Tag Archives: Friends

For a Friend

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a small plaque on my bedroom wall that reads, “The way to the house of a friend is never long.” This Danish proverb seemed particularly salient today when I hung it in its usual place by the light switch.

I’ve been thinking about friends all day.

One of my very close Rochester friends got married yesterday and I wasn’t there. She’s one of very few people who regularly checks in on my life, finds out when I’ll be in town, and saves time for me when I am. Upon getting engaged, she called to ask me to be in her wedding. She asked first if I knew where I’d be living come summer. I didn’t, but told her I’d let her know as soon as I did.

As happy as I am to be back in Singapore, I am really sad to have missed standing besides my friend at her wedding. All of my home friends flew in from all parts of the country to celebrate. I was sad to miss them, too, but the fact that they were all there speaks volumes about the kind of person our friend is. She sent me a message around 3am Eastern Standard Time that put a huge smile on my face – she wanted to share a couple photos, tell me about the day, and let me know that she missed me but was glad that I was off doing my “thing”.

I was so touched.

Friendship is often a topic of conversation among my friends overseas because it’s always interesting to see who stays with you and who drifts away. I’m so glad to have friends from various points in my life who have stayed with me despite time differences, busy schedules, and personal challenges. I’m glad to have people I know I can call and rely on from wherever I am and for whatever reason. I hope I am as good to you as you are to me.

Even if I’m not there, know that I’m thinking about you and sending good thoughts your way. Wishing you joy, laughter, and love, now and always.

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born. – Anaïs Nin

Celebrating SG52

It’s so strange to me that I was here for Singapore’s 50th birthday two years ago. At some moments, it feels like I’ve been away for ages but tonight reminded me that a year really isn’t that long. Just like two years ago, I celebrated National Day at Gardens by the Bay, which I’ve written about a few times.

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While still exciting and patriotic, SG52 was much calmer than SG50. Far fewer people and much less hype.

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We were able to actually move around freely to watch the nightly light show . . .

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. . . and take in the fireworks.

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We also ate Middle Eastern, Malaysian, Chinese, and Singaporean food at Satay by the Bay. We felt pretty darn inclusive in a country that spends National Day highlighting unity.

Here’s to another year, Singapore!

 

Thank You Note

Eleven months ago, I wrote a note to a crying stranger in a café, assuring her that her troubles would pass and that she was not alone. You can do it, I wrote.

A week later, I needed a kind stranger to write me a note, promising me that I was not alone, that my troubles would pass, that everything would be okay.

More than a few kind strangers entered my life this year; they grew into kind friends.

I’m at my parents’ house in Rochester, enveloped by a quiet joy, a delight at having my family all together. There’s a warm bubble somewhere just above my heart, noticeable despite a slight constriction in my chest. In a few days, I’ll be getting on a plane with my two checked bags, a carry-on bag, and a backpack to move back to Singapore, a place that I love and still call home. I’m not sleeping well, which must mean I’m nervous.

And just like last time and the time before, it’s bittersweet. I think it always will be.

Before I go, I want to thank everyone who has supported me through a year fraught with personal challenges. With their support, I learned a lot about myself, confronted some demons I didn’t know I had, and gained a sense of what I want and what I’m looking for.

So, I want to say thank you.

To the friend who sat with me for hours to find an apartment, figure out the next steps, and forced me to literally get up, get dressed, and get out;

to the friend who let me be sad and supplied me with wine and cheese to help the sadness go down a little easier;

to the friend who held me when “New York City” by The Chainsmokers filled the LA Convention Center;

to everyone who told me to talk to a therapist and to my roommate who gave me the last push in that direction;

to the therapist who let me talk and assured me that that I’m doing okay at this thing called life and that I’m allowed to listen to myself;

to the friends who called on Skype and over the phone to remind me that they may be far away, but they’re here;

to the colleagues who put a smile on my face every single day, made me look forward to coming to work, became my friends and confidants, taught me about resilience and overcoming adversity, and gave me the safest, most nurturing place to be when I had nowhere else to go;

to the students whose questions pushed me to rethink schools, education, and my plans for the future;

to the UES carpool squad who became my reason for getting out of bed nearly every day for the first few months of school and for friendship, political solidarity, and Starbucks Fridays;

to my sister and brother who checked in on me, came to visit, and reminded me that my “built-in friends” are really never going anywhere;

to my parents who showed me the world;

thank you.

Thank you all so much.

Love,

Rebecca Michelle