How I’m Taking 2018’s Year Of The Dog In Stride In Singapore – By Expat Andrea McKenna Brankin

20 February 2018

Chinese New Year in Singapore brings about a variety of experiences, even for the seasoned expats.

Restaurants are closed, though more and more are open each year I live here. Ubers and taxis are few and far between, which makes one grateful for the excessive convenience we usually have on regular non-holiday days. It’s good to take a break and, as for the inconveniences, we’ll live – and there’s always at least one place to hang out. For us, that’s Café Melba in the Goodman Arts Centre.


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We headed there on the last day of the CNY weekend to let our little girl run around the artificial turf and bounce in the bouncy house. We feel fortunate this year that my husband’s parents made the trip all the way from sub-zero, snowy Chicago to visit with us for a few weeks. Unfortunately, they were too tired to hit Chinatown or any CNY festivities, but we could see the fireworks from our balcony each night. And our family members were happy to have a beer at Georges on East Coast Park, our newest family-friendly haunt.

Since we did not get a chance to visit the hustle and bustle of Chinatown or go to the Float to watch the midnight fireworks, I am left with the literal side of Chinese New Year: The yearly horoscopes. I always think of CNY as a new-new start after the Western New Year’s celebration. After testing out January, you can indeed start over at CNY if things suck. But to be fair, I’m not too psyched about my foretelling in the 2018 Chinese zodiac horoscope.

Born in 1971, I am a pig in the Chinese zodiac. My overall luck looks good with opportunities for career advancement and business development, including good friend connections. That one is important because, as an expat who has lost many sets of friends to relocation and repatriation, I’m happy to hear that I may make friends more easily this year.

After that nice roundup, the horoscope drops off to the negative for me, with challenges in wealth early in the year and my most-feared prediction: that I will have “unfortunate health prospects this year.” Sigh. I spent most of 2017 recovering from a surgery, and I truly believed that my worst health year was behind me.

Most importantly, the horoscope warns not to do any extreme activities. As a retired boxer and rugger, I am pretty sure that my extreme sports days are over. And, after participating in the grueling (for me) AWA-mazing Race, I am currently alternating my orthotic flip-flops with a walking cast. I really, really hope it was this fallout from running all over town for the race that the horoscope was alluding to.

So, please Mr. Year of the Doggy, please cut this old battle axe some slack! I’m on a new Keto diet, I’ve got plans for two new book projects and am hoping to find new income streams and work opportunities this year from my writing, yoga work and mental health advocacy. I do feel empowered to direct my fate – more than acknowledging the ancient workings of horoscopes.

I am reminded of my sweet Loki, a pit bull I rescued from death row in 2005. He was my companion and helped me through a difficult spell with bipolar disorder. We looked after each other and his support gave me the will to move towards the fulfilling life I had always wanted. I’m in that life now and grateful to my doggy pal for helping me achieve this.

Gong Xi Fa Cai, friends. Whatever is slated to come your way in the horoscopes, make the best happen!

About Andrea McKenna Brankin

Andrea McKenna Brankin is journalist and author from the United States who lives a full life with bipolar disorder. Her book, Bipolar Phoenix, is awaiting a publishing contract. She is also currently a volunteer at the DaySpring Residential Treatment Centre for teen girls in Singapore, providing befriending-family support, therapeutic writing and rugby coaching.


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