It’s not just the weather. The crowds. The hurried pace. The aggressive drivers. The quality of bread (yeah I’m not kidding!). But most of all… my personal space.
For all my love of company, I am quite a fiercely private person when it comes to space. I like to have my own space where I can retreat to whenever I feel the need to. I like my alone time, when I have nobody else to account to, nobody else to worry about, and I can go about my various activities at a pace to my own liking and not feel guilty about neglecting anyone.
Everytime I come back to Singapore it’s the same culture shock. Rush, rush, rush! But this time it’s worse, not just because of all the things I have to get done before my wedding day. It’s worse because this time I know that I’m not returning to Toronto anytime soon. This time, it’s pretty much permanent.
In the last week I’ve been pretty emotional without really knowing why. The one sorest point is when anybody says anything to me about watching my diet. I of all people know that I’m kind of on my heavier side right now and I have every intent of slimming down sufficiently to fit nicely into my bridal gowns. And, I’m also sure I can do it without too much pain on my part. I just don’t appreciate all the reminders to watch my sugar or carbs or fat… and perhaps it’s all the more frustrating because 1. food is a sacred thing to me and 2. i’m possibly at the strongest and fittest i’ve ever been in my life!
Why does it bug me so much? I don’t really know. It’s not the first time I come back and hear the ‘you’ve put on weight’ comments. It never bothered me before. If I were to venture a guess as to why I’m so sensitive about this topic (and by the way it does NOT help matters when I’m told that I’m too sensitive), I think it’s because of what it represents: the end of my sabbatical.
From now on I’ll probably be getting well-intentioned instructions about all sorts of things (oh how I miss the quiet and the space in Toronto!) from furnishing my home (maybe), to cooking, to housework, to what to eat (or not to eat) when I’m pregnant, to how I’m supposed to be bringing up my child… and after such a long dormant period because of the dearth of external stimuli, I can feel my rebellious streak surge to the surface again.
It’s a new spiritual challenge. I feel mixed about it. I welcome it and have confidence that this is a hurdle I can overcome with God’s grace. But at the same time, while I’m still acclimatizing, my feelings about the sudden loss of personal space can be summed up in two words: It sucks!
Time is needed for progress. There’s a great need for patience, both on my part, as well as for those around me. But there isn’t anything I can do about others besides telling them how I feel. So please pray for me that God will help me from within so that I will soon find internal solitude and peace again in my new environment.
And here’s a word to all my friends still in Toronto. For all the ups and downs in your lives, don’t forget to cherish this time of your life when you can explore and live for yourself. My mom told me that so many times in the past, and while I never doubted its truth, I’m feeling it in a whole new way now that it’s over. So enjoy this phase of your lives while it lasts!
Oh, and in case you wonder… I am not depressed. I have every faith that the next phase of my life is filled with as much beauty and wonder as the last. I’m just experiencing the pangs of culture shock and perhaps a little growing pain. *wink*