In less than eight hours, I will be on a plane on the way back home to California. It is amazing how fast these seven weeks have passed by! I have had the best summer of my life, full of new experiences, great memories, and new friends. It will be strange going home and not being able to go out to dinner at a hawker center drinking sugar cane, some spicy dish, and sweating from the humidity. Nevertheless, I am excited to see how this following school year will go for me. This trip to Singapore has helped me grow more as a person. I have met so many people who have shared their life experiences with me and given me invaluable advice and encouragement. It is a trip that I will never forget, and I hope that I will have many more adventures to come.
Yesterday, I had to say goodbye to two of my closest friends that I met here in Singapore. I was touched that they took the time out of their day to have one last coffee run together. They also surprised me with small gifts and a card, all of which were well thought out and encompassed their personalities as a reminder of our friendship and times here in Singapore.
Before I came to Singapore, I was expecting to make only a few friends, most of whom were friends from my cultural class or Chinese class. I have been fortunate enough to meet people outside of the classroom, through friends from my Chinese class, my cousins, or through sheer luck. All of the people that I have met come from very different backgrounds and are of different nationalities.
One of my goals when I was here in Singapore was to discover what being Singaporean was all about. Over the past seven weeks, I have explored different places in this small country and have met many people of diverse backgrounds, upbringings, and nationalities. I have grasped an understanding of what Singapore represents. Singapore is like a stained glass window. It is a country of various cultures and traditions. All of them are distinct and keep their different cultures, and each culture is like a separate piece of the stained glass window. Without each different culture, Singapore would not exist and have its unique culture. I feel that Singapore is a patchwork of a lot of different cultures that take a little bit of everything and make it into one. As I have listened to Singlish during my trip here, I have made an effort to pick apart different words and terms and observe the way people here speak, with a mix of Hokkien, Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay, and English in their everyday speech. One thing that I have learned from this trip is that Singaporeans are people of open minds who embrace other cultures. I finally discovered what being Singaporean truly means, and I am proud to say that I am a Singaporean. I will miss Singapore dearly, but I know I will be back here again soon!