Now Is the Time
My husband Eric and I are moving from New York City to Singapore! We accepted a transfer through his company and will be moving in the next three to four months. Neither of us have been to Singapore but we’re committed to living there for at least a year and half. I submitted my three-week notice as product director of PEOPLE.com this Friday, May 10, 2013 and will be recording this adventure – our very own Oprah’s Next Chapter – for us, me, our families and friends and you too.
Should We Really Move to SINGAPORE?
Before we got married, we shared our dreams and discussed our vision for a life together. One of our common life goals included living abroad. We both regretted that we didn’t study abroad as undergraduates, and both of us had the opportunity to live in two of America’s great cities: New York and Los Angeles. Eric works at a global firm with offices in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, Moscow, Sao Paulo and beyond that has a work abroad program. When he thought about his career and we discussed what part of the world we should explore, we agree upon the city-state Singapore in Southeast Asia.
An Asian American in Asia
I’m a first-generation Vietnamese American and Eric’s a first-generation Chinese-Japanese American. I grew up in a mostly Caucasian/African-American city three-hours drive away from Chicago called Peoria, IL where I was usually the only Asian American in the room (other than a brother or a sister.) Eric grew up in Huntington Beach, CA, which is next to Westminster a.k.a Little Saigon and attended U.C.L.A for his undergraduate degree, which has a healthy Asian American student population (thank you very much “Asians in the Library” girl).
For me, I approach this time in Southeast Asia as a rare opportunity and gift. I want nothing short of a cultural and spiritual awakening that I expect will be both exhilarating and uncomfortable. I’m accountable to examine my lifelong feelings of “otherness” and “not being Asian enough.” I am a thirty-five-year-old woman who has never seen to her parent’s homeland and while living in Singapore, I expect to visit Vietnam and meet family I didn’t even know I had.
The Move…Onward Ho!
This move will force me to prioritize my physical and emotional possessions acquired from lives lived in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Champaign-Urbana and Peoria, IL. I decide what to throw out, pack up and giveaway. What burdens me? What do I need to live? What is truly mine to keep?
We could have continued on in New York and our lives would be fine. Singapore, however, disrupts everything in both positive and negative ways. We’re interrupting our day-to-day, our friendships, our careers and our normal. There will be no more spontaneous dinner dates in the East Village or brunch in the Upper West Side or red cup picnics in Riverside Park or bike rides on the Westside Highway. I found it difficult catching friends on the West coast with the annoying time difference between New York and LA. Now I’ll contend with a 12-hour leap ahead from Singapore to NY.
It’s going to be HARD. I’m going to CRY multiple times. I will feel LONELY some days. But this choice to move, to live beyond what I know has cracked me open in a way that I haven’t felt in years. It’s made me believe – not just intellectually know – that ANYTHING is POSSIBLE. It’s true. Anything is possible. To borrow from my best friend Janet, who borrows from Tamar Braxton, “Get your life!” Well, I’m getting mine.