Home. This week revolves around many small alluring home creation steps. After warming up the flat together on Monday morning, with an elaborate candle-lit breakfast and a fired up Monday Morning YouTube playlist, we each go to work – which in my boyfriend’s case means a four-day offsite in Bali. We stay in touch by exchanging homeware mood boards via Instagram, Pinterest and paper magazines. So many lovely ideas and sources of inspiration, but/and we want to create a space that is right for us, with a few great items that have a purpose or meaning, combined, always, with an aesthetic value. As long as we have the basics and there’s no clutter, and even if we are super eager to surround ourselves with beauty, elegance and comfort, our home doesn’t have to reflect a hip interior design magazine (right away) – we have dreams and a vision, and then items will be introduced as we go along and encounter the right stuff. Sounds like such a cliche, haha. But those are around for a reason. After work and barre on Monday, I do some grocery shopping and go home to make gluten and dairy free banana pancakes (in the oven as the stove doesn’t work – and won’t work until Friday, when a contractor comes over and fixes the gas tank and pipes with his dirty bare feet resting on the kitchen counter) and listen to the Japanese pianist Yiruma’s River Flows in You on repeat. Eat, Skype with friends, walk around the rooms smiling joyously while sensing and imagining how to make the most of each space before going to bed way past midnight.
First Wine Date at Home. On Tuesday, a new friend (Chinese-Canadian) comes over for a a couple of glasses of Malbec and a chat in the new living room. She’s bringing a homemade pumpkin cake, and sharing it we talk about past, current and future dreams and events, including the half marathon she’s running at Angkor Wat this week, which will be her third time attending. I wanted to go too, but there just weren’t more holidays to take. Next year!
First Ladies Night at Home. On Wednesday, our new reclaimed wood dining table is delivered, and then sanctified by a tapas dinner I’m hosting for four happy gals (two Danish; two English), who are bringing sweet housewarming cards, champagne and plants – chillies and white orchids. Wonderful conversations that last till 2am.
First Drop-In at Home. Standing down in the street and waiting for the table to be delivered on Wednesday morning, I hear someone calling my name and see one of my boyfriend’s colleagues coming towards me. She lives around the corner. I invite her up for a tour of the house. Proudly. She likes it a lot! Especially the balcony, a main function of which is to serve as a yoga and meditation space. She just returned from a yoga teacher training course in Bali the day before and is thrilled about the idea. Come over for yoga and tea sometime! Yeah, I’d love to! It’s such a pleasure to be able to invite someone like that – spontaneously when you meet in the street, and then, as a date between neighbours.
Christmas Cards. On the evening of 1 December, I sit down at our new dining table and address a pile of Christmas cards to the most special homes, hearts and minds that I know, love and miss so much. Candles burning, holly berries strutting from a glass vase, Danish and English Christmas songs and hymns sounding from the speaker, happy thoughts, ideas and memories evoked and communicated, envelopes filled with hearts that I cut from red cardboard. My boyfriend comes home when I’m about to finish – with tropically themed cushion covers and other vibey Balinese homeware as well as various good stories and observations about his trip and coming home.
Birds of a Feather. After work on Friday, I meet three girls (two Danish; one English) for dinner at the vibey new place next to Ding Dong and Bochinche on Amoy Street. The four of us have become rather close over the past three months, but now one of the girls is moving back home to Denmark – this is her leaving dinner. I was the one introducing them all, the glue tying them together, as they say, to which my standard reply is that glue doesn’t work unless the parts it’s tying together are willing to stick. Although I did know them all individually beforehand, it’s only over the past few months, hanging out together all four, or 1:1 with them all at a time, that I’ve really developed friendships with them, exercising and entertainment in Singapore, discussing job hunts and new jobs, travels and homesickness, media, politics and culture, love, life. Laughing. A nice expat girls group bubble, the disruption of which is inevitable, natural, something we knew was coming, and something that will happen again, and again. All there is to do is enjoy this moment as much as all of the previous – order a round of whiskey sours, and then of margaritas, and then of espresso martinis, to go with the exquisitely presented and flavoured distinctly Sichuan-influenced contemporary Western dinner and full-bodied red wine. Chat, chat, chat all night, around the same table, right by the bar. The cosy ambience of the place is created by warm, dimmed light coming from several quirky lamps hanging above pockets of space with mixed level tables and chairs and hand-crafted art pieces. Perfect for a stimulating dinner with friends.
Weekend Activities. I had thought of going for concerts and interactive art installations at the National Gallery, in celebration of its 1st anniversary, or checking out the Christmas pop-up at Chijmes City Hall, or having brunch with friends, but all I need is a slow morning, and then my boyfriend and I go for barre together, power walking down through Chinatown to Hong Kong Street, excited to show and see my happy place. His first comment after this, his first class, surprises me, ‘some of it was really easy’, until it’s explained via the following sentence, ‘like, about 2% of it’. Overall he appears to like it and to like seeing me doing something I clearly like. Go back home to cook – chai tea and scrambled eggs on glutenfree sourdough bread with fresh cucumber, avocado and kaki fruit. Venture out for another IKEA test, getting lots of useful stuff, like a rug for the living room, a breakfast table for the kitchen, bulbs with a warm light for the dining/work space lamp and a fake pine reindeer. Assemble our new purchases and decorate the reindeer, Carl, with golden xmas bling. Admire our new greenery (he brought home a bouquet of hydrangea from the market, my favourite flower). Skype with my grandparents, showing them around the flat. Drink red wine in the golden hour evening sun on our new balcony together. Go for spicy, flavourful Indian food at Tiong Bahru Club down on the corner. Swing by the market on the way back to buy a big fireworks-resembling plant and some hipster ferns. Drink another glass of wine on the balcony to the happy voice of Jack Johnson. Curl up on the sofa to watch a few episodes of the new series, Brown Nation, very well-introduced on Mashable. That was Saturday. On Sunday we indulge in his homemade chai tea and our specially mixed acai bowls (an art that’s being perfected day by day) while listening to Desert Island Discs with the well-articulated and clear-headed reporter Christiane Amanpour, whose music choices are strong and telling, to do with the loves of her life, friendships and beliefs, R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion, Francis Cabrel’s Je T’aimais, Je’Taime, Je T’aimerai, David Bowie with My Death, Gloria Gaynor with I Will Survive, Händel’s Water Music Suite and Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin on Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves. The winner of 11 Emmy Awards, she has borne witness to intense atrocities around the globe but what gets her through is her deep optimism and the courage and dignity of humanity. On that happy note, we clear up and go for a browse around a local flea market, considering to buy a Himalayan salt lamp but not doing it. Take a taxi down to Keppel Bay for a magnificent stroll along the marina and the floating boardwalk along the golf course. Dip our toes in the turquoise water at a cosy picnic spot with spectacular view of the greenery of the park behind us, the ocean dotted with lush islands and grey tankers in front of us and the steel and glass of the city state to the left. Trek up through a steep path in Labrador Nature Reserve. Go back to TB to eat crispy banh mi and tangy pho at a local Vietnamese, watch a movie at the Plaza cinema, meander home along a new path through our neighbourhood. Drink some more chai tea, this time on the balcony, in the golden hour, watching people walking by or coming and going from the street down below, pointing at the bright yellow goldfinches in the trees, the evergreen trees lining our street, before, respectively, going to a former colleague’s house for dinner and spending the night at home reading on the sofa and realising small creative decorating ideas. End up at the sofa together, relaxing, chatting about the evening, admiring tiny decor details in our continued warming of our house.