Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Selamat Hari Raya, Singapore!!

It's a little late I know, but I wanted to make sure I did a little research about Hari Raya and had experienced it a little before I wrote about it.
Singapore (Singapura - island of lions) is a wonderful hodge podge of people and ethnicities and religions.  While a majority of the ethnic population is Chinese (I'm told it's about 77%), when walking in any area you will see people from Malay, European, North American and many other backgrounds.  And that goes for religion as well.  There are Buddhists, Christians, Agnostics, Atheists and Muslims everywhere and a real acceptance of each other here.
Ramadan has just ended and the celebration of that in Singapore is called Hari Raya. While one can say Eid Mubarak here, it's more often that you hear people greet each other with Selamat Hari Raya.  And like Eid Al Fitir in other countries (or Seker Bayram in my beloved Turkey), the celebration is family and food oriented.  Prayers are said (I woke on Sunday to the sounds of prayers being chanted in my neighbourhood and the smell of incense - not sure about the connection of these to the actual celebration as I couldn't see where it was coming from and perhaps it was from a different religious celebration), food is shared and family and friends are visited in homes.  One of the things that I found most interesting was to see Malay Muslim families all dressed in the same colours: silver, purples, browns, reds etc. I learned at the site listed above (link at the words Hari Raya) that this is a way that families show solidarity with one another.  Wonderful! 
I didn't go to any of the special bizarres that are held all over the city (particularly in the eastern areas) but from what I learned from articles and a couple of my new colleagues, they seem similar to those I've seen in Turkey and Oman.  I love these connections. 
I hope all my Muslim friends had a wonderful Eid and that they feel blessed from their month of fasting and connecting to Allah!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Arrival at the Next Posting

For those of you who follow my blog or who just know me, you know that I've moved on.  While I loved Turkey and the people I met and worked with there with my whole heart it wasn't the best fit for me at the end of the day.  After two years, it was time to leave and seek out the next location and hopefully a stopping point for a little longer.  I ended up getting an offer from a small international school in Singapore.  While Asia wasn't on the top of my list, Singapore is an amazing city and so I was happy to accept.

I've now arrived in Singapore and settled into my 8th floor apartment.  I'm not right downtown like I had originally hoped, I sacrificed a commute for the peace of mind of having a large two bedroom condo with the amenities of a pool and gym.  I'm close to the train and, like all areas of the city, the malls and shopping centres.

I've just begun the orientation process at my new school and while there is a lot of sitting each day there is so much good information and a little inspiration to reach for my best teaching self each day.  I'm really excited to see where this will take me.  I'm also super happy with the staff that I've met so far, they are kind, caring and SUPER FUN!!!

I will be posting more soon.  I haven't really had much time to see much of the city outside of the malls etc.  Soon though... soon.  :)