So I've been back for 3 days and it feels like I've never left at all.
The same cobbler sits at the same corner across the kopitiam, the same Malay auntie is preparing Hainanese chicken rice, the same bus routes takes me to the same places.
But now with an angmoh, I am an official SPG. Everywhere we go we get blatant stares- from kids, from adults, from locals, from foreigners. What they don't know is that I met E when we were both expats working in Tokyo, and our race never really factored into the relationship. My friends laugh at my accent, but they don't realize that nobody would have been able to understand me if I spoke Singlish, and that my job was to speak and teach proper English.
I have also forgotten the curt service in Singapore. I had gotten used to the bowing and the nodding, to the polite (albeit put-on) smiles, to the long-winded explanation to a simple problem. Here it's, "What you want? Like that, is it? Okay, this price." I have to stop myself from going "sumimasen" when I knock into someone/something, from saying "hai" to everything I understand.
Still it's good to see everyone. Yesterday we had wonderful nasi padang at the backalleys of Boat Quay, and then we went to Molly Malone's and Harry's for drinks and live music. Just Chaz, E and I, later followed by Joe, just like before, but now older and wiser.
Today we're going to catch a movie in town and check out the bookstores/library. Funny how E and I have never once had a movie date in all the time we've known each other; it costs almost S$30 for a ticket in Tokyo! Wave if you see us. :)