I can’t believe I am writing this post.
It’s the one I have been dreading writing, for months. After over five years it’s time to leave Singapore.
The airport scene was most definitely not as glamorous as I had planned. Casually arriving, bawling into the arms of one of my besties then wailing like a banshee at the BA check-in desk. Mmmm not one of my most elegant moments. I hurriedly nursed a glass of champagne to prevent the lady at the Chanel counter from going through the same thing. God bless her. She managed well, she threw new collections at me in her best “There there” voice!
Looking back, I really have optimized my life in Singapore. Don’t get me wrong it hasn’t been without its struggles but oh man have I grown, I now know what life really is all about. I have met some incredible people both here and across Asia (you know who you are!), I have become an independent, strong woman and have realized my dreams. And you know what, I am all over them with support in abundance from friends and family.
I promised myself I would not waste the final weeks in Singapore being sad that I was leaving. I had an awesome time. I pushed aside that horrible feeling of dread plus the odd teary moment to catch up with heaps of friends and colleagues (both current and past), and had three big leaving parties! I couldn’t have asked for a better send off. A mahoosive detox awaits me in London, does the NHS now do free livers?!
So what a week it was. With relocation comes the juggling act stress which wasn’t easy when I was still working full time. I think you under estimate how much all of this can impact you. I think I didn’t realize that leaving a company after 18 years, going through the interview process and securing a new role in another country..again, packing up an apartment, closing down everything in Singapore, to setting the same things up in another country to relocate, really did take it’s toll. You know how they say that moving jobs, moving houses etc are one of the most stressful things in your life. A few of these things were happening at once and although I felt I was organized and did get everything done, I was exhausted and extremely emotional.
For anyone considering such a move in the future, my main advice is to go easy on yourself. The most organized of people are stressed doing this, accept that those who haven’t gone through this really won’t understand the pressure you are under, but that’s ok too. Prepare a list of everything you need to do, your shipping company will also give you a good list of things to remember and finally just accept that it will be an extremely tiring and busy time. The moment you can step on that plane knowing everything is complete is one hell of a feeling. My shoulders dropped, I was emotional, I was tired but overwhelmed with relief.
Putting the crazy to-do list aside, my final week was awesome.
I met ex-colleagues for dinner. A bunch of superb guys who I worked with since day 1 of setting foot in the Singapore office. We have remained great friends ever since and I was more than touched when they arranged for a farewell catch up (love you guys!). I mean how awesome is that? We devoured Chilli Crab at Jumbo’s, the food as usual is divine, tasty and sends you into a happy food coma. Then came dessert. They ordered me a delicacy. It is called Hashima. This, I discovered is fatty tissue from a frog’s fallopian tube! Like what?! I was hurriedly assured from the table that this is good for the complexion and contains heaps of collagen. Mmmm, not even that was sufficient to make me eat it and that is one dessert I am definitely not going to eat again! Slightly traumatized.
I was treated to lunch at Level 33 by an awesome and highly respected colleague. A lady who has always believed in me and given me great opportunities. It was lovely to catch up outside of the office and to realise I was a joy to have around was reassuring that I wasn’t all that bad!
That evening I met one of my dear pals for dinner, at one of my favorites…Din Tai Fung. This is dim sum heaven. You know when you eat something and close your eyes as you’re transported into foodgasm nirvana?! There is sadly no Din Tai Fung in London so I am on a mission to find the equivalent taste bud wonderland, watch this space!
Now this was a big day for me. After 18 years I was leaving the only company I have ever worked for since University. It is tough to describe the emotions. I have learnt heaps, I have met so many incredible people who have become great friends. I have travelled and worked in various locations across the globe, the last of which being Singapore. I was extremely sad to leave the company but it just isn’t the same anymore, a lot of people have moved on and the direction of the industry has shifted. A combination of sadness, pride and excitement of my new opportunity rippled across my thoughts. It’s time for me to leave and I have invested many years here. Time now to move on for the awesome new role which awaits me, the one which gives me my dream…New York.
My final evening in Singapore. Deep breaths. Not something I ever wanted to think about. I checked in for a staycay at my favourite hotel Marina Bay Sands (MBS) with one of my closest pals, for a final glamorous evening of cocktails. If you haven’t stayed here before, add it to your list!
Adrift by David Meyers
The pictures don’t really do it justice but the room was beautiful, elegant and spacious with a massive bathtub I was disappearing into before I left.
One of the major attractions of the hotel, is the infinity pool which proudly sits across the top of the building. It gives you amazing city views, it also makes you extremely emotional when you know you are leaving, so seize any approaching waiter to bring more cocktails! The pool is actually pretty cold and not what you expect! It’s also selfie hell! Not just a simple selfie picture, it’s an I love myself day photo shoot! Rant over.
The day I was dreading for months.
I had a lovely lazy morning, champagne breakfast by the infinity pool is the way to go and a good plug for frequent tears which kept trying to escape.
Spago by Wolfgang Puck
It was starting to hit me that I really was leaving…that day. A few tears in the bathtub and a few coffees later, the concierge arrived with a gift from a friend (thank you I will always carry it with me) and 30 minutes later, another delivery…a farewell cake from MBS.
MBS, Gardens by the Bay view
Lunch and afternoon drinks with two of my nearest and dearest really was the perfect end to my Singapore life. I knew that the moment Cherie arrived, was the moment I really was being picked up to go to the airport. Again, push the feelings away until I get to the airport I will be fine. Totally fine.
Yeah right. The texts, phone calls, whats apps and facebook messages were flooding in. Thank you to everyone for all of your supportive, kind and affectionate messages. To know I have such amazing friends makes me feel happy and proud, but by the time I had finished reading them I looked like I had been punched in the face with a non-sexy smudged mascara glow.
Singapore will always be my second home, I am fortunate and grateful to have lived there and as one of my pals said, “It’s not goodbye it’s just see you later”.
Zàijiàn Singapore, Wǒ ài nǐ!
(Translation: Goodbye Singapore, I love you!).