Tonight will be my 1 week mark of being in Singapore! I got a little homesick in the beginning, but now I’m loving it and meeting a lot of great people.
Since I didn’t have class yesterday, I went to get my haircut because my hair is so frizzy and dry here with this heat! It was a very interesting experience and I don’t plan on getting another haircut until I get home.
I walked around the mall to try and find a reasonable looking place. The first thing I found very weird was that most of the stylists were guys, which I’m not used to. I’ve never had my hair cut by a guy before. Once I found a nice looking place I went in and find that my stylist doesn’t speak english! The receptionist translated, but I was still uneasy. Then, he started cutting my hair dry! They wash your hair after they cut it, but they do give the best massages to your scalp ever! Another weird thing was that a different guy washed my hair than the guy who cut it. Then they both blow dried my hair at the same time. It was so weird! My hair doesn’t look horrible, I just don’t particularly like how it behaves in this humid weather.
Today was also my first day of class!!! I was able to register for all the classes that I wanted. I’m taking first semester Chinese, cell biology, materials science, and biomedical optics. I only had one lecture for an hour today because we don’t have discussions this week. They actually call their discussion ‘tuts’ short for tutorials. The class was in a super nice, huge lecture hall. It was basically me with a bunch of asians, most of them guys. So there was really no difference from my classes back in Madison. The whole lecture, there were people continuously talking. I found it really strange and rude. It was like half the class wasn’t paying attention and they didn’t show any respect for the professor. I felt bad. It was also very distracting.
Some things I’ve noticed while here in Singapore…
1. Things that are supposed to be hot (soup, coffee, hot tea) are SUPER HOT! I burn my mouth almost every time. Things that are supposed to be cold (bottled water, cold drinks, smoothies) are room temperature. It’s very annoying.
2. Asians are really skinny and little. No overweight people. I feel like that’s pretty common for most of the world except for America. However, the portions are pretty big here and most of the dishes are some kind of starch (rice, noodles, bread) with some kind of meat and sauce. Which brings me to my next point…
3. It’s not very easy to find or eat a lot of vegetables. I don’t think there is a salad bar anywhere in Singapore.
4. They have many different nationalities here and they all speak different languages, so some of the locals can’t understand each other if they don’t speak English.
5. The temperature seems pretty constant. It’s basically always 85-90 degrees and humid. I love it (except for my hair). Make-up always seems to just come off because it’s so humid. It also rains almost everyday, but only for a short time like 10 minutes. When it rains it’s still super hot and sometimes sunny.
6. The laundry in my dorm is free!!! You do have to pay for the dryer though, but it’s not too bad.
7. They don’t have napkins ANYWHERE. Everyone carries them, or you have to buy them. I actually went to subway today for lunch and they gave me two napkins. I was very surprised.
8. Everyone I’ve met is bilingual (unless they are American).
9. There are millions of malls and they are always busy, even weekday nights. They stay open until 10pm. They have one mall that is 24 hours.
10. I have yet to hear the world ‘line’. Everyone uses the word queue, sometimes they just spell it ‘q’.
11. The Singaporeans are very hard workers. It is not uncommon for full-time jobs to be 12 hour days! Also, most of the students take 24 credits (the credits are equivalent with Madison). I’m only taking 12 this semester and when I told a local they were shocked! I thought I studied all the time in Madison, but they literally study ALL the time. None of them go out during the semester (or it is very very rare).
12. It seems like all the AC units have one setting, on or off. All air conditioned places are very cold! I went to a movie last night and it was freezing. It’s the same way on the buses, in classrooms, in the cafeterias, etc.
13. Food is so cheap! I can eat a meal for an average of 2 singapore dollars.