This year’s Christmas post is going to focus on my new life in a new a country, something which was on the cards for a while, but only became reality at the beginning of 2013!
This year has been quite a strange year, full of a few ups and downs (then again that is like most years), but as we end 2013, we must consider how fortunate we are and how we must value our life and our love ones.
This time last year, I was getting ready for a new chapter in my life as I prepared for my new job and new life in Singapore. Whilst I had previously spent 6 months here, I w still a bit apprehensive, as I didn’t know when I would return back to the UK for holiday to see my family and friends. At the same time, I was excited upon what 2013 and the future was in store for me, and I wanted to grab this opportunity with both hands and make the most of it.
I started my new life sorting out the logistics of my move – which actually started in early December 2012, so as i started my one-way taxi journey to London Heathrow, I was actually pretty excited. By the time I arrived, I had already got myself booked into a hotel for a couple of weeks, with the aim to find my condominium apartment – the tough part, but with the help of an agent assigned from work, and my mum to support me, I finally managed to get a pretty nice place. It was based on Novena, about 10 minutes to the MRT, and was within my price range. similar to my service apartment in my 2011 secondment, my apartment was split-floor, with living quarters on the lower floor, and sleeping / washing quarters on the top floor.
I started work without much stress, and got straight into it, with a clear head and with the aim to focus on doing well, building upon the work relationships that I had developed during my previous secondment and more important have fun in the process. I started with a couple of strategic projects, one of which launched during the year – called Amex Express Checkout, and another one that continued to plod along. I also took onto 3 partners from a Partner Management relationship role. Three months in, I actually started to build great relationships with the Banks and internal teams. Then a massive shock to the system occurred, and the Company set upon a massive re-structuring and re-engineering exercise, which impacted the very division that I was located in. Luckily for me, I survived the cull, but a number of my friends and colleagues weren’t as lucky – both here in Singapore and the UK. It was a shock to the system, but a bit of a reality check. This once came very close, and the uncertainly stayed around us for a large period of 2013. What was scary was that if I was impacted, I had 3 months to then leave the Country and return back to the UK – which would have made my move the shortest period I would have every envisaged! Luckily, it didn’t come to this, so I managed to clear my mind and focus my mind back into the new team structure and with the new Partner responsibilities. But it was sad to see so many faces leave the organisation – both in Singapore but also in the UK – even people I joined the company with were also impacted A real shock to the system indeed.
Anyway, I end the year at work surviving, but there was certainly several months of anxiety and uncertainty, and this caused me quite a bit of stress throughout the majority of the year.
On the life type of thing, well I tried to enjoy life whilst I was here…even amongst this period of uncertainty. I managed to visit my school friends in Taiwan, I did a trip to Tioman island (Malaysia), Krabi (Thailand), Penang (Malaysia) and joined a fun wedding in Langkawi too and finally a trip to Hong Kong for Christmas and NY.
I also socialised well, joining Internations expat group. This was a great way to network and get to know other expats in and around Singapore, and was actually quite good fun. I continued to attend a local pub quiz and also met a few good chums from that, in some cases getting to know some quite a bit too :). I continued to my cycling and fatal football, going weekly to both – but started to wane as I approached the last few months of 2013… I must get back into the routine to really get healthy again.
On the health side of things, I did suffer a worrying eye infection in July, which stressed me of big-time. It made my right eye very red, and blurred my vision. Very scary indeed! But after visiting the Mount Elizabeth Novena Eye Specialist, I took some strong meds and antibiotics and finally got rid of the infection. I just hope it never returns – the real annoyance is that they was no clear cause of the infection. Around this period Singapore suffered a period of Smog from Sumultra in Indonesia. This didn’t help with the eye infection recovery, but I managed to get a few days medical leave rather than walk outside in the smog! On a more positive note, I did a Biometrics Health Screening at work, and the resulting report was largely positive, my cholesterol, BMI and overall well-being was within the ranges, although I was mildly underweight (no real surprise)!!
The Formula One Grand Prix was another highlight, and I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle across the 3 days. I still am amazed how a City can transform into a race circuit, a brilliant show indeed.
Lastly, I was meant to have gone to Boracay in the Philippines in mid-November, but the Typhoon Haiyan struck right at the point we were scheduled to fly in, so the airline cancelled our flight, and we cancelled our holiday. I think this was the right call, seeing the effects reported in the news. I certainly did not want to add to the misery, and I felt valued to respect our lives more than the risk of flying into a natural disaster zone.
I ended celebrating my 10 years with Amex in November (officially I marked it on 1st September 2013). It still feels amazing (or should that be remarkable!) that I managed to enjoy a decade with Amex, after setting myself up for a couple of years tops (don’t they all say that?). I was really keen to get some experience and then start the commute to London, but that didn’t exactly go to plan did it. I ended up having quite a bit of fun at work, doing pretty well, got one promotion, but focused on the hunt for another promotion – which I still remain confident is on the cards. I am not sure how long I am going to remain, but let’s focus on the here and now and see what life brings to the table…especially if I am changing my priorities a bit (more focused on the life bit, rather than work…!!)
The year ended pretty well, work continued to be quite pressurised with one of my projects having some major issues, but I managed to work through them, and we finally saw the light at the need of the tunnel. I then was able to focus on my Christmas and NY break – which once again, deciding to visit my family in HK (with my mum who came out to visit). I was then set in my mind that I needed to focus on my holiday breaks in 2013, ranging from Vietnam, Laos, Burma/Myanmar, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and of course, a return to the UK :). I better get cracking.
Lastly, I am still keen to settle down in 2014 and finally get around to starting a family, let’s see what happens…sometimes the best things come to those who wait, but I think I am best placed to really maximise this aspect in 2014
On that note, I wish you all well for the festive season, and I hope 2014 brings much joy and success for the future. Think of the best of the year, and stay close to those who love you… I will raise a Guinness to toast you all over the coming celebrations.
Stay safe and stay happy!!