I've been back in the United States for ten days now but it's been such a whirlwind that I haven't had a chance to sit down and write. Now I actually have a little (not much) breathing room so I guess I'll start from the last twenty-four hours I spent in Singapore.
I was really surprised how heavy my heart was when I made my journey in to work on my last day. The year was so much different than I ever could have imagined but yet, I was very sad to say goodbye. I was texting back and forth with Giancarlo on the MRT and met up with him at McDonald's for our last sinful breakfast take-away on the way to work. We rode the shuttle together in to RWS and I took my last trip over the scenic bridge on to Sentosa Island. It was really hard to believe that at the beginning of the contract it was just a bunch of cranes, debris, and scaffolding. Now it was this beautiful gateway of a huge (fake) mountain with a waterfall and foliage.
Giancarlo and I stepped into our dressing room and saw Sean and Cassidy and I felt so at home; this has been my family for the last year. I had spent almost every single morning putting on my make up and sharing my life with Cassidy since February and our eyes kept filling up with tears knowing that this was the final morning of going through our routine together. I felt so lucky, though, that I simply love the three people I worked and shared a dressing room with (not to mention the other three cast mates who I worked with three days out of the week: Alexa, Whiley and Ramsey).
As my last set as Betty Boop was drawing to an end I started to notice escorts milling around the streets of NYC Universal. My tear ducts started tingling . . . oh no. All of a sudden a line of about twenty escorts along with a few stage managers and Daniel Bloomberg our costuming genius lined the street and applauded me as I walked off set the final time as Betty. I desperately tried to hold it together, but the tears started streaming down, luckily, as I was almost behind the scenes. I can't imagine what the guests in the park were thinking! Brian, one of the lead escorts, had said a tearful goodbye to me earlier in the day and it meant so much to me that I would truly be missed. It seems surreal that I won't be walking in to work, smiling and saying hi to these wonderful people anymore.
After work, I rushed home because GC and I had been working for the previous two weeks on a goodbye video for our Celeb-look-alike cast (well, HE had been doing 99 percent of the work . . . I swooped in to assistant direct and brainstorm ideas where I could). I got home to Kovan and my room mates helped throw everything together as usual, as I rushed to shower and change. It was my party and yet poor Greg was sweeping and ordering pizzas for me, thank goodness! (Did I mention I had the BEST room mates in the world?!)
Heaps of my cast mates poured in the doors of my apartment and gobbled up some pizza and sodas as we gathered around the living room television to watch the goodbye video. It will forever be one of my favorite moments in Singapore. Here we were, this group of strangers a year ago, piled in (butt to nut as GC likes to say) my living room, laughing, crying, and reminiscing over our tumultuous year together. That is the joy and pain of this business. You do a show or a contract and become like family, but inevitably, there comes a time to move on to the next project and although many people stay a part of your life, it's never the same as that moment in time. I'm so grateful to GC for making that video so we all have something tangible to look back on with happiness and I know whenever I watch it, I'll think of sitting in my living room with everyone so close to me, even though now we are spread out all over the world.
Then it was off to Prince of Wales, our favorite little ex-pat bar to watch Dan and Gene play their acoustic set and for me to say goodbye to everyone. I actually held it together most of the night better than I thought I would. I had gotten to the point where I was just so happy and grateful that I had gotten to a point where I really LIKED Singapore and would miss so many people. I didn't want to leave with a bitter taste in my mouth from the things that didn't go as planned. I wanted to leave rejoicing in all the beautiful things that DID happen and where I am now. As the night went on, that got harder. It's difficult not knowing when or if you will see certain people again . . . but you just have to believe that some day your paths will cross again.
I barely slept a wink that night. Emotions were running high and, of course, I hadn't packed the last of my things. I think I got about two hours of fitful sleep and then got everything ready to go. I got to say a tearful goodbye to Bill as he left for work . . . then again (TWO goodbyes) to Jacqueline . . . and hung out with Tori for a while before Greg hurried home so they could see me off. I know I've said it to them a million times but my whole experience in Singapore changed the moment I moved in with these four incredible people and they will never know how close I hold them to my heart. It was so hard walking out of that apartment for the last time and getting in a cab to go to the airport.
On my first flight from Singapore to Bangkok, I sat next to the sweetest guy from India. He helped me get my ridiculously heavy rolling suitcase up in the overhead compartment and was so polite considering I was an emotional mess. Before we were about to land in Bangkok the flight attendants gave everyone a beautiful orchid corsage to pin to your shirt or bag. The nice guy sitting next to me gave me his, saying, "It's beautiful, like you." And I just had a huge smile on my face. Anyone who could call me beautiful right then with two hours of sleep, more hours than that of crying and no make up deserved a medal.
The flight from Singapore to Bangkok felt like I was surrounded by the different cultures of Asia. When I hopped on the flight from Bangkok to Los Angeles, I was back to a majority of Americans. Everything felt different and I felt Singapore sort of slipping away in that moment. Once I landed in Los Angeles, it felt like the last year was a dream . . . a crazy vivid dream.
I'll leave the saga there for now, and pick up with the fact that my amazing best friend Kat flew from Vegas to LA to greet me that night because that starts a whole new set of stories.
For now, it's a bittersweet goodbye to Singapore. I thought I'd be ready to walk away without a care and though it was only a year, I know I made friendships for a lifetime and experiences that have changed me forever (for good). This year taught me that you may think you have "a plan" and have it all figured out, but you really can't plan what's going to happen. You have to embrace whatever life throws your way and find the lesson because things just may turn out even better than you could have expected. If you had told me the story of what would happen to me in Singapore as I boarded that plane last year I would have laughed in your face. But in my dressing room, on the last day, I was about to do my last set and I was all alone and I just looked up (in full Betty Boop gear) and said, "Thank you. Thank you for every minute of this year, good and bad. I know it was all a part of the journey." Thank you to everyone who was in my life this past year. I have hope that our paths will cross again (and again and again). You will always be in my heart, lah.