So here I am in Singapore, arrived a couple of days ago with my trailing spouse status, being so prevalent. I have imagined this day for six months, can you believe it? I still can’t believe that my plane trip to Sydney all that time ago would be my last for a while. Who would have thought that that flight would change the course of time as it had?
International and State border closures
This blog post has nothing to do with SEO or reader intent, but more about how this strange time has changed me, my writing, my thoughts and most of all, my attitude. We all know my love of travel because that is mostly what I write about on this website. So, I am not here to whine about not being able to travel; I am here to explain what it is like to be torn apart by the international and state border closures.
Life for me has changed immensely, and I am not just talking about my travelling, but I am also referring to my family. Half my family is in lockdown in Melbourne Victoria, my mother is in lockdown in her retirement village, and I am now back in Singapore where restrictions are tighter than they were in New South Wales, where most of my family (and children) live.
How do you mentally prepare yourself for the world we are living in right now? Especially when you see it plastered all over social media, other countries freedom to cross state and international borders when they are recording tens of thousands of positive readings per day? When going on vacation is acceptable for some but not for others?
Leaving Australia at the moment means that all Australian residents are not prohibited from leaving the country (or state in most cases) unless they have an exemption from the government or proof of residence in another country.
It was the first time in my life I felt like I was a criminal by showing my travelling record over the past two years when leaving one country, and then slapped with a watch that is screwed on to your wrist when arriving in another.
Please don’t get me wrong; I get it! I want to keep everyone safe too! I am happy that there are procedures in place to keep Australia and Singapore out of harm’s way. I am grateful for it! However, I am the first to admit that I can’t help but feel a pang of jealousy that other countries are on summer vacation with the freedom to move around their own country and for some even the globe.
So back to my situation, why spend so long in Australia? Well, it was a surprise to me also, as the type of visa I hold in Singapore, which usually gives me the freedom to reside in the country, meant nothing during this strange time.
And although I was fortunate to be able to stay in my home country and spend time with my children, family and friends, it meant I was away from my life with my husband back in Singapore. I have never felt more like a trailing spouse than at this point.
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What is a trailing Spouse?
What is a trailing spouse? Well, the Cambridge dictionary refers to it as – “the husband or wife of an employee who is sent to work in another country.” I am not going to delve too deep into the trailing spouse explanation just yet! I am going to keep it for another blog post, where I can discuss the pros and cons of a trailing spouse.
Right now, I am in a place of having to decide between my kids and my husband, and it doesn’t seem quite right! Perhaps, I am acting all melodramatic, but not having a clear understanding if or when I can return to see my children is a difficult pill to swallow.
I am so thankful and happy to be back in Singapore but so sad and upset not to know when I will return to see my children and my ageing mum (even if it is only through the glass). It is hard to get my head around whether I am happy or sad right now, does that even make sense? I sound more confused than anything else.
So as I sit in an empty home while in mandatory self-isolation, listening to Singapore’s heavy rain outside my window, I can’t help wonder if next week might seem a little brighter, once I can walk outside and venture out to Singapore’s new norm. The country was a different place when I left in back in March.