So…I’m moving from Singapore back to Wisconsin in less than twenty-four hours

…and this is me:

14-melissa-mccarthy-dancing-gifI feel like this should be a post about all the wonderful things I’ve learned about myself and the world, the new perspectives I have on what it means to be American or a Wisconsinite, or my plans for dealing with reverse culture shock and reintegration into Wisconsin life…or something deep like that.That’s all coming, I’m sure, but as I’m trying to cram my life into suitcases (yes, suitcases, because we’re not shipping anything back), I just don’t have the cognitive energy to reflect on all that yet. Especially with the whirlwind of goodbyes the last few days has been.

It’s been a good run, this year and a half in Singapore. I’ve written and edited a novel, and just gotten an agent for it. I’m well into the first draft for another. I’ve visited: Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia (Bali and Bintan), Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Oh, and Singapore. I may have broken my face a lil bit in Cambodia–just one of many interesting travel stories I now have. I’ve frolicked with elephants. Seen kangaroos, koalas, and kookaburras in the wild. Done extensive field research into vocabulary and spelling differences between American and British English. Made lots of friends from around the world–even converted one English friend into a Packers fan. Got into the Singapore schools a little bit, to teach a creative writing course to local 4th graders and also teach a Saturday enrichment class to local five-year-olds. Spent a year and a half relying solely on public transportation which, thankfully, is pretty great in Singapore. Ended up stopping at at least 47 out of 113 MRT stations (Singapore’s subway). Yes, I was keeping track πŸ˜› Lived being the minority, an Ang Moh, which I think everyone should experience. There’s another post I’ll write some day; it does help you appreciate different aspects of white privilege to be sure. And I could go on and on.

I’ve NOT been as food-venturous as I should have, I’ll admit that. I have this thing about fish. And mayonnaise. And sketchy-looking chicken. And meat on bones. So…that’s my bad. I’ll miss satay and prata and iced Milo (and flat whites, though those are Aussie). I wish I would have explored more of Singapore, as in the Heartlands and parts where expats don’t go. I did a little bit while working in the schools (Pasir Ris and Alljunied areas), but I wish I would have learned more about Singlish and local cultures. I’m sure as I’m plugging back into my old life, there will be many more things I regret as well.

I’m excited to get back to my family and the niece and goddaughter I barely know. I can’t wait to go back to working in the schools and trying to make a difference in the lives of children and families. I’m excited for cheese curds and good, cheap microbrews and snow! Yes, snow! I cannot wait for seasons and cold and being able to run in the middle of the day. And a car. I cannot wait to have a car again. Can I still have one and not pay thousands of dollars a year for it? Not having to make car payments or pay for insurance or gas or repairs has been amazing.

After the dust settles and I’ve wrapped my brain around plugging back into my old life, I’ll write those posts on what being American means to me and Midwest culture and how living abroad changed my entire worldview and self-view. But for now I think I’ll go make some cookies or something πŸ˜› Or maybe I’ll stop by the coffee shop in Chip Bee Gardens that knows my order one last time. It’s a blue orange mocha by the way.

1623390_10100702177044105_1832868065462732496_nSome of my favorite pictures from Singapore:

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To this:

Downtown Sparta 1472931_10100396258013295_1544796563_n 945408_10100396323586885_1528026072_n 1551746_10100402888435875_978291620_n 1509810_10100406851698465_1346135851_n 1509211_10100407359475875_1718564115_n 1476445_10100399083236525_620240967_n 1506736_10100397524984275_644816372_n 1476281_10100397525807625_1962971806_n 1499504_10100402888336075_2082870151_n289056_808394788935_1998542658_o 532166_978935833315_519093868_n314213_10100127013087285_1663191494_nΒ  557168_10100111065895585_2043205287_nphoto 3

Pictures from the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

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So my husband and I recently visited Australia for an epic road trip of awesome. We flew into Melbourne, drove west to Peterborough to catch some of the Great Ocean Road and the Twelve Apostles, then drove many hours to Sydney. n the way there, we hit up Wilson’s Promontory and Montague Island to see fairy penguins. After Syndey, we drove over to the Blue Mountains THEN back to Melbourne. I believe we put like 3000 km on our rental car. Covered a sizable chunk of Oz too πŸ˜› And we had a manual, so my husband had to drive all.of.it πŸ˜›

This was one of the most beautiful coastal drives I’ve ever done. Though I will be honest, the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland MAY be slighter better, which (obviously) is saying a lot!

