First Impressions - One Month In

It's been about a month now since we returned to the UK. Whilst it's been an up and down period emotions wise with the better weather starting to arrive and being able to go out without a coat things do seem more positive. 

During this last month I've been asked the questions, 'what's it like to be back?' and 'are you settled back in now?' numerous times. Both are difficult to answer and it does kind of depend on my mood that day I have to admit. Yes I can't deny it's not lovely to be back with family etc. but on the other hand it's hard to go from one life where I was incredibly happy, working doing a job I really enjoyed with a great bunch of people and had my regular routine etc. to one where, at the moment at least, I'm not working and everything is quite up in the air. I guess that also then answers the second question in that no I don't think I have settled in completely yet and I'm pretty sure it will take sometime to adjust. I'm sure even if my circumstances had been different and I'd been returning to a job or carrying on with the job I'd be doing in Singapore I wouldn't feel settled, just as it took a while to settle into life in Singapore when I first moved there.

At the moment, as I said, I'm not working so am currently looking and applying for jobs and sending my CV off to various contacts etc. We don't exactly know where we'll be living longer term (hence things being up in the air) but I've made some assumptions for now and am basing my job search in certain areas of the UK. We are also currently staying with my parents until we work things out a bit more longer term. Whilst, as I said, it's nice to be near family again I can't pretend that it's been a bed of roses coming back to my parents to live. On the one hand, it's exciting that our future is so wide open and we don't know where we may end up, be it in the UK or somewhere else. But on the other hand the fact we don't currently have our own space, are living out of the suitcases we came back with (there's no room to unpack) and are sleeping on a sofa bed isn't really great long term. My parents place is pretty small so us two plus a hyper cat makes it quite cozy. I'm sure my parents are missing their usual life without us three here just as much. Once we have a bit more stability wherever that is and our own space I'm sure that will help the down moments enormously and give us a better chance of settling in more.

Down by the stream in Loose village, can't fail to appreciate views like this

I should say that neither of us really wanted to come back right now so this definitely doesn't help either. However our visas were due to expire later this year and although we made several attempts and took several different routes to enable us to remain in Singapore all of these, for various reasons, didn't work out. In the end our decision to come back to the UK was made because we'd exhausted everything and we knew (short of a miracle) returning, for now, was our only viable option. 

Even with or without those factors I don't imagine repatriation is ever an easy option whatever an individuals circumstances. I've certainly read and heard the experiences of others who have repatriated back to their home country. We've obviously changed and so have our old haunts and friends etc. but we've all changed in different ways and I guess we no longer run totally in sync with each other anymore. Some aspects of this change are amusing, for example when I saw chips on a menu for the first time and automatically assumed that meant crisps rather than actual proper chips! Other parts of this change are annoying, for example I've totally been spoilt by public transport in Singapore. Even before I moved I never felt the buses and trains (particularly in my old hometown and where I am now) were great but now I just can't compare the two. It's made the worse as at the moment we don't have access to a car so are totally reliant on buses and trains. I admit it's no fun then when there is only one train an hour on Sundays for example and two buses an hour, if nothing else we now have to plan our journeys a lot more.

There are naturally some good points too, as I mentioned this past week the sun has finally put in an appearance and we can go out without coats. This has definitely done a lot to lift my mood. The wide open spaces, greenery and animals in fields are also lovely to see. It's also some of the random everyday things that leap out at me as positives. One thing I've really noticed since we got back is everyone's willingness to use re-usable or canvas bags for their shopping. Something you rarely saw in Singapore. It seems that since the introduction of charges for all plastic bags towards the end of last year people have really embraced that and go shopping armed with a whole load of these bags. I admit we are still getting used to this so are currently spending money on carrier bags but I'm sure this way of thinking will seep into our conscious soon enough.

