A teacher and traveler. Getting lost and living local.
First Month in Singapore: Eight New Normals
Posted On February 1, 2018
My first full calendar month living in Singapore has come to an end. Filled with some ups and downs, I’m definitely still adjusting to life here (but I’ll make another post on that later). Throughout this month, I’ve learned a lot more about Singapore and the realities here that are different than back home. Similar to my “Top 10 Cultural Differences” regarding life in Korea back in 2014 (how the heck does time fly so fast), I present to you- the Singaporean edition.
1. Kids drink coffee
Yes, my ten year old students drink coffee. This is “normal” here.
2. Children stay up REALLY late
Since I work at an after school centre, my hours are afternoon and evenings. You would think for the younger kids, they would have them in the earlier time slots, but that is not the case. It is normal for all the teachers in our centre to teach Kindergartners (or younger) from 7:30-9PM. I know. Crazy, right?
3. Greenery EVERYWHERE
Greenery coming out of buildings, vines in the most unexpected places- wrapping around highway overpasses and the walls outside the world renowned Changi airport. The amount of greenery and parks in this city definitely make it feel like less of a concrete jungle.
4. Singaporeans love shopping
It’s basically considered a hobby here. There are malls everywhere- almost every MRT station has one connected to it. And they are always packed. They love their air conditioning, and take respite from the hot and humid weather by enjoying the AC, while shopping.
5. Drinks almost always come in bags
The smoothie you ordered, your coffee, juice, you name it. If it doesn’t automatically come in a bag, they will surely ask, “Would you like a carrier?” Or, if you’re lucky, the bag also doubles as the cup (see picture #2).
6. …but don’t drink these fun drinks in a bag on public transit
That’s right, no food OR drink (including water) can be consumed on public transit. Food, I can understand. But sometimes, a girl just wants to leisurely sip on a bubble tea while riding the MRT (instead of hurriedly gulping it down before getting to the station) ya know?
7. The garbage chute is where?
In apartment buildings back home, garbage chutes would typically be in the hallway, right? Here in Singapore, they’re right under your sink! Super convenient.
8. Public service announcements everywhere
Over the intercom while riding the subway, posters plastered everywhere, signs outside of stores. For all things- smoking, groping (or what they call molesting), terrorism, theft.
Despite the fear provoking PSA’s, I feel extremely safe in Singapore and I am very grateful for that. It is clean, green, convenient, and the food options are endless.
Sending love and big hugs to anyone reading from back home! I miss you all.