Before leaving for Singapore, I did my usual round of obsessive research on my destination country. This being my third time here, I already knew how to get around, which areas I could explore, where the cheapest places to eat were, etc. As a tourist, I had marveled at how multicultural, efficient, beautiful and metropolitan the city was. I admired how hardworking and intelligent the people were. But there was a huge gap in my knowledge: what it would be like to actually live in Singapore.
So I asked.
“Urgh! I’m so tired here!”
“You go here if you want to work! It’s all I do!”
“My friend lives in Singapore–she went there because the opportunities were better and the pay is high. But she’s so unhappy. She’s so close to burning out.”
With those ominous comments rattling inside my head, I flew to this little island nation regardless.
This is what greeted me on my first day at work at Alcatel-Lucent:
The people that I met in the office were gracious and welcoming. (They appear to have a sense of humor as well. They greeted me with a Dilbert comic, of all things.) Since then, everything has been going uphill.
Aside from work, there’s still so much to see.
Still so much to do.
Still so many people to interact with.
If I get my wanderlust, there are always nearby countries I can fly to–Singapore isn’t a transportation hub for nothing.
I’ve been here for roughly a month, and I’m utterly convinced that it was the right thing to move here. It certainly isn’t Europe–but it is something different, and this isn’t a bad thing. It is an enriching and humbling experience, being in one of the most driven, ambitious, self-disciplined cities in the world.
People can say what they want about Singapore, but you only become miserable here if your work is separate from what you want out of life and if you don’t have a supportive team of friends. Imagination can help, too.
So far, so good.