It is another beautiful (and hot) morning in Singapore. Sitting on my bed in my apartment (my no longer bedspreadless bed), I am listening to the birds and to the man who is sweeping the sidewalk below me in a constant, slow swish-swish rhythm. It is going to be a good day.
Yesterday (Wednesday), I spent my day at the Ministry of Education in training. It was a long day, but also a very helpful day. We received our work passes, listened to information about our bank accounts and hand-phones (what they call cell phones) and Internet access, and set-up our bank accounts, Internet, and hand-phones. I was also really excited to see everyone from PIA and to exchange numbers. It will be much easier to be social now.
I met some of the other teachers as well. Two girls from England, Hannah and Kerry, were really sweet, and I got along with them both really well (haha…there is just something about the English).
I feel so lucky to have had my housing arranged for me, especially after listening to Hannah and Kerry’s stories. Kerry and her husband have been living in really cheap, really “dodgy” (as she puts it) hotels for the past two weeks as they have been doing their housing search. Hannah and her boyfriend Jacob, who is Costa Rican and is in Singapore doing his Ph.D., found a place in Chinatown. They needed a central location, because they will be traveling in opposite directions in the mornings. But the central location was not cheap…$1,900 a month for an unfurnished apartment! I guess it is really nice though, but wow.
After our long day ended around 5, a group of us went to a nearby Hawker Center. Hawker Centers are like outdoor food courts, and they are everywhere and everyone eats at them. It is no wonder though, I’ve never paid more than $2.50 for my meal. Typically, I’ve gotten rice and three vegetable side dishes. They also have these really great fresh fruit juices. Last night, though, I opted for a Tiger beer .
While food may be cheap, alcohol is not. My meal cost me $2.20, and my beer cost $5! The cheapest bottle of wine I’ve seen is $18 and Smirnoff vodka is $59…this is not a joke. So, if you are ever on your way to visit me, please stop at the duty free in the airport on your way out! But, back to the Hawker Center.
Jacob, (Hannah’s boyfriend and not a MOE teacher), Hannah, Marcus (a Canadian guy), and I sat in the Hawker center and watched the daylight fade, the city slowing coming to life. Sipping our Tiger beers we chatted about everything from diving in Singapore to wine tasting on the U.S. west coast. A beer and good conversation with good people in a city that is so fully alive you can feel it running through your own veins…now that is what life is all about.
When I got back to my apartment, I used my Internet for the first time and was also able to Skype video chat with Tim and Skype call my dad. Again, really good to hear voices from home. Then, I stopped downstairs at Jayme’s and hung out with some of the PiA guys for a bit.
Today will be another new, wonderful and exciting day I’m sure. After I shower, I plan to head back to the Botanic Gardens to explore a bit more. I will then have lunch with Shannon and Gracie at their house! After lunch, I’ll head to Ikea (yes, the Ikea that is big and blue and square) to search for a rug and maybe a futon. Tonight, Leslie from PiA is treating us to a pizza party! We will probably eat Pizza Hut pizza, laugh about eating it in Singapore, and laugh some more about how lucky we are to be eating it in Singapore. More on this later.
For now, Cheers and TIA,