From Little India to Dalí | 05-110916

About.

Run → Swim → Barre. Optimal sports combination for me. Simple, therapeutic, energising, invigorating. Sunrise, fresh air, quiet awakening. Good start to the day. Alignment and strength. Speed and fresh air followed by low impact and core focus in as fresh air as well as the comfort of the barre studio.

The Secret Life of Pets. Cinema trip with my friend from home who just moved here. After work on Monday – such a comfy end to the first day of the week. And such a hilarious one as well – cute and clever piece of work by the people behind my favourite animation films.

Plain Vanilla. Morning paper, unsweetened soy matcha latte, staring out on the soft drizzling rain and morning life in Tiong Bahru.

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Night Barre. On Tuesday, as an exception to all other days this week, I have barre training after work instead of in the morning. My friend from home joins me for the first time, and afterwards we have a scrumptious dinner (laksa, shoestring fries drowned in truffle oil, superfood salad) at PS on Ann Siang Hill, followed by a night cap glass of wine at Operation Dagger, that romantic underground place that feels like a mix of an Aesop and lightbulb outlet.

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Esplanade Wine. The night after, I meet a friend who’s moving back to Copenhagen to finish her law master’s degree in a month’s time. We cross off a point on her leaving-Singapore-bucket-list: drinking wine in the sunset on the teak tree board walk in front of the CBD skyscrapers. Lovely. I have a call scheduled for 10pm which gets cancelled as I’m walking home to take it, so I change my course and go to the gym to swim in the outdoor pool for an hour – in the dark, looking across the quiet river and buildings. Light buzz from the wine, thorough stretch, a novel feeling of loving this polished construction of a city.

Private Class. On Thursday morning I’m the only one showing up for barre. Intense private class – focus on my weak points (i.e. 55 minutes of abs work). Tiny controlled movements.

Wild Honey. I work a late shift on Thursday so after barre there’s time for a tasty brunch in an Orchard mall cafe with a spectacular wallpaper serving as backdrop for our spirited conversation. Four Danish (The Insider, the stylist, the soon-to-be-mum and my usual barre buddy) and one English girl and me. Lots of good stories. Great coffee with the gluten-free, dairy-free, beautifully arranged brekkie.

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Pot Luck Dinner. In a break between my afternoon desk work and late night calls, I join my flatmates and their friends for an impressive pot luck dinner in our livingroom – chicken rendang, sambal squid, fish cakes, Asian coleslaw, mango salad, Thai beef salad, spiced red rice, delicious homemade chilisauces, homemade ice cream and pavlova, lots of watermelon and grapes, chilled wine. 10-12 people filling up the room. Cosy atmosphere. Everyone is offering praise of the food and funny travel stories from around the world – generally prevailing conversational topics.

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Leftovers. On Friday I invite my friends over to help me get rid of the many leftovers.

Rainy Morning. I’m home alone all weekend as my flatmates are in Vietnam. That blissful feeling of waking up on a Saturday morning and feeling completely free and alone for the first time in days, maybe weeks. Clear up the flat meticulously, listen to my own thoughts properly, read a newspaper and watch the last episodes of a hyped Norwegian tv show in the comfort of my bed while there’s a proper tropical downpour going on outside my windows – a virtual wall of torrential rain. Luckily it stops at 10am – barre time.

Punch. After class, my friend and I go to punch for some of the best coffee in town (v60 with notes of raspberry, dark chocolate and vanilla), a great masala chai made on vegan milk, a fresh green smoothie and a round black ceramic plate filled with sourdough toast, poached eggs, mashed avocado and slices of preserved lemon. We’re joined by an English girl that I met last Friday. She’s got a ph.D. in Math and is currently looking for a teaching job – quite a different profile than most other people I know. Refreshing. When we’re drinking and eating, the three of us go exploring for a few hours.

Little India. After being filmed for a German tv documentary on one of the bridges crossing the bay (!) and cooling down under the kids’ fountains in the Gardens by the Bay (!!), we go to Little India, where I’ve never been before, to check out the jewellery shops, the fabric shops, the beautiful shophouse facades and this little square with colourful umbrella trees.

Joy on Demand. I spend Saturday evening and Sunday morning reading about the art of discovering happiness within. The first selfhelp-labelled book I’ve ever picked up. Endorsed by the Dalai Lama, used to speaking at the White House, in TED videos and in front of the world’s Buddhist leaders and the person who popularised if not legitimised mindfulness courses in the corporate world, Chade-Meng Tan seems to be a pretty decent source of valuable words on emotional intelligence and joy. I read it in the early morning hours when I can’t sleep, later in the morning when the sunlight starts creeping in through the French doors of my room and when I’m having my morning coffee in the soothing darkness of Ronin, whose playlist, by the way, serves as a great soundtrack to the insightful reading, which is dotted with humouristic little doodles to illustrate the central points and cater to readers who are new to the world of meditation and need a smooth, light and demystifying introduction.

Strolling Mediation. Later on Sunday I turn to practicing my usual way of exercising the mind – I walk from Hong Kong Street to Dempsey Hill, letting my thoughts drift as I pass pastel-coloured HDBs and sparkling white mansions on the way.

Dalí. My destination is the REDSEA Gallery, which is currently displaying a wonderful selection of Dalí’s stunning drypoint etchings and drawings. Hippies, mythology, fairies.

Pool Chill. Digesting the impressions by the pool with two good friends and a real-fruit-lolly under a glowing sun.

Only in Singapore.

 

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