You can never go home again…

Such is life…

When I left Singapore many years ago, I wasn’t planning on making it a permanent move. I really didn’t have any reasons to leave. Life was good. But I left – telling my mom that I would be back in 5 years. Well, almost 28 years later I am still here…

For the most part, I love being here. This is now home. This is where I have raised my family and put down roots. Over the years, I have made many good friends too. Every now and then though, I get into this funk and start missing everything that I left behind. I miss my mom especially. And my sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces. And all my good friends. I miss the rain in Singapore (yes, it’s different). And the environment. I miss the food. And the hawker centers and wet market. I miss Orchard Road. And the hustle and bustle of city life. I miss the bus rides. And the smell of Singapore…

The irony though is that the Singapore I left is so completely different from Singapore today. I bet that when I do go visit, Singapore will make me feel like a visitor. It did when I went back in 2012. Everything (almost everything) had changed and I felt so lost in my own hometown. I remember the great sense of loss that I felt back then.

They say “you can never go home again”. It’s true. Things change. You change. The people and the environment that you leave behind change. And you can never recapture the feelings you had in the past. It will always seem different. At times, when I think about my life back in Singapore, I feel such an intense pang of nostalgia. The feeling is usually fleeting but intense. I felt it this past week…

My kids are at the stage in their lives where they will all soon leave home. A few years from now, will they feel the same kind of emotions that I feel when they think about home?

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Friends with benefits…

I think that term crept back into my life about 4-5 years ago…about a year after my late husband died. That was about the time I re-entered the dating pool.

With some trepidation, and a hint of excitement, I went out… with a few guys. I think it must have been one of the hardest things I’ve  ever done in my life! Dating in your 20’s, without kids, was hard enough. Try dating in your 40’s with 3 young kids! Then there was that excitement with a tinge of guilt – guilty that you’re seeing other people after having been happily married almost 14 years. Guilty that you’re going out with guys that are not the father of your children…

Anyway, I must have kissed quite a few frogs before I met my prince. But that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, back to this “friends with benefits” thing… It didn’t quite work out with this particular guy. But I guess I must have made quite an impression on him because he refused to let go 🙄…  When he finally accepted the fact that ‘we’ were not going to happen, he suggested that ‘we can still be friends’. And I thought, hey! Why not? I can make this friendship thing work. He was a nice enough guy. I just didn’t want to date him… I was about to agree when he completed his sentence ‘friends with benefits’… Whoa! needless to say, that friendship didn’t last.

What brought about this discussion? Over dinner recently, my friend told me that her teenage daughter has decided that she wasn’t going to date while still in High School. That she’s going to concentrate on getting good grades, that she doesn’t need the distraction that comes from being in a relationship. What a mature and sensible teenager. I was proud of her. Then her mom said, “she just wants to have friends with benefits!” Whoa!

So, since when do teenagers have friends with benefits? I thought only adults beyond their 20’s do stuff like that.

I guess the world is changing… and if 7-8 years olds don’t believe in Santa Claus any more these days and 5-6 year old girls think Barbies are too childish, then I should expect teenagers to want to have friends with benefits…

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