Touched down in Singapore on Saturday and I got to experience, first-hand, YET AGAIN, the process of moving to and making a new home in a “new” country – “new” being in quotations since Singapore is not exactly a new country for me, but you know what I mean.
It is impossible to describe just how infinitely stressful and distressing relocation is – I mean, I wrote a Masters Thesis on the topic and I’ve done this SO MANY times, but still I manage to be overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of effort involved.
For starters, there is the process of “dismantling the old home.” That took a good three days for us in New York, and that’s considered mighty efficient. Day One: Movers come in to pack everything that has to be shipped to Singapore. Day Two: Another set of Movers come in to pack everything that stays in New York (to be moved to a friend’s place). Day Three: Cleaning out the entire place. Day Four: Handover, check out and leave forever.
In between, you’re meant to say goodbye not only to the apartment, but also to the neighborhood you’ve called home for the last 2-ish years. That was rather heart-wrenching, even though I’ve professed often enough that “I don’t really feel like I’m hip enough to live in Williamsburg.”
And then the only break we got in between dismantling and reassembling home was the flight to New York, all 25 hours of travel time, with the cat huddling quietly in his tiny carrier-bag underneath the seat in front of me. That beat sending him to Singapore in the cargo hold, but it was still harrowing for him. He hardly ate or drank anything for almost 30 hours.
We arrived into the airport at almost 1 am in the morning on Saturday (29 Sep), after which it was an immediate transfer to the Animal Quarantine Centre, where the cat had to be handed over for a minimum 10-day quarantine. This, despite my having prepared him more than 4 months in advance (vaccinations, rabies tests and the like) – the Singapore Customs authorities are taking no chances.
We managed to catch a few quick hours sleep before we had to get up again to hit the furniture stores to procure a few essentials for the new apartment in Singapore. Thankfully I had managed to secure that before leaving for NYC – but it was an empty shell (see picture). And so by 11 am, ten hours after we arrived, we had managed to secure ourselves a proper bed (to be delivered in a week), a temporary airbed in the meantime, as well as a whole bunch of sundry cleaning equipment. I thought us inhumanly efficient.
Saturday afternoon was spent consoling a totally zoned-out and shivering Kitty in quarantine where we were overjoyed when we finally managed to cajole him out of his bag, to drink a little water and to consider having a poo. (Yes, it was that dire!)
Saturday evening was spent scrubbing and mopping the filthy floors of the new apartment before we passed out from overdue jet-lag. Sunday was a continuation of Saturday, wherein we trawled IKEA for other essentials (table, chairs, shower curtain, lamps, etc) to tide us over till our furniture arrives from New York in early November.
Come Monday morning – i.e. TODAY – we both started work, just over 48 hours after we arrived in Singapore. It was rather harrowing.
Bottomline is: moving to and making a new home in a “new” country is not much fun (particularly when you’re doing it on a tight timeline). I don’t encourage it, and I sure as hell ain’t doing this again for A WHILE.
HOORAY to being in one place!