I did not expect to leave with nostalgia. I thought I would be so fed up I’d just, you know, depart.

But unknowingly, a part of this country—it’s people and places, has woven it’s way into my heart, and there is a bittersweet tinge in saying farewell.

Large chunks of important people and events are faded from my emotional memory. But it’s funny how I remember little things…insignificant people.

Like the aunty at the old folks’ home. I think her name is Mei Lan. I remember how her face lit up when I went back to visit her months after our compulsory community service thing ended. It’s not nice to be forsaken by family you know.

Then there is the Malay abang from JB who worked for the old caterer. He called me sayang, I was his friend. I think it was hard for him, working in a Mandarin speaking environment. I never talked to him much, but I would smile at him everytime I took my meal tray. Sayang, he’d call. And I never found it inappropriate.

I like the new caterers too. The kadazan guy Freddie, and all the Chinese kokos & jiejies. They like me as well, I think. Especially after I started playing the piano at the dining hall. Nanti kamu balik, saya tak da kawan di sini dah, the kadazan said. Tough job, cooking for hundreds. Their cooking helped me learn to like brinjals. I owe them. : )

I remember strangers…the aunty on the bus I helped…the old uncle I met on the street…the lost tourist asking for directions…the long-haired cab driver who called me Dreamer because I got lost dreaming on a bus I had to cab back…the “bad” friends I made at the company…

These people almost play no role in my life. But unexpectedly, they left footprints. Maybe because there were no expectations, and they brought surprises to my drab routine. : )

Goodbye Singapore. Thank you for everything you’ve thrown at me. I guess will not be able to find the same thing when I come back again.