Two major milestones have passed this week – the return of Mini into our care, and the return of Beverly into Singapore. We three had been effectively separated since two days before our departure from Portland, when Mini was picked up on a rainy Monday afternoon for her drive up to Seattle, where she would depart via plane to Frankfurt, and then on to Singapore and quarantine. Beverly and I would separate nearly a week later, when she departed for a business trip starting in Ho Chi Minh City.
To call our reunion emotional would be an understatement. My emotional balance had already been thrown out of whack from jet lag, stress and the heat’s fatigue. When Mini was delivered to the apartment this past Sunday, I wept uncontrollably, holding on to her for all I was worth, unabashedly letting tears cool my cheeks. Why did I weep? It was a sense of a beginning – a return to something resembling the new normal. Daily walks, visits to the park behind us, the ritual of water & food, and the companionship of our pet. That feeling that I had craved for so many hours becoming reality.
It should then go without saying that when Beverly emailed me that she had already arrived at the Ministry of Manpower, where we were to meet and get our final immigration documents, that I leapt up out of the house to go to the train station. Each subway couldn’t move fast enough for me, but after two changes, as I walked out of the Clark Quay station near the MOM building, I heard the sweetest sound – Beverly calling my name.
Decorum be damned – we embraced right then and there, tears once again doing sweat’s work.
This week also brought another welcome visit, two of my aunts and my uncle who were already planning on stopping in Singapore as part of an Asian vacation. Bev & I met them in Holland Village where we got to show off our neighborhood and digs, and then I met them at their hotel to enjoy an amazing view of the city and Orchard Road. They wanted to go get dinner somewhere in the Marina, with a view, and I knew of a place, a brewery on the 33rd floor of the Marina Bay Financial Center called, fittingly, Level 33.
There was some skepticism from the peanut gallery, I’ll admit, as we walked around a very stale-looking bank branch and an obvious financial building looking for the entrance to Level 33. However, critical voices were stunned when we got up there – though we didn’t have reservations, the staff was happy to find us room at the counter. While they looked for space for us, my family went out on the patio to take in the view – the Marina, the nearby Marina Bay Sands hotel and Singapore straits and harbor. A truly amazing view.
The new normal begins to form. I stare in amazement, and perhaps a bit rudely, when I see others sweat where I am not. I’m typing this now on our patio instead of under the AC in the unit, a light breeze cooling me as puffy white clouds roll by a blue sky so sharp one hesitates to reach up in fear of being cut. The sounds of birds I have yet to name1save one, which I am calling the “Omar Bird” because of its call sounds like that of Omar Little from the Wire’s “Ay yo!” I’m a dork. sing and chirp, and traffic comes and goes along Holland Hill.
There is so much work still left to be done to build a life here, but it’s work that progresses.