I arrived here three years ago on July 4, and although jetlagged, I quickly got acquainted with new colleagues and Singapore by going directly to the embassy’s legendary Independence Day party at Gardens by the Bay. This is the longest time I’ve spent abroad aside from six months in Kuala Lumpur and a month traveling the region, and now I’m about to move back to the United States for the next adventure in my career.
Growing up in Alabama, family is very important to me and despite having scholarship opportunities to another university, I followed in my father’s footsteps and graduated from Auburn University. I studied criminology and criminal justice where my dad studied business administration and was a criminal investigator for U.S. Customs before it merged to become U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Friends always thought he had a cool job and I never really considered doing the same thing until I graduated college.
After an internship with the Secret Service, and another with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where I discovered there were a lot of female agents with a wide variety of things to investigate, my decision was made, and I graduated the academy in 2007. It was quite special that my dad was able to present me with my badge and credentials. Being one of only 4 women in my class of about 20, and the youngest in my class, it proved to be a formative experience and I made bonds for life with everyone from the Secret Service to the U.S. Marshals. Law enforcement is like a brotherhood/sisterhood and it’s nice to have family around the world. In fact, I met up with a classmate who was also posted to Singapore and had an immediate friend when I arrived!
In my agency, Homeland Security Investigations, we investigate anything that crosses the U.S. border, including, but not limited to, people, money, drugs, commodities, and wildlife. I enjoy the work because it’s wide-ranging, and we work closely with other agencies and Singapore counterparts. With the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this year, I am especially grateful for the important work my colleagues do daily.
My parents are retired now, and my dad refurbishes antiques for fun. I look forward to being closer to my family again. I’m especially eager to decorate my new home with my dad’s U.S. Customs flag that the family had framed for me. My dogs, Lola and Maggie, who have lived with me since I was 23 years old, will join as well. Lola, a Shih Tzu, is adorable and sassy and a few months after I got her I thought she needed a friend, so I got Maggie, a lively Yorkie-Maltese mix! It was wonderful having them in Singapore with me and they’ve been good company through COVID.
When I think of Asia and my travels, I will think of the hospitality, the history, and the culture. As for Singapore, the part I love most is, of course, the food and how happy people are when you’re willing to try new things, like durian! It’s not for me, but I enjoyed trying it! My favorite hawker stall is called NaNa Curry. There are multiple outlets, but I recommend Dover for a bowl of coral colored, spicy soup with chicken and one potato; it’s so good you can drink it. I will miss that the most, but my waistline is ready for a break.
– Lindsay Thomas, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Embassy Singapore