First Impressions

– They have square taxis, and some are even Mercedes.

– Sky rise windows open. In America that would be a lawsuit (suicide suit?) waiting to happen, though it looks pretty fantastic. On that note, all the architecture here is amazing. Many buildings are beautiful, as either remnants of Colonial times, ex. ‘East meets West beauty’, or the government’s dedication to aesthetically appeasing things. Things from chairs to bed heights are also quite more ergonomic in design, and just make so much more sense.

– Its decided that American exceptionalism in many things, from using calories to feet to weird plugs suitably ruins American chances of being abroad and not looking like a complete fool.

– There is a ‘ship’ on top of a hotel, consisting of infinity pools. Essentially it looks like a giant T building, and is pretty fantastic.

– The humidity is serious business, making siestas smart, but nothing unbearable. It simply makes sweat stains the norm.

– Pretty much everyone is well dressed all the time… in black, white, light blue, navy, or gray. Hence our group, colorfully fashioned all the time, is easily picked out for other reasons than looking lost and taking pictures every instant.

– The tree foliage/ greenery are to die for. Because Singapore is so hilly, I am sitting in a ‘dining hall’ – read one of many centers with extremely low priced food. Today it was peanut butter toast and a mango smoothie for all of $S3.80, so about $3 total.

– on eye level with the tops of massive trees. It is truly the stuff of tree-house dreams.

– On campus, it is possible to walk everywhere without getting rained on through something called the common level- so no matter if you are on a hillcrest or in a gully, you can travel around.

– I simply must focus on not making eye contact with people, its not that Singaporeans are not nice, its just not part of the culture here. This makes my favorite task of people watching even creepier than it is in the states. But I shall have to investigate how to make friends – Repeat: Americans are colorful.

– Though not a completely different language, Singlish, a type of creole I would say, is going to take some getting used to…. Kind of like moving to the South from the North.

– Rule: foreigners attract each other. For example, I was sitting alone eating my toast in the food court…. Then a foreign professor sits three tables down, and someone from South America (guestimate) sits behind me… with not a Singaporean surrounding me.

– I just realized monsoon season will be following me from Singapore to India. Simply fantastic and I have not decided if I mean that sarcastically yet. Rule: it rains sometime from 3-5

– Time is dedicated to eating. It even seems like our days/ events revolve around where and when we’ll be eating.

– It smells like the equator, though it differs from Senegal in its cleanliness and the lack of that quintessential ‘ode de feces/trash. ‘ Something is always being cleaned here, from the university buses to the wood porches…. They even have someone who picks up the flower petals from the landings ( theres also a problem of paying immigrants proper wages in instances such as this I might add).

– There is a thin line between being obnoxiously touristy and… well…. being a foreigner who does want to take pictures and do token things. It shall be a little of each.

– The first day of classes has been great. Our first professor for our Southeast Asian history class after Independence went 15min over the class time because she just answered all of our random questions throughout the period. And she hates the government… slightly respectfully. Being here and having so many options of activities and things to explore does make it quite hard to just sit down and read or do a paper here or there. = Problem. I mean, I’ll do it all of course, but sleep is a very fickle thing.

– We all live in singles with our own showers, which is fantastic as the heat makes 2x a day showers a minimum.

– The SEAS group is fantastic so far, and we are all food obsessed and ridiculously in touch through social media as we do not have cell phones here.

-[later] Just went on my first, slightly hot run, before the rains came. Essentially its a great excuse to explore. Two things: there is a salvation army down the road which I will be interested to explore.

And trash- there is very little of it and it seems rather purposeful or accidental. i.e. someone dropped their purse or there are beer bottles hidden out of sight.

One Response to “First Impressions”
  1. margobalboni says:

    These cultural observations are fascinating, you little undercover anthropologist, you!

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