It happens quietly. You become a visitor in the country of your birth. The landmarks will be less familiar. The local trends become novel. When you return from living abroad, you rewrite what it means to be you.
At first, you enjoy the honeymoon period. You bask in the warmth of family and familiarity. Then, displacement creeps up on you. You negotiate and you reminisce. Your heart aches for your old identity, independence and your loved ones in a distant land. You remind yourself that you are home and that you are so privileged. Routine chips away at your authored self. You adapt. You acclimatise. The slang rolls off your tongue. The weight of the coins become familiar. And you relearn your hawker favourites. Soon, the normality becomes both jarring and nostalgic. You remain unsettled: You realise that you’re not sure what home means anymore. You love your family, your friends and your community. But you no longer fit the mould you left behind. You become a stranger in your backyard.
It has been 2 years since I returned from living abroad and I am still redefining and reconstructing what it means to be “back home”. So, I have set on a journey to reacquaint myself with my sunny island. My plan? To be both a local and a tourist; To wander with the starry eyes of a new resident. I will be exploring my country, its attractions and history. Time to bust out the local guidebook, grab a camera and explore the landmarks, both old and new. Join me as I chart the local trail. If you know of a place I need to check out in Singapore, or have new suggestions, please drop me a comment or email. I would love to hear from you!