Settling in: Making (some) connections

Six months have flown by since our move. I feel like I've reached the settling in phase...unless this is still my honeymoon! So what helped me to settle in?

Having moved countries several times in my life, I was bracing myself to go through the usual culture shock. I was particularly nervous that I might never get over the frustration stage and end up unhappy, like when I lived in Manila.

Finding my 'scaffoldings'

Nothing beats doing something, so as soon as I could, I sought out my 'scaffolding,' a space or institution I could affiliate myself with, that would fulfill my need to belong.

That was a no-brainer: I joined a choir. I just had my first performance with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Chorus :) I now recognize a handful of my fellow singers--although names are miserably lagging!--and it's nice to be able to casually chat with some regular faces during breaks and waiting periods.

I confess I still miss some things. Like having my little extra status in choir, getting the respect and trust as an occasional soloist and reliable singer. It's a little hard in a choir of 80-90 strong singers to establish that kind of reputation.

And funnily, I miss having FB connections with my fellow choristers in Singapore! Being on FB together, especially around performances, was always a great way to share the experience beyond the few hours of being backstage and on. But ah well, slowly slowly.

Bringing in ties to our past lives

We're lucky in that Singapore and Bangkok are so close. Our aunty in Bangkok came over to visit us and so it now feels like this house has the blessings of our Thai family. Husband's friend dropped by from Germany too--acting the host makes one feel more like a local. And I never quite appreciated how nice a housewarming actually is.

And by lucky chance, one of my good BK singing friends happened to move to Singapore before me. So it's fantastic to have that crutch. Plus we caught up with Singapore-based singers that we had met years ago in BK for one of Bangkok Opera/Opera Siam's productions.

Routine, routine, routine

I'm now fallen into a routine that includes doing my editing work at home. I know where to get my groceries, where the Uniqlo, Decathlon, and Daiso shops are (essentials!), how to borrow ebooks from the Singaporean national library (did I mention that they have the largest Overdrive collection outside the US?), and how to use my NETS card (although I still don't understand the difference between NETS and NETS@FlashPay. Meh).

Routines are comforting. It's nice to know some things are regularly there and you don't have to make new decisions on a daily basis.

The power of familiar faces

Gradually finding familiar faces has an amazing effect on how settled and at home one feels!

Every morning and afternoon I bike to/from the bus stop with the kids, and now I usually greet a lady from our neighborhood, fellow Japanese school moms and a dad, and sometimes even another dad going to the station with his teenage daughter.

I also take Tigerlily to her weekly extracurricular activity and have become friendly with another mom.

Considering I'm an introvert, this is amazing to me. And even though it's just saying "good morning," that sense of being a local face does wonders to my sense of being at home.

I'm actually feeling happy already!

...So please don't tell me this is still honeymoon phase :D

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