Today marks one week since I’ve been home from Singapore and honestly, it’s incredibly bittersweet to watch the city I’ve grown to love from afar. For fun, I finally sat down to watch Crazy Rich Asians, the box office hit that was monumental in its representation of Asian characters, and its efforts to plunge Singapore on the world stage. Though there can (and has been!) lengthy debate on its depictions of Singaporean culture, of the country’s diversity despite the ethnically Chinese majority, my heart felt so light watching the characters move through the streets I did, and I felt a kind of pride in knowing that I had my own memories in the same places the characters did.
I’m not sure how to advise or best report the feeling of longing for somewhere you barely had time to get accustomed to. Four or five months pales in comparison to the rest of my life, and the times I’ve spent living in any other place. Maybe it’s because I’d invested so much emotional energy into “making it” while I was studying abroad – I sought local friends, a true cultural and social immersion, and wanted authentic experiences outside of what a “visitor” might – but it was so hard to say goodbye. It was hard to part with my routines, my friends, my room, and the city. It was hard to say goodbye to the food, the hawker centers, the aunties and uncles, the SINGLISH, the architecture, the intersection of Chinese, Malay, Indian and the West.
For anyone considering going abroad, I’d say do it. Even if it seems impossible, make it a reality. There are things I’ve done while abroad, in countries I’ve never even considered going to, that I will cherish for the rest of my life.