Friday, February 15, 2013

Back to Reality

What happens after the RTW trip?

After 1 and a half year on the road, it's finally time to come back and face the real world. I returned to Singapore where I have lived for 11 years with hope to find a job as soon as possible because living in Singapore without a job will dry my saving in short 3 months.

I was lucky that Winnie and Amy offered me a place to stay. If you know Singapore well enough, the cost of living here is high, the most expensive is property. Renting a room cost minimum S$550/month, renting a flat cost minimum S$1800/month. Basic transport and food cost S$600/month. So do your maths and you will know how much you need to live in Singapore.

While I started browsing jobs online and sending out my resume, I started to think of what else can I do other than going back to IT? I like creative work, I like flower arrangement, I like photography, I love diving and travelling but will any of these jobs pay me enough to live in Singapore? Well, no!

After 2 weeks of searching and sitting at home. My friend Amy told me they need someone to work part time in her co-owned Italian Restaurant urgently. I can choose from being a waitress or dish washer. Both are paid in hourly rate. I chose to be a dish washer so I don’t have to face the customer. :-) I only worked one shift a day, normally there are 2 shift, lunch from 10am to 4pm and dinner from 5pm to 11pm. I started with the lunch shift to stand in for the auntie who went on holiday. When she return I went to the night shift. The job responsibility is simple, to keep the kitchen and toilet clean. It sounded so easy. First few days at work, I had back ache from standing long hours and pain in my palms for washing all the heavy plates. The back ache went away after I got used to the hours but the pain in my palms became worst.

In the beginning it was fun to learn new things but after a while it gets to be routine. As the restaurant serve fresh seafood, I also help to clean them as well. Every week there are 2 to 3 orders of squids, crayfish and prawns. Yaiks! If you are not careful, you get cuts in the fingers and as your hands are constantly wet, recovery is long. Luckily when I got to night shift there was no seafood delivery at night. I worked 6 days a week and 6-7 hours a day. It is not too long but it was physically hard. My salary was enough for me to survive (free accommodation at friend’s house) and pay for my monthly commitment in Malaysia. Everyday is just going to work and home. I got to learn how life is in the kitchen and how Italian cooking is. I got to try all the good food and learn some of the recipe. :-)

During these time, I went for 3 interviews but none was successful. I wrote to many job offers but mostly with no response. Depression kicks in, plus problem with a long distance relationship made it worst. I really feel like giving up. Every day was just a fight, emotionally and mentally! I kept telling myself not to give up! Be patient! There are still people out there who are worse than me! Try to look at the bright side…. I continued to work in the restaurant for another month until the end of January. As Chinese New Year was around the corner, I went back to Kuantan for a break, and to celebrate Chinese New Year with my family. With hope that in the coming Snake Year, there will be better luck for me.

Chinese New Year this year was with a special guest from Mexico, Fernando who hosted me in Playa is visiting South East Asia for a month. I invited him to our house for Chinese New Year. It was fun to have him experienced the new culture and festival. 

So returning to the reality has been tough but not enough to put me down yet! I still have good friends and family to support me. They keep me on my feet. I love them all. 


  1. The issue of leaving a well paid (but boring) job to work in something else (asuming single, no kids etc) is mainly living expenses and family, I think.

    Anyway, What to do when the dream is over ? I could leave IT too and maybe go to a long trip, but reality kicks in so having a few work holidays each year keeps me sane, for now.

    But I keep thinking about it ... maybe live a nice low cost life in a happy low cost place... who knows.

    Take care

    PS: Greetings from Chile!

    1. Ahhh... Chile, A place I will pick to live out of all the Central and South America continent.
      Still miss a big part of the country not explore, I used to go for many work holidays each year but only to as far as europe and max to 3 weeks. I want to go further and see more so I let go my well paid job. I didn't regret a single bit of it. It was an experience of a life time that money could not buy.
      Yes, reality is hard, I wish I could settle in a small town and live low cost life (just like in my hometown) but I leave that when I retire, I still have many dreams....:-)
      Hope you will have your dream come thru one day. :-)