Back in Singapore

Over the past 2 years, due perhaps to the pandemic, and also maybe stage-of-life, a lot of my friends who have been working overseas are relocating back. Most of them either have already married and are starting families or are getting married. It’s great to back home and looking to contribute to the society back here.

Yet it isn’t easy to settle back in Singapore after spending a lot of time overseas. I’ve personally gone through it myself and I’ve also found it strange why having had a prolonged overseas experience always makes us feel a bit like a stranger in our own land.

For one I think when you live in a foreign land for a long time, you’d have been relieved of the social expectations from family and friends you grew up with. Sure there is some degree of social comparison with maybe university mates but that’s all. When you’re back in Singapore, you feel the weight of expectations on your shoulders again. Weekly meals at parents? Or worst, staying with parents and having to update them wherever I go.

To a large extent though, the expectations are from ourselves, our understanding of the context we grew up in, and expectations of how we should behave. That burden is greater in our home country. Perhaps what we ought to do is to lay bare these stories in our head and decide if we want to keep them.