(Wikipedia) ‘An Expatriate (often shortened to Expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of their citizenship. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (“out of”) and patria (“country, fatherland”).
This blog aims to discover people who are Expats or I would often call it, adventurers like me, venturing out in a new place to call home and creating memories. I have previously lived with my parents and siblings in the Saudi Arabia when I was in high school. I have enjoyed and cherished my memories the beautiful Sandbox I once called my home. Now, I am in a new adventure with my husband and two sons living here in Singapore.
I am featuring expats in different countries to share their experiences and adventures with you and me. I love listening to thier unique adventures
I knew of our featured expat today through a common friend. I was interested of her journey as a medical doctor and her venturing into the healthcare quality assurance industry in Singapore. It is the same path that I am currently taking and I can’t help but admire her resilience and confidence. Meet Donna, a beautiful soul with a rock-solid strength and faith
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A creature of habit that is stirred by spiritually profound matters, wanderlust amazing art, worthy causes, and the excitement of a challenge.
2. What made you move to Singapore? How long have you been here?
Finding myself in Singapore was an unexpected move on my part. It was one of those let’s-try-this-road-less-travelled –route decisions and it end up as THE PATH that lead to exciting ventures and before I knew it, I’ve been here for a decade.
3. What do you miss about the Philippines ?
4 Fs (Family, Food, Friends, Familiarity of home). Family tops the list!
4. What are the wonderful discoveries and things you like about in Singapore?
When I first came here, I was impressed by the clean surroundings and the abundance of trees. Till today, I’m grateful for the ease in taking the public transport which makes navigation throughout this island nearly hassle-free. I’m also fascinated by the Singaporeans’ propensity to form orderly queues in every instance that entails waiting (i.e. MRTs, food stalls, fitting rooms, etc.) and their cool, calm, collected behavior even when watching action packed and suspense filled movies (the cinemas are oh so quiet devoid of gasps and occasional chatter). These are just a few things among many others that make this country special.
5. Can you share with us the challenges in working and living in another country?
The language barrier is one of the challenges particularly when conversing with the group of locals who cannot speak or understand English. Also, it took some time for me to catch up with the local jargons (i.e. “giddy” is another term for dizzy, while “can” means yes, etc.) and learning to pepper my speech with “lah” and “leh”. Understanding the local customs and adapting to people of various nationalities with differing beliefs is also challenging yet an enriching experience.
On a personal note, I still deal with homesickness especially during special occasions when I’m not with my family to celebrate with them.
6. What are the 3 tips you can give to fellow expats in Singapore or those you planning to move here?
They might want to “explore the land” first and see the country, the way and pace of life to assess for themselves whether they can live here. Second is to set realistic expectations, though we might have grand goals, yet we might not get things exactly the way we plan it, so learn to make the most of the opportunities given to us. And the third could be learning to adapt with diverse people of varying nationalities and beliefs and respect one another’s differences.
7. The LITTLE MISS HONEY community gets inspired through travel, food and books. Can you tell us your current FAVORITE TRAVEL SPOT, current FAVORITE FOOD/RESTAURANT DISCOVERIES & current FAVORITE BOOK?
Favorite Travel Spot – This is a tough question to answer since I have many favorites. I can probably share the criteria that can make a place/country one of my favorite spots should have warm helpful people, good food, unique architectural structures with interesting history, and a treasure trove of art (the last one is a good to have).
Favorite Restaurant Discoveries – Recently, I’ve been to the Open Farm Community (Minden Road) which a good place to have brunch for its laidback backyard garden feel and fresh organic food. Also, Timbre Plus in Ayer Rajah is cool with plenty of food options, live band at night and colorful food vans.
Favorite Book – The Holy Bible is my go-to book for all time. There’s so many good books with little time to read nowadays, so I just enumerate the authors of books that I’m reading at this point in time namely – John Bevere (Extraordinary), Ravi Zaccharias (Beyond Opinion), and for easy reading will be William McRaven (Make Your Bed: Little Things that Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World).
8. Where do you get your inspirations? Who or what inspires you?
Inspiration comes to me from various sources and forms. I get inspired from reading the news/books, travelling with my loved ones, browsing IG or FB posts, attending an insightful lecture or conference, and even through conversations.
9. Can you share more what the industry in Health Quality Assurance is all about and what is the career path in this industry?
Healthcare Quality Assurance is akin to an “invisible” hand in the healthcare industry since it has been there in the background laying the ground work for systems & processes to be safer for patients yet not receiving that much attention compared to the clinical aspects of care. Hence, with its sublime role, working in Healthcare Quality Assurance maybe perceived as a regular administrative day job, yet it can be impactful as this field crafts policies that can change work processes, elevates the quality of care through inspections/audits & implements projects that improve patient safety and satisfaction.
10. How do you unwind or what is your idea of destressing?
Simple things such as having a good meal, nice long shower, soothing massage, watching animated or comedy movies and at least 8 hrs. of sleep.
11. Tell us the last 3 memorable trips you had.
Another challenging question since I’ve been blessed to travel to quite a lot of great places. But if I have to narrow it down to the top 3 countries (aside from my beloved country – the Philippines) that made a lasting impression on me, it would be:
1. Israel – Seeing and being in the same places where Jesus actually lived, walked & performed miracles was totally life-changing. The bible just came alive & my faith was further strengthened by the experience.
2. Italy – Be it in Florence, Milan or Rome, the warmth of the Italians stood out in my memory as well as the scrumptious gelato in nearly every street, the awesome architecture (from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the intricate ordinary house doors in Florence), and the divine pasta & pizza! It is worth a second visit!
3. UK – Seeing the mysterious Stonehenge and pretending to be a student in Oxford University (to satisfy my geek chick fantasy to actually step in the oldest university in the English-speaking world) ticked off some of the things in my bucket list. A big plus was the friendly & polite British people.
12. If you have a friend coming to visit Singapore for the first time and you have the whole day to show her around, which places are you going to take her?
The “touristy staples” has to be visited by having a quick tour of Sentosa and USS (take the express tickets to save queuing time), followed by seeing the Cloud Forest, catch the musical symphony of the Supertrees at the Gardens by the Bay & finish the day by having dinner of local food fare at Glutton’s Bay or Lau Pau Sat.
13. Lastly, can you share with what is your inspirational mantra in life?
Jeremiah 29:11 is my life verse that I hold on to in this roller coaster ride called life.
Thank you Donna for inspiring us your story. All the best with all of your endeavors.
If you are an expat or know any expats who are interested to be featured, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.”