Moving to Switzerland and Other life Updates!

First- Happy Holidays!

Its been a while  since I’ve updated this blog and a few things have changed. After one year in Singapore and almost two years at my job I am quitting and heading to Switzerland to get my PhD.

My reasons for leaving are many and the subject for another post. I left Singapore December 9th , almost a month ago. It was a bittersweet goodbye. I feel like I left the city just as it was beginning to feel like home. In large part due to the friends I had made there.  All things equal I would have loved to stay in Singapore for another year or two but due to job and life circumstances it was best to move on.

I move to Switzerland in a few days and start work/school a few weeks after that. I am mildly terrified at the idea of taking classes and being a student again but really excited to work on research again.

Ill try to be better about updating this blog from Switzerland as well as finishing up some of the posts I meant to write but didn’t in my last few weeks of freedom. Once again I’m starting the new year with throwing myself into a new round of the living -abroad roller coaster. Excitement and terror is always a great start for a new adventure.

 

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Cat Cafes-Where you pay to be snubbed by adorable kitties.

Recently I had a free afternoon and decided to check something off of my bucket list.

I went. To a cat cafe.

 

Specifically I went to Neko no Niwa a cat cafe in Clarke Quay that charges $12 an hour with their adorable kitties.

How does it work? 

This was my first question. I was a little nervous walking up to the cafe since I really had no idea how that whole thing was supposed to go. I walked in the first door and waved awkwardly at the receptionist. She asked if it was my first time and when I said yes she gave me a sheet with the prices. On the other side there were pictures of all the kitties and a brief bio for each one:

I indicated that I would like one hour and the receptionist told me to take off my shoes and wash my hands at a sink they have in the entry way.You pay after yo visit the kitties but they print a receipt with you entry time and give it to you along with the menu above when you go in.  You also have the option of ordering food or drinks , which they will then pass to you inside the cat portion of the cafe. I didn’t order any but they all looked nice and reasonably priced.

 

How was it? 

I have to admit I had this image of myself , sitting in a cafe, cat on my lap , writing this post. Sadly, this is not what happened. I forgot, that this is a cat cafe. Cats whose favorite activities are snubbing humans , sleeping and watching birds. In that order.

All of the cats were really well taken care off, they even had a private area where the cats could go if they weren’t feeling up to interacting with people any more. But basically I spent the entire hour taking pictures and petting sleeping cats. Who showed no interest in curling up on my lap.

 

There were darn cute….

Would I do it again? 

Maybe, if I am really desperate for cat company. But I think I will focus my energy on making friends with the neighborhood strays. They at least pay attention to you. It was worth doing once but probably wont do it again any time soon.

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The neighborhood cat, I have named him Klaus. 

Here is a link to the cat cafe if you’re in Singapore and want to try it out!

Neko no Niwa

 

 

 

 

Homesickness, Burn-Out and When to say When

*Disclaimer , this post was written a few weeks ago, doing, mostly, better now. *

Last week I hit a wall. Instead of realizing I had hit a wall and taking a personal day I ended up crying in front of my manager in the office. So yeh, that sucked.

My manager was very understanding and supportive and sent me home to take some time. I had worked 12 hour days for two weeks straight and, oh yeh, am living in a foreign country without family or any close friends for support. A few days away from work were helpful but I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t realize earlier that I needed time off. I have never cried in front of anyone at work before ( always privately , in the bathroom , like a good engineer) so this was an extra big personal fail.

Why did I have a mini meltdown?

  • >12 hours of work for two weeks straight = not enough sleep= weepy
  • “Home” sickness- also known as , man I miss hanging out with people who actually know me.

Home sickness is a weird concept for me , considering I haven’t lived anywhere longer than 5 years and have lived in three countries in the past year alone. But lately Ive just missed having people.  People who know me and are like me. Let me be clear, by “like me” I don’t mean American , I mean nerdy , introverted and just a bit weird. In all of my many moves growing up, I go through the same pattern. First , some cool kids “adopt” you because you are new and exciting. Second, said cool kids realize you are an introverted weirdo and abandon you. Third , eventually your fellow weirdos find you and you form a tiny, weird, community. Same thing in Oregon, same thing in Pennsylvania, same damn thing in Karatsu, Japan.

