Last Saturday we met up with 2 new Singaporean friends. As mentioned before, they are friends of a friend of mine.
Like any first-time meeting, you don´t really know what to expect. But I figured, if they are Serene´s friends, they should be pretty interesting to meet.
And I sure wasn´t wrong about that! Both of them have been living in Paris, one for more than a decade and the other for about 2 years. Both had amazing stories to tell about how they landed up in Paris and their love for all things French. Its so fascinating to talk about culture differences, societal and spiritual issues and gain such a fresh new perspective from my fellow countrymen halfway across the world.
We shared our personal experiences and struggles of living overseas - ie. The difficulties in finding a job / good job, bureaucratic red tape at the immigration offices, being on your own, having to be independent when you´re far away from a government that spoon-feeds you from your education to securing your jobs for you (Singapore), discrimination (minimal but does exist) etc.
Dinner was at a German restaurant, Ratskeller and adjourned to the bar at their hotel for drinks. They had free drink vouchers which had to be "redeemed" before they left. I really enjoyed speaking my Singlish and listening to their "God stories". As they say, when you meet other Singaporeans overseas, its like a home away from home.
I lured them to come back by telling them about the famous outlet store, Mettzingen where one gets brands like Hugo Boss, Burberry, Polo Ralph Lauren... you get the picture. And yup, we now have more friends to meet up with when we visit Paris!
The interior of their hotel room. The bathroom light turns red at the beginning before changing to a more decent yellow colour. What´s distinctive about this room is its height. The hotel was refurbished from an old building so the high ceilings give it a very old-school feel. A 4* hotel, 5 mins from the city centre - The Arcotel Hotel.
The hotel bar where we slurped cocktail and talked into the wee hours of the night, before being "kicked out" by the barman.