Brianna Degaston. Powered by Blogger.

A Year Ago I Moved To Singapore...

by - 3:55 AM

A year ago on October 12, 2016, I pack up my entire life and I moved to Singapore. I didn't do it for work, I didn't do it for school, I didn't even move here because Trump was about to become president. (but seriously though) I moved here because of love.

I think it would be silly to say that back then I was very naïve, but surprisingly I have learned a lot more about myself and the world in this past year than I ever did in my first 21 years of existence. I honestly didn't know what I was getting myself into a year ago when I hopped on that free business class flight (thank you credit card rewards) from Salt Lake City to Singapore.

Let me tell you a little bit about my past so you can get a better understanding of how I have felt when I first moved here. My whole entire childhood I moved from one place to another. To me it was normal, but everywhere I moved people found it quite strange and bizarre since most places I have lived in people have been there at their entire life since birth. I was born in California, was raised by a Polish mother, spent my early childhood years in Chicago and Poland, grew up in Northern Virginia, and spent my adolescence and early adult life in Utah. In my short lifespan, I have witnessed and experience all different types of people.

By the time I was about to graduate high school, with plans of leaving the state maybe even move to another country, I had very big goals on my mind. The same time I was supposed to figure my life out at age 17 was the same exact time I developed severe medical problems, developed several mental disorders, and on top of all of that my parents were getting a divorce. Because of this rough time in my life, it heavily shaped the next few years that were to come. Since I wasn't qualified for any scholarships, or any government financial help, or even most loans without an unbelievable interest-rate, I had to figure about a way to afford college. My mother was broke after she got divorced leaving me to fend for myself. As I watch all my friends go to universities, join sororities, live in dorms, travel the world, I felt like a big failure and I was only 18 years old. I was stuck working several low paying entry-level jobs where I was constantly verbally and mentally abused by my bosses and managers while trying to pursue a Computer Science degree which has been a dream of mine since I first discovered that field in high school. The only way for me to cope with all the stress was to start a fashion blog and a YouTube channel where I documented my travel adventures.

After a few years of this, I came up with a crazy idea to solo travel in Asia by myself simply because nobody was available to come with me. 
While I was traveling in Singapore, The stars aligned for both me and James, that we got to meet each other. Sometimes I think what a miracle it is that we mother the time and that now almost 2 years later we are still in love with each other and I can't imagine life without him. Before, during, and after this trip I felt alive, motivated, and confident that I could get through anything. A few weeks after I returned to America, I developed an injury that prevented me from working or studying. I worried about my future since my dreams of getting a degree seemed so far away.

I didn't expect anything from James after I met him except maybe one day in the future we could be travel buddies. I knew the moment I met him that he was a nice guy who is hard-working and even has the same goals as me. Because of my injury, I was able to get to my college tuition refunded, so I decided to take another trip. I planned it to be another solo trip at first but because I was on a really tight budget I decided to go back to Asia especially since there was a chance that James could maybe join me. Luckily he did join me and during those three weeks of traveling together, I realized that I wanted something more and he felt the same so that's how we ended up together.

After what seemed like forever of a long distance relationship, I no longer wanted to live in America anymore. It seemed like every time I want to visit my college counselor to figure out where I was with getting my degree, it was very far away and very expensive to achieve. I felt like I was in a black hole fighting hard with no way out. We would sometimes joke around that maybe I should move to Singapore since he has a good career there and he can offer me a more stable environment there. The joke turned into a reality when I got fired from a job in Utah for no reason who didn't value me as an employee. I didn't know what to do with my life anymore. My only options were to either work or take out huge loan still probably take my whole life to repay so I can go back and study. James however provided me another option, and that was to move to Singapore with him and figure it all out there. I didn't see the point of waiting any longer, so I booked a flight to the other side of the world so I can finally be with my love. 

Looking back a year later, so much has changed. When I first moved to Singapore I was scared, nervous, depressed, homesick, and worried. I was not expecting for that time to be so difficult for me. I have never felt so alone and lost in my life. I assumed that because Singapore's official language was English, that I would be able to understand everyone. I soon discovered that was not true. I found myself having a huge language barrier with the locals and just about most people I came across by. The worst part was that I didn't even know what language people were speaking most of the time. I didn't know what people did for fun here, where people did their groceries, where people went when they needed to see the doctor, or even how to make friends especially with no job and no social life. It seem liked other foreign expats usually met each other at bars but at the time I didn't really drink so that didn't appeal to me. Getting out of bed in the morning was really hard even with what was supposed to be a perfect dream life. But luckily James was patient with me and he understood that I need a time to adjust to my surroundings.

Not only was moving to a new country hard, but this was my first time having a real serious boyfriend that I was also moving in with for the first time. This was the first time I moved out of my parents' house and I didn't even know how to do a lot of things such as cook every day, take care of things, get along with other roommates, and even make decisions together. I didn't know how to handle conflicts when they arose. All couples fight and at the time every little argument and disagreement we had felt like the end of the world to me. I didn't know what to do in an argument and that is still something I'm trying to figure out to this day.

To add more stress to all of this, I was being heavily criticized by people that are supposed to be close in my life. My father and I have never been close but ever since he found out I was in a relationship and I was living in Singapore, he decided to use that opportunity to attack me. He even convinced my boyfriend's parents that I was mentally insane. I constantly felt like I was worthless and that no matter how hard I tried, there will always be people that won't like me for some reason.

For the longest time, I didn't have a social life. It took time to establish a group of friends and to realize that not everyone will stick around. But for the people that have, I am forever grateful for the friendships we do have and the even better times to come. At first, I really struggled with a group of girls that I thought were my friends. They never made me feel welcome and I constantly felt invisible when I was around them. And when I did start to make good friends, some of them were about to move away and it was hard to feel close with someone whose time was almost up. Then all of a sudden, I started making friends from unexpected places. I guess it just takes patience and time for some people like me to get settled in. From my experience, it's better to live in the moment than to compare your current situation to the past.

I will never forget how hard I cried when I hugged and kissed my mother goodbye at the airport. I never quite understood what life without your family was like until it really happened. It was hard, a lot of tears were shed, and I had constant heartaches from homesickness. Behind all of the luxury resorts, beautiful home, parties, and world traveling, there is a young woman that misses her home and family. I feel constantly divided between America and Singapore. It's not easy to have your heart in two places but this is what needed to happen for a better and happier future.

Thank you for reading!

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