Sarah J. Carlson

Contemporary Young Adult Author

So…I’m moving from Singapore back to Wisconsin in less than twenty-four hours


…and this is me:

14-melissa-mccarthy-dancing-gifI feel like this should be a post about all the wonderful things I’ve learned about myself and the world, the new perspectives I have on what it means to be American or a Wisconsinite, or my plans for dealing with reverse culture shock and reintegration into Wisconsin life…or something deep like that.That’s all coming, I’m sure, but as I’m trying to cram my life into suitcases (yes, suitcases, because we’re not shipping anything back), I just don’t have the cognitive energy to reflect on all that yet. Especially with the whirlwind of goodbyes the last few days has been.

It’s been a good run, this year and a half in Singapore. I’ve written and edited a novel, and just gotten an agent for it. I’m well into the first draft for another. I’ve visited: Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia (Bali and Bintan), Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Oh, and Singapore. I may have broken my face a lil bit in Cambodia–just one of many interesting travel stories I now have. I’ve frolicked with elephants. Seen kangaroos, koalas, and kookaburras in the wild. Done extensive field research into vocabulary and spelling differences between American and British English. Made lots of friends from around the world–even converted one English friend into a Packers fan. Got into the Singapore schools a little bit, to teach a creative writing course to local 4th graders and also teach a Saturday enrichment class to local five-year-olds. Spent a year and a half relying solely on public transportation which, thankfully, is pretty great in Singapore. Ended up stopping at at least 47 out of 113 MRT stations (Singapore’s subway). Yes, I was keeping track ๐Ÿ˜› Lived being the minority, an Ang Moh, which I think everyone should experience. There’s another post I’ll write some day; it does help you appreciate different aspects of white privilege to be sure. And I could go on and on.

I’ve NOT been as food-venturous as I should have, I’ll admit that. I have this thing about fish. And mayonnaise. And sketchy-looking chicken. And meat on bones. So…that’s my bad. I’ll miss satay and prata and iced Milo (and flat whites, though those are Aussie). I wish I would have explored more of Singapore, as in the Heartlands and parts where expats don’t go. I did a little bit while working in the schools (Pasir Ris and Alljunied areas), but I wish I would have learned more about Singlish and local cultures. I’m sure as I’m plugging back into my old life, there will be many more things I regret as well.

I’m excited to get back to my family and the niece and goddaughter I barely know. I can’t wait to go back to working in the schools and trying to make a difference in the lives of children and families. I’m excited for cheese curds and good, cheap microbrews and snow! Yes, snow! I cannot wait for seasons and cold and being able to run in the middle of the day. And a car. I cannot wait to have a car again. Can I still have one and not pay thousands of dollars a year for it? Not having to make car payments or pay for insurance or gas or repairs has been amazing.

After the dust settles and I’ve wrapped my brain around plugging back into my old life, I’ll write those posts on what being American means to me and Midwest culture and how living abroad changed my entire worldview and self-view. But for now I think I’ll go make some cookies or something ๐Ÿ˜› Or maybe I’ll stop by the coffee shop in Chip Bee Gardens that knows my order one last time. It’s a blue orange mocha by the way.

1623390_10100702177044105_1832868065462732496_nSome of my favorite pictures from Singapore:

photo 1-13 photo 1-14 photo 2-13 (2) 10255684_10100468249721335_7048744116581598285_n 10344798_10100503656096675_313119749541113872_n photo-210441254_10100521329953125_6840986756202703445_n 10454305_10100521330027975_5910598115609363128_n photo (6) photo-1 (5)ย  photo-3 (6) photo-3 (10) photo-5 (3) photo-5 photo-7 photo-10 P1190738 P1190742 P1190617 P1190580 photo 1 (4)photo 1-11 (4)photo 2-1photo 1-12 (2)photo 2-13 (4)photo 4-710256652_10100472610562175_862716297238446126_o

To this:

Downtown Sparta 1472931_10100396258013295_1544796563_n 945408_10100396323586885_1528026072_n 1551746_10100402888435875_978291620_n 1509810_10100406851698465_1346135851_n 1509211_10100407359475875_1718564115_n 1476445_10100399083236525_620240967_n 1506736_10100397524984275_644816372_n 1476281_10100397525807625_1962971806_n 1499504_10100402888336075_2082870151_n289056_808394788935_1998542658_o 532166_978935833315_519093868_n314213_10100127013087285_1663191494_nย  557168_10100111065895585_2043205287_nphoto 3

10 thoughts on “So…I’m moving from Singapore back to Wisconsin in less than twenty-four hours

  1. Jay Dee

    I’ve been in Japan for the past ten years. I’ll be moving back to Canada next year with my wife and daughter. My daughter’s never been to Canada. I’ve spend a quarter of my life in Japan, so I think I’ll be experiencing a lot of melancholy leaving a country I’ve grown to love, yet I’m also frustrated about things here. I think life will be easier in Canada, but not as exciting. For a while, it’ll be exciting, but as I get settled back in, I think it may be a bit mundane. Life in Japan has been an adventure. New things all the time, even after ten years. But I expect some reverse culture shock. At least we’ll be coming to Japan regularly to travel and visit family. I have a strong link to Japan, so I must come back. Do you have links to Singapore at all?


    1. sjoycarlson Post author

      Yeah, I can imagine that would be a much more bittersweet move! I think what makes it a bit easier, too, is that Singapore isn’t the best fit for my personality persay. I can do big city, but I don’t love it. I prefer open spaces and nature and to be able to drive out to the country, if you will. I also don’t particularly enjoy shopping and eating, which are the two biggest things to do in Singapore. I’ll definitely miss the cheap, easy travel to other countries. I’ve made friends I’ll miss as well, but I don’t really have any strong links to Singapore. We also knew when we moved here that it was just a short-term thing and then back home, not like many other expats in Singapore who move from country to country for one spouse’s work. I won’t be going on as many adventures in the US, to be sure, but I’m looking forward to exploring more of the awesomeness that is North America ๐Ÿ™‚ Cuz we do really have a lot of amazing things.


      1. Jay Dee

        My wife and I have big plans for traveling around Canada and the US. I’m sure we’ll do some road trips. Of course, we’ll have to make trips to see my relatives, as none of them have met my wife or daughter in person. My sister has met my daughter, and my parents have only met my wife. It’ll be exciting.


    1. sjoycarlson Post author ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜› Seriously, never been below 77. The entire time I’ve lived here. I’ve grown up with extreme seasons, so it’s just part of my world. I miss them ๐Ÿ˜›


  2. Amos M. Carpenter

    Awesome pictures! I hope you won’t miss Singapore too much when you’re back in your, uhm, natural habitat. ๐Ÿ™‚

    But you’ll draw from the experiences you’ve made for the rest of your life, I’m sure. I’ve settled down in Australia, but growing up, I moved around so much it was crazy. When I was 18, I’d moved at least 18 times, Europe & UK, Papua New Guinea, Australia… The most time I ever spent in Singapore was 3 days, but they were really great.

    Are you looking forward to chewing gum?!? ๐Ÿ˜‰


  3. Pingback: So let’s get back to that social media platform :P | Sarah J. Carlson

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