We found out a couple of weeks ago that we are being repatriated. It feels like I am being dragged back, kicking and screaming. I am reminded of our many military moves, with short notice and little choice in the matter. I have moved too many times in my life to count, and never have I been so upset about a move.
First and foremost, I feel like I finally found a community where I belonged. This place is crawling with global nomads, just like me. Nobody is near their family. Everyone becomes super reliant on friends, and as a result, it is easy to quickly build up a group of strong friends. They understand a sense of adventure. Every school holiday, my friends traveled to exotic places and came back with fantastic stories about Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Korea, and Japan. They inspired me. They provided me with resources. It was like having a personal guidebook for wherever I wanted to travel in Asia. Who understands travel like a group of global nomads? I have friends who offered to take care of my kids for a week while I went back to the States! I have a friend who sat in the doctors office with me for three hours when I had a miscarriage. I have real friends here who totally get me. I think that’s why so many of my close friends in San Francisco were expats. Hopefully they are still there!
Second, we had such a wonderful experience with Stamford, the school my kids attended. They really seem to care about the kids and my children had a wonderful education for two years. Now that we are moving back to California, I am worried about them being stifled, bored and uninspired. It is like driving a Mercedes for two years and then going back to the Ford Escort without power windows. Sure, we’ll get there, but it will be a shock to us all. I can hear it now, “Mommy, we didn’t get an iPad at school! I’m doing third grade math again! All of my classes are taught in English!”
Turns out I like endless summer. I don’t miss snow one single bit. I like hot weather. I love having a pool. I love wearing shorts and sandals every day. Jackets are confining. Shivering is for the birds. Who needs a hat, gloves, scarf and heavy coat just to run to the store like in Brooklyn? I don’t, not here. I will miss the warm weather. The pity about San Francisco is the cold weather. It is not freezing cold, but the last two years that I lived there I rarely put on a pair of shorts. I am not looking forward to that.
Joel finally figured out what was bothering me, and he asked me a very important question. He asked if I was worried about becoming a potted plant in a sea of potted plants? Yes, in fact, I am worried about becoming a potted plant. He has assured me that this move is temporary, like all the others, and the plan is to boomerang out to some place interesting. I think it would be different if we were moving some place I had never been before. We have lived in the Bay Area numerous times in the last 14 years. I just don’t want to be potted there.
Of course, the Bay Area has a lot to offer. The food is great, the housing is relatively cheap, and the air is clean. I get that. We’ll get to do more outdoors, other than swim, because quite frankly it is too hot here for a hike. We can go camping, we can ski in the winter, we can get our annual passes to Disneyland again. I can reconnect with my friends, whom I love dearly. I can shop at Whole Foods and it will be so much cheaper than the groceries in Singapore. Costco and Target, here I come! I am looking forward to good service in restaurants! These are all great things. However, Singapore will always be dear to me. It is quirky and quaint. The people speak a bit funny, but they are nice (except when they crowd you at checkout). The city works so well, and it is clean. The airport is so efficient. I will miss it here, and I will miss the wonderful community I have found here.