Fast Answer: I’m looking forward to my tenth anniversary in Singapore in March 2022.
I don’t know if it’s silly to be excited about these things. I think it’s a reminder of why I moved here in the first place. I wanted to scratch an itch. I wanted to see if there was such a thing as following one’s dreams.
It was simple in 2005. I was on a family holiday to Singapore while my dad was stationed at Sembawang. I remember I was an incoming fourth year student at La Salle Dasma and that I had to skip one week of summer classes. I remember visiting the Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari. I remember we ate at Seoul Garden and that it was so special. It was so family-oriented. (You wouldn’t see me at a Seoul Garden today, it’s… well…)
One particular memory stands out during that first trip to Singapore in 2005.
My dad booked us a three-star hotel somewhere in Orchard. My dad had to go to work on that particular day. So it was just my mom, myself, and my brother. We went downstairs to the hotel buffet. Apparently, the room only included breakfast for two. I don’t recall how we ended up trying to sneak three of us into the hotel buffet. Maybe back then we thought we could get away with, I don’t remember.
But what I remember is that one of the staff approached us and told us that only two of us could join that buffet service. I forgot if they offered us to pay for the third seat. If I recall correctly, we didn’t do anything else. We didn’t “top up” for a third seat. I have this memory of my mom refusing to get a plate. So we only had two plates, one for myself and my brother. I remember feeling a sense of embarrassment.
As I built my career in Singapore in the years that followed, I never scrimp when it comes to travel. It’s not that I splurge on holidays I can’t afford yet. What I mean is… whenever our family would have its annual trip to some destination in Southeast Asia, I would ALWAYS insist on booking full and complete meals for everyone. If the room would come with “breakfast for two” I’d make sure to top-up and PAY for the third and fourth seat. Or better, I’d plan for breakfast to be nearby. I’d have options prepared. We can eat at XYZ… X has the view, Y has the cuisine, Z has something my dad might like.
Maybe our family was having a tough time financially in 2005. I won’t understand the way my dad plans things. But that one memory of having to “sneak” a third family member to a “breakfast for two” is something I don’t EVER want to experience again. I won’t allow it. I won’t allow my family or future family to experience the same.
The milestone I’m looking forward to is my tenth year in Singapore in March 2022. It’s because of the opportunities this city has given me in my career and ~mY LoVe LiFe~ … I’m grateful for it.
Without this pandemic, I’m also sure my brother and I could afford to treat the family to holidays in Bali, Hanoi, Seoul, Tokyo, or Taipei. We could share the bill and never have to experience scrimping. Not with family, not ever.
This is a question prompt from “365 & me” for September 1.