I moved to Singapore on July 4th 2012 to gain international experience, to be a part of the Asian growth story and to form new relationships in one of the world’s most exciting and international cities. A little over a year later, I feel that I’ve managed to achieve all of those goals.
First of all, it’s worth mentioning just the fact that I managed to stay here for so long. While perhaps not the most obvious accomplishment, my work circumstances changed in such a way not so long after getting here that it would have been the easier thing to just leave and start over back home in the United States. I chose to stay in Singapore and weather through some serious challenges, and I’ve gained a lot of confidence in my ability to achieve my goals through serious adversity because of it.
My second major accomplishment is the development of a stable business around admissions consulting, a field of work I previously had no experience in. It was slow growing, as many new businesses are, but I have reached a point where I have a respectable income, fantastic work flexibility and the privilege of working with some incredibly talented people. Even better, this is a field of work I can pick up at any time, is completely mobile and pretty much guarantees me a decent income I can rely on should I ever be in a position where I need quick cash and immediate work.
Third, I founded the Black Professional’s Network of Singapore. We are coming up on our 6th monthly meetup on Thursday. I’ve recruited, or more truthfully attracted, a considerably talented board to help serve our almost 100 members and have created opportunities for the Black people of Singapore to connect professionally and socially in a way that was not previously possible. I have an inbox full of thank you messages for this initiative and look forward to seeing even further growth in the future.
Fourth, last month I was selected to serve as the President of the Georgetown Alumni Club of Singapore. I have been involved with Georgetown leadership since my time at the University and as an alumni in Florida, and it is an incredible honor to be able to represent my university here in Singapore. The position provides me an opportunity to deliver real value to my alumni community and it’s amazing to be able to connect with so many fellow Hoyas.
Finally, and perhaps most important, I have had the chance to develop relationships with some of the most amazing people I have ever had the chance to meet. On any given social outing, I am surrounded by people who have lived and worked all around the world, people who are dominant players in their respective fields and industries, high performing, high trajectory professionals, intellectuals and some of the kindest, most interesting and positive people I have ever met. I attribute so much of my growth in life to the people I have been lucky enough to be influenced by, and I believe I have put myself in the best position for growth with the relationships I have formed here in Singapore.
A few months ago I began experiencing some serious homesickness. Friends, family, American food and lifestyle… I began thinking about them all a lot. I could feel my confidence in the decision to remain here waning, and almost as if on cue, Singapore became enveloped in thick smoke from burning forests in Indonesia. The entire island was blanketed. You couldn’t get away from it. Pedestrians on the street wore medical masks and went about their business with relative aplomb. The news reported that air quality could be like this until September and for a moment I thought I was beaten. This was too much. I began making mental preparations to leave.
But before I could act on any of those plans, the smog lifted and I found myself once again in the ultra clean, ultra safe, economically thriving, diverse and beautiful garden city I had come to love.
I can’t yet say that Singapore feels like home. I already recognize that, should I leave, I will miss this place immensely. I do miss my family and friends in the United States more than I can say. I miss my aunts and cousins in Miami, my dad in New York. My friends all along the East coast and, of course, my sisters. I hope to be able to see them all soon. But I haven’t yet gotten what I came for. And I may find other things in the seeking that I may not be prepared to let go.
Such are the strange ironies of life. I love you all.