I spent the entirety of last week with my aunt, uncle (dad’s brother) and cousins in their beautiful Singapore apartment enjoying every moment of not being in a hostel for the first time in what feels like ages. I didn’t have to keep my belongings in a locker for fear of thievery (though I did have to close my bedroom door for fear of their dog stealing my underwear), didn’t have to search for gluten free food that wouldn’t tear my intestines apart (f u Celiac) bc my aunt spoiled me by taking me to some of the best gluten free restaurants in SG and I had things like bread and noodles and chocolate cake – obviously it wasn’t a diet-conscious part of the trip, didn’t have to shower in some weird toilet-shower combo with “arctic tundra” as the only heat setting, and woke up to a beautifully crafted omelet and cappuccino every morning. I swear the only reason I left was the fact that my flight home is from the Philippines and I had to get here eventually. I was so spoiled, and I loved every second of it.
After such a rough couple of weeks on the tail end of my time in Malaysia, it was beyond wonderful to be able to have some R&R and family time all at once. I swear my stress index fell back down to its normal state (basically none at all) as soon as I walked into their door. It was a week full of family time, sightseeing (with my cousin Miles as my guide) and taking what can only be described as a massive metaphorical deep breath. Between the family time and the wine, I am back and ready for action. Before I forget though, for those of you visiting Singapore anytime soon, I fully recommend the following: Arab Street, Chinatown, Little India, Gardens by the Bay, the ArtScience Museum, and the Golden Temple.
The city itself was gorgeous, as cities go. If you know me at all you know that I’ll take visiting a beach or the mountains or any other nature-based place over a city any day (unless its a city in Europe), but SG was really lovely. It was just as clean as everyone says, and even more expensive. Decidedly not the place for a budget traveler like myself, to the extent that I probably would have only spent a few nights there had I not been staying with family (shoutout to them again). It’s chalk full of diversity not only in regards to the people – all of whom are some variant of Singaporian/Chinese/Malay/Indian as the country was only established 52 years ago – but also in terms of class disparities – you have people living off of everything from hawkers (cheap collections of food stalls which were more my speed) to five star restaurants and shops at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The country itself runs like a well oiled machine and is unmatched in its efficiency, but you do pay the price. Cost of living is astronomically high and as the population grows, the country is forced to build up rather than out, bc out is not an option in such a small country. Fortunately, they have not let the need for space impact the amount of greenery in the city and there are several forests with restricted access for civilians. The people were friendly and the crime rate was nonexistent - in fact it was such drastic deviation from the Southeast Asia norm that being here in Cebu City has been like a mini culture shock all over again.
As I write this from my window seat at the local Starbucks here in Cebu (don’t judge me I didn’t want to come here but Wi-Fi is nonexistent out here in the Philippines and I had to find somewhere to post all my words so that you lovely folx could read them bc I’m sure you were dying without my thoughts on all things Singapore), my mind is all over the place. I leave for home in TWO WEEKS which is FREAKING INSANE. My mom doesn’t seem to think it’s soon enough considering she’s been counting the days till I’m home since I bought my ticket two weeks ago, but whatever. First off, can I just say how UNBELIEVABLY excited I am to be in a region of the world where I am not perpetually being stared at? I cannot articulate with mere words how excited I am not to have all eyes on me when I walk the streets or into a restaurant or through a store. Don’t get me wrong, I know my height (I’m not what one would call short by any stretch of the imagination), my hair (blonde hair down to your butt is not particularly common in these parts) and the fact that I’m traveling alone all make me fair game for any local with any kind of decent visibility, but come ON. I feel like a zoo animal at all times. It is not the dream, people. What else? OH, the food! I have had some of the most amazing food I’ve ever put in my mouth since this trip started but I cannot wait to be home and have all the gluten-free variations of things I’ve been missing. Banana nut bread, pizza, and beer are at the very top of my list, followed closely by waffles, tacos, and chocolate chip cookies. Also just Mexican food as a whole - not a lot of quality Mexican food here in Southeast Asia believe it or not. Yup, all the weight I’ve lost since traveling will almost inevitably be gained back within two weeks of having been home. Fantastic. And last but most certainly not least, I am soooo excited for coffee dates with my sisters, gym time with my mom, and movie nights with my dad.
Granted, it will be a short trip home… which pains me to say, but it’s for the right reasons I promise. Over the course of this trip and these blog posts, you may have noticed me shamelessly complaining about the ridiculous amount of work I was putting into my Masters applications. Well folx, it seems to have paid off. I have been accepted to two of the four programs I’ve applied for and I couldn’t be more excited. I'm still waiting to hear back from the other two but the point is I GET TO DO MY MASTERS IN GERMANY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please excuse the obscene level of excitement here but ya girl has wanted to live in Germany since she was 16 and NOW IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING. I still can’t believe it. I had just arrived at the Cebu airport when I found out and I was a total mess considering I was laughing and crying and simultaneously trying to figure out where the hell I was going to sleep for the night bc I landed at 3AM and hadn’t planned anything past getting to the actual airport. I know, I know. I can be a US citizen applying for a Masters in Germany while traveling Southeast Asia no problem, but you want me to have an idea of where I’m sleeping on any given night? Not a chance.
Regardless, I'm finally in my 14th country of this trip and could not be more excited to explore the gorgeous and innumerable set of islands that make up the Philippines. I'm told the Wi-Fi here is questionable at best but I promise to do my best and keep up with the blog as I go. Next time you hear from me I expect to have the tan of all tans and stories to tell, so wish me luck.
Until next time boys and girls!
PS. Speaking of getting stared at - there were two guys walking past my window seat at the coffee shop and one of them WALKED into an ACTUAL WALL bc he and his friend were so busy STARING AT ME that they forgot how to LOOK WHERE THEY'RE GOING. I cannot stop laughing. Oh my god. I love humans.
About the Author
Mouth like a sailor, great lacker of empathy, paper cut survivor, avid arguer, harsh critic of people who put clothes on their pets, easily distracte
USA, Mexico, Iceland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Malta, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, England, Poland, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Scotland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Greece
(in August in the US)