surprised me a bit. This deserves its own blog posting…