This is a post that has been requested and that I’ve been meaning to get to for a long time, so finally, just for Annie, here it is – a few words on my day-to-day life. I don’t promise it will be exciting, but I’ll try my best.
As you all probably know I’m in Singapore to work as an English teacher. I teach kids outside their school hours, to help them improve their English. The majority of my students are between the ages of 4 and 10 so, as you can imagine, there have been a few incidents of disgustingness in my 7 months here. I’ve had some pee-related traumas, a lot of snot and one incident of a child coughing so much they threw up on their chair. Yes yes, I know, my life is incredibly glamorous. Because I work in the sticks, practically in Malaysia actually, I decided I needed to live somewhere that’s interesting and near to things other than the border and one shopping mall. For the first few months I lived out in the West, where basically nothing ever happens. My apartment was quite nice, although it lacked an oven, and my room was big with a massive window. What I didn’t anticipate when I moved in was that the window would make it hotter than the fiery surface of hell and, in my four months there, I think I can safely say that I did not have one minute where I was a comfortable temperature. I might have ended up staying there except that I managed to acquire the weirdest housemates in the history of the world (probably). They moved in after me but proceeded to claim the place as their own. They asked me to go out when they had friends over, left passive aggressive notes about my washing-up and boiled the kettle, then poured hot water into glasses and just left it around the kitchen for no good reason. I can’t explain the satisfaction I felt on the day I moved out and took the toaster out from under their noses. Also, there was a massive cockroach in my bathroom who I lived in fear of.
Thankfully I had some friends from work who were house hunting in Central Singapore, an area far more exciting than the West, so I decided it would be a good idea to go in with them and actually find somewhere nice to live with people who wouldn’t be creepy and weird. And so, 7 months from when I arrived, here I am, in the middle of Singapore, throwing distance away from Orchard Road and one of the best hawker centres in the country, living with people who are only a little bit weird, in a swanky-as apartment complete with pool table and sort-of balcony. Because life is never perfect the empty condo next door has recently become a very loud building site which now basically soundtracks my life, but it could definitely be worse.
We have a pool which I’ve been known to swim in occasionally, and a gym, which I’ve used exactly once but still feel pretty smug about. I can’t quite see the pool from my room but if you leave the apartment you can see it, and we also have a swanky lobby area complete with plants and chandeliers. All in all it’s not a bad place to live.
As well as talking about where I live and what I do I believe Annie would like a brief musing on my day-to-day life. I’m not sure it’s that interesting really, despite my best efforts to embrace the tropical lifestyle I spend quite a lot of time when I’m not at work sat inside being slightly too hot and trying in vain to complete at least a handful of the chores I constantly ignore. I eat out quite regularly after work (and by eat out I mean go to Newton Circus and get takeaway), mainly because I finish work at 9 and spend way too long afterwards travelling home, and no one wants to bother trying to cook after that. There’s a really good curry place I got just a little obsessed with once and now I try my hardest to only eat curry once a week. Every so often I realise I haven’t eaten anything green in a while and I go a bit nuts buying grapes, but it’s just so easy to eat local food when you’re spending less than £10 on an actual, nice meal.
I’ve also done my fair share of shopping since I moved to Orchard Road, it’s difficult not to when you’re in walking distance of 20 shopping malls, but along with that I’ve had more than one encounter with a weird shop assistant. Singaporeans aren’t really known for their customer service, and it’s not unusual to go up to a counter to pay and be completely ignored while the cashier chats to someone, until they snatch your purchases off you and hurry you out as quickly as possible. Last week I even had a cashier in a supermarket stare at me and pretend to be a fish, rather than speak, as she scanned my items. Man, Singaporeans are weird.
Before I go, one final musing on life in Singapore. Sometimes I feel very, very far away from home. The time difference is 7 hours and this can be a challenge when you want to speak to people, and also when you’re trying desperately to keep up with Wimbledon and end up staying up past 1am to see the Federer v Murray semi-final when you have to get up for work at 6.30. But then I go to M&S, see massive pictures of David Gandy modelling underwear and buy some crumpets and some jammy dodgers and I don’t feel so far away after all.
Leah Out X