Every since I filled my days scribbling with Crayola pencils to writing essays with 1.5 line spacing, SAS has felt like home. It’s a challenging question to answer: Where is home for an SAS student? Within this institution where each student is from a different part of the world, the concept of home elicits a long and convoluted explanation. When I think of home, it’s my safe place; where I feel comfortable. I came to this school when I was about 4 years old — with baby teeth and the simple responsibilities of running around and then napping. This was the time when you were just a careless kid and didn’t think about how others would judge your lifestyle.
I remember a boy asking me to marry him with a lollipop ring that his mom gave him that day. I don’t remember his name (sad, I know; it was clearly not meant to lat) but I do remember his silliness. I remember saying yes to him because there was no harm in doing so. I got candy every day and a hug when I would take the bus home. It was a sweet beginning for a 4-year-old. SAS welcomed me with open arms. It’s the place where I had my first husband and made new friends.
Today, I’m a junior — someone with more responsibilities weighing down on her shoulders… the one who buys iced coffee to keep both eyes open during class. And though I may have my complaints about the day-to-day at SAS, I now realize just how much this place is home to me. My natural home isn’t just in one place; everyone I love and things I love are scattered liked marbles across the globe. Home is my tiny apartment in the South of France, next to the beach. Home is my little shoebox apartment, here in Singapore. Still, home is just as legitimately this giant and imposing campus that we call SAS. It’s a safe space thatwatched me grow up and even gave me free lunch for the first couple of years, so that’s a bonus.
My brother, Alex, came to SAS in the 4th grade. He graduated from SAS in 2013, served in the military, and then made his way to university. We both went to the same school for a long time, but as he spent more of his childhood in other places, I wondered where he felt home was. Here is what he told me:
“Having been brought up in a culture other my own, multiculturalism has always been a part of my life: even more so when I was introduced in the fifth grade to Singapore American School. I saw students like myself on daily basis that came from different parts of the world come together to learn, play and share the experience of school. In other words, from young, in my opinion, home wasn’t really a place but a feeling. A feeling of belonging and knowing that the people around you love you. For me that place is Singapore, a country that I’ve called home for a long time now, a place I will keep in my heart for the rest of my life.”
Home is different for everyone. My heart remains fully rooted in this “nation-state” of Singapore American School. It sounds corny, I know, but this place has been home since the first day I stepped in. Despite loads of tedious work and never-ending study sessions, SAS has guided me in ways that have made me the adult I am today. When we were little, we all dreamed about princesses and princes and perhaps embodied those roles in our early years. Throughout my time here, I’ve slain my dragons and ran away from the toughest of battles. I’ve learned how to conquer my fears and how to start and finish a project (even the night before it’s due). I don’t know what else this school has in store for me, but so far it’s been a complete joy ride to my junior year in this place I call home, and alongside these friends that I consider family.