“I’m staring out into the night, trying to hide the pain
I’m going to the place where love
And feeling good don’t ever cost a thing
And the pain you feel’s a different kind of painWell, I’m going home, back to the place where I belong
And where your love has always been enough for me
I’m not running from, no, I think you got me all wrong
I don’t regret this life I chose for me
But these places and these faces are getting old
So I’m going home, well I’m going home….”
“Home” by Daughtry
Last Friday as I drove away from my last tennis match as a “Soaring Swede”, this song came on the radio (Singapore fact: the radio here almost always plays American soft pop and rock from the 1970-2000’s, I think it must be the karaoke culture as while cheesy, these songs are all very fun to sing). I was already emotional from saying goodbye to my teammate as i felt a foreboding that it might be the last time. There were a lot of rumors circulating that additional restrictions were coming from our increased community covid cases. You see, Singapore has a 0 community case policy, 5 is tolerable if they can trace them, we had been a few days in the teens and twenties with a few dreaded, unlinked cases. Everyone knew something was coming. That afternoon they put us in what the government calls “Phase 2 heightened alert”. All restaurants were to close and there was a new 2 person rule. Only 2 people per day can visit your home and you can only be in public with 1 other person (families are to travel in pairs, keeping 2-3 meters in between). Strangely, retail stores remained open but mall capacity was reduced to 25%. Work was to be remote. Happily, the kids were still in school. These restrictions were in place until June 13th.
We had planned to stay until July and then travel on our way home. But these new restrictions were a reality check for us. We would be staying in Singapore to be holed up in our condo when we could go home now and not live this way. But school was still open, so we thought, we’ll move up our return date to the first week of June so Liam can be here through his 5th grade graduation on June 1st.
Then Sunday night they closed the schools and went remote effective on Wednesday. That was our trigger to accelerate the move. Monday morning I confirmed with all the teachers that our kids would not be penalized by leaving 3 weeks early (they will not be) and then we set the wheels in motion to fly out Sunday, May 23rd at 1am Singapore time.
Needless to say this week has been a crazy, emotional rollercoaster that I think we’re all going to take time to recover from. Luckily the kids have been able to see all of their close friends to say goodbye (huge thank you to their families who made this possible). We have made good friends here and have lived through a time that will be seared into us forever. I won’t say goodbye, just see you soon…
A little over a week ago, my lovely friend, Minh asked me what we were excited to do in our last few weeks here. I couldn’t really think of anything. You see, we’ve covered almost every square inch of this little red dot. We did everything we wanted to here. It’s time to go home.
We will all leave a piece of our hearts here in Singapore. I’m sad for the bitter ending to what was an experience that was 💯 different than we planned, but rewarding in so many ways. We are all different and I think better people than we were 18 months ago when we arrived, so for that, I will always be grateful to my adopted home of Singapore…