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Leaving Singapore and returning to the UK after 13 years: 5 things they don’t tell you

By: Deborah Goldman

This month’s Parting Shot really is a parting shot. It’s by Deborah Goldman, a past editor at Expat Living magazine, who recently left Singapore after 13 years to return to the UK with her husband and twin girls. Here’s her take on things so far. (Hope the weather warms up soon, Deb!)

Got a suitcase big enough for the weather? 

1. Everything is a little bit crap compared to Singapore: the general hue of the place (grey); the people (grey); the food (grey; or if it’s Chinese, luminous pink).

2. You suddenly view Singapore through technicoloured glasses. Everything you left behind was wonderful, even the driving, the customer service, the suffocating humidity and the death penalty. Love them all.

3. Swimming is no longer a refreshing pastime; it is now a miserable schlep in the freezing cold to a verruca-infested leisure centre, where you and your offspring are immersed in a bluish-grey soup of people, all wishing they were in Tenerife.

4. Dressing your children in a thousand layers in a vain attempt to protect them from a wind-chill factor of minus-ten-million, only to have them wee in their pants, is not as fun as it sounds.

5. Seeing old friends is great. Having to drive hundreds of miles to see them (because invariably none of them live within a three-week radius of you) is not so great. In Singapore, coffee and cake with pals happens within ten minutes of it being suggested.

On a positive note, there is the NHS hospital (where, if you’re lucky, you can pick up a life-threatening illness absolutely free of charge), Eastenders in real time, and Sainsbury’s.

Swings and roundabouts.

Read more of Deb’s hilarious thoughts on moving back to the UK over on her blog (it even includes a brilliant poem about her former helper, Rose).