Six Months On

We've been back in the UK now about six months and after sharing my thoughts about being back after a month I thought it would be interesting to see what's changed over the last five months. As part of thinking about this post I re-read my one month in post (coincidentally my most popular post, so far) and from the place I'm now in it makes quite a depressing read. However it was good to air those thoughts here (I'm sure I'm not the only person to have felt that way and won't be the last) and it's encouraging to see how much my mindset has changed these past five months.

View over my new home

So what's different? Well if you've read any of my other posts or follow me on any forms of social media you'll be aware we're no longer living with my parents or in Kent. Relocating to Edinburgh (even though I've only been here a month) has helped no end and once we finally get our shipment from Singapore (very soon now) things will no doubt be better still. Just after writing that first post my husband landed a role here and I simultaneously got myself a short term contract in London, this being the reason I didn't move to Edinburgh quite as soon. Although I'm between jobs again right now having that role, doing my old commute to London etc. really helped me. If nothing else seeing people who used to commute when I did it over seven years ago still doing it reminded me how fortunate I had been to have had the options I have to move around, do totally different jobs etc. There are also a number of other good things too that have definitely helped and even though there are still some bad points I've noticed that these do tend to be balanced by the good.

Perhaps one of the nicest positives has been the chance to reconnect with old friends. Yes we kept in touch via all forms of social media etc. whilst I was in Singapore and where possible we met up on return trips here but there is something nice about making plans, seeing them and knowing you can make plans again. Obviously now I'm where I am I probably won't see some quite as much as I have over the past six months but it's still a whole lot easier being the other end of the country as opposed to the other side of the world. Plus some of my friends have themselves relocated throughout the UK over the years so there are some now a good deal closer than they were when I was in Kent. Hopefully, then a chance to do some catching up with them in due course.

Likewise getting to see my family more frequently is also nice. Whilst it may have been trying at times to be living with my parents again and certainly wasn't something I had expected to be doing, it did have good points. A chance to be just a little spoilt once more, to go out shopping with my Mum or just sit and chat with them. They also got to spend time with our beloved George and although he caused some chaos and wasn't always in my Mum's best books I know they both miss him now. I do wonder how long it will be before they get another cat of their own now. Of course on the flip side of this I miss friends from Singapore but even in the time we've been back I've already had one good friend also return to the UK and had the chance to meet up with her and two other friends who were both in the UK over the summer as well as another who is currently based in the UK. That was lovely and it really was like we'd never been apart. The world really is so small now that I'm sure seeing other good friends at some point, somewhere in the world won't be that tricky and of course we have social media just as I did (and still do) with my friends here in the UK to keep in touch.

I'm enjoying the changes in seasons now. I know when we first got back it was quite cold still and neither of us loved it but summer came as we know it always will eventually and we were lucky to have a perfectly pleasant British summer allowing us to make the most of no coats and outdoor activities. Now Autumn is here and it is getting cooler (especially being in Scotland) and the leaves on the trees are beginning to change colour which I've always loved. Seasons was something I always missed whilst we were in Singapore. We live near the Royal Botanic Gardens and I hope to take the time to visit there a lot more to see those changes taking place. I'm also looking forward to winter, (yes I know, ask me that again when I'm knee deep in snow) I'm looking forward to crisp, frosty mornings with blue skies, to rainy days, windy ones and also hopefully to snow. I haven't seen snow for at least six years so I'm well overdue some. I'm looking forward to a cold Christmas too, something else I never totally got my head around whilst we were in Singapore. I know it will get colder yet and I'll feel it a lot but central heating and fires are wonderful things and who doesn't love a roaring fire in a country pub?

Obviously, having lived in Singapore, I miss some of the food and certainly in my hometown it wasn't easy to get the types I was missing. However now we're in a city again, which I recently read has more restaurants per head than any other city in the UK, we can't go wrong surely. Only the other week we were able to get our fix of some of the food we'd been missing for the first time since we got back, thanks to my husband's Singaporean colleague who has pointed us in the direction of some pretty authentic places. This restaurant was packed and I suspect we'll be back there many more times now we've found it. Once again though it has also been nice to enjoy food that, whilst we could get it in Singapore, it would inevitably have been expensive or maybe one of those things that was a buy it when you see it only option and very much down to lucky finds at the supermarket or in a restaurant.

Weirdly, and something I'd never given any thought to before, is public holidays (or Bank Holidays in the UK) and the fact that it's nice that they still kind of feel a little special here. I noticed this after the August Bank Holiday when I had a lovely day out. What I mean by special is that, with the exception of Chinese New Year, most shops etc. were all open as usual in Singapore so for me who usually wasn't celebrating the day they sometimes seemed just like any other. Maybe this was also partly because of the job I did that meant I had days off in the week so if the holiday coincided with that I got no benefit. Obviously public transport running as usual and not being double the price as opposed to the UK on public holidays naturally was a bonus, but things like taking a taxi on Christmas day (something I'd never do here) just became normal. Somehow knowing I could do that or go shopping on Orchard Road if I wanted to made the days feel less like an extra holiday. Yes I know I could go shopping in any major town or city on a Bank Holiday too now here but the fact some places will still be shut and public transport invariably runs a limited service means the incentive to do it isn't there for me and keeps the day a little more special. 

On the subject of shops I'm also definitely loving the fact that shops open up earlier here, with the exception of some of the shops on the road I now live on which are all incredibly hipster and open at 10am or later for three days a week at most. It's nice to know that generally though if you want to you can go to the shops at 9am instead of having to wait for them to open at 10am or in some cases later still. Conversely though I do still forget shops won't be open as late here and in some cases only for a limited time on Sundays. Many a time I've thought 'ooh I'll just go buy that' at 8pm only to remember that the shop obviously won't be open. That's just something I have to get used to again. I am still spoilt by public transport in Singapore too of course (see my comments above about public holidays) but now our location means it's easy enough for us to walk into the city centre so actually less of an issue than it was when I was staying at my parents and so far the buses I have taken here seem far more frequent than where my parents live. I guess the natural advantage of living in a city again.

Do I still miss Singapore? Yes of course I do and whilst it may not be as raw now there are still moments when I'll see a Facebook post  by a friend or a memory and feel a pang of sadness, but day to day life goes on and I'll always have those great memories to recall. Of course it wasn't easy for me or my husband in very different ways either before we left and also at times since we got back but things have definitely got a lot better in the intervening period too. No matter what though me and my husband have each other to share memories with and recall funny stories etc. I had a fantastic time whilst we lived in Singapore but it was only thanks to my husband and his job that I ever had the chance, just as now it's thanks to him that I have the chance to live in Edinburgh too. I probably am guilty of not showing my gratitude enough at times for that. I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to. Bring on the next chapter!


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