Way back in September, I wrote somewhat cheekily, “All of my Asia plans may as well be on indefinite hiatus if I find myself still here, handing out mini-sized candy bars to costumed trick-or-treaters at Halloween.” Ugh.
It’s early December now, and not only did I see Halloween go by, I also had turkey for Thanksgiving and I’ve even nearly finished my holiday shopping. All of this from the cozy confines of the borough of Manhattan, fifteen thousand miles away from my sock drawer in Singapore. Which is not to say that it’s been misery for me since I left Singapore. I’ve actually had quite a bit of fun, and I feel fortunate for the opportunities to do the work I’ve done and to spend more time with the friends I thought I’d left behind in July.
“There are things out of my control, and then there are things just within my reach. Like answering the question, ‘When will you get out of New York?’”
But the fact of the matter is that, with each day, I feel more and more adrift, and less and less sure of what shape my future might take. Actually, I think the whole of the United States feels this way right now, thanks to the marshmallowy stock market and the absurd, legalistic telenovela of a contested Presidency. However, there are things out of my control and I count those among them. And then there are things just within my reach, things that with some effort and some determination, I might be able to influence.
One of them is answering the question, “Khoi, when will you ever get out of New York?”
Actually, next week.
After clearing through a heap of tasks during my stint back at the New York office, it finally looks as if I’ll be able to leave without remaindering an irreconcilable mess to my successor (well, I suppose he’ll have the last word on that). Last Wednesday I booked a ticket to California, where I’ll be spending some time with my parents. And, in the spirit of the ridiculous itineraries that I’ve maintained throughout most of this year, I’ll be flying to see my sister, her husband and her little boy in Salt Lake City on Christmas Eve, and returning to the Southland roughly thirty hours later. It wouldn’t be one of my trips if I didn’t do it that way.
So that gets me out of New York, at least. Right now, pending approval from one of the higher-ups at my company, my plan is to leave California shortly after Christmas and fly back to Singapore directly. At last!
Here’s a list of things I’m looking forward to on my return to Singapore, in no particular order:
- Stashing my emptied suitcase in my closet, since I will no longer have to live out of it, day in and day out.
- Taking all of the books I’ve bought since I came to New York and adding them to my bookshelves.
- The sheets and pillows on my bed.
- The freedom of walking around my house, singing at the top of my lungs to the music that I put on my stereo, all the while improvising substitute lyrics of incredible cheesiness.
- Making social plans with my friends (granted, they are far fewer in number in Singapore, but I’m gradually accumulating them) for time periods further in advance than a week.
- Being able to answer the question, ВWhere do you live?Ь without prefacing my answer with complicated explanations about my transient state.
- Eating a delicious, well-prepared, square Singaporean meal for the rough equivalent of US$4.
- Being back in Asia.