Monday, October 13, 2014

Welcome to Singapore - A Tale of Two Weekends

Welcome back, my dear readers, for the second edition of the "Looking for Love" blog. This time it's brought to you from Singapore. One of the first questions I was asked when I said I was moving to Singapore was whether I was going to start the blog again. I mean what's the worst that could happen? It's not like I'll end up in the Daily Mail and need to have an embarrassing conversation with HR about the fact that I have a dating blog. Oh wait... that did already happen. So clearly I have nothing left to lose! Without further adieu and back by popular demand, my dating life, along with stories about being an expat, for all of your enjoyment.

Welcome to Singapore!

I have now been in Singapore for just over three weeks. The first two weekends couldn't have been more of a roller coaster. A sane person would have taken those few days to settle in, learn how to use public transportation, and maybe even locate a grocery store. Well, I have never claimed to be sane so of course I did none of these things. I bring to you a tale of two weekends.

F1 weekend is the BEST weekend!

I arrived in Singapore just after midnight on a Saturday. By the time I gathered my luggage from baggage claim, cleared customs and immigration, and found my way to my new home, it was just after 2 AM. I slept for a couple of hours, then was woken up by a friend who was in town for F1 weekend. What is F1 weekend, you ask? The Singapore Grand Prix is a Formula One race that takes place on the streets, yes the actual city streets, of Singapore. And mainly just an excuse to be debaucherous.

I met up with my friend shortly after lunch time, and we grabbed a cab to meet up with his friends at a restaurant. When we arrived, they were finishing up lunch so we missed out on food (this is a key part of the story). When they learned I had just arrived that day, cheers erupted. I felt at home already. I was introduced by my friend to the group like this - "This is my friend, Sara. She went to college..." He trailed off before the key part of that sentence - "with me". My new friends thought this was hilarious and immediately dubbed me "College Girl". I suppose I deserve that after all of the nicknames I've given out.

The group was very interesting. First off, everyone was gainfully employed. No hipsters working at coffee shops, cocktail waitresses or aspiring thespians. After living in California for 16 years this was a new phenomenon for me. It, of course, made perfect sense since you can't be an expat in Singapore unless you make above a certain salary threshold. It was also a very adventurous group. There was conversation about how they became friends when they crashed their sailboats into each other and crazy weekend excursions all around Southeast Asia. These are my kind of people, though at times the conversation lacked a bit of depth. But hey, it was F1 weekend. This was not a time for deep philosophical musings.

After lunch we went to one of the guy's apartments and bottles of wine were cracked open while we waited until it was time to go to Bacchanalia Brunch. The brunch was held in a hotel conference room. When we arrived at about 2 PM, the lights were still on and the food was running out (again take note of the food situation). It was a bit awkward. One guy from our group found the whole thing very not fun, and I found it amusing to tell him to smile more. (Only funny if you know that I'm usually the one getting told I look bitchy and need to smile.) Then the lights went out, the DJ came on, and bottles of flaming champagne appeared from nowhere. And it was still broad daylight outside. At one point I was asked if we should order six or ten bottles of champagne. For how many of us?! We came with a group of six! Of course they were all gone by the time we left.

From there it was a blur of a hotel room party where we watched the race from above, running around empty floors of the hotel (maybe by the pool?) with a cute boy who kept me well entertained, a club with some sort of fashion show going on, lots of dancing, way too much champagne, and not a single bite to eat the entire day. It was definitely not the smartest first day in a new country, but it was a hell of a welcome.

I hate to waste sick days actually being sick.

Monday was my first day at work, and I had appropriately recovered from the weekend. At least so I thought. On Tuesday my throat started hurting a little. By Wednesday I was full-blown sick. Wednesday afternoon I had my appointment with the government for final approval to stay in the country. I was thoroughly paranoid that they would realize I had a raging fever and ship me back to the US. Fortunately I made it through the interview, though the photo I now have on my new ID is less than flattering. Afterwards there was no way that I could go back into the office so I went home, crawled into bed, and stayed there for the next four days. I was miserable. I couldn't swallow and had such a high fever that I turned my air conditioning OFF. It was probably 95 degrees in my apartment. I had several very sweet offers to come take care of me, but the downside of being in a new place is not yet feeling comfortable enough to subject anyone to the sick, miserable version of me.

In between sleeping for 12 hour stints at a time, I mostly spent weekend #2 watching Game of Thrones, figuring out how to get food delivered to my apartment, and playing around on Tinder (see I promised more dating stories!).

My initial reactions to Tinder US vs Tinder Singapore:
  • The initial conversation is easier in Singapore. It always starts with - "Where are you from and how long have you been here?" Most people, key word being most, have an interesting story to tell.
  • Guys in Singapore need to learn what makes a good profile photo just as much as the American guys do. Seriously why would I want to go out with you when the best photo you have is when you're grossly stuffing food in your face? Not sexy.
  • Singapore wins hands down with the more adventurous photo selections. Big bonus points in my book.
  • I don't have nearly as many friends here so the friends in common feature is basically useless, making it harder to weed out the riffraff.
  • Just like in the US, if you're not down to meet up immediately, and I mean, put on your shoes and walk out the door right now, the conversation is over right away 90% of the time. Considering I was in no shape to walk outside, let alone meet a guy, the conversations from that weekend have nearly all fizzled.
There is one guy that I've still been chatting with off and on. We have yet to figure out a time to actually meet up. It's hard when I spend weekends in Indonesia or Thailand and he takes spur of the moment trips to sail in Sydney. A tough life, I know, but somehow I think I'll be just fine here.

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