Tale of a Trailing Spouse

American expat in Singapore. A career, friends, family, and place to call home–I gave up life as I knew it for the possibility of life as it could become. Seven years later as a seasoned and serial expatriate, I've lived in four countries on three continents. So far, it's been a wonderful ride!

The magic of six month

Is it just me or do things seem more carefree and breezy?

While it is true the last few days have offered a break in the clouds and an uncharacteristically cool wind flowing in and around this steamy island, I think the sensation I experience has nothing to do with weather.

After writing (and writing) to you about the doldrums I’ve had for the last several months, my heavy mood seems lighter in recent days. Suddenly, I feel comfortable, hopeful and, dare I say it, happier here in Singapore.

Why the change? The country hasn’t experienced any grand metamorphoses. For me, it continues to be a small, sterile island located a million miles away from it all.  And every day, I still feel like a Granola girl in a Crunch Berry world. Nevertheless as I try to take a bite out of this life, I can honesty say I am having more “mmm” than “meh” moments.

Cereal analogy aside, do you know what I mean?

I look at today’s calendar and note the date–2 February 2012. Today marks exactly six months since my plane touched down at Changi airport. Before exiting the terminal, I placed my thumb on the scanner reserved for citizens and permanent residents for the very first time. After reading my fingerprint, it flashed the following words on its screen:

“Welcome home, Diana Mahmoud.”

Home? Even though it was a lovely sentiment coming from a cold, hard (but extremely convenient) machine, Singapore didn’t feel like home.  At that time, I had no fond memories of the place, no favorite hangouts, and not a single person to call my friend. It’s amazing what time can do for perspective. Today I already have a few really fond memories, favorite dining spots, friends, and folks, whom I hope will become friends.

That’s the magic of six months.

I can tell it’s not only me feeling the love like that a second trimester in Singapore brings. Within my group of friends and acquaintances, most of whom arrived around the same time, I sense a vibe.  People walk with more of a spring in their step and not just trudging along. Faces show more signs of content instead of contempt.  And nobody is complaining about the humidity like they once did.

At least it’s something.

Cheers! Wearing red, the national color of Singapore.

Cheers! Wearing red, the national color of Singapore.

In my case, part of the transformation also stems from a renewed sense of purpose. I realize, as my first English-speaking assignment, Singapore affords me good opportunity to hone my skills and abilities in a meaningful way. I’m finding ways to feel more productive as I work toward a goal. And even though I may not get the occasion to work while living here, I can certainly build a résumé and take important steps to ready myself for a time when I can. For this, I feel inspired.

Six months. It’s been enough time to create a comfortable life, battle the angst and anxiety of change, and emerge with a more buoyant perspective. All this time, my beef has’t been with Singapore. It’s been with me. And now that I’ve got that firmly settled, it’s time to carry on and make things happen.

Welcome home, Diana Mahmoud. Welcome home.

17 comments on “The magic of six month

  1. Naomi Hattaway
    February 3, 2013

    Love this. I wonder too if it has to do with your current guest? Happy that you are feeling settled, my friend!

  2. Diana Mahmoud
    February 3, 2013

    Thank you! I think seeing this country through my mother-in-law’s eyes does offer me a different perspective. Remember, next time you are my way, let me know. I’d love to meet your family!

  3. Beth Bowman
    February 3, 2013

    Six months in a foreign country can seem both incredibly long and incredibly short. I love your writing style!

    • Diana Mahmoud
      February 3, 2013

      Thank you for the kind words! This has been a particularly tough 6 months. I’m just happy the fog is lifting!

  4. glenmerle
    February 3, 2013

    It is amazing what good a bit of sunny weather can do. Glad you are finding a renewed sense of purpose! Looking forward to reading about what great things your next six months will bring!

  5. Amy
    February 3, 2013

    Time seems to heal a lot. I’m going on month 10 in a strange place and just starting to feel comfortable. Nothing compared to your journey, but baby steps! So happy that you are adjusting! The things we do for these men in our lives?????

    • Diana Mahmoud
      February 3, 2013

      The things we do! I’m glad you are starting to feel comfortable in your new home as well. Whether it’s a different state or country, Amy, it’s all the same. Hard! Hope you guys are planning your Singapore vacation, We’re open and ready for company!

  6. Lynn Lees
    February 3, 2013

    Well they do say, (with diets at least), that it takes at least 3 months for a new one to become a habit. Glad you are settling into your new diet! :)

  7. kenju99
    February 3, 2013

    I think that you would be able to find your way and “be at home” no matter where life lands you! I doubt I would be so malleable.

    • Diana Mahmoud
      February 3, 2013

      Thank you, Judy. I try to be malleable, but this one was tougher than I expected. When I come to Raleigh this summer, we have to meet in person so I can share exactly why!

  8. englandia
    February 3, 2013

    :) That is great news :) 6 months really isn’t that long considering how much you loved Barcelona. So that’s fantastic:) I am here for 3 months now and I miss the US a lot. :) This too shall get easier.

    • Diana Mahmoud
      February 3, 2013

      Yes it will!!! By the way, you blog is no longer public. Any chance I can get access?

  9. expatlingo
    February 4, 2013

    You are so right that there is something magic about that six month mark. Glad things are looking up!

    • Diana Mahmoud
      February 5, 2013

      Thank you! Now I feel silly for complaining so much!

  10. emilyemcgee
    February 7, 2013

    I’ve heard it can take about 6 months before a person feels comfortable in a new place, and it’s great to hear that you’re experiencing that. I hope things continue to get brighter at “home”!

  11. Kay
    February 13, 2013

    Best post ever, Diana. Just sent you a text, before I read this, now I am smiling… Love you mucho.

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