The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Year End Review 2015

on December 31, 2015

It is yet again the end of another year. New Year’s Eve is upon us and it is time to think back over what 2015 has brought us.

It has passed by so quickly. Filled to the brim with things to do and not quite finished. Big things at that. A lot of change and plenty of adapting for the whole family. Perhaps that’s why I’ve enjoyed the lull after Christmas before the new year begins and we start it all over again.

In September we passed the seven year mark in Singapore. SEVEN YEARS! It’s quite frightening to think how long it has been when we first arrived and were so blasé about how long we thought we would stay. On one hand I want #1, 2 and 3 to have memories of the country where they were born and to enjoy all that Singapore has to offer. On the other, there’s a piece of me that wants to be someplace else with family and friends. Leaving a country can be a lot harder than you imagine, it’s all about timing and having a plan. 
In saying that, this year has been a pivotal year in Singapore’s history and m I feel like I am beginning to understand the city state that we have made our home for now.

Perhaps it’s the same for a lot of people who are living an Expat life for the first time. The way you move to another culture and still expect things to be the same as where you just moved from and complain when you find that things are not. How rude! As with anything, it takes time to adapt and eventually you get used to the changes or learn to accommodate them. However it’s only been this year that I feel like I finally live in Singapore. Taking the time to understand the significance of SG50 and the huge outpouring of grief after the passing of its founding father, Lee Kuan Yew. The growth and success Singapore has achieved in the last 50 years has been amazing and we are lucky to enjoy many of the outcomes. 
I still feel like I’m just passing through and I guess after seven years of a kind of detachment, you do start to feel like you want something permanent. Like a forever home that is yours to enjoy and look after.

As we found ourselves still in Singapore, we realised it was probably a good idea to find #1 and 2 an education. There was a point where it was looking unlikely that #1 was ever going to Big School! Luckily the school we chose had openings for the start of the academic year in August. As I’ve mentioned before, the transition from pre-school to Big School has been the hardest not for #1 and 2 but for us as parents! The amount of reading that needs to be done and the checking up on the school website on activities, home work, school events is phenomenal and I must admit to missing a whole section on class activity to do at home for the whole first term. A huge dose of parental guilt has resulted from that. The new year presents a new start on keeping on top of your child’s education for a start! 

#3 also started school this year too. Only having a few months crossover with #1 and 2 before they went off to Big School but not before we had all three starring in the same school concert! That was quite an emotional event for us to see all three performing and feeling so proud of them! When your youngest child starts school it can be a rather bittersweet moment. You long for that little bit of freedom and yet you have to let go too.#3 now has a life outside of the family and finally some friends all of her very own.

As for myself, this year has been full of great change. I guess last year I was preparing myself for new challenges for 2015. Be it leaving Singapore or otherwise.

The return of Running Wolf has been great fun and I really missed how running can focus the mind as well as open up a new group of people to hang out with. For years the incubation and nurturing of #1, 2 and 3, the heat and humidity have all been reasons I haven’t ran so much here but chancing upon Twin 1 changed all that and it was a good step towards rediscovering the things I used to. The year started off really well but by mid May, other distractions occurred that put running and other sporting participation to one side.

One of those new distractions is a return to Gainful Employment this year too. I was hoping to write a post about it before now but I find I just haven’t had the time to think about it properly!

It had been on my mind for a while. After the luxury of seven weeks in the UK last year, I knew it wasn’t going to be something I could repeat this year. With #1,2 and 3 at school and the gaping six year hole in my CV, it was about time to address how to fill it. In this respect, I have found myself lucky in how quickly I have been able to find myself Gainful Employment. It began by chance with a parent of #2’s schoolfriend who happened to ask if I wanted to do some part time temporary work for her organisation. It seemed a great starting point and came at the right time for me in a field that wasn’t too dissimilar to what I was interested in beforehand. Soon after I came across the position of Gainful Employment that I now occupy.

Whilst I was open minded about the challenge of returning to Gainful Employment, the reality of transitioning was hard. Both the guilt of being away from #1, 2 and 3 and ensuring I was putting in all that I could into my new role. I imagine this is a postion that you will never get away from once you have children to consider. After seven months I think we are all a little bit more adapted and financially it is good to have a small sum of income that is your own. For the first time in years I was able to buy Husband a Christmas gift that was truly from me.

A return to Gainful Employment in Singapore has brought a whole new dimension to living here. I think you truly feel embedded in the lifestyle and culture once you have to pay your taxes. It’s been the first time in almost seven years that I have spent a good amount of time with Singaporeans. With that has brought some interesting new friendships and opportunities to go to places to eat and drink that I would never have known otherwise. 
I am definitely glad that I made a return to Gainful Employment but I do miss time spent with #1, 2 and 3. Equally if I was spending all my time with #1, 2 and 3, I know I would be thinking of doing things that would enable me to get back into Gainful Employment. 

This year my Mum turned 80. It’s an occasion that has made me think a lot about someplace else I would rather be. I miss my Mum and my Dad, Mr Li. Though he didn’t get to see #1, 2 and 3 this year like I’m sure he hoped he would, my Dad, Mr Li has been quite savvy on the what’sapp front. Mind you it’s all been rather one way. I’m not sure he knows how to send photos himself but in the absence of being able to be with them, it’s a big step that I can now send him photos and videos of them doing their everyday stuff every day. I know he looks at the photos and videos a lot too and somehow that makes me feel both happy and sad at the same time. Happy that there’s this connection but sad that we are so far away still.

More and more, I’m finding that #1 and 2 have been asking about their cousins. They are beginning to understand the wider concept of family members and after spending time with their cousins and other relatives and close friends in the UK, it’s a an idea that fascinates them endlessly and it would be good for them to experience more of this.
Same for me too. I’ve been lucky that this year I’ve had the company of Nana Moon and Big D over to stay. As it’s not their first trip over and we have done a lot of the first time tourist must see activities, it’s good to share with them a bit of the everyday stuff that we do. Except it’s not really everyday that we go to Legoland of the F1 and see Bon Jovi live! 

All things considered, I would say 2015 has been a real mixed bag. 

It has been a year filled with excitement, challenges, achievements, new friendships and discovering old things again. It has been so busy and tough at times. 

There are people we will remember and there are new people we look forward to meeting. Events, both personal and global, that put the year into perspective. 

In a few short hours it will be the end of 2015.  Tomorrow will bring new beginnings and a fresh start with unseen opportunities and memories to be gained.

May you enjoy a wonderful end to the year. Thank you for sticking with me and my blog again. 

With much love.

Karen xx


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