Friends. As one of my closest friends since high school and I stroll through a soft, clammy drizzle falling over Tanjong Pagar, Duxton and Chinatown with her happy, mellow baby, we discuss how incredible this scenario (us with a baby; us in grownup relationships; us together in Singapore; me living in Singapore) would have seemed just two-three years ago. Looking around at the pretty shophouses and lush exotic vegetation, and down on the chubby koala kid sleeping in her carrier on my chest, we’re pretty grateful for it, though, maybe because it’s so … unexpected. Not that either of us had any special expectations. The baby setting the pace for the week, we have a lot of chilled fun. Singing Danish lullabies and children’s songs that our mums used to sing to us and that we used to sing in kindergarten. Taking the baby with us for cocktails at my favourite speakeasy, Operation Dagger, her dad swinging her around in a little slow dance on the empty floor below the impressive bunches of dimly glowing light bulbs. Going to Little India with our men, eating spicy curries, dal, rice and chutneys from Banana Leaf and buying sweet-smelling jasmine garlands from a stall, before ending up in Mustafa, the neon-lighted world of everything you do and absolutely don’t need. Another night, dinner in Kampong Glam, after which the parents take the baby home, and my boyfriend, his friend and I drift over to the lovely Bar Stories for a delightful round of tailored cocktails before an hour-long foot massage at Rule of Thumb – I sleep through most of it. One morning, at 7am, the dad watches the baby while the mum joins me for a barre class, which she loves (like all of the friends I’ve brought, fortunately). Having recently given birth, she still looks as fit and strong as ever, and she dances through the class with grace, impressed to experience how it forces you to focus on the present – if you start thinking about other things, you’re punished immediately, lose balance, fall around. On Friday night we all go for a Night Safari, looking at flamingos, lions, elephants, giraffes and flying squirrels (who can’t be bothered to fly), and tell each other that the baby actually registers the animals. On Saturday morning, a brunch in the sunshine streaming in through the windows at fabulous Populus, followed by coffee at hidden coffee specialist, Nylon, whose owners are so passionate about their products that they shut down the shop now and then to go source premium beans around the world. Later that day, our guests fly across the world as well – next time we see them will be for their wedding in June.
Asian Civilisation Museum. We walk down to the entrance of the river to have a look at the old Chinese porcelain and the papmaché camels at the ACM. For its astonishing architecture as well as for the exhibitions, I’m glad I finally took the time to stop by.
Yoga Teacher. People come into your life and people go – this weekend, it’s our friend, yoga teacher and Search Inside Yourself instructor, who’s leaving the country to go on a world tour to follow the flow of her life – teaching yin yoga and sleep classes at huge corporations everywhere from Silicon Valley to Australia, leading sacred hiking trips in Japan, inspiring small kids to do yoga and make Mandalas, conducting sound healing sessions in Bali, etc. I’m so happy I got a chance to meet her and develop a friendship with her. On Saturday she stops by with a homemade leather bag with ‘love’ embossed on the front, a tiny flaw in the ‘o’ making it feel extra special, a small cedar tree vase, a fragile, white Chinese tea set and a big, unused slow juicer for me, and on Sunday we join her and her Balinese friend for a sound healing session at Spacemob by Orchard.
Skype Coffee. With freshly brewed coffee steaming in cups on tables in Dalston and Tiong Bahru, we have a virtual date with a couple of my friends, chatting about their upcoming move and our upcoming visit to … Sydney. She’s Danish, he’s Australian, they met in Denmark (where she was his Danish instructor during his law school exchange year) and have lived together in London for several years, visiting their respective home countries at least once a year. Now it’s time to make a move. It’s something we’ve talked about a lot – with geographical distances as a worrying factor being the main topic; now we intend to focus on all of the exciting, positive aspects. I’m just going for a few weeks in April, but I’m very excited. I’d never imagined I’d ever get or dare to travel that far, and now I’m going in the best possible way – on a work trip with someone I love, who’s been there multiple times and can’t wait to show me all of his favourite places. It’s a pretty cheerful Skype call over morning coffee in London and afternoon coffee in Singapore.
La La Land. After dinner at a Thai joint in Golden Mile Complex, where they really know how to make the dishes kick your tastebuds, and where they shred the papaya that goes into their tangy salads artfully in big pots outside of the restaurant, we go to The Projector to watch La La Land, the absolutely beautiful, smooth and well-played musical about love, career and timing – how those phenomena interact and converge – with both Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s characters acting as the catalyst for the other’s ability/chance to reach their (career) goals, while reaching them means that they (feel that) they must go their separate ways… before they go, they say to each other that they’ll always love each other, and there’s no doubt they will; it all ends with a sweet exchange of a loving smile. Ah, watching it, I fall in love with the city of stars all over again… Ryan Gosling dancing on the very same boardwalk that one of my best friends and I were dancing on just a few weeks ago.
This Week’s Specials:
- On Loop: The XX’s Angels and Agnes Obel’s Riverside.