It is funny how I still miss cycling around London, when I’ve barely done it for a year, and when I’ve stopped missing certain things, like my usual morning cup of tea.
But yes, gradually London is fading from my everyday life. I no longer think that a train full of people glued to their phones is strange. I complain less about the food now. I’ve come to accept the less than ideal pedestrian environment in Singapore. I’m getting used to the greater homogeneity here. And it has been less than two months. Even knowing that human beings are adaptable creatures, the speed at which I’m adjusting surprises me. And perhaps, part of me is resisting this change. Part of me still wants to hold onto the London, England, United Kingdom that I am so fond of.
I found myself being attracted to the little titbits and snacks we have in Singapore. About a month ago, the thought of them made me sick and I longed for things like cheese, ham and spinach sandwich, avocado, oats porridge. Not so much anymore.
I haven’t lost my ability to switch between proper English and Singlish. In fact, I’ve become so proficient in Singlish that I surprise myself. Ignore my proper sounding English words and I sound completely like the average Singaporean on the street, if there is such a person.
One thing irks me still. That people here can be pretty rude and inconsiderate. In London, everyone tries not to offend anyone and greeting with a hello, a smile is part of the way of life. Not so here. Looking at the deadpan, emotionless face of the cashier taking my drinks order, I felt kind of sorry for her. I love the cashiers at Sainsbury’s along Tottenham Court Road. They always say ‘hi’, smile at you, ask ‘how are you’, and sometimes make small talk with you. And sometimes people respond. Here, things are moving too fast. If you stop and talk, you end up holding up the queue.
I kind of like Little India. It is a place where I feel like a minority again. I stand out so much in this area and I appreciate that I’m different from them. It is a window to the lifestyle of this group of people who live in my country, and I’m riveted.