Whoa! Year four in Singapore. When many expatriates start their overseas assignments, most never think getting past the three year mark. And to be fully transparent. I internally struggled a bit to publish this expat anniversary post because…., well, simply put. Year four (while okay), it wasn’t all that memory-making (as far as intrepid exploration goes). Yet, here we are.
Has it been better than year three in Singapore? One thousand percent! I can say, it hasn’t been a dumpster fire of a year.
So what have we been doing if not gallivanting around Oceania and the South East Pacific?
Hmmm, how do I answer this without sounding morose or sarcastic? Which I’m not sure is possible, because being satirical is deeply rooted within me (it’s how I got through 2020, and it’s part of my sense of humor).
Life on the Little Red Dot has been a dance of dodging and weaving, with side, diagonal and back steps around covid. While the rest of the world is opening back up and getting on with it. We’ve been on the ropes getting hit with a rhythm of restriction changes, and being told what we can and can’t do.
Obviously, we abide by the rules. We recognize and appreciate how safe, proactive and calculated Singapore has been throughout the whole pandemic.
But after two years of adhering to the ever changing rules, getting vaccinated, and prioritizing public health. It does make one question the course. A question that’s really fueled by FOMO (not science, not math, just the feeling of sitting on the side lines and watching everyone else play). On the daily, we watch news and social media feeds, of our families and friends moving about freely, and basically getting on with their lives.
But what about us? What about this tiny little island and the people on it?
On the good foot of travel news. A list of pre selected flights from more countries have been categorized as VTL (vaccinated travel lanes). This means those who are fully vaccinated, have negative covid test results pre departure, and have approval to enter. May arrive in Singapore on these selected flights without having to serve a 2-3 mandated weeks hotel quarantine (averaging an extra cost of $2,500). This is a sure win and the reason why many expatriates have been able to travel and reunite with family.
I truly believe this little golden nugget has been the highlighted news for many expatriates who have been waiting to see their families for two years. I mean, if you didn’t just scream your head off when you heard that news, you must be dead inside.
But wait, why not go back home?
For our personal situation, we almost did return to the States. This decision was disrupted when a counter offer was presented. This sweet deal played an integral part of why we chose to stay in Singapore. We also thought – ”How much longer can this pandemic last? Surely, we’ll be back to traveling before the New Year.”
Well, yes and no.
Trying to make the best of it
Looking back I do have to laugh a bit, because after we made the choice to stay in Singapore. We celebrated by going on a staycation on Singapore’s smaller island, Sentosa. As (bad) luck may have it, days before we left for the hotel. Singapore recoiled back to tighter restrictions and closed down all restaurants and bars. And once again putting limits on social gatherings. And no, we couldn’t change our reservation as it was booked under the no-change clause.
And of course hotels were affected by the restrictions, as well. Such as, allowing guests 1 hour at the pool and/or beach per day, and reservations must be made in advance. Since all the restaurants and bars were closed, only room service was available.
Like many others, we too enjoy sitting pool/beachside drinking fruity cocktails and munching on good noms. Which was another thing we weren’t allowed to do. There was no drinking and eating pool and or beach side. To top off our limited and restriction ridden staycation; it rained the whole time whilst we were there (que in the sad whoa-is-me music).
Thankfully we were allowed to have our walkabouts and rent bicycles. And even though it was all done in the rain, it was nice for my husband to step away from work and sort of feel like he was on a break. Even if it was time still spent in full on restrictions.
Who knows what year five will bring us. If leisure travel hasn’t been reintroduce. Maybe we will have to reassess.
This year has tested our patience and truly made us aware on how travel is so important to our physical and mental health.
For the future …. if I shake a magic novelty eight ball and ask, “Will everyone’s life in 2022 improve exponentially?” I would pray the answer, ”Yes definitely” appears through the screen.
Obviously, I do not rely on an inanimate object to predict our future, but I can’t help to put forth positivity and hopes for a better tomorrow.