In 3 months today I will be home, that’s it the ‘year abroad’ will be over and I will be heading back to the reality of the final year of university and finding a job so I don’t end up unemployed when I graduate.
A month today, if all goes well with my Chinese visa, I will have left Singapore and everyone I have met here, to start a month of solo volunteer work and travel before starting backpacking.
It’s becoming very hard to ignore the immanent prospect of leaving when you take a look at the calendar, and I don’t think I’m ready. Every week has been so busy I haven’t had a chance to look back or to prepare for the future. I had a birthday party, my friend from home came to visit and we went to see Coldplay together (photos below, L Chris Martin, R us at Level 33), and last weekend I had my last lifesaving competition with LGC! Now I have finished all my classes and I’m on study leave for my 3 final exams ending on the 3rd of May. Now that classes have finished I’m being subjected to the serious reality check of moving on and heading home, time is running out.
Being so busy in the last few weeks has also given me a chance to really spend time with some of the people who have helped make this year so special and the people, whether they realise it or not, who will always be in my heart. This makes the thought of leaving so much worse. I know how I felt leaving Exeter last year knowing I would be apart from it and the people for just a year… but I also knew I was going back. This time I have met incredible people and learnt so much about the culture and completely fallen in love with Singapore, and I have to leave not knowing when I will return and that also means not knowing if I will see these people ever again.
I’m not sure I can ever put into words the emotions that go with leaving people and places you love for such extended periods of time. Especially when that also means going to a completely different culture and way of life! I didn’t experience really any culture shock coming here as I was prepared for the culture, admittedly not all of it, but I was mentally prepared. I think this year has made me more confident and outgoing and of course it gives you a completely different perspective on the world, particularly as I spend nearly every day around my Singaporean friends, not other exchange students. I’m not ready to go back to being cold, and it being grey, having to walk everywhere with no MRT, not being able to wear ‘slippers’ (flip flops) on a daily basis for any occasion and so much more! I think I might even miss Singlish and being confused when I listen to my friends talking!
I’m going to make the most of the time I have left here and as I have done the whole year, I intend to appreciate every second and sit back and enjoy. But that knowledge of pain on the horizon, the goodbyes and the packing and facing yet more unknown challenges before I actually get back to the UK just makes me a little more worried. But as one of my amazing friends reminded me today “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.