I hate change, it's so confusing. Who are my friends? Where is my family. Where is home? Is home with family, or is it the house in which I spend most of my year? This time, even my permanent address changed. It's strange to drive past and see the white and red house I grew up in, with grass on which I used to race mice and rats, with the starfruit and jackfruit trees at the back, with playgrounds and the library nearby, and all the other conveniences of that neighbourhood - and remember oh, that's not home any more. This is also the longest I've stayed at one place, during the semester. Over the years I've had bits of mail sent here, others sent there, and different cards issued with unmatching addresses, and it was all very confusing. I have clothes, cooking ware and other belongings in boxes that I either forget about, or deliberately not unpack because who knows how long I will be here for. Or they are in a different city and I don't remember what is here and what is there.

But it's confusing, emotionally too. I feel as if segments of my life are paused, or resumed, each time I make a trip to the airport. Or that each aeroplane journey is a time to switch off my attention to one set of tasks, one set of people, and switch on to another. Why is my heart split and scattered them over separate dots of the globe. Why is it that I will never be able to be with all the family and friends I love in one place. Why do I keep saying so many goodbyes (often morbidly wondering if it will be the final goodbye), so many that I rarely cry anymore. Why have there been so many warm farewells and promises to keep in touch. In the end though, many move on with their lives, or grow to have completely different approaches to life that we no longer share a close understanding. I always wonder how many friendships I would discover to be transient friendships when I revisit a year, two, three, four years later. Sometimes I wonder if I might as well avoid making these discoveries by quietly arriving and quietly leaving a place. But maybe I shouldn't be so dark, midst the disappointments there are always nice surprises - new friendships with childhood playmates, friends who become even better friends, or childhood enemies who become friends, or even new friends in old places.

Why am I here at all though, despite asking myself the same questions time after time, for the past six years. Well, less than six if you minus a few of the in-between years. Why, especially when I no longer have to be here. Did I make the right choices. Back there, the house is almost adjacent to the hospital grounds. Plus I would be staying in one place for the entire year rather than coming here and going there.

The same thoughts always accompanies my first weeks back in this city. Why is everything so much effort, even driving down the street, or attending a yummy dinner party. Why do I meet so many many new people here all the time, but count so few as my friends. Will I be lonely, will I be sad, and why is the city so cold even when the weather is quite pleasantly summery. Why do I feel so distant, as if I am here but not really here. Why is it here that I am always being told that I am in some way, abnormal? In first year - why do you walk slow (on the way back home, so why not), why do you pronounce things differently (because I didn't grow up in Singapore or Malaysia), why would you live in that town, it's so boring, I mean what's there to do in D (school, work, shop, eat, family, friends, not that different after all). Then, even this year - they were all looking at you and feeling uncomfortable, why are you browsing a book on the shelf instead of joining the rowdy card game across the room. You don't understand how these social situations work. Maybe you are too blunt, maybe you need to work harder to integrate yourself. Blah blah blah.

Anyway, I think everything will be normal when I am used to life here again. In the meantime...


Anonymous said...

Hi, I just found your blog recently. Just wanted to say I empathise with you. You just wrote how I have been feeling! Hang in there--He knows. All the best, Ruth.

Winnie said...

Hi Ruth, thanks for leaving a message and your encouragement. Hope you feel better soon too :)

David Wang said...

I had similar feeling in the past 5 years. Stayed in more than 10 different house. Confused about my future path. Friends are everywhere but not even one close friend I can share my heart. But finally I found him, just here, and he told me and taught me everything... Seek him, you won't ever lose. :)

Winnie said...

Hey David, thanks for sharing, didn't know you rented so many different places too! I'm really happy for you, and glad to see this journey where you came to know and love God.


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