Our family was sad when good friends left Fish Hoek to live in Singapore. Skype and emails have greatly reduced the distance and have allowed us to share somewhat in their adventure. (Do you even remember the days of snail mail when by the time you received a reply, you had forgotten what questions you had written? And that before Facebook you had to post birthday greetings two weeks in advance so that you did not loose face!!! ) I am sharing their latest email with you because it gives us all insight into the difficulty and excitement of settling abroad. Their names have been removed from the correspondence for the sake of privacy. KimK
“It’s been a while since I wrote but the computer and I have never been great friends. Keeping up on Facebook is a challenge.
The kid’s Australian International School in Singapore is another story, as everything gets done via email. It took us nearly an hour to make the bookings to see our kid’s teachers during the “teacher parent conferences.” I am still in awe at the Aussies ‘ use of adjectives and big words for simple things. It’s quite entertaining really.
I hope everyone is well back home and that the first school term went by with great excitement and no dramas. We are slowly getting used to the Aussie / Sing way of doing things. Everything you do or go to, is new. At every meeting there are new faces. Every sport match is in a new place. At the end of many of the days I’m simply exhausted.
Driving takes complete concentration (and I haven’t plucked up the courage to wander far from home yet). Travelling by public transport, which is very convenient, often takes very long and the junctions where we change trains or to busses is a labyrinth of underground passages. But I haven’t taken the wrong train yet!!!!
I was quite prepared for the Asian challenge but did not expect an Aussie challenge as well. The majority of kids at school are Australian so we are exposed daily to Aussie ways and language. We are all quite determined to keep our SA accent and the kids are working hard at teaching new friends some Afrikaans words. It is not easy and when we use our own terminology nobody knows what we are saying. Did you know that a 2nd Skin is known as a rashy and board shorts are boardies and so on?
At the moment the house is pretty empty as Dad has gone to the Tiamen islands for 5 days and our youngest has gone to Vietnam with her Grade for 5 days as well. Their school has taken an orphanage under it’s wing and visits there once a year. They usually take money and clothes and this year someone donated 2 generators as well. The kids don’t stay at the orphanage which can’t really accommodate them. Instead they stay in a hotel!! (My, how I miss Fish Hoek school camps) I guess it’s probably safer, especially health and food wise to put the kids in western accommodation. (As it is all so new, I certainly feel a lot better.)
I’m happy to say that we are slowly settling in. People are generally very friendly and welcoming, probably because most of the families at the school are also strangers here. But building friendships takes months and years to develop. I really miss the “pavement chats” while we waited for kids. I do attend every tea I get invited to ( much to my husband’s amusement). It helps that every year group has a morning tea so that the Moms can meet . The school works very hard at keeping parents informed. My, some weeks we have had to be at school twice in the evenings for various meetings. For those who are wondering…..no I haven’t put my hand up for anything! No class rep, no PA, nothing.
None of our kids even auditioned for the school play, which is all done very formally here. You have to book a time slot for your auditioning and present a prepared piece from the play. The school is doing a modern take on Canterbury Tales this year. Play rehearsals are on Sundays as are many of the sport matches. My son thought cricket was far more appealing. So Sunday mornings see us standing next to the cricket field by 8.15. The kids all have to do drama as a subject, so they are quite happy with that.
What is play Fish Hoek Primary doing this year? We will miss it so much!
We are struggling to get used to the materialistic society and the amount of visible wealth. Here, most kids seem to have every conceivable electronic gadget where in South Africa we try to keep it away from them as long as possible and rather take them to the beach. Unfortunately there aren’t too beaches around here.
Anyway, I must share this ……..yesterday my shopping trolley contained paw paw from Singapore, mango from Thailand, strawberries from Korea, bananas from the Philippines and grapes from SA.
On that fruity note I’ll say goodbye. Hope you have a peaceful Easter break with loads of easter eggs.
Love from Your Fish Hoek Friends in Singapore