Home country: United States of America
New country: Singapore
Why did you decide to move abroad?
I'm a nomad at heart, and have moved countries or states every 1-3 years since I was 19. My most recent move from Costa Rica to Singapore was prompted by love. My boyfriend and I met in Vienna (he was living in Paris and I was in San Jose) and so we decided to move in together in Singapore - mainly because it's so safe, clean, and everything works like it should!
What has surprised you most about living in a foreign country?
I always underestimate how different the cultures will be, and how much effort it takes to adapt (especially when you're working). The weird thing is that every place now has "western" amenities - like bars and restaurants (I'm looking at you, McDonalds) - and language hasn't been a barrier for me in the places I've lived. So even though I'm in a foreign country there's an eerie sense of familiarity which makes me assume that I'll have an easy time getting along with everyone. But at the heart of it, most people are wedded to their environment - and there is a divide between a "stateless" person and a "local" that is sometimes difficult to bridge when it really counts. Of course, there are people who have a keen sense of curiosity for everything foreign - and I naturally tend to get along with them better.
What do you miss most about home?
My friends and the food. I think the day-to-day comforts are the things you always miss most. Living in Asia has been challenging because it's hard to find food that isn't fried or really spicy. When I first got here, I even had to go to the emergency room because my stomach lining had eroded from all the spice. And now, even as I'm getting to know the local crowd a bit better, there's always a sense of cautiousness you need to have that's just not there with close friends.
What are your favorite activities in your new town?
There are some lovely parks in my area that I visit often, along with a library and some great cafés. I also enjoy hosting people that are traveling around the area - it's fun (and comforting) to see things from their perspective.
I'm currently trying to find a job that I really enjoy. I like working in developing societies - but Singapore is fairly advanced (which is impressive given that it's such a young country). I'm still trying to see where I fit in professionally.