Laura: Texas on Thames
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Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Singapore, etc.
I am Laura and author of Texas On Thames. Originally from Texas, I l moved to London in 2010 with the intention of living there permanently. Surprise! Life had other plans and in 2012 I relocated again to Singapore.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started a location-centric food blog in Texas with a girl friend in 2007. It turned out successful and we had a lot of fun with it. I've loved writing and storytelling since I was a small child so when I left Texas I knew I wanted to continue blogging.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I absolutely do have favorite posts! Sometimes it's so I can go back and look at where I was and what I was thinking at a certain time and place (Perceptions). Sometimes it's just because the piece turned out really well (Of Bluebonnets and Daffodils and On Skinny) or funny (American Accents and Stereotypes). And then there are posts I love because they address important current events that I may not have experienced or understood the way I did if I didn't choose to live abroad (The London Riots: Where's your Broom and The Sky is Burning).
Tell us about the ways your new life in Singapore differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I think Singapore is similar to parts of Texas in a lot of ways. It's hot and humid, people rely on air conditioning, and shopping and eating is a key source of entertainment. Also, there are a lot of Americans in Singapore and the oil industry is a big factor in both economies.
That's not to say I didn't (and don't still sometimes) have culture shock. As expats we take on this challenge to learn and grow. That process certainly doesn't come hiccup-free.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Singapore? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
The decision to move happened suddenly. My spouse and I took the "let's throw our stuff in a bag and go" approach, so I would say no I definitely was not prepared. I'm not sure any other approach would work though. You can read all you like about an experience but you won't really understand it until you go through it yourself.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I once told a British coworker that her suspenders looks very nice in her pants. It means something completely different in British English than it does in American English!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Singapore?
- Read my post, some things to know when relocating to Singapore, for a few practical pointers.
- Be patient with yourself. You are facing new challenges and one shouldn't underestimate the stress that can cause.
- Take advantage of the things Singapore has to offer like travel opportunities, interesting people and different cuisine.
How is the expat community in Singapore? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I think the expat community in Singapore is very diverse. I often hear fellow expats describing groups and I think to myself "that's not my experience at all!"
If you don't fit in with a certain group, try another one. There's loads of people around and most are fairly open to new people, especially as they are away from their own social and support networks. I've met friends in the strangest of places, including garage sales, scuba diving trips and even through my blog.
How would you summarize your expat life in Singapore in a single, catchy sentence?
Small island, yet everything so far lah!