Getting Lost and Getting Home

by RebShang

In the mere 72 hours that I have resided in this island-country-city, I have had many, if not all, lovely first impressions. Judy-tudy and I have been working hard to make our little apartment a home (aka practicing the art of sisterly compromise – how endearing). Thus far, the room we share has been transformed into a neat, cozy haven of a nook. Most of our time, however, has been spent gallivanting across, around, and all over this city via their incredible public transportation system. Efficient and clean. And with a competent guide as Judy-tudy, one feels confident and rather pleased with oneself often to be able to successfully navigate from one destination to another. Well, these positive feelings fade rather quickly when one no longer has said guide. Yesterday, Judy-tudy very hospitably offered her travel-guide services to some other teachers and left me to my own deluded (and quickly dissipating) confidence.

“Go walk that way for a wee bit and get yourself home,” she said to me, “You can do it. You’re a big kid now.” Well, I was nervous (and a tad suspicious of my own words spoken back to me), but began said wee bit of a journey. The following is an actual account of my first venture all by my lonesome.

After walking about 500 meters, I reached the nearest MRT. (Success!) After spending about 500 seconds reading a train map, I finally figured out that I wanted to go toward Pasir Ris and not Joo Koon, and so alighted the proper train. (Success!) After zipping along for less than 500 stops, I disembarked at Queenstown, and thus marked my final “success!” of the evening.

Daylight had faded into dusk, which reduced my surroundings to mere shadows and sounds. This, combined with exiting the MRT station on the wrong side, led to a good twenty minutes of wandering about (we live a seven-minute walk away) until I realized I needed to return to the station and cross the street. At that point, I thought it might be a good idea to double-check with Judy-tudy, but the deluded confidence was slowly returning and so I didn’t phone her. However, about another twenty minutes later, delusion turned to distress as I couldn’t remember the building number of our apartment, and the darkness contorted every building to look very much alike. Panic drove me to call her three times, none of them which (of course) she answered. So, I did what any normal person would do. I randomly picked a number between 50 and 59 (I just knew our building number was in that range) and started walking. Then, most magically, I recognized our rubbish bin. I scrutinized it and the lift (elevator) and decided yes, indeed, this was my apartment. Huzzah, huzzah!

Said venture led me to again be pleased with myself, but this time, much more so out of relief of distress than pride of accomplishment. I have learned my way home now, and will never forget it. Time to go get lost some more. :-)