It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a post. I guess I was subconsciously waiting to get back into ‘the swing of things’ (whatever that means). Since my last post, I’ve moved back to Singapore, started a new job, and joined a new church community. I’ve met the babies of my high school friends, witnessed dementia changing my grandma more rapidly each day, and attempted to move my new things into my old room. And the transition continues. I mean, there are still the six boxes of books I shipped back from Brooklyn waiting to be unpacked. How they fit into my tiny room in NYC is something I’ll never get my head around. I intended to have my room and things put away just so before the new year, but, between the delay in their arrival and my allergies acting up again (I can’t deal with the dusty job of organizing now, can I? Ha.), they remain in boxes and in a pile on my desk. But beyond the excuses, there lay another factor in these things not getting done. I did, sometimes, choose to prioritize people over spending time in solitude. And while that’s not easy for me to do, it’s a value I hope to carry into the new year and beyond.
As an introvert, ‘me time’ is a necessary part of my life. It’s a non-negotiable. Then there are the hours spent at work, which I enjoy. And then there are all the administrative bits of life – God help me. This is why people have personal assistants. And, on top of that, there’s the time you spend with people. I love spending time with friends in small groups or one-on-one, but big groups often exhaust me, as you fellow introverts know. And with a relatively large and in-your-business extended family that lives very close by, my big group hang out quota is often filled. It feels tough transitioning from living in a different country from your family, where time with them was limited to Skype dates and vacations. Transitioning from having some really good friends and an established sense of community to having to form friendships and establish community once again has also been rather challenging. After all, making new friends seems to have large group hangouts and small talk as prerequisites. And spending time with a loved one with dementia can be rather draining as well. I’m only just getting used to being asked the same question multiple times in a matter of minutes. All that said, seeing my grandma smiling so brilliantly, chatting like there’s no tomorrow and eating like she used to while on a trip back to her ancestral home made my heart swell. It was worth the zillion repeated statements and questions. Hearing the buzz of my extended family over the holidays, yelling at each other to turn the volume down in between exclamations of gratitude over a fantastic meal and gossip and rolling eyes makes me thankful to have a family who has my back, as dysfunctional as it is. Experiencing the start of a church community forming over coffee after service and charade showdowns is also making me press on, knowing that a deeper friendship might lie just beyond that next session of small talk.