It's great to be able to use any cash point at any bank and not have to plan where I can get money from if I need some unexpectedly. That was always a bit of a bugbear for me in Singapore. Also a lot of things are considerably cheaper in stores here than in Singapore, I am still regularly pleasantly surprised by my bill. Whilst I was missing the warm weather (this week is making up for that, fingers crossed it lasts) and never having to think about how warm or cold I'll be, it is nice not to be breaking into a sweat every time I walk to the bus stop. That said though I do miss the spectacular storms, though we've had a couple of very small thunderstorms since we got back.

Somethings are taking some getting used to, for example using chip and pin again and paywave, a pretty much brand new experience for me. Also retraining my brain to do things the way it's expected here rather than how I've got used to but all of this will fall into place eventually. I guess the time I do miss Singapore the most, and generally very random aspects of it as well as the obvious parts like the food etc., is when I go to bed and before I fall asleep. This is the time that my mind will wander and I'll willingly wish I could be headed to the airport to get a flight back. I guess though with time this will lessen or certainly feel less raw.

Whilst it's not always easy right now it's not all doom and gloom either. It will be interesting to see how I feel in six or so months time, especially as, fingers crossed, we'll have moved out of my parents got our own space and also given them their home back again. Lets see how differently I feel by then. 


  1. Interestingly, this 5p per plastic bag charge has been studied by behavioural psychologists as one way to 'nudge' people into more positive behaviours – nudge economics currently one of the hottest topics in academia, government and business. Same with reduced general waste bin collection, I might add, and not entirely because of reduced council budgets. ;-)

    1. Interesting and I can definitely see how that would succeed in perpetuating positive behaviours. I feel guilt every time I have to say yes to a carrier bag.

  2. When we left Singapore I was totally heart broken, however a year later I really think I have been able to fit back in with UK life. We came back to Devon when we're from Aberdeen, and although we were only out for quite a short while I was so sad to leave. I think all you can do is keep going. I know it helped me when I got into my head it was a new adventure...and it is! Things are different and it's great you can explore local areas etc. in the UK. Can't wait to read more about it!

    1. Thanks Sheila, so nice to hear that we aren't alone in being sad to leave Singapore. Since writing this things have already begun to change (watch this space) and I'm feeling even more positive for whatever the future holds for us!

  3. I love reading your old blog because it reminded me of my time in Singapore.

    I left Singapore on my own accord in 2014, but I still miss it sometimes. I miss the public transportation, safety, food and friends. However, I don't regret leaving and moving to yet another country.

    1. Thanks for your comment and glad to hear you enjoyed reading my blog. Even since writing this post things have improved and also changed a little, all for the better.

      There will always be aspects I miss about Singapore too and I have some fantastic memories, likewise there are things I don't miss about it. However I'm also pretty certain the future is going to bring some exciting new things with lots of amazing new memories to make!

  4. We are still in Singapore but when I stumbled across your blog the message I got out of it was quite unique. Having been here for seven years we are wondering what is next, maybe we have another year to go but who knows. What struck me when I read it was that I do not want to look back with regret, life is hectic and the long list of things we wanted to do 7 years ago has by no means been accomplished, we have so many more places in the region that we want to visit. You got me into gear and I am dusting off the old list, we will leave at some point, to where we do not know yet. We will of course miss Singapore but when we leave I want it to be with good memories and experiences. Thank you

    1. So glad that my post helped you in someway. Thankfully now I'm in a better place than I was when I wrote this, though with the recent arrival of our shipment and many visual reminders of our life in Singapore I've been missing it a lot again just lately. I know it does make quite depressing reading, but I felt it was good to share it because I'm sure I'm not the only person to have felt this way on leaving somewhere they came to call home. I certainly never got to do everything I wanted to in Singapore and actually with all our things returning I recently found my long lists of places etc. to go to which I'd written diligently throughout our time there and this made me a little sad but no matter how long we'd been there I'm not sure we'd have done it all alongside day to day life. I certainly feel I packed a lot in to my five and a half years there regardless and don't regret things I didn't manage to do. Good luck to you for the remainder of your time in Singapore, whether it be long or short and enjoy yourself whatever the future brings.


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