Life in a fish bowl

This summer our family attended training in Mississippi to be commissioned as missionaries and prepare for our new journey in Singapore. Over the course of a week we listened to several devotions on “Living life in a fish bowl”. That statement didn’t make much since at the time, but now hits home. We are definitely in a fish bowl trying our hardest to swim while everyone around us is just staring to see what these American fish do next. There are times we decide to venture out and end up lost because we listened to directions from each other. In moments like these when we are all tired, miserable, grouchy and sweating like crazy, Nick or I will randomly say “fish bowl”.  It’s a reality check as a family. We are christians, but we aren’t perfect. Life can be messy and no one is perfect. The truth is we are learning to swim in the biggest fish bowl we have ever seen and adapt to a new country at the same time.

Over the past two months our lives have definitely been shaken up. It’s been quite an experience to say the least.  Living in a foreign country and all the unexpected challenges that it brings has now become a reality . We have made some amazing memories so far, but there are some moments that just knock you straight down. The one thing that our little family has discussed is how much we took things for granted in America. It’s been beautiful and humbling for all four of us to learn to live a much simpler life. (Singapore is an amazing country and is highly advanced. Things are available, they are just extremely expensive.)

Gone are the easy trips to our favorite Target, the frequent visits to Chick-Fila, walking in a  grocery store that has all the items needed to make our simple go-to family meals, the convenience of hopping in our van to go places, weekends spent on the soccer field with those that are dear to our hearts, the quick trips down the road to visit with friends or the 10 hour drive to see our family. All these options once seemed like a “must do or have”. We do truly miss our “old” life, but as of today none of us would change the “new” life we are learning to live now. We all feel God has the four of us right where he wants us.

I am not going to lie though, when I go from grocery store to grocery store just to find the ingredients that are actually affordable that my family with too many allergies can eat, or when I try to think of a million reasons to get Ellie to try a new food (because nothing  looks like our “Texas” food to her), or when I fight the never ending battle of stupid ants that some how make it up 19 floors to our condo, or when I have no choice but to use the squatter toilets at a public restroom and almost fall in the hole, or when I sweat to death daily in my non air-conditioned restroom and kitchen, or when I  accidentally set off our bidet (which I have since had Nick uninstall) while cleaning the toilet and it squirts me in the face and floods our bathroom….I can’t help but think for a couple minutes, “JESUS, JESUS WHY MEEEEE!” Putting all the endless laughs we have endured behind, this journey we are on has slowly started to change us deep within. And that’s a blessing.

In just the short time we have been here, we reflect back often on our life in America. It’s easy to realize now just how materialistic life can become in the blink of our eyes, how much we as Americans take for granted, how insensitive or judgmental we can be of other cultures, how much money we throw away, how much food we waste and just how selfish we can be.

As a family in a new country, we are adjusting well. The glory of it all is our life has completely changed from what it was a few months ago and we are all just fine. I have had to make some decisions in my life as a super overprotective mother that 2 months ago I would have never done. God has truly worked in my heart and has given me so much peace.

Back home we lived in a very nice and safe neighborhood, but we still always kept our kiddos close by. Dawson didn’t really play outside without adult supervision, go the store, park, ride the bus, or walk home from school alone. It’s taken several weeks for us to accept the fact that it is the culture and is perfectly normal in Singapore. I am so thankful Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world. (The laws are super strict.) With a lot of prayer we have adapted in this specific area of our life. It’s helped Dawson with adjusting to the culture as well. Dawson has made good friends with a sweet boy in his class who lives in the condo building next to ours. They ride home from school on their scooters or public bus, play basketball and make frequent trips to the park etc. Ellie Anna on the other hand thinks Singapore is awesome for only transportation reasons. She does not sit in a child seat when we take a taxi, she loves to ride the bus, MRT, or on our electric bike when we go places.

We often say that our kids are the magnets that help us connect to others in the community. As you can imagine in Singapore there’s not many little white girls with little round glasses with big curly hair. In fact to quote Ellie, who is not keen on people saying she’s cute or touching her hair, “I must be the only one in this Singapore state that is cute, because these people just always come find me and touch my hair. Is there not anyone else cute in Singapore?” Dawson embraces all the comments he receives and has come to accept the frequent head pats. Honestly he doesn’t feel like an outsider which is so amazing. He loves the fact that in his class there is one student from Jacksonville, Arkansas and one from Texas. Never would we imagine that we move to Singapore and he meets someone from his home states.

As we continue on this journey, thank you for all your prayers, support and following along. Please continue to pray with us that God will continue to lead our way and that we can fulfill the plan he has for us. Also, pray for the amazing students at our school. Less than 40% of our student’s are believers.

Until next time, here are a few pictures we have to share………..





6 thoughts on “Life in a fish bowl”

  1. I love reading these post and keeping up with y’all. Miss y’all so much. Lauren and I need to plan a trip to come see y’all soon 🙂

  2. The journey is tough. Adapting sometimes may difficult. The memories will be unforgettable. Never forget you have each other as a family and that’s the only thing important in life. As long as you all stick together and enjoy the experience there’s nothing that can stop you !!! Proud of you guys!!!

  3. Chelsea, I’d love to see a post on where y’all are living…you said it’s a condo? I’d love to see pics of the rooms & what if any differences between it & condos/homes back in the states.

  4. You are truly broadening your horizons, Chel, and God is with you guys in the midst! Prayers as you navigate and become more comfortable with the ‘different-ness’ of your surroundings. We do, truly, have lots of conveniences in the US that we often take for granted, Doug and I have noticed as we travel overseas. Blessings to you and your sweet family in this adventure.

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