A strange hum of voices filled the cabin. Rows upon rows of perfectly aligned seats were occupied by unique strangers, all there for the same purpose. Bright lights radiated throughout the aisles, and unusual beeping noises disrupted the still air; a sense of uneasiness overcame me. I was three and a half years old, and at that moment, while most children were at home watching Barney or playing with Barbie Dolls, I was on an airplane for the first time, taking an eighteen-hour flight to Singapore.
Captain: "Prepare for takeoff."
I reached for my mother's hand, desperate to cling onto something familiar. Her presence made me feel somewhat in ease, even if it was only for a few seconds. As I was lost in thought, the aircraft gently lifted off of the ground, and I embarked on the next journey in my life…
I had never seen such beauty. Wild monkeys roamed freely around the city-state, palm trees swaying in the breeze, the sun gently touching my skin. Over the next six months, we explored everything: From the famous Singapore Zoo featuring animals roaming freely in their natural habitats, cultural streets of China Town and Little India, and various Hawker centers for incredible local food, Singapore had it all, more than I could ever imagine.
When I was of age, I started my education at Singapore American School, and 18 different countries were represented in my kindergarten class alone. I had friends from China, Malaysia, Finland, South Korea, and many others. How cool is that? We all spoke and were taught in English, but I started learning the local language, Mandarin Chinese, as early as first grade.
I attended school, joined every sports team possible, and celebrated holidays just like any other kid back in America, but with a unique, cultural twist. Because of the warm climate, there was no snow, so around Christmas time, they would make fake snow at the town center that all of the children could go play in. I took swim lessons year-round in an outdoor pool since it never got cold enough requiring us to move to an indoor pool. I was exposed to so many different cultures from such a young age, influencing my family and I's love for travel.
Flights from Singapore to nearby countries were cheaper than flying from the US since Singapore was closer, so I traveled to many different countries during my time there. A few of my favorites include Cambodia, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and many more.
Since I was so young and don't have a numerous amount of memories from my time there, I went back two years ago on a two-week vacation. We visited all of our favorite places, for example, the Singapore Zoo where I was able to feed a giraffe (as you can see in the picture above). Singapore will forever be a huge part of my childhood, and will forever be my favorite place to visit, as I have created so many memories there.