Hi Guys! When I say “Country” what does that mean to you? To many expats living here in Singapore it means, well we are from; Europe, China, Australia, U.K. USA, etc. I guess that’s the differentiation between us and other expats over here. When we think of Country, we think Country, you know; corn fields, wide open spaces, fishing ponds, flat land, small farms with cows.
We were both raised in a very small town in rural Northern Indiana where the total population is about the same number that you could find in 1 Super Mall here on a slow midweek afternoon. So adjusting to life in a City of over 6,000,000 people has been, well lets say a work in progress!. I’m going to share a story / vulnerability with you about us “Country folk” so settle back and grab some popcorn.
We all remember the old tv show (The Beverly Hillbillies) right? Well we feel at times like the (Singapore Hillbillies) I will painfully accept the role of Jed Clampett & since my adoring wife will be reading this, lets give her the role of Elly May. 🙂 The kids don’t really get a vote!!
First time in Singapore riding a City Bus;
Ahh, I remember it well, we wanted to go check out my wifes work location which happens to be in Jurong East which is actually on the West side of Singapore? but I digress… Her office is in a very, lets say Industrial area. We took a cab to get there and after I would say 10 minutes of standing outside just looking around at the building in the blazing Sun that felt like it was cooking us from the inside out, my cotton shirt soaked and sticking to my not so flat belly, we decided we had enough. Hey lets catch a city bus I said, just to see what the route would be like if she decided to take instead of driving everyday.
Now I have had a lot of bad ideas in my day but this might just make the Top 10. Great Idea says my supporting wife, who really just wanted to get back to the cool a/c that was waiting for us in our hotel. OK the adventure begins… here comes the bus, as we climb onboard and head up to the top-tier as they are double-decker city busses here. We grab the first set of seats on top with a clear view of the roads ahead. What we didn’t do is basically any diligence on where the bus route went or where we were even going! looking back I just remember that we were so hot, sweaty and thirsty that we just needed to sit down and get in some A/C.
So off we went, into the great unknown, our fly by the seat of our pants plan was to get back to a MRT station where we would catch a train and off to our hotel we would go. We had downloaded the app to track our every move so we felt pretty good starting out. After about 10-12 stops and the bus was getting more crowded with locals getting off work and we were still about 10–15 more stops away from where we needed to be that we kinda started getting nervous, see we had left our kids back in the hotel by themselves as we didn’t think we would be gone very long…. We were already past the time we said we would be back, ya soooo we could feel the stress starting to rise. We tried calling the kids but of course when you try to actually call a teenager who is on the phone 24/7 you can never get ahold of them….
Oh and to add insult to injury my phone didn’t work in Singapore and Christina’s phone had entered into the “Danger Zone” with a battery level of 6%. Just about the same % of hydration we had in our bodies… Anywho our bus continued on its turtle’s pace stopping every 100 meters or so, but at least we were tracking our progress towards the MRT station. There is something comforting about knowing you are at least going the right way. Wait I spoke too soon, suddenly the bus turns at a crazy intersection and we are heading away from our destination. Enter Panic mode! Holy Crap! WTH just happened? I thought we were in good shape, not great, but at least good. Now what do we do?
We thought we were within a 1/2 mile or so of the MRT station before the lumbering overcrowded people mover on 30 wheels made a wrong turn for us. We wanted to get off at the next stop coming up, but wait, the bus just kept going? why didn’t it stop? little did we know, if you want the bus to stop you press the little button on the hand rail. Hmmm, who would have known that??? We both decided to quickly escape down the winding stairs and try to get the bus drivers attention to stop asap. As I was making my way to ask the driver to stop and show how Country I really am, the bus slowed down even more, veered to the left and came to rest at a designated bus stop. We nervously exited and got our bearings as to where we needed to start walking to catch the MRT.
We could barely see thru our sweat soaked eyes as we trudged onward towards the MRT station. It turns out its kinda like in Vegas, where you see a certain hotel in the distance and you think, Oh its just right there…. Ya its always a lot farther than you think.
With every step we took we could feel the stress level rising (along with our body temperature) of not knowing how this was all going to turn out, plus worrying about the kids. ( Parent of the Year Award is probably out..) After at least a 30 minute walk thru Industrial waste sites and scrap yards, we finally got to the train station, exhausted, disgustingly sweaty and well lets admit it we weren’t smelling very fresh….
On the subway ride back to the hotel, standing of course as we were packed in tighter than young girls at a Nick Jonas concert, the steel workers, monks, children, Grandmas, students, business men and women were the norm then you had us. Yep, American Hillbillies!
After what seemed forever we arrived safely back to the hotel, where our children were enjoying full use of our credit card on file as kid mocktails and delicious snacks galore were being consumed poolside, and didn’t realize or even care that we had been gone so long!
Ya, this whole Country to City thing is gonna take some getting used to. At least for Mom & Dad, seems like the kids have it all figured out already!