Here’s a fact about me that not a lot of people know. When I was a young child, I was fascinated with Mexico and secretly wished that I was Mexican. This was after I went through a stage of being fascinated with Native Americans and used to make my bunk bed into a teepee. This is what happens when you grow in an international city like Dubai and exposed to many cultures.
When my family immigrated to the United States and when living there for the last 18 years, I was sometimes mistaken for a latina. I didn’t mind it, because I liked the language, food, and still fascinated with the culture. I started getting into the music and learned salsa dancing. I visited Mexico and Argentina. When I was 19 through my early 20s, I dreamt of teaching in Mexico or some other country in Latin America that spoke Spanish. I’d move there to teach and settle down in a teaching career, and then find a hot latino to marry and have kids with. And of course, he’d be a great salsa dancer too. Ok. I’m being sarcastic here with the salsa dancing. I am sensible enough to know not every person in latin america salsa dances, as every Indian person does not play cricket or have good taste in scotch. That’d be silly to assume. I’m laughing at the way I used to view the world through rose-colored glasses when I was younger. I sometimes feel sorry for my family for having to listen to all my crazy ideas. I never imagined that I’d return to Asia.
This year, I decided to accept a teaching job overseas in Singapore. I will be teaching high school English literature. Let me emphasize: it’s not ESL but reading and interpreting Shakespearean plays, The Crucible, The Scarlett Letter, the 5 paragraph essay, literary analysis, and other good stuff. I say this only because everyone assumes teaching overseas always means teaching ESL. I also ran into people who can’t seem to grasp the concept that people in other countries also speak, write, and read English fluently and eloquently. In fact, many other countries of the world are multi-lingual and fluent in 2 or more languages. That’s another topic, though! It’s strange how things fell into place. It’s all in the larger, grand plan that’s above and beyond anything we all typically conjure up. There is a purpose in my life.
As a typical third culture kid, I love the change and adventure of moving to a foreign country. I have lived in 4 countries (India, U.A.E, USA, Argentina), and now I just moved to Singapore, which would be my fifth country of extended stay. I am truly a global citizen; it’s paradoxical to say that I don’t fully conform to any one culture or national identity, yet at the same time I feel that I could live everywhere. What can I say? It’s a hard-knock life.
I arrived in Singapore. I am not sure how long I will stay here but taking each step in 2-year increments. My friend, Chris, thinks that I’ll love Singapore so much that I will end up staying. It’s nice to arrive in a new country with no long-term plan but taking it as it comes. That’s one of the benefits of being a single woman with no children.
The days before leaving Portland, it was hectic! But things fell into place. My flight was a pleasant flight. I’ve had better experiences, but there was nothing to complain about. I grabbed a flight with the least number of layovers. I took Delta from Portland to Tokyo (11 hours) and then flew from Tokyo to Singapore (7 hours). I was exhausted and jet lagged, but glad to arrive and see John, my new boss and another coworker, Kelly at the airport gate.
I will definitely write more about my first impressions, thoughts, and adventures in Singapore. Singapore is a multi-ethnic, cosmopolitan, big city that still has the general Asian culture that I am somewhat familiar with. Some experiences are new to me while some other aspects are reverse culture shock.