Singapore. First impressions. Very NICE, clean, and organized. Beautiful trees and bushes. Everything was manicured. Very 1st world. I can’t say I’ve ever been to a place like it. There were malls and coffee shops everywhere. Lots of shopping opportunities, both modern in-style stuff, and unique handmade souvenir and clothing places too. As for shopping and restaurants, it had it all though generally more expensive than the States. Public transportation was a breath of fresh air. Buses came every ten minutes to anywhere in the city. And the train service was even faster. Traffic was never very bad probably because cars were mostly optionally.

As for culture, it was a mix from all over, but predominately Chinese, Malay, Indian, Singaporean, and then American/European. Everyone spoke English (or Singlish) so that wasn’t a problem. But I suppose like every big city it was kind of impersonal. All the specific traits and characteristics of these nationalities was absent. Instead it was replaced by a very streamlined, modern, fast paced mix.

But for all the cultures they’ve made it work well! Singapore is one of the safest and cleanest places on earth. It’s obvious they’ve really thought through how to make an international city. However, it felt a little bland. Everybody just sort of minded their own business. An amalgamation of cultures and religions, just try not to offend anyone. Singapore is rich and prosperous and has great infrastructure. However, if you’re looking for a rich cultural experience you might get lost in the malls.

All that said, it’s a great place to visit. Truly a beautiful city and definitely worth a visit. Be prepared to do a lot of shopping! You’ll want to.

I’m sitting here at the Starbucks in the Jakarta international airport. We’re all checked in and just waiting for our flight later tonight to Singapore. We have several hours until we leave, so a lot of time to kill. This is rare for us. . . having time to kill. In fact it’s so rare the only thing I can think to do is write about it. Maybe a burst of inspiration will hit me in a minute or so. But right now I can’t think of anything to do. Maybe boredom is a healthy feeling. Maybe I’ve forgotten what it means to relax- to truly have nothing to do. Perhaps being forced to sit here and wait is a good and healthy exercise for me. Like I said, I don’t get this very often.

I remember back in the day- yes, back in high school the landscape looked a lot different. I had lots of alone time- lots of time for reflection. I remember clearly the times of laying upstairs in my bedroom, listening to some reflective music like Seal or Sting, watching the different colors spin around the room as my shape lamp rotated around on the floor. Yep, good times. I think my introverted tendencies really started to solidify during this time of my life. But I learned the value if deep thought, of really thinking things through, and the importance if making time for yourself. These are things I would really have to fight for in the years to come, in my college years. Fight to make time for yourself. SO important! And it doesn’t get any easier. These are things I still have to fight for- maybe now more than ever. Maybe the older you get the busier you get. Is that true? Are we destined to be busy busy busy people for the rest of our life, all the way to retirement? I’ve always thought the idea is retirement was sort of funny. I don’t want to retire. But maybe when you get older you get to a point of slowing down. Of lessening effort and drive.

Whatever it is, whether you’re thirteen or thirty, I place great value in reflective time. Time set aside to pull away or out of the things you’re currently “in”. See things from a different perspective. Even here in Asia, in a world that is so not my own I can still sit back and marvel at the things around me, at the life around me, at the people and situations around me. So fascinating. It’s in those moments of reflection that I feel truly grateful. I step out of the daily grind and see better what God is doing, who He’s made me to be, and everything He’s already done to bring me here. Yes, I really need vacations like this. I need to be “me”. To have the ability to see the bigger picture again. Or maybe just a simple reminder that it’s OK from time to time to just relax and do nothing. Give your brain and your heart the freedom to breath, to live.

Getting very psyched about our upcoming trip to Singapore. We leave in just two days. Can’t wait. We’ll only be there a week but I think that’ll be enough. I know it’ll be a full and very memorable week. And I don’t think it could come any sooner really. We need a break. We need a little vacation. We’ve been in Indonesia a little over two years and really only once have we had a “vacation”, in other words something that is not retreat or workshop or meeting, etc. It seems we travel a lot but rarely is it for personal reasons.

So this week we celebrate our anniversary, June 23rd, and also get to visit my cousins Scott and Randi who live in Singapore. We’ll stay at their condo which we hear is really really nice. Sorta funny. . . we’ve adjusted to life in our village here pretty well. It was quite a shock when we first moved into our house. Definitely in need of a lot of tender lovin’ care. But we’ve made it into a home, whatever it is. Now whenever we go somewhere else (like a hotel, nice restaurant) it’s shocking. We definitely suffer from reverse culture shock now more than culture shock. Our five month furlough back to the States taught us that. We’re very much looking forward to our visit but also bracing ourselves for what we’ll find. But at this point I say BRING IT! culture shock or not. I am so looking forward to sinking my teeth into a big juicy burger. . . or a leafy green salad. . . or a huge cheese pizza. Oh wow, yes I’m drooling on myself now. Yep. Very much looking forward to our trip. Oh, and looking forward to seeing family too. That’s always the most memorable and best part of any trip!