Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bandung, Singapore, Sodankylä

Having lived in Sodankylä for around 1,5 years and THEN go back to the big cities, I find myself feeling new emotions.

Let me share some statistics first so that you get a better idea, OK?

Sodankylä - population density:
0.8 inhabitants per km².

Bandung - population density (2004): 14,976 inhabitants per km².

Singapore - population density (2008): 6,489 inhabitants per km².

In 2000, I went to visit Singapore for 6 days. Back then I still lived in Bandung. When I was in Singapore back then, all I felt was AWE since the country was SOOOOOO clean and everybody was SO swift and efficient.

Last October, when I went to Singapore, at first I still felt the awe about the cleanliness and the efficiency, but after some time, I felt that they were all SO rushed! After 2 days, I wanted to yell, "Calm down, everybody! Why are you all in such a hurry? Why don't you stop and smell the roses?"

I just felt agitated by the fact that everybody was such in a hurry to go here and there, especially around the MRT area. Boy oh boyyyy...

You should understand that here in Sodankylä, the LONGEST queue at the supermarkets here is probably ONLY SIX people at one go. Usually when I go to any supermarket, there are only 2-3 people in front of me...and the supermarkets aren't even big!!!

So it seems that I'm getting used to living in a small village, since even when we went to Rovaniemi last Saturday, I felt slightly frustrated already when we tried to find out where we could park the car and for how long we could park it there. It reminds me of the time when we went to Pori last July and R2 and I went downtown on our own. We had to turn round and round and round and round just to find a parking space that fit our schedule.

It seems to me that in big cities, it's SO easy to lose time since there're more and more people, less space, more traffic jams, so it DOES make sense that people are more in a hurry in big's really getting to my nerves after some time. I felt SUCH a relief when we got back to good old Sodankylä.

What's the point of this post? Nothing. Just to share my experience he he he he...R2's second brother went to Tallinn in Estonia the other week and he said to us, "There were SOOOO many people there and I felt choked. I felt as if I wanted to shoo those people away since I had so little space!!!"

I understood his words completely. We're too used to having so much space here in Sodankylä that the big city overwhelms us if we stay there too long. In each place we stay, there are good and bad sides. But it's funny to know that I used to think I wouldn't survive in such a small village since I was used to the city life filled with malls and plenty of theatres and factory outlets...I'm GLAD I can really fit in here, not just for my sake, but also for R2's sake...since if I'm unhappy here, it'll make him unhappy, too. :-))))


  1. Hi Gorgeous!

    This is an interesting perspective...I had never thought about how people living in small villages/cities could react to big cities.
    Life in a big city is indeed too rushed, and that is why some are moving into the country, here in Portugal.

    But I confess that I can't live without the rush of a big city for too long!

    Thanks for sharing this with us, girl :D!


  2. it's kind of ironic to feel a culture/lifestyle clash in the place that you came from, isn't it.

    Those are very interesting observations, Amel!!

  3. I live in a relatively small town, population 6300. But I am no further than 20 minutes away from any major shopping areas. Makes for the best of both worlds.

    Thank you for your kind comments on my Whattville blog.

  4. I don't like big towns and unfortunately I live in one with a high crime rate. My dream is to move to a small town in the country. I grew up in the country so city life really stinks for me.

  5. i was surprised too when i moved here.... although my hometown in indo is also not so big as jakarta.. but it is different, but in time i enjoy this city where i live.

  6. Oh wow, I didn't know Bandung is even more packed than Singapore! I would love to live in a sparsely populated small town. All these years of living in Singapore and I'm still not used to the crowd. Maybe because I grew up in the countryside. I feel so frustrated when I go to the mall. My kids however, are used to that. Stillness and tranquility make them uneasy.

  7. Just this week at work my coworkers were speculating whether someone who grew up in a large city could be happy in a small town. I will have to share with them your experiences. I am just the opposite. I grew up in a small town and I now live in a big city. Nothing the size of Bandung or Singapore. Our metropolitan area has just under 2 million people but it is more crowded than I would like!

  8. i am more surprise when i move to here :D I live in Jakarta. You know how busy Jakarta is :D

  9. Maybe you know, Istanbul is the biggest city living 17 million people living of Turkey regarding 75 million population in Turkey.
    Even Istanbul is a megacity sometimes i feel that i am strangled and wish to be living in a smaller city or village far away from the mess of Istanbul.

    PS: Amel, i gave place a post named water taxi in blog regarding traffic jam. I'm sure you'll like it;)u must check it.

    Kind regards


  10. Max: Glad you enjoyed this post, Max! I hear you, City Girl he he he...

    Vince: Yep. That's true. I still have some more to share on this topic, thanks to you who reminds me of this he he...

    74WIXYgrad: Well, that's really the BEST of both worlds!!! ;-D UR VERY welcome, Cliff!

    Jodi: Yeah, I know what you mean about the high crime rate. That's really such a shame. :-(((( I hope your dream comes true!!!!!

    Jeanne: Yep, living life in a small place is so peaceful, isn't it? HE HE HE...

    Blur Ting: Yeah, I know what you mean...before I moved to Sodankylä, my aunt who's lived in USA warned me that living in a small village meant that I should know how to spend my time well...otherwise I wouldn't fit in. She was afraid that I wouldn't belong here since I'd always lived in the big city he he...

    Angel of Delusion: Ahhhahhhh...glad you enjoyed this post and you can share it with others then. :-)))) I hear's not easy to live in a crowded place...headache!!!

    Jul: Yeah, that's true, Jul. That's why I still prefer Bandung than Jakarta he he he...

    Burcu: WOW!!!! 17 million people? Tsk tsk tsk tsk tsk...I know how you feel, being strangled like that. Hope your wish come true later on!!!

    Okie dokie, I'll check out your post soon!!! THANKS for letting me know! ;-D

  11. I resonate with all of what you have said Amel.. down to the fact that when I go to Rovaniemi from Sodankylä, it really irritates me!

    This was exactly how I felt when I went back to the UK two years ago. At the time, my Mum was upset to hear that I felt this way.. (her not having visited here at that point)..When she came here, she totally understood and in just a couple of weeks, didnt want to go back to the UK! This I can totally understand!

    My friend Sophie, who is British but lives in Spain had to go for three days this week, because one of her children has a heart problem and had to have his check up at GOSH. (Great Ormond Street Hospital) So, she was in and around London. She said it took her just 45mins to know that she would NEVER be living in the UK again. Too many people, too much rush, too noisy etc etc...

    Square peg in round hole syndrome is what I call it!

    Love Michelle x

  12. wow... bandung is too crowded!!! LOL...but I love bandung, above all...

  13. Michelle: HE HE HE HE your Mom didn't want to go back to the UK after visiting good old Sodis? LOL LOL!!!

    Yeah, it's tough to go back to "our old way of life" when we've enjoyed living in a place like Sodis.

    Trinity: I love Bandung too he he...