Monday, August 9, 2010

Get Lost!

Amazing that I have been outside the U.S. for almost a week and I haven't posted anything about Singapore. Well that ends now. I have a lot to tell you guys about what's transpired since landing in Changi Airport, which by the way is located at far east of the island as seen on the map I provided at the bottom of the page.

Let's first talk about the weather here. Since stepping outside at 2:00 A.M. local time last Thursday (2:00 P.M Wednesday EST) I have been in a constant battle with the humidity. I'm sorry to report that I am losing the battle pretty badly. Whenever I'm in the room I have three fans on me at all times to keep me cool. My mom keeps telling me to buy an A/C unit for the room but I think I'm just going to suffer like everyone else in my building. I literally have to speed walk from place to place to get into air conditioned rooms as soon as humanly possible. Otherwise, the weather is pure bliss; so far it has been sunny everyday with at worst an hour of rain coming and going followed by more sunshine.

The jet lag was pretty bad, initially. I would wake up at 3 and 4 in the morning ready to start the day only to welcomed by darkness. It's been great though being able to text, call, and Vidchat with both friends and family so the transition from home to Singapore has been relatively smooth.

So I will tell some stories that have taken place over the last few days. Now the title of this entry takes on a few different meanings. In the first sense, it refers to the fact that I have gotten lost a few times by accident trying to meet up with my exchange buddy or getting around campus to do administrative stuff. For example, two days ago I was supposed to meet my exchange buddy downtown, so I tried navigating the city via public transportation. Fail. I ended up about a half an hour away from where I was supposed to go landing somewhere west of NUS. By the way everything in Singapore has an abbreviation for it (see the list I compiled at the right of acronyms I have seen around the country thus far). Point being that I just hate asking for directions compiled with the fact that while people speak English, I still may not understand someone since it isn't uncommon for an individual to have a thick accent. It ended up working out since I just took a taxi across the country to get to where I needed to be. There are other instances, as well, that I just get lost and end up making my exchange buddy wait for me. Yes, I do feel bad about this but I'm trying.

Then there are cases like yesterday where I felt like being adventurous and went in with the mentality that I wanted to get lost in the city. So that's exactly what I did. I took the bus down by Orchard Road, one of the main shopping destinations of Singapore, and walked around. My goal for the day was to buy a basketball so I could practice on the courts right next to my building. Not only did I get what I came for, but I got some great photos of the city (also see on the top right portion of the page).

Being in Singapore doesn't feel as weird as I heard it may seem coming to a foreign country. I haven't gotten "culture shock," yet. However, its strange being a minority here in contrast to my hometown that could be considered anything but diverse.

As discussed in previous posts, the name game is getting tough. No joke, the names of the people I have been meeting are running through me like water. I hear it once then forget it in a matter of seconds. I'm working on this but it's kind of hard when I can't visualize the spelling of "Yohannes" or "Peng Huay" the first time I hear it. The people are so friendly and understanding here that it ends up working out.

My final thought before I go is that this is a baller's paradise. An infinite number of basketball courts at my disposal, so many fellow combatants ready to compete at a moments notice, and beautiful weather. It's the perfect storm that can only mean hitting the courts everyday. I wish UConn would have as many facilities to accommodate my insatiable appetite to play this game on a daily basis.

Classes start tomorrow, hopefully I have good professors. Thanks for reading and Happy National Day!

-J Coco

1 comment:

  1. Jesse -- great stuff -- I still have the hoops" jones 30 years after school so keep at it. Have a grat rip
    Uncle D