I was nervous to travel back to the States. I wasn’t nervous about the travel. But rather I was nervous about whether visiting would make me homesick. I also wondered how much I would miss Singapore when I traveled back to the States for the first time.
Now that I’m back, here’s the consensus: I was too busy in the States to miss Singapore that much. And the States were nice to visit, but it wasn’t home.
We thought we would be awestruck with all the changes that took place in MD and NY since we were gone. But after 9 months of not living in the States it all still felt the same, although everything we looked at was colored through the lens of what was Singapore-normal vs. States-normal.
But, once we arrived back in Singapore, even though we were only gone for 2-3 weeks, we could already notice several differences. For one thing, all the Christmas decor was gone. It their place were more extravagant displays – all for Chinese New Year. In the States it is quite common to have a seasonal display area that gets rotated through as the holidays and seasons change. Here there is not typically space allotted for such displays. And even if it were, there would still not be enough room for all that they put up for Chinese New Year. For Christmas there were some extra mini isles/stands/etc. For Chinese New Years they have several extra isles put into space that didn’t really exist before. They have so much extra merchandise for the holiday that stuff is literally spilling out of the store.
This tent has been set up right outside of a grocery store for the sole purpose of holding all the Chinese New Year goodies that won’t fit in the normal store. Don’t you love how they built the tent around the trees? I know I do. It makes me smile every time I pass it on the buss 🙂
Holiday preparations and decor aren’t the only change we noticed when we got back. Changes were observed with regard to two of our favorite treats.
Our daily bubble tea craving had subsided somewhat while in the States. However, within 24 hours of being back we had gotten a bubble tea 😉 Before our travels we had been getting bubble tea probably 6 out of 7 days. I think we’ve made it through this past week with only getting it 4 times.
Part of this might be aided by the fact that our favorite bubble tea spot raised their prices. We came back to prices $0.40 cents more than before!!! Now granted Each-a-Cup is still a good $2 cheaper than Koi, but I am still not happy about the raised prices! Who do they think they are raising the prices while we’re gone??? Our logical conclusion is that with us gone for 2-3 weeks they lost so much of their regular business that they had to raise their prices. (Oh, and our favorite regular employees haven’t been working there either since we got back. I am severely disappointed 😦 )
Within our second day back we stopped on our way home to pick up a flavor burst ice cream cone. Bad news – while we weren’t looking they had closed the dessert bar at our McD’s!!! No!!!!! The sign didn’t even really give a good reason why it was closed. We’ve always thought that the dessert bar is out of the way and not really frequented because people don’t know about it. Any time we would visit the cashier would say, “Please, come back soon,” in a voice twinged with desperation. And there would never be a line. We assume that since we were gone they didn’t have enough business to stay open.
Good news though – the close was temporary. So much for our theory… that’s okay, I’ll take hurt pride if it’s served with McD’s ice cream. Actually, maybe my pride doesn’t need to be hurt, maybe they opened back up because we were back!?
Bad news – my favorite flavor, green apple, had been raised from the special price of $0.80 to $1.00.
Good news – they have added a new flavor.
Mm-mmm! It reminds me of a creamsicle. A definite winner… though I can’t decide if it’s better than the green apple flavor. Oh, and more good news: the current McD’s special has the orange flavor at $0.80 cents right now. Double sweet!
It is interesting how the changes in your everyday life (like bubble tea prices) seem more significant than changes in your hometown where you lived for 22 years. I guess it represents how much this land, even in little ways, has become home for us. I am thankful that the Lord has made it our home. And I am trusting that someday when we leave this place he will make a new place home for us.