little dot on the equator that I call home

This semester had dragged on for way too long. Although I am so sick of looking at words due to the countless essays I had to write, I sure...

This semester had dragged on for way too long. Although I am so sick of looking at words due to the countless essays I had to write, I sure missed writing on the blog. After submitting my last essay, I had about 3 days to enjoy beautiful Sydney and the company of friends before I boarded a flight that took me to my family. 

Those 3 days consisted of crazy nights with friends, emotional farewells, overdosing on food, absorbing some Vitamin D with my girls, and smothering some love to Bruno the pug.

I was excited to head back home. I don't feel a strong connection with it, and its hard to believe that this grounds is where my very seeds have been sewn. But there's something about this little dot on the equator where its soil feels so familiar, even though I hadn't lived here in 10 years. The early arrivals, efficient services, using my passport in its birthplace, all reminded me of this place I call home. Once I stepped out of the airport, the familiarity of the humidity that lingered on my skin instantly triggered the realisation, that this is home. I don't think I had ever taken a cab alone before, but departing the airport last night called for this clean record to be broken. After my luggages had been loaded into the boot, I entered the cab and sat in the front seat, which I felt was a normal thing to do.

After a few minutes in the cab, the driver asked,

"You are a foreigner right?" In which I replied, "No, I'm a local actually."

He seemed surprised and gave a chuckle, "Wow I never would've guessed. Most Singaporean girls tend to sit in the back seat. Only foreigners would sit in front with the driver. Usually if someone sits behind, I'm not sure whether they want me to talk to them." 

I laughed as well, as I found it amusing that I wasn't even aware of the 'norms' in my own country! I explained to him that I hadn't lived in Singapore for 10 years and was studying overseas, and that it is an instinct for me to sit in the front as I felt it was a polite thing to do. He asked me which country I spent most of my time in, and I said Australia, which instigated a conversation cautioning me about the terrorist threats that had been targeting Western countries, and kept reminding me to be vigilant and safe. 

"Yes I will uncle. I should come back to Singapore to work because it is still the safer option to stay right?" I joked. 

"Terrorism is now everywhere. It is hard to control how people think. But I hear Australia is very nice. No matter how long you go away, Singapore will always be home!" he replied.  

"Have you been to Australia?"

"Me? No, no time. I've been to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand before. Too old to travel, you're still young can travel more, I'm sure I'm more than 3 times your age!"

"How old are you?"

"63 already. But still got to work and drive this taxi. I had a heart operation, and had to get a lot of kidney stones removed. Had to spend so much money, half of my earnings from taxi driving, gone! So please, take care of your health okay? Its the most valuable thing. Without it, you can't go on to do what you want to do in life."

I let that sink in for a bit. He had worked so hard to make a living, but a huge chunk of it can just go to waste if you neglect the importance of your health. Its refreshing to see someone open up about their endeavours, their obstacles, their opinions, and the advice they want to plant in people's lives. Even though he mistook me for a foreigner, we could still connect on level that involved sharing experiences like how it feels to come home. 

I'm glad I sat in the front seat.

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