Monday, March 26, 2012

Where to begin?

July 4th 2011

It's been about a week since we've decided that we're going to uproot and move across the planet. Definitely a whirlwind of emotions but after the initial overwhelming list of logistics for the actual Singapore move, we've got the list somewhat more organized.

Our happy new home and having to leave it behind
Last October, we bought and settled into a lovely home in Hollywood. Not just one house but two houses on one property as a legal duplex... a major jackpot in real estate! We're still in nesting mode; we've been cleaning up the landscaping and planting a herb garden. Now we need to stop all new projects and go back to rehabilitating the existing landscaping before we leave. We also need to replace the water heater in the tenants house and also call the exterminator to get rid of our little friend that lives in our attic. I've already called around to see how much it would cost for rental property management but we can't help to be a bit sad to leave. We've already put so much love into this home and want to find renters that love it as much as we do. Knowing that we'll always have this house to jump back to makes this new adventure less daunting. In the meantime, drop on by and I'll fix you up something to drink.
livingroom during the holidays in our new home (Momo is on the couch and Ralph is on stool)

Our fuzzy family members
Home is where our kitties are so we didn't think for a second that we could leave them behind. Singapore is an island so it's going to take a bit of work and $$$ to get Momo and Ralph over. They've never been boarded overnight or even been on a flight. There's also a mandatory 10-30 day quarantine. We're going to get all the rabies and various other vaccinations needed to have them only be away from us the minimum 10 days. I'm already worried about the long flight but I'm communicating with a company that specializes in the import/export of pets. Momo loves car rides but hates vets. Ralph doesn't like anything outside of our house including visitors that come into our home. I hope they make the transition with as little stress as possible.

My citizenship
Let's get this out of the way: yes, I'm a lazy ass... I've avoided filing for U.S. citizenship because like a normal person, I don't think about my nationality unless I'm traveling abroad or it's a presidential election year. I've lived in the U.S. since 1984 and married my husband in 1998. I think of myself as an American. I grew up in California 15 minutes from Mexico and 20 minutes from Arizona. There wasn't too many Asians at all... my family was part of the "4% other." I don't speak Chinese that well and have only been back to Taiwan twice. Good thing my mom made amazing Taiwanese and Chinese food when we were small or else I'd have no connection to where I was born. I feel like I'm American through and through but ironically I'm not. I decided last year that I can't go through life as a fake American anymore and that it is really important to get my citizenship. The earliest I can file is April (soon!) since you have to wait 18 months after you travel out of the country (Andy and I went to Mazatlan in Oct 2010.) What does this mean? Means Andy will move to Singapore first in August and I'll stick around Los Angeles 2-3 months more awaiting my final oath... this will allow me to wrap up anything here and also see my new nephew or niece born. Mixed blessing for sure since I'll be away from Andy but he'll be able to learn the new culture and teach me all about it when I meet up with him.

Ethnic diversity
Speaking of being Taiwanese, Singapore is 80% ethnic Chinese... whoa. I've always lived in a community where I was the minority. Growing up I made friends because of the things we liked to do not because of our ethnicity. We moved to Los Angeles about 13 years ago and noticed the distinct ethnic communities... entire communities that thought we were strange since although we're Asian, we drove fords, didn't wear name brand clothing and we grew up listening to a variety of music (punk, latin, modern rock, electronic, r&b and yes, even country.) Being in the art/entertainment field, we still have a variety of friends... good thing we're not corporate and Singapore has a large population of expats that we're now going to join. It's also nice that my minimal Mandarin Chinese skills will be of use!

Tacos and other food issues
What will I do without a delicious taco stand or truck within minutes of me?! Although I'm excited about the new street food vendors that Singapore is known for, I'm worried that authentic tacos will not exist. I've got 6 months to learn to make my own. We're totally importing our own tortilla press, spices and Tapatio (we're southern californian so we're biased to our local Tapatio and only use Chalula if SeƱor Tap isn't available.) We've found another blog that sourced out where to buy masa... taco crisis might be averted. I'll update everyone on the status of homemade tamales, tacos and pupusas.
our favorite taco truck (image from yelp)

I'll also miss our lovely local organic produce delivery service. I wonder if the markets are fresh as the rest of Asia or overly sanitized and tasteless? During the last few years, we've learned more about food allergies and have been switching over to buying mostly organic. I have a shrimp allergy but after some research, I learned that most shrimp is farmed in unnaturally high density and fed a large amount of antibiotics. We've been consciously eating only ocean caught shrimp and my allergies are almost gone. Although labeling shrimp is still not the norm in the United States, I've noticed more markets and restaurants now touting "wild caught shrimp." I'm worried that all shrimp in south-east asia will be farmed. One hopeful thing though, I've started eating all shrimp lately and have only had very minimal reactions. So maybe my allergies have been somewhat cured.

Tequila?! California wines?! Whiskey?! We're definitely bringing our legal limit of bottles over. I have a feeling it's going to cost a billion dollars in Asia.

Various randomness
• Hockey... watching NHL games? Playing ice hockey for Andrew... been searching the web and hockey exists in Singapore so there's hope!
Detroit Red Wings practicing before a game against the Kings at the Staples Center

• Indie music... I'll miss that Los Angeles has a plethora of small and big venues that endless streams of bands play but it seems like there's an Australian festival that happens in Feb. Yay! Dancing will continue!
• Humidity... we'll see how we deal with the year round stickiness and hair frizziness. I'll treat it like a tropical vacation. Not sure if I'll get caned for running around everywhere in my bikini though.
• Since we're on the topic of corporal punishment: recreational drug use... rather interesting since marijuana is practically legal in California... not that we do now but if we did, it will absolutely stop completely in the lion city. We don't want to be an international headline, execution by hanging... EEK!

So there's most of my issues and idiotic fears. I can't state enough how excited we are but we're already nostalgic about this last summer in the first city we've lived in as adults. I have a LA bucket list going on in my head that I'll post later when it's better solidified. I have a feeling that the next few months will fly by.

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