What’s the most scenic drive you’ve ever done?

Two months, five countries, four islands…. Now back to writing your perpetually-nearly-finished novel and building your social media empire, Sarah J. Carlson!!!

Yeah, so this is me right now.

Daily-Life-GIFs-13-Exhausted-Guy-CollapsesAs I said in my ridiculously long, hopefully attention-grabbing title, I’ve been doing a little bit of traveling. Not only have I been traveling, as the official resident of Southeast Asia, that has made me a tour guide of sorts for the four fabulous, wonderful, amazing people who spent thousands of dollars to come over to Singapore et al to spend time with me. So…Singapore, Ho Chi Mihn City (Viet Nam), Koh Lanta Island and Chiang Mai (Thailand), Siem Reap/Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Bintan Island and Bali (Indonesia). Also one minor motorbike accident and an ambulance ride to the Cambodian hospital (um… interesting, though I don’t remember most of it because I had a concussion). Let’s just say, this white girl ended up in a private room that housed other medical supplies while the waiting room was filled with locals on cots. So sad :,(Β  Cheap ambulance ride… 30 USD. Annnnnyway, I think that’s all the places I’ve been with my friends and family. Yeah, I’ve covered Indochina pretty well now, though there still is Laos and Myanmar….

It has been an exciting, expensive, and EXHAUSTING life that I’ve been blessed to live for the past two months. I can do without budget airlines for awhile. Air Asia, you kind of suck. Now it’s all coming to an end and it’s back to what I call homeostasis for one Sarah J.C. Singapore normal, if you will. Also that means I will get back to working on my novels, which is pretty exciting–particularly since I made a shocking discovery the week before my Southeast Asian Travel Extravaganza while doing what I really THOUGHT was a final revision. That realization…the reason why I didn’t particularly care for one of my characters. This launched a pretty major re-write that got interrupted by all that pesky travel πŸ˜›

panicSo anyway, now it’s back to it…. Finishing up that major re-haul of my novel and re-starting the whole blogging thing. Like for real, I mean. I have been lazily posting pictures so I can get a gold star or whatever and say I’m still blogging, but I mean to get back to the whole non-writers don’t understand/promoting my work/writing in general/on being the token Yank kind of thing. Oh and posting proper pictures from my real camera (not just uploading from my iPhone cuz it’s easy) with details on my travel-ventures. Oh, the motorbike accident was just a teaser! There were very dodgy ferry rides, near ship wreck on a longtail boat, elephants, lady boys, many temples, jungle exploration complete with leeches, cat poop coffee, stegosaurus carvings in the Tomb Raider temple, extremely depressing poverty, massive monitor lizards, very annoying tourists (NOT American!), shooting guns with the Vietnamese army, durian and so, so, so much more. Plenty of fresh creative fuel for writing. Not gonna lie, I seriously contemplated taking pictures of my bruised up face daily to document the healing process in order to describe it in my novel.

But really, here’s how I feel about the return to homeostasis and finally, FINALLY getting back to writing…

funny-gifs-i-get-excited-about-insurance-tooAnyway…how do you get restarted after a writing/blogging/life hiatus?

Side note: To see my iPhone adventure pics, click on my Photography category, or Samples of Southeast Asia

I LOVE WISCONSIN!!

I LOVE WISCONSIN!!

Yep, imagine that was Kelso from that β€˜70’s show screaming it. Anyway I live in Singapore right now, which is a fabulous, inspiring adventure, but I definitely get homesick. I miss things. Like snow (especially when it’s 90 degrees with 90% humidity every day). Yes Midwesterners, I’m sad to be missing out on snow in April and I’m glad I was home during one of those polar vortexes that I’d never heard of till this year. Totally did the whole throwing boiling water thing, no I didn’t get burned. Point of this post: thought I’d share one of my favorite Wisconsin pics to spread the love across the internet πŸ˜› I think it was ten below zero Fahrenheit on the day this was taken last December.