I’m a grown up now , so the first two steps may or may not apply, depending on the situation but I’m still waiting for step three to kick in. It takes a while, it always takes a while. Logically I know this, I know that this is a phase and that it will pass but somehow knowing that doesn’t make me feel much better.

I’ve met lots of cool people and done lots of cool things since arriving in Singapore. I really like it here, but its just not home yet and it wont be for a while. I just need to hang in there , resist the urge to constantly hide in my room and keep putting myself out there ( which as an introvert, takes a hell of a lot of energy).

Like the little fishy says- Just keep swimming. And next time, take a day off work.

Also- there is a movie called “Finding Dory” coming out in June, I for one am excited.

 

 

 

 

 

Review- Etihad Airlines

Flight: Singapore- Europe

Class: Economy

Aircraft: Boeing 787 ( believe me , this makes a difference)

Rating: 4/5

Highlights :

  1. Child Friendly: Etihad seems to focus especially on people traveling with children. Though I’m not a parent, from what I saw I would highly recommend this airline for people flying with young children. The flight attendants hand out several goodie bags to kids before and during flights and the kid meals come in colorful packaging with a pop-up lion.
  2. New Airplanes: This makes all the difference. The Singapore- Europe route seems to be serviced almost exclusively bu 787s . Much quieter than normal airplanes , the humidity level in 787s is also usually higher so that you don’t dry out your skin as much.
  3. Great Service: The flight attendants were very nice, the boarding was orderly and the bathrooms were clean even after 7 hours of flight- all things that are commendable.

(Small) Critiques:

  1. Time between food service and clean up. In general the time between food service and clean up was a little long.
  2. Leg room (maybe?) I’m very short, so I never have an issue with leg room , but it is maybe a bit tighter than some other airlines… not sure.. tall people who have flown Etihad , please comment.
  3. Bus rides in Abu Dhabi. On my transfer to Europe I had to load and unload from my plane to a bus. This isn’t the greatest. I am writing this from Terminal 1 in Abu Dhabi which is very nice, but my departure connection was in a different terminal which reminded me a lot of Chicago. Not in a good way. This is a very minor thing, especially since the airport seems to be updating, but something to keep in mind.

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Review:

Recently I needed to book a last minute flight to Europe. Since I was booking ~7 days in advance I didn’t have a whole lot of options. I chose a reasonably priced flight with Etihad Airlines , with a stop over in Abu Dhabi.

I was scarred  awhile ago by a terrible United flight from Chicago- Singapore so I was a bit nervous flying on a new airline , and the reviews I found weren’t very positive. But the flight was cheap , so I booked and hoped for the best. I was very pleasantly surprised.

My flight out of Singapore was about 1 hr delayed – which is especially annoying in Singapore because the waiting area for flights each have individual security. Basically Changi Airport is awesome, but once you go to your gate you are kind of stuck there. This is where the Etihad service started to show. The flight attendants came out into the waiting area and passed out water. For the kids in the waiting area , the flight attendants passed out some toys , including, to the amusement of everyone in the waiting area, little paper crowns.  Soon our flight was boarding and three or four toddlers boarded looking very proud.

All of my flights were on Boeing 787’s which are awesome for a couple of reasons. One of the biggest is they pressurize the cabin at a higher pressure- this means you feel a lot better after a long flight. The food was all very decent ( I ordered the vegetarian-  my usual travel hack to get healthier meals and get served first 🙂 ) and they came around often with water and other drinks. Entertainment was also good , with lots of new releases. Overall I was pleasantly surprised with a few small critiques listed above. I cant speak for any other routes or experiences but from my experience,  I will definitely fly Etihad in the future.