School breaks were always fun and interesting. During Spring Break and Fall Break my parents would take us to other countries nearby for our vacations. I remember specifically going to Phuket, Thailand, Bali, Indonesia, and Perth, Australia.
I had several chances to go to Hong Kong and India, as well, but didn't because I was afraid they wouldn't have American food. I had also heard some gruesome stories about India. I greatly regret not going now, because I recently realized I may never have the chance again to visit.
Food was also a big concern of mine when I was trying to decide if should move to move to Singapore. I was only nine, so you can only imagine how picky I was about what I ate. I was surprised to learn that there were several fast food restaurants that have chains, not only in the United States, but all over the world. My family frequently ate at McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Subway, KFC, and Burger King. I even had a Burger King right there at my school! Grocery stores carried several of my favorite foods as well: Pringles, Doritos, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Rice-A-Roni, and Coca-Cola products. Although, I have to admit, once I was forced to try different ethnic foods I became very fond of the Japanese and Chinese styles of cooking.
At the time we were living in Singapore, it was considered one of the cleanest and safest places in the world due to their unusual, and strictly enforced, laws. Chewing gum was illegal, so we would always stock up on Big Red Gum when we came back to Tennessee and sneak it back in our luggage. Spitting on sidewalks or in any public place was considered an offense, as well as, smoking cigarettes or bringing cigarettes into the country, peeing in elevators, jaywalking, and, as outrageous as it may sound, failing to flush a toilet after use.
Singapore also uses very harsh, but very legal forms of punishment if convicted of crimes. Crimes or offenses on the corporal level are punished by caning. Basically, officers will chain you face down against, what looks like, a ladder and beat you across your backside with a large stick, or cane. Crimes of the capital level are taken more seriously and, if convicted, a violator will be hanged.
Although these laws and punishments sound very extreme, they helped make Singapore the safe, beautiful place I remember it to be. My friends and I could skate around the apartment complex or go to the park a couple of blocks over alone without our parents worrying that we wouldn't make it back. The weather was always warm and, for the exception of the rainy season, sunny. Although I have lost contact with all of my friends over the years, I always think about them and wonder where their lives have taken them. While I have forgotten a few details and happenings, those two years in Singapore were definitely two of the most memorable years of my life. I may never get the opportunity to go back, but if the chance arises, I don't think I would be able to say no.