Saturday, 12 November 2011

And finally - chinks in the armor start to appear...


And a good Sunday afternoon to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City.  In a rare moment of peace and tranquility, I'm pleased to report that the Bull slept in until 11:15 today, collecting a solid 10 hours of sleep.  Somebody call Guinness!  Saturday was a GREAT one, as I got up about 10 to make a few stateside phonecalls.  I followed that up with a 45 minute escapade of getting out flights home sorted out, only to get to the "Purchase" screen and having Mastercard decline my purchase YET AGAIN!  I have no lie to tell - I was not calm.  I was not serene.  I was not happy.  However, I am pleased to report that, knowing how thankless a job call center reps have, I did NOT blast the lady when she asked what the problem was.  Instead, I gave them permission to ALLOW PURCHASES ORIGINATING FROM SINGAPORE TO PLEASE GO THROUGH REGARDLESS OF PRODUCT OR AMOUNT, and 30 minutes later the system reset.  And whilst I wasn't happy about the delay, I killed the time by wandering over to the gym and hitting the bike for 45, which was on my to-do list anyway.  Upon my return to the condo, I am happy to report that ultimately MC came through in the clutch, and our tickets are now officially booked.  That's right, sports fans - as shocking as it sounds, Sammy the Bull and Jenny the Striker are officially on the countdown to come home - one-way tickets in hand!  47 days and counting!!!!!  And I must say - I am, finally, ready to go home.

As I've said before and will no doubt say again, Jenny and I have absolutely LOVED our time abroad.  Honestly, minus the weekend in Penang, I don't really think there's anything we would have changed about the last 2.5 years.  London was just a dream - truly the perfect year and a half, and then when the Singapore opportunity surfaced so unexpectedly, the chance to live, work, and travel in Asia was more than we'd ever hoped for or thought about, and this experience has been so much more enriching and amazing than we ever thought possible.

But somewhere between the return flight from Railay (yes, yes, I know - I still have to finish Cambodia, write about Chiang Mai, and THEN still get to Railay.  Trust me - we've got time :-)) and hugging my wife a final time before closing her taxi door and sending her back to the airport, it finally hit me:  I feel as though we've now done everything that we wanted to do (or could physically) when we moved abroad, and it's now time to start focusing on the next chapter of our lives - a period filled with friends and family, that moves at a slower pace, and sees Team Taylor hopefully begin a family of their own (after some more quality Vegas time, of course...).  Granted, there are gazillions of other places that we still want to see, mountains we want to climb, and beers to try, but my cup definitely runneth over right now on so many fronts, and more and more all I can think about is getting home, hugging my parents again, getting back behind the wheel of Katie, and watching the Tar Heels on purple couch.  And whilst I'm by no means wishing the remainder of my time here to vanish quickly (as I'm still really enjoying it and still desperately trying to cross off final to-do's in Singapore), I can feel the pull of the homeland growing stronger with each passing day.  And as I watch my body slowly break down from 2.5 years of being on a plane every week and a complete inability to sleep in this bed without my wife beside me, more and more Crankbrook Lane is taking on an almost Grey Havens quality. 

I say all this to say that, now that I'm finally allowing myself to realize this unbelieveable adventure is drawing to a close, chinks in the Taylor armor are starting to appear.  Missing home is a constant companion to any expat, although the degree to which it pulls on you ebbs and flows depending on how recently you've been home, how often you get to Skype with people, and of course, the time of the year.  I got a strong surge of it today - in COLD STORAGE of all places.  As I'm wandering around looking for toothpaste and mustard (as you do when you're a bachelor with no schedule), I notice the Christmas carols that are playing in the background.  "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is playing, and I can tell that a) I'm the only one in the place that has ever heard this song before, and b) certainly the only cat in the joint who knows the words.  In that moment, wandering around an overpriced supermarket, knowing that the only things awaiting me post shopping were 100 degree heat, a couple of afternoon rain storms so violent they'll crack pavement, and a few renegade DVD's to watch, I definitely felt a bit lonely.  I really don't get that way very often, but as the reality of my first Thanksgiving and Christmas with no family around hit me, I think it's safe to say that I was a wee bit despondent.

Now don't get me wrong - I am not complaining in any way, shape, or form.  I still love this city, am planning a nice run around the Marina later today, and perhaps even some pool time unless I see Noah go past with the Ark.  And JT and I have a very special Christmas celebration planned which I am THRILLED about, so again - there are no frumpies here.  It's just one of those days when you find yourself alone and pensive, and as I've always found writing to be the best outlet of expression for me, my dear readership has just been subjected to another emotional Taylor rambling.  Fret not - I'll be back on Cambodia again either tonight or tomorrow - but I had to get this one off my chest.

Hot tub on the 20th floor overlooking the city?
Yeah, it'll do...
Finishing the rest of Saturday, I spent it chillin' with Money and Dan at their new place over in Noveena, and let me tell you - THAT PLACE IS PIMP.  Seriously - they have a balcony you could play cricket on, and their view (from the 27th floor, no less) is of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.  Throw in barbeque patios by their pool and even HOT TUBS ON THE 20TH FLOOR, and you've pretty much got a recipe for the GREATEST PLACE ON EARTH.  Seriously - I was BLOWN AWAY by this joint.  Muffin - I can't WAIT for you to see their digs!

We had dinner with two of their friends Adam and Anika at Tawandang (yes, because I hadn't had enough Thai food lately), where we crushed 5 entrees (and two towers of beer, of course).  That broke my AFD streak, but I've got another one brewing today, making it 5 out of the last 6!  Even more frightening, I might go all the way until Friday without a drop of booze.  Oh, the humanity!

As for today, so far it's been a productive 2.5 hours, filled with completing season one of Hawaii Five-O (well, my disks, at least, which are, unfortunately, 6 episodes short.  Oh, the humanity!!  And for those of you saying, "Just watch it online," I'm afraid that's not possible, as CBS doesn't allow online viewing "in my geographic region." Insert expletive here.), having a nice lunch (a sandwich, of course), and finishing a book (Bad Karma - which was HILAIROUS).  Add in a run to Cold Storage for some groceries, plans to run later on (if it EVER ceases the monsoon outside which is loud enough to shake the walls), kick off Season one of "V" (can't WAIT), and maybe some Skype, and it will cap off another great weekend. 

I like to call this the iSpy photo.  But Mission Impossible we
are not...

I realize today's blog's been a bit of a ramble, so thanks to anyone still reading at this point.  Next time I promise you more travel stories and adventures in Kampuchea - and I'll further promise no emotional dialogues until at least next weekend. :-)

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print.  Chat tomorrow (or maybe even later today)!


Sam and (now hopefully united with Sarah and probably feeling guilty about her VB whilst Sarah drinks a wheatgrass shake) Jenny

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