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Filipino American Expat in Singapore

I’m looking out the window and I see rows of HDBs populating the landscape. The apartment buildings come in different sizes and colors. The view from my window is on the 13th floor of a point block HDB tower. But the tower I live in sits on a hill. I estimate that it adds about five more storeys. It feels like I’m looking out the window that’s 18 floors up.

I love looking out this window. You can spot a Buddhist temple on the lower right. Then some cars or motorcycles driving on the quiet streets of my neighborhood. The main thoroughfares in the area are obscured from my view. But if you squint closely you can probably spot the top of a SBS double-decker bus passing by.

Unlike my previous neighborhood— a view of the world’s most boring parking lot with three HDBs of dull uniformity —the view here is wonderful. Because you can see specks of greenery in the distance which form the northern face of Mount Faber. The rooftop of a nearby parking building was converted to a sun garden. The height of the neighboring HDB, almost the same shape and size as my previous one in Aljunied (albeit, in warm shades of orange)— looking inferior. I love looking down at it.

The hawker centre nearby has really good Hokkien Mee noodles. The Thai place has a great ginger pork rice dish. My boyfriend loves the green curry. The pad thai could be better though (it has more sauce in it, perhaps some people prefer it that way). There isn’t a FairPrice or Giant on this side of the road.

Tiong Bahru MRT station is about a 7-minute walk from my house. But I prefer to take the bus near my block which saves you from breaking into a sweat. The mall above Tiong Bahru MRT isn’t as spectacular as, let’s say, the tropical oasis that is Westgate in Jurong East. But it boasts some of the basics you’d expect from a neighborhood mall. Including a tiny FairPrice Finest, always crowded.

For the last eight months, this neighborhood has been my home. It’s where I’ve rebuilt myself and some of my aspirations. I would leave a quarter of the length of the window revealed. The curtains pulled back. So at night, the many lights of probably a hundred other HDB homes would look like little stars. Because no other major structure obscures the view from my window, you can spot nearby industrial towers and those antenna structures capped with a red light. It’s absolutely quiet.

In eight months, I’ve finished entire TV shows on Netflix. My laundry day is Wednesday and I’ve abided. My clothes are hanging on the black IKEA drying rack instead of those bamboo poles. I keep them in the living room until Friday evening when they’re dry.

The four walls of this room have witnessed those earlier nights when I would cry. The same four walls are witnessing the recent times when I’m smiling again. I guess it’s THIS room which has seen me grow and improve.

The view outside is the best one yet. I’m happy with it, finally.

***

Dear George of 2017,

You’re in a crappy place right now. Get out of there and stop wasting your time. There are opportunities out there for you… if you seek it. There are genuine souls out there… if you seek that too. Do not chase after what’s vague. Do not linger in your comfort zone. These will only stop you from moving forward. You have to let go. You must let go.

And please, don’t stop working out. Because when you stop… you’ll gain pounds quickly and sayang.

George Sig