Sunday, April 09, 2006

Culture Readjustment

Going back to Singapore (for the annual holidays) is always an experience for me, especially since I have been staying alone overseas for so long.

I like to savor the local delicacies, but I hate the hot and humid weather.

I like to see my folks, but I enjoy my independence. It feels weird to have your meals (esp dinner) taken care of, your laundry done almost everyday, and your room tidied up. Then there's the 'curfew', you know someone in the house will want to wait for you to return even though you had earlier indicated that you will be home late.

But of course the worst part is to find that your friends (and peers) have moved on - getting married, moving into their own (HDB flats), climbing up the corporate ladder, and becoming parents. While your room will stay the same exactly the way you left it the morning you left Singapore six years ago.

...many are astonished to find that what was once familiar now feels strange. The degree of cultural readjustment is often influenced by how long you have been away, how much you enjoyed the experience and how much contact you had with friends and family while you were overseas. Living and working in another country changes you and you may well find yourself more critical of the society, the fast pace of life (vs that of a student for e.g.), how people communicate here and what they value. And, you may find that even friends and relatives aren't particularly interested in hearing how you have been changed by your time overseas. - An anonymous blog


This summer, I will experience it again.

PhD talk
The next stage, still a couple of years away.

6 comments:

Peishan said...

this is bad i know - but it's just like going back to stay in a B&B... can be pampered, luxuriate, and not have to worry about the next meal.

L'oiseau rebelle said...

Ha. Even though I haven't been away for that long, it still felt weird to not cook, do laundry, clean up (not like I clean up very much over here anyway ;-))... basically not having to take care of myself.

I'm too used to being independent - even when I was still living under my parents' roof and had almost everything done for me, I observed how all the little things are done. Which is why I didn't have very much adjustment issues when I first came over. So now it is disorienting to have everything taken care of. And to report my daily movements to someone else (i.e. parents).

I hate the hot and humid weather too, I'll take Michigan winter any time (although maybe not Minnesota winter). Although I won't be heading back this summer b/c of visa issues - I'm not going to leave the US until I'm sure I can return. Otherwise I'll be stopping by Italy en route to Singapore. ;-)

smazh said...

I concur. Except that my room doesn't stay the same, because the wallpaper on the ceiling has been removed, the walls repainted, and my brother has changed the layout in my absence.

But some things always stay the same, as I found out when I had a reunion with my primary school classmates. =)

Kevin said...

That's an awesome way of putting it... I couldn't have said it better myself. Once difference though, my room has been taken up by my little brother. Life is good back home (aside from the humidity), but yes, friends move on and somehow, nothing is ever the same again. I've resigned to thinking that as you grow older, you do get lonelier.

serendipity said...

wtotally agree about the weather issue =P

think again, while many of ur peers are already settled down, be glad that you still enjoy being carefree and doing what you like and what you want!

this plase will pass soon. =)

kite said...

What you don't enjoy, it'll end and you'll be back before you know it. What you enjoy, you can appreciate it while it lasts.

Your friends are probably envious of how you have not "moved on" - still in school, not servicing HDB loan, not constantly watching out for corporate backstabbers, not worried about children falling sick.

And you know you have enjoyed different experiences. How wonderful, isn't it?