We’ve been living in Singapore for 3 months – and it’s not been without some turbulence. It’s been fun sharing with everyone what life is truly like and made easier by instagram, facebook, facetime, skype and emails. In fact, I think we may have short-changed people at home with the less exotic aspects of our life.

The Singapore that people expect to see is this:

night pic

night 2

And it’s here, we just don’t live in that Singapore. We live in this one.

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shophouse1

When we were kids living abroad my mother would make us make cassette recordings for family at home. They are still around – we’d sing carols at Christmas and read diary entries and tell stories. At family parties they are still played to peals of laughter.

Then, when I lived abroad in the mid ‘90s there was still no home technology – nothing, nada, zilch. We kept in touch with pen, paper, envelopes and stamps. Receiving a letter was a holy grail moment, it was that exciting. You believed that you were actually living on the other side of the world. The world seemed huge and daunting.

Before I left for Japan a friend gave me a plastic planet spinner – you could twist it round to your latitude and map the stars. He showed me that at times, we could see the same constellations in the UK and halfway around the world. I remember vividly thinking, in that second as he explained how it worked, that the world was smaller than I thought.

In 2013 it’s all a bit different isn’t it?

Now the world has shrunk so much I can pick up news from home and chat with friends with a click. The irony is it makes you more homesick. Way more homesick. Because in your head and virtual world you are still local; then you turn off the computer, radio 4 podcast, BBCiplayer, put down your phone and look up and remember where you are. It takes an enormous amount of effort to disengage from our old life and embrace our new one.

On the upside my mother has my UK iphone and has learnt to send text messages. When the first one arrived I thought I was hallucinating. She uses it like an alarm clock with texts like ‘you forgot another birthday’, ‘your father didn’t buy any sherry,’ ‘Have you found a hairdresser yet?’ When she signs off a text she always signs off ‘mumx’. The spellcheck on the iphone always changes it to ‘minx’.

When I get a text from minx, it always make me smile.

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