It has been one year since I’m ‘officially ‘living in Singapore. I used quotation marks because I actually spent almost 1/4 of the year outside of Singapore. Now it is time to have some year-end summary.
First – financial: my income clearly went down after relocation. Singapore’s tax rate is half comparing to my overall pre-relocation US tax rate, however now 1/3 of my _pre-tax_ income goes to pay rent. If anyone would tell me 1.5 year ago I’d end up in a situation like this, I would not sign the contract. But I did and I did it before I arrived in the country first time (that was my first mistake). But at the end, not everything is measured in monetary terms – I made some interesting discoveries and got confirmation of some of my own theories and ideas. Let me outline them:
I discovered that my ability to adjust to a different climate is way better than I thought. One thing is sure right now – I have no problem with heat or humidity or combination of both (which is killer for most of people) I can adjust to both of them quite well. After arrival I had to spend most of my time in air-conditioned room, now I turn aircon only couple times per week for several minutes. The only problem with climate/temperature I have is cold environment – I will get sick when air temperature drops below 10C/50F for more than several days.
I also confirmed that I do not have a problem living in different cultural/language environment, but taking into consideration that it is fourth time I am moving from country to country that should be normal now.
Now I work slightly more – before I was working 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, now I work >10 hours a day, often including weekends. However this is purely result of (as my team lead correctly pointed) my inability to delegate tasks to other people and desire to do everything on my own. This is something I clearly need to fix, but don’t know how I can do it taking into consideration of my stubbornness…
However the greatest discovery/affirmation to me was regarding all the things we take as granted and not noticing them. Now I can write whole essay about this. See, we – human beings – strive for familiarity. We get used to good/nice things _very_ fast and it is getting extremely difficult if familiarity in conjunction to good things goes away.
I’ve been living in California for 13.5 years – this is the longest period I’ve lived in one place of my adult life (since I turned 16). And at the end of those years I really wanted move somewhere else – I got bored. What I did not released that living in California/Bay Area in general is much better place to live if you compare it to the rest of the world.
That realization came only after relocation, which again was confirmation of what I wrote couple of paragraphs above. After moving to a new environment initial excitement goes away soon and we are looking for familiar things which would give us some confidence. And if you don’t find those things, then it brings anxiety, rejection of the new reality (‘how do you like the new reality? – I am totally against it!’) and desire to back to old familiarity.
But if I look at my own situation after a year… well, I gained more, which could not be quite expressed in monetary terms. And because of this I think my decision to move to Singapore was right and at the right moment
I managed to travel to seven different countries: I’ve been in Germany, Switzerland, France (if one considers Strasbourg a part of France), Turkey, Georgia, back in States tree times. I’ve been in Japan three times and was able to practice my elementary Japanese (and completely failed doing so).
I was able to personally meet most of my colleagues, connect with them and gain/reaffirm their trust.
I was able try amazing variety of local food and witness cultural events.
I was able to see my family again while I was on road and now it seems that I could see them more often than before.
I do not take all this as granted – I do release that I am extremely lucky to have life experience like this and less than 1% of people even in First World counties can afford or are able to live like this.
I am also lucky to have (so far) good health, to be fit (however there are different opinions about my weight and how ‘normal’ it is)
I have the job which I do love – no doubt about this, otherwise I would not do it. I have team members who are smart and hardworking.
I have people at work I consider as role models and try to be as good as they are.
I am looking forward into future with optimism, no matter how challenging it could be. I’ve learned that success is to go from one failure to another with enthusiasm (as Sir Winston Churchill put it) – this is what life in US taught me and I am really thankful now to have this mindset.
However I want to say one thing at the end – all of this would not happen without uttermost support from my wife who clearly suffered much more during the whole process and sacrificed a lot than I did.
Thank you Connie.