I realise that I have been back in Canada now for almost a month and I have yet to update this here blog. I think it's partly to do with the fact that it is about my adventures in Singapore and that time is now over, and partly to do with the colossal feat I have been undertaking to create a life up from the ashes that were the remnants of my leaving.
However, I think I might be ready now to post my final thoughts about everything standing as I am now firmly on the ground and having had some time to get my head round the whole thing.
Upon arriving back here in Canada there were a few things that struck me. I think it's an interesting perspective to be able to have the experience of being a foreigner in your own land, if only for a few days while your mind switches channels. Seeing Canada from that perspective has been very interesting.
Here are the things I noticed the most:
White people all look the same
We have soooooo much sky here
The empathy that is entrenched in our culture permeates everything
After having talked with my friend Ash who lived in Ghana for a while, I have found out that this white people look the same thing is not unusual. For the first couple of days I was back, all of the people I saw looked like people I went to high school with or people that I went to university with. I think I'm just not used to seeing white people's facial features so they ping in my head as being familiar.
I never realised in Singapore how little you see of the sky as much as I did in my Dad's car driving down the QEW. Things here are so much flatter and you aren't surrounded on every side by towering buildings and you suddenly realise how big the sky really is. It was kind of like that first time you go up in an airplane and you go above the clouds and you realise that it's always sunny, it's just the cloud that block it out. If that makes any sense at all...
Finally, and I think most importantly, the empathy in our culture. Since coming back two surveys have been released that have said that Singaporean are both the least emotional and least happy people in the world. Now, whether that is really true or not is of course debatable, but I do find that there is a distinct lack of caring for others. Not to say that Singaporeans are jerks, they're not, it's just...they don't really seem to feel a lot of compassion. Canadians brim with it. Even in Toronto, where people are notoriously assholes, it is more common for people to return things when someone drops them, help someone up who has slipped and fallen, say hello to strangers or ask them how their day is, give money to people asking on the street and respond to marketing that speaks to your sympathy. All of these things I have seen and noticed since coming back and all of them are things I either rarely or never saw in Singapore. You kind of forget that it's out there in a way, but it's the hallmark of what makes this country my home I think.
I have also seen a few of my friends and I feel so overwhelmed at the caring, wonderful natures that they have. I truly have a community of people here that care and are caregivers, who nurture and love and take care of people as their job, or just as part of the very fabric of who they are. It's not just because we are Canadian, I think it's also just who we are, but man, it is good to be back in the warm, loving arms of my home.