Thursday, November 1, 2012

Goodbye, Bangkok! Hello, Singapore!

As anyone who has spent a year living on planet earth well knows, a lot can happen in 12 months -- even when they seem to go by at break-neck speed. One year ago today, I was on the verge of breaking up with my latest love, waiting for the flood to hit Bangkok (never imagining that exactly one year later, a hurricane called Sandy would leave my first love, New York City, almost entirely under water), and not even fathoming that I'd ever be living in Singapore, a place I didn't exactly fall hard for, speaking of love at first sight.

Fast forward -- and I do mean fast foward -- one year later, and here I'm am, on the cusp of waving goodbye to Bangkok and saying hello to Singapore, where a new job and a new chapter await. This latest opportunity arrived unexpectedly -- and with perfect timing, on the day after I disentangled myself from my latest disaster of a romance, if you could even call it that, and decided to fly solo to Krabi -- and came together quickly, in less than two weeks.

I'm excited and terrified, which means I must be doing the right thing, despite the misgivings of friends, acquaintances and virtual strangers who carp about how expensive Singapore is and call it "Singabore," not to mention my own muffled enthusiasm for the city the first time around.

I'm prepared to continue feeling like an outsider, a mental condition I've become accustomed to over the course of my lifetime, and especially during the last six years, living in places where there are as few black people as in Magic Mike's Tampa, Florida, or Girls' New York City. Under "Race" on the Singapore work visa application, the choices are Caucasian (apparently, first everywhere), Chinese, Indian, Malay and Others. I never dreamed I'd be an "Other."

So chances are I'll continue to usually be the only black guy in any given room, and random strangers will still ask me "Is it true what they say about black men?" Perhaps I'll fit in anyway, and Singapore will end up being one of those great loves that takes a while to develop. It can happen with cities just as it does with people, you know.

Or maybe not. Who knows what the next year, the next six months, next week, tomorrow will bring? If I were to remain in Bangkok, I'd have a pretty good idea. After eight straight months of playing it safe here, I'm ready to roll the dice again. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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