Since my parents had initially thought they would “home school” us they did not really research any other options. Keep in mind that back then – in the early 1960’s – researching was quite different than it is now as there was no internet. So when we arrived in Indonesia they learned of the Singapore American School and off we went. My mother with three little girls tagging along headed over to Singapore to sign us up and schedule living arrangements.
Interestingly I did not feel this was all that different than the norm. Maybe I was just too young to realize it, I really don’t know.
We ended up living in a “hostel” with several other, mostly American, girls, with me, once again being the youngest. The home, though, was run by a British couple and their teenage son. Oh and the house was absolutely wonderful. I’m not totally sure of the style but it certainly had a British influence. It was quite large with the living area; kitchen, dining and I believe a small living area on the ground floor. The next two floors were the very large bedrooms with at least 2 girls in each room. My memory of this has faded considerably so there may have been more than two in each room. My room was in the circular turret which made me feel a bit special.
As I mentioned my memories of this time have long faded. But I do recall playing jacks on the floor with my sister whom I will call AJ and several of the others. AJ and I played so much and learned so many new games of jacks that we became quite good. Eventually that would be the one thing in which I was true competition for her through the years.
The other thing that was quite different for us was the school. One of the major differences was that it was a year round school in which we would be in school for 3 months then have one month of vacation. Much different than the nine months of school with three months’ vacation that we were used to “back home”.
The other thing that really stood out was that the other students were of every nationality, race, religion that you could possibly think of. Discrimination? Absolutely none. Keep in mind that we had arrived from a town in California in which I recalled never meeting anyone whose skin was a different color than mine. Different religions I was not aware of as we were taught never to speak of religion or politics – which of course would change through the years.
But being children we pretty much fit in with no problem at all. Well at least I didn’t. My best friend turned out to be a girl from Sweden and of course there was a boy that I liked that was originally from someplace in Africa.
Oh and one other thing about the school was at the time, and I believe this is still true, was that it was from kindergarten up through grade 12. Therefore, while we were all in different grades in school we all also attended the same school.
My mother got us settled into the hostel and school then returned “home” to Indonesia and my father. I learned later several things about these years from my mother many years later. They fell in love all over again…not that they had fallen out of love but it just strengthened. They treated these years as the honeymoon they had not previously had. They took numerous trips – with and without us. My mother became quite spoiled as we had servants, including a cook, so she did not have to worry about taking care of the house.
This experience was such a different type of lifestyle than what we had been used to back in the “states”. And yet at the time I never really felt it was all that different and just seemed to fit in with no problems. Oh the joys of being a child!