I’m notoriously bad at giving myself overly ambitious timeframes, but I’m pretty sure I outdid myself with my Nicaragua –> Toronto –> Singapore transition. To put things in perspective, I left Nicaragua on January 3rd, arrived in Toronto on the 4th, packed up my life up and magically obtained a student visa by the 7th and was in Singapore by the 9th. Needless to say, it was a busy couple of days!
The journey to Singapore took 2 full days, so by the time I arrived in Singapore, time already had too little meaning for me to be jet lagged – I was eating breakfast at 2am on the 7th and drinking a Singapore Sling the same time the next day, my body was just tired and plain old confused. However, the fact that I had finally arrived in Singapore was more than enough to completely re-energize me. Being perfectly honest, even seeing the Marina Bay Sands hotel from a distance (during our cab ride from the airport to campus) was probably enough to keep me going for several days, I squealed so much! Since Nanyang is literally on the opposite side of the country from the airport (shhhhh, I know this isn’t really saying anything at all compared to any other country other than Vatican City, Monaco or Malta, but STILL!), I had plenty of opportunity to realize how true everything I had heard about the city being clean was. Even during morning rush hour, the streets seemed spotless – and GREEN! I was definitely not prepared for the city basically doubling as a forest! Even the McDonald’s has a green roof!
After an hour of oooooooh-ing and awwwww-ing the city, I was able to go through the same process on campus. The rolling hills, modern buildings and lush greenery were probably too pretty for our cab driver, he got lost at every turn and had to ask for directions several times. It was getting dangerously close to orientation, but I was too busy soaking in the scenery to really care myself.
I ended up making it to Hall 7 just in time to meet my roommate (who, fortunately, was going to orientation as well and knew how to get there), chuck my suitcase in my room and book it to orientation.
After an uneventful 2hours of listening to how you need to watch your health because people in Singapore are prone to the occasional mild cough or cold, some of my fellow exchangees and I went to the city to hunt for living necessities (read: comfy pillows and cheap cell phones).
The nearby mall we selected as our hunting grounds also surpassed everything I’d heard about the magic of Singapore shopping. Rolex and Gucci stores popped up like weeds, and every corner you turned seemed to bring you to another corner of the world: we ended up eating dinner on Japan Street!
Despite wanting to continue on to a night out, my body reminded me that I hadn’t had a full sleep in over 3 days and forced me into bed.