Hello, My name is rinaz

With every new chapter in life, is a good opportunity for a fresh start. So I’ll start a new, as if this is the first entry in my blog.


No, I dont pose like an Asian

My name is Marina. I enjoy the arts, music and a whole multitude of things. I also enjoy exploring new places. As a kid, I had an extremely inquisitive mind and sometimes get myself into trouble by exploring and wandering on my own by getting lost.

Online, I am known as rinaz. Its nothing extraordinary actually, its just a short form for marina’s. Even the cartoon representation of me came out as a fluke, drawing on Macromedia (or is it Adobe now?) Flash on a bored weekend.


Anyway, I am a Singaporean and have been living there most of my life. And life was pretty much ordinary and idyllic. During the weekdays I would go to work and after that meet my good friends, Juli, Hema and Geri every now and then.

rinaz and friends

It was only till a few years ago when things started to be a little more exciting. After my exhillarating trip to Thailand, I decided to take up my riding license. I started to blog and I explored various 3D communities.

It just opened up my world.

I passed my riding test and acquired a scooter after that. I fell in love with riding my scooter. I experienced places in Singapore that I wouldn’t normally go to – even those which I never realised existed! Whoever knew that there was a goat farm in urban Singapore?

ping.sg first anniversary

With the blogging and the online community as well as the motoring community, I met people that I enjoyed being with both online and in real life. It was a great feeling, to be a part of something.

rinaz on a scooter

Life is pretty good.

I met Cartcart on Secondlife. We fell in love and after a whirlwind long distance romance, exactly four years after we tied the knot online, we got married for real.

rinaz and cart gets married

A week after that, I migrated to Italy, to live with Cart.

The first few weeks was probably the hardest. It was winter and cold and deary. A huge shock for me, living on the equator for most my life. I didnt speak the language. Save for Cart’s family and friends, I didn’t know anyone here. I felt extremely lonely.

I could not even do the things I used to enjoy doing anymore. Like scootering. And I feel like I’m missing out on a lot back in Singapore. To be completely honest, every now and then, I get depressed.

Its leaving a whole life behind. Something that you’re familiar with, that you’ve nurtured for years. Its an entire culture shock when I arrived in Italy. And the awareness made me feel very very small. I feel like a nobody here.

i has a ket

But I’m trying to be more positive. And I’ve been trying my best to assimilate to the culture and people here. The first 5 months, I undertook the Italian language course. I still suck at speaking Italian, but its a first step.

rinaz in her Italian class
Me and my multinational classmates in Italian language class

And thanks to facebook, I found a few interesting events that I could go to and meet some people. I even found some Singaporeans here in Rome. Can you believe that?

rinaz and friends
Here are two of the very lovely ladies with Dea.

After all, its a choice that I made, right? Rome isn’t made in a day, and as such, I shouldnt expect to rebuild my life in a snap. It takes time. And effort. Its not easy. But I just have to have faith.

30 Replies to “Hello, My name is rinaz”

  1. -))) you make me smile with your positivity. be strong, and you’re right, rome wasn’t built in a day. it’s nothing like the movies when entire lives fold out in 2 hours.

    i think you’re doing fine -)

  2. It’s always good to have a positive attitude. Change isn’t always easy but over time, we all adjust one way or another. I hope that we get to meet up when you come back for a visit. šŸ™‚

  3. Brian

    The only thing that one can do is to try to be the best they can, isn’t it? Moping around is natural, till one gets bored of it and does something šŸ˜€


    Yeah! Lets go to 18 chef! We were supposed to go there together before I left!


    I was there assisting with IT for about 2 years I think. Somewhere in 2004/2005? Were you a student there? šŸ™‚

  4. Wow. So you met your husband online then? That’s kind of an interesting coincidence. My wife’s childhood friend married my former boss, and my former boss hooked me up with my wife online. We chatted for a long time before meeting in person and then got married last year in June.

    I wound up moving to Singapore to be with her, since this is where she works. I suppose it wasn’t such an uprooting experience for me. I spent 8 years in the US military so I got used to moving around every few years. Before, though, whenever I lived in a foreign country, it was on a US military installation. This time is a bit different and I’ve been more thoroughly immersed in the local culture. Also, there’s no base full of Americans for a cultural respite. In that way I suppose I can empathize with you.

    It’s hard to give up everything you know, and leave behind all of the people you know, but given time I’m sure you’ll make a few new friends. Have you considered getting a job? That’s a great place to start making friends!

  5. Brad

    Yup, we met through Secondlife, a virtual 3D world. We didnt plan to fall in love though, it just happened I guess šŸ™‚

    I wonder if your wife feels lonely in Singapore, being away from her family and friends. And for you too?

    As for getting a job here, I’m not all that confident of getting one at the moment. My Italian language skills are way below par.


    Really! Who? A student or a teacher? Gosh! šŸ™‚

  6. It will take you some time to get used to life here. (I’ve been living here for almost 6 years and I am still not 100% used to living here). Be patient. You are doing the right thing by going to various meet-ups and trying to make friends. They will definitely help with your transition7assimilation. Getting a job would also help. You could also take up some other kind of course or join a sports group and meet new people.

    Have you written to Wilf from Turin to ask him for advice on getting an IT related job? Have you thought of other types of jobs which you can do which don’t require a good level of Italian? Frankly, many of the Singaporeans I know who are working in Italy don’t really have a good command of the language. You could even think of doing something on a freelance basis.

