Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Manchester anymore…


The day arrives. Nervous, apprehensive, but after two years of dreaming, I’m finally heading to Singapore and not even just for a holiday – to live there. I get over the initial fear of plummeting to my death in a large metal coffin with wings and after 17 hours I arrive on the other side of the world. The furthest I’d ever been is Cyprus, the hottest I’ve ever been to was Ibiza… and Singapore instantly outdid both of these. But despite this and my anxious nature, I was doing fine. More than fine, I was loving it.

So I arrive at my room – it looked like a model show room. The pool, like something you’d see in a resort. Excitement, adventure and all that cheesy stuff. Obviously I’m jet lagged and the first thing I do is sleep. And I mean I slept for hours. I wake up the next day disorientated, hot and erm… itchy?

I start to scratch my arm and I feel a lump. A lump… I’m trying to remain calm and not just instantly presume I have been bitten by a rare and not yet discovered poisonous insect of Asia. I turn on the lights and my panic is only heightened by the sight of large swollen plates of skin travelling down both my arms. So obviously I do the rational, adult thing – start to cry and frantically try to Skype mum and dad for advice at 4am their time.

On seeing my arms, they too panic and tell me to go immediately to a pharmacy or if i can’t find one, a doctor. A doctor? A DOCTOR? You were meant to comfort me, parents, not amplify my fears of impending death! So, totally unaware of my location, with no mobile data and tears still flooding down my face I head to the first bus stop I can find. A literal hot mess. At this point the lumps have now multiplied and both my arms (and legs) are almost full of swollen hives. I’m almost sure these are the eggs of said poisonous insect spawning inside me.

At last, after wandering around 5 floors of a random shopping centre, I find a pharmacist. She, too, looked at my arms in horror and declared I was having a severe allergic reaction to and I quote “what could be anything”. The tears came again and the lady rubbed my itchy arm in sympathy and gave me an antihistamine – telling me if it didn’t go down within an hour to go to A&E. Thankfully, a couple of hours later, the swelling went down (and the tears subsided, too).

After speaking to my family members it is hypothesised that my weak, frail English skin is merely not used to such intense humidity and actively seeks attention by flaring up at random times. Delightful. This incident was almost two weeks ago now, and thankfully the past week has been a much more positive experience than the first one. Turns out I’m not severely allergic to Singapore. If you take anything from this post, it’s that even the most random of things can happen to you and you should always make sure you take a little medical bag with you on your travels even if you think you won’t need something – you never know. I’m not allergic to anything and I’ve never taken an antihistamine in my life prior to this. Also, remember it is okay to if things don’t go to plan, just stay calm (unlike me) and it will all work itself out.
Ah year abroad, we have so much more fun to come.

Below are some pics of my recent hive-free adventures, as I don’t think the pictures of my gross, swollen arms are too aesthetically pleasing.
Stay safe and histamine free my friends!

One thought on “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Manchester anymore…

  1. Hi Poppy,

    Thank you for these blog posts, they’re brilliant and paint such a great picture of Singapore
    I have a few questions about the application process i assume you went through while still in Manchester

    Would it be easier to email them to you?


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