I just returned from a 3 week trip back to Singapore and had quite a bit of adjustment to make. I didn’t realize how much I have adapted to Sweden. More specifically, living close to nature and absolutely loving it.
With that, there’s a price to pay when I leave Sweden for the densely populated Singapore.
#1 People and Noise EVERYWHERE
Singapore ranks #3 in terms of highest population density in the world compare to Sweden of #196. There are people, noise and crowd everywhere, the exact opposite to Älmhult, the town where I live in.
I lost my voice for 2 weeks! The need to constantly speak so much LOUDER to overcome the noise from everywhere is something I’m not used to anymore.
Restaurants are always PACKED, it is nothing strange to queue up over an hour just to get a seat in an ordinary restaurant. Singaporeans are used to queuing for food because we are a foodie nation and enjoy dining out. When I was out in any restaurant or cafe, I couldn’t even hear my phone ringing even though it was set to the loudest volume, imagine how loud I had to speak when dining out or fika with my friends!
I nearly regained my voice after 10 days but after a trip to the Universal Studio, I lost my voice again but totally worth it.
#2 Eyes become more sensitive to light
I became more sensitive to sunlight probably due to long dark winter here. This trip back, I went for a 6 hours kayaking trip and could barely keep my eyes fully open. I used to sail often and never encountered that before. It didn’t hurt but I had to try really hard to ‘force open’ my eyes.
My eyes also became more easily irritated. Living in a concrete jungle and reliance on air-conditioning means no fresh air. I felt trapped, along with dust, pollution and humidity. My eyes felt very itchy all the time during the entire 3 week trip back home.
On the ‘bright’ side, this irritation stopped immediately when I returned to Sweden!
#3 Bad, bad sleep
In Sweden, there is no need for air-conditioning at home. In fact, I always feel LAGOM at my apartment in Sweden. Lagom in Swedish means ‘just right’, not too cold or too warm. As such, I really get used to sleeping very soundly everyday.
In Singapore, air-conditioning is a necessity. Without aircon, I would be SWEATING buckets in my sleep due to the high humidity and heat. With aircon, it can get very COLD because rooms and apartments in Singapore are very small, the aircon is constantly blowing directly at me no matter where I stand. The solution is to repeatedly on-and-off the aircon. I had to wake up several times at night just to adjust the temperature, never lagom!
In fact, a good night sleep is something I’d gotten so used to in Sweden and I really missed that when I’m away!
There are a few other minor adjustments to made. For instance, I don’t need to sort the recycling back home. In Sweden, I always have a few chocolate bar lying around in my bag but this obviously won’t work in Singapore.