  7. *patpat*

    I’d love to read more entries about living in Rome, what you substitute ikan bilis with, even your aerobics class šŸ™‚

  8. Clare

    Thank you so much šŸ™‚

    We are special!


    Mama mia! Thank you for the advice and words of comfort. 6 years is a long time. Hopefully we can get used to it very very soon šŸ™‚

    No, I havent emailed Wilf yet. Gah! I am so forgetful! But I’m surprised that you said that there are jobs here that doesn’t require a lot of Italian?

    I’ll give it a try then šŸ™‚




    Those sort of posts are coming up šŸ™‚


    I bet its tough there in Conneticut too. :

    Did you make any friends there?

  9. yes there are jobs which don’t require a good level of Italian, just a basic one for e.g some IT jobs, some import export companies which need people who can speak a couple of foreign languages, teaching jobs! cultural mediator or perhaps if you have a special skill you can impart to others via teaching or craft work and selling. The other SG girl in Rome makes and sells handicraft right? I also knew another SG girl in Italy who made money baking decorated cakes and other pastries. Find out what the other English native speakers do for a living in Rome and get some ideas.

    Either that or continue studying Italian for a few more months so you reach a decent level and have more job options.

    Good luck!

  10. LOVE! šŸ™‚ i’m excited to read more abt ur new life in Itlay. šŸ™‚
    btw, it was 2 wks. u got married on 19th dec and left singapore on 5th jan. šŸ˜› i remember better than you do! hurhurhur.

  11. Daphne

    2 weeks? Whoops! Didnt feel like two weeks though … the days just went by so quickly. It was like being in a time capsule!

    We got married on the 18th December by the way, exactly 4 years when we tied the knot in SL šŸ™‚


    Thanks Elaine, those are all fantastic advice. Though I’m not too keen on doing handicrafts, I think that the other ideas seem good like the cultural mediator or educator.

    Will think about it for a bit. And thanks for the good luck šŸ™‚

    In bocca al lupo!


    But sometimes life imitates the art .. or in this case, the movies? Hehehe

  12. Sabar jer Rinaz. Insya Allah, all will fall into places one day. Mujur ada teknologi masakini. Senang Rinaz berinteraksi dengan keluarga dan kawan2 yang jauh di mata, tapi dekat di hati kan? šŸ™‚ Dan, mana tahu.. kalau di izin, tahun depan, Insya Allah, bila tiba masa Kynne ikut jejak macam Rinaz, dapat pula kita jumpa kan kan kan. šŸ™‚

  13. Aik. Bukan pindah ke Roma. Datang melawat boleh lah. Hehehe.

    Kynne kena ikut bakal suami (!!!) pindah ke Sweden, dah. Insya Allah, tahun depan. Early tahun depan.

    Tapi, jangan takut, jangan kecewa. Naik kapal terbang, dalam 2 jam jer. Maybe less than that. Mana tahu, boleh jumpa 2-3 kali setahun. Hehehehe. Shoppinggggggggg!

  14. Eh, ini membuat rinaz teringat kepada sesuatu … rinaz ada kenalan seorang wanita bewargawan Singapura yang telah bernikah dengan seseorang dari negara Sweden!

    Mungkin Kynne hendak berkenalan dengan beliau?

  15. Namanya adalah Cucclaine, kalau tak salah, dia dan suaminya sedang menginap di Singapura, kadangkala pulang ke Sweden.

    Rinaz ada skype tapi tak selalu guna. Jomlah guna plurk ke, Twitter ke buku muka ke (facebook) … hehehe šŸ™‚

  16. Hey Rina

    How r u ? its amazing to meet u online.. I just got married and Italy will b my new home.. Reading yr blog makes me smile. I am glad I am not alone…

    I am from sunny Singapore too… Guess what ? I grew up in Jurong too…. Boon Lay & later Jurong West Extendsion.. Does that ring a bell to you ?
    Now I am in Verona, the weather is cold here.. its different from Singapore…
    Soo this is the funny story, I met my husband online to….19 days later …. we got married. Life is full of ups & down of course , so I decided to quit my job and move here to be with my husband…I saw yr prata recipe and just fantasizing it with a got chicken curry. That would def cure my home sick ….. anyways I hope to chat more with u sometimes… I have given u my email address… Till then have a wonderful Sunday ..Kimmy

  17. Selamat petang Marina,
    Just found by chance your blog… I was looking for comments from expats to Italy as we (as a company) are setting up a service dedicated to expats leaving Italy or coming to Italy (for business reasons though)… despite you are a totally different case, I was intrigued by your courage and your strenght… I think you people from that beautifull part of the world have a double speed that reflects in choices like the one you made and in the dynamism coming out of your blog… cool Marina…
    I live in Rome too and have two adopted son from Vietnam… something in common innit ? Ciao… was a pleasure to cross your blog.

  18. Yeah,Rina..somehow i got that feeling once upon a time,when I live in Holland for a year….yeah,stay positive girl…and open up ur mind,free them..insya-Allah it will be fine, or even better than u can imagine…take care.If u miss Singapore food ,check out my blog hehe! http://www.putriberendam.com Eh,maybe I can crash on u if I come to Rome? hehe!!

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