Another Something New

Now I am in Singapore. Six weeks almost, five in my new job as a derivatives broker. Try as I might to place the when and the why I began pursuit of such a life of flux, I am at a loss. That is, if ever it was a pursuit. Mostly it is the smell of adventure, of throwing caution to the wind and testing the boundaries of my comfort zone, less I get bored standing still.

Naturally the first months are the hardest. An all too familiar longing for belonging in the disquiet of ambivalence. Ultimately, why I should haul my indebted self half way around the world again, when I could be comfortable at home. Alas the question, where is home?

From that last day in April when I awoke in my sleepy hometown of Swanage, at the end of the roller coaster ride that was life in India, the days and nights of a fortnight of solitude blur into one. The ensuing weeks I spent in Derby, valuable time with my brother and his fiancée. I recall the first evening in Derby, a bright summer’s day the kind you reminisce of the English summer (but rarely meet with). A beer in the park watching the cricket. Preparations for the new job and a visit to London, wedding rehearsals and best man duties. The rest of the family and soon-to-be in-laws arrived in the final week crescendoing on a warm Saturday evening, best man speech delivered and duties fulfilled, watching little bro and his wife gallop away to the Greek coast and the beginning of the rest of their lives.

Saturday night in a travel lodge in Derby, my parents, sister and I waving off family friends in the morning. Sunday night in a travel lodge in Heathrow, my parents and sister waving me off in the morning. The plane that played host to those twelve hours was a cavern for my sensibility. It is curious how much thought can catalyse a simple journey from a to b. Not so close an experience to my railway journeys in India, but nonetheless laced with the same scent of anticipation and apprehension. Here we go again, another beginning, another something new.

I arrived in Singapore on Tuesday morning (8th), mirroring the previous two visits with an MRT ride to Kembangan and a sweaty walk to Frankel Avenue (though the temperature was notably milder with the rain). In the familiar confounds of Frankel Hostel, I dumped my bags in the empty dorm room. Excited to be back, I retraced my steps back to the station to grab breakfast at the bakery. After topping up my sim card I stopped to rest on a bench, unsure of what time the others would arrive. I was very fatigued. Eventually I resolved to head back to the hostel for a nap. A couple of hours later I awoke to new guests, Alex’s distinctive Hamburg accent announcing their arrival. Alex, Mari, Ira and Anna are in Singapore for a fleeting visit en route from Malaysia on their way back to Delhi. The following two days were spent doing the usual sightseeing that Alex and I have done before. I left the guys for much of it while I was busy with viewings, intent on finding a place before starting work the next Monday.

That evening I met Jas after a viewing near Little India and we rounded up the others for drinks and dinner at Esplanade. Wednesday afternoon I left the guys to a film while I made my way to Bukit Timah for another viewing. A nice semi-detached house in a good neighborhood and an interesting local housemate. He took me for a tour of the park and a drink in the local pub, dropping me at the MRT station on the pillion of his BMW motorbike. He seemed like a sociable guy and the room was everything I could have asked for so I signed up on the spot.

On Wednesday night we met Valerie, a friend of Jas that Alex and I know from the first trip. Dinner at Esplanade again and a return visit to ladies night at Zouk where we meet Jas. It was euphoric to be back in party mode with close friends, though their impending departure and my new beginning left us nostalgic. On Thursday we took a tour through China Town and waved off Alex and Mari from there. Dinner and drinks with Anna, Ira, Jas and Valerie at Brewerks and most of Friday spent with Ira exploring a botanical park, bidding final goodbyes in the late afternoon. Alone in the evening, I went to the office for some paperwork and met another friend Jas introduced for drinks in Holland Village.

It was a welcome few days with close friends from my “India” era, a fantastic opportunity to see them again and show them the city I am moving to. Yet, with the absence of space to de-stress from preceding events and pressure to find a place, it was somewhat clouded by fatigue and stress. Nonetheless, a great start to the new era. Jas helped me into the new place on Saturday evening. Sunday spent assembling the bed in my new room. Everything in place and on time, I marched off to work on Monday morning, ready for that something new.

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