I Moved To Singapore

June 30, 2015

Today marks the first month of my very abrupt move to Singapore. IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, YES I MOVED TO SINGAPORE!

Until now, I have been getting Facebook messages from former colleagues asking me why they can't contact me via the office communicator. In case you missed it, I already resigned from HP last month. And in case you don't know, I'm not here in Singapore for vacation, as what the rest of those who have also private messaged me originally thought. Nope. Not on vacation. I am here for work. I have compiled the frequently asked questions I have received in a separate post. But first, I want to share an anecdote that will forever be ingrained in my mind.



June 1, 6PM

I called the airline office earlier that morning to confirm my flight details. You see, I don't have a credit card, and the only way I could pay was thru cash. The airline sales representative on the other line said, "You can just pay at the airport, Ma'am!" Then, I arrived at the NAIA Terminal 1 and wasn't let in by the security guard because I didn't have a ticket. I went up to the airline office to pay for my reserved ticket, but I was told my flight was already fully booked. This was more than 4 hours before my flight. I actually arrived really early for my flight this time.

That moment was a stressful, anxiety-filled time for me. In the contract that I signed, it stipulated that I had to be in Singapore and had to start working by June 2, or else I'd have to pay them a month's worth of my salary. I went to the hallway of the airline offices in NAIA Terminal 1, and reached for my phone to reread the text message sent to me by, you'll never guess who, my former condo lessor, Mrs. Benitez. I read the message again and again, I cried, and then I prayed for a calm mind.

I went back to the entrance of the airport, still without a ticket. I got my phone out, and with full-on confidence showed the same guard as earlier the same reservation booking. She let me inside. I went straight to the flight monitor and scanned the display for the earliest flight out of Manila to Singapore. "Ooh Jetstar is leaving in an hour!" I ran to the check-in counter with my bags and begged the check-in attendant to let me buy a ticket right there and then. There was a long pause. She called her supervisor. I felt like I couldn't breath in the anticipation. She ended the call and said, "Miss, we don't normally sell tickets here at the check-in counter, but we have one seat left and I was allowed by my supervisor to sell it to you." It was very Amazing Race-ish, I'm telling you.

However, the Giant Ball of Stress 2015 didn't end there. I was also really scared I'd get offloaded by the Immigration Officer for bearing a plane ticket that was bought at the last minute. I also didn't have a company ID anymore since I already surrendered that when I had my clearance signed hours ago. We all hear stories about how notorious the Philippine Immigrations can be in offloading people they think would be going out of the country for other reasons aside from traveling. And to boot, I was going out on a tourist visa since my employment pass hasn't been approved yet. (Employment Pass not yet approved? Ding! Ding! Ding! Add that that to the list of stressors!)

The check-in counter was like the first level of checking. They asked me for my return flight ticket and my address in Singapore. It was a good thing I booked a few nights at the Gap Year Hostel, just minutes before buying the plane ticket. They checked me in after I have presented both. Because the new flight I just booked was about to start boarding, I ran to the Immigrations area to fill out the immigration card. The next thing that happened was still so vivid to me... I put my backpack on the floor, reached for my MAC pressed powder and my favorite nude lip gloss, touched up, and tied my hair in a low ponytail. I grabbed my things and strutted to the Immigrations Officer (IO). Strutted, not walked. If you know me in person, you would know how that looked like.

Me: *hands over my Immigration card and passport
IO: *smiles* "Sinong nasa Singapore?"
Me: *smiles* "Friends"
IO: *stamps my passport*

For me, that was both amusing and interesting. No questions about where I'll be staying. No demands to show my employee ID or a return flight ticket. I have flown out of the country several times and that was the first time I got a one-liner question at the Immigrations Desk.

As I sat at the waiting area in front of the boarding gate. I started to breath normally again. I called my parents to say goodbye, and asked them to put me on speakerphone so my dog can hear my voice. Haha! I seriously wanted my dog to hear me and I was hoping for a response from him too. Apparently, dogs never talk/bark back during phone calls. 

Finally, the plane was ready to board the passengers. While everyone was lining up, I remained in my seat, reread the text message from Mrs. Benitez, cried (this time, tears of joy) and prayed one last time.

It was really happening. It was actually happening.


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