How travelling to Singapore put my identity crisis at ease

You may or may not know that I was born in Germany and that’s where I grew up, until I moved to England when I was 13 and I completed my education here. Within the last 4 years I have visited over 26 countries and have been on multiple planes. I have met people from all over the world and have to a lot of new people in my life. That’s when it became really difficult because the question ‘Where are you from?’ arises and that becomes particularly difficult to answer in my opinion whilst you’re traveling. It’s like someone runs a command in my head and my brain just retrieves various responses and in the moment of panic I just choose one. You mean where my parents are from thus my heritage? Where I live at the moment? Where I was born and consider my actual home? But then I’d have to explain why I sound so British. I don’t think this is something I will ever get used to and I don’t think I will ever know the answer to this question. A lot of people say, it’s simple you say you’re from the country you feel most at home at.

Exactly! That’s the hard part! Where is home???

I don’t now where I feel at home. When I’m abroad I do miss London, I could live away from London but I would want to be able to come back to London every few months. Germany is close to my heart, that is where I grew up, learnt my mannerisms and that’s where my hometown is. Then there’s Sri Lanka. My parents have brought me up to be cultured with close links to back home. I am completely fluent in Tamil and can also read, write and express myself in Tamil. It’s not just the academic background that draws me back to my parents villages. Within the last years I have been to Jaffna twice and spent at least more than a month there. I feel oddly at home in Jaffna and dream of having my own house there to retire at. Having said that I do miss my western standard privileges time to time so I wouldn’t last long there to call it my permanent home.

Now to the main point of this post. How did Singapore make me feel at home with this identity crisis? When I went there I did not know what to expect but once I got there I was so fascinated and mesmerised by this country. I felt it described me as a person, multicultural, with traces of my Tamil identity all over the country, temples, food and even Tamil sign boards. It felt like I was back in Jaffna. It even is one of the official languages. I then saw the Marina Bay Sands area and that’s when everything felt perfect. Ever since I was a little girl I have dreamt of a life where I’m a bachelorette living in a high rise apartment with a beautiful vibrant skyline view. For me that place has always been New York, only because that’s what I saw in the movies.

But hell no! Singapore is the place where I found the good balance of everything I just mentioned above. A city full of expats so it definitely isn’t difficult to find my fellow Germans there. My Tamil identity is all over the country and my corporate dreams with the offices, the bachelorette life and beautiful westernised buildings in the middle of Asia with hot weather. I belong in a sunny hot place, that is one thing I am sure of. It’s in my genetics. I thoroughly enjoyed this country because it felt like a good balance of all aspects of my life.

Ok, you may feel I am romanticising Singapore here but it did click with me. Now why don’t I just move to Singapore if I like it so much right? Well yes, normally I would so do that but by doing so I think I would just create myself an existential crisis. What do I do once I start feeling at home in Singapore too? It just sounds messy. For now I am going to use COVID-19 to still explore, think about and get my head around my identity. Maybe the reason I feel at home is in so many places all over the world is because my soul is just meant to be a wandering soul? Who knows?

If you can relate let me know in the comments, I would like to understand myself a little better and see other view points.

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