Can You Go Home Again?

I promise that today’s post will not be about music. However, if you”ll permit me a quick story from yesterday…

As I was driving home, I was bouncing around the radio looking for some dulcet tones to rock my face off for the 23 minutes it takes me to commute.

Tangent: Is there any bigger letdown while driving than when you land on a station, sit through an entire block of commercials, and the first song after the break sucks? Though I guess a fiery crash would be worse than that, so never mind.

My radio scan landed on MAJIC 95.5, and lo and behold they were playing 80’s music! As it turns out, they’ll be playing 80’s music the entire weekend. Some might chalk this up to coincidence, since I’d just spent a well documented week listening to 80’s music on Pandora. Not me though. Based on the evidence at hand, I can only assume that MAJIC 95.5 is reading my blog, and has decided that I am the voice of the people. When it comes to afternoon drive time radio, I am the second coming of Che Guevara. Anyway, if you want to rock out to the 80’s all weekend in Austin, feel free to tune in to 95.5 and send me a thank you note later.

All this reminiscing about the 80’s has made for a very nostalgic week. In 1987, my family moved to Singapore, where we lived for 5 years. It was an incredible experience, and allowed me to see parts of the world that I never would have been able to otherwise. Unfortunately, I was too young to really appreciate the opportunities that were given to me. Most people would be ecstatic to do things like stand on the Great Wall of China, gaze upon Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, kiss the Blarney Stone, and ride an elephant through a small village in Borneo. However, to a somewhat over-privileged 10 year old, my proudest achievement at the time was that I’d played video games on 4 different continents. It wasn’t until after we’d moved back to the US that I really began to appreciate the incredible experience we’d had. There was a time when I’d have given anything to move back, especially deep in the culture shock period of re-adjusting to life in Texas. Truth be told, I still have dreams to this day of living in Singapore, and I still have extremely vivid memories of life abroad.

We left Singapore 7,671 days ago now. I’ve often said that I’d like to go back to visit, but I have yet to do so. I think it’s partially due to the fact that 1) I don’t like flying and 20 something hours on an airplane sucks and 2) Flying to Singapore is really expensive when your dad’s company isn’t paying for it. Mostly though, I’m afraid of what I’ll find if I go back. Through the magic of the internet, I’ve managed to connect with some old friends who I went to school with over there, and from what I can tell from them as well as countless hours of Googling, Singapore has changed a lot since we left. I suppose that it’s inevitable that a place would change in the course of 21 years, but my biggest fear is that if I do go back now, will what I remember be intact at all? I know that much of what is in my memory lives only in my memory now, and to this point I’m just not willing to risk tarnishing that.

I don’t think this is a, “you can’t go home again,” type situation. For me, Austin is and will probably always be home, and I’m very happy to live here. Singapore will always have a special place in my heart, and in my memory. Perhaps one day, when we can be put into cold sleep to travel like in the Fifth Element, I’ll go back and visit. Until then, the fond memories of a tiny little island in the South China Sea are enough for me.

P.S. – No, I was never caned, though I probably deserved to be from time to time.

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  1. #1 by Bailey H. on June 23, 2012 - 4:27 pm

    Funny timing – Dad’s been over there on business for a few weeks and my mom just got back a few days ago from spending some visiting time over there. According to her it has changed a TON since we last lived there (1999). Apparently, it’s lost a lot of it’s charm and character and the whole place is becoming very, very commercialized. I’m with you – I still itch to go back and see it for myself, and hope I can do that in the not-too-distant future, but it doesn’t sound like there’s a whole lot to go back to. (That being said, I hear that Villa del Rose has been beautifully maintained!!)

  2. #2 by rayrayxl3 on June 24, 2012 - 1:30 pm

    That’s what I’ve heard as well. I really don’t want to go back to discovered that Holland Village has been replaced by a strip mall, the hawker stands replaced by Starbucks, etc. Perhaps a better plan would be to go back via DeLorean instead of by plane!

  3. #3 by Tim on June 25, 2012 - 6:04 pm

    You should talk to Natalya some time about her college art thesis, she traveled back to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia where she grew up, and spent a summer creating art reflecting her reactions. It’s pretty awesome.

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