Today marks exactly two years since I moved to Shanghai. When I left my hometown of Melaka when I was 19, I dealt for several years with an acute sense of impermanence, which abated a little when my sisters joined me one by one in Singapore over the years, until a more concrete sense of permanence was built with the acquisition of our flat in 2005. Who knew, just five years into that more permanent settlement into my new hometown, I would regain that sense of impermanence again with my move to Shanghai.
Impermanence is not actually a bad thing; it might even be something I’ve sought after my whole life. I’ve always wanted to be a global citizen who can call any place on earth (or beyond?) home. I would like to think of myself as the chameleon who can adapt to any environment fate puts me in, regardless if it’s the harshest or the coziest.
Fortunately, Shanghai falls between these extremes, leaving me with so much to learn, explore and appreciate with all my time here. I have just a slight regret that I’ve been nothing more than a shadow to my family and friends back home, fleeting in and out no more than 4 times every year. I am grateful for the new people who cross my path in these two years. Some have been nothing more than fleeting shadows themselves, while a handful others have gained more solid presence in my life, which I hope will continue to build in strength over the coming years whether or not I remain in Shanghai or China.