STPI. Exciting gallery, renowned paper press, design-led cafe, dreamy location right on the river in Robertson Quay… I walk past it so often, but only this on Monday do I enter, after having watched the Patriots win the Super Bowl (and Lady Gaga perform, and Gisele Bündchen kiss her husband passionately) with my American boyfriend at a sports bar next door, and I’m very impressed. I want to come back… for all of their exhibitions … for the food … for the general ambience… But for now, I need to go to the office. We got up at 6am to walk down to the river in the dense darkness just before dawn, taking a seat in front of the big screens at the bar, which wasn’t as tacky as I’d feared, and ordered coffees and avocado toast to get us through the game; well, I’d brought my laptop and was working through most of it, peering up only for the most excited of roars. But, still, it was a nice thing to do together, if nothing else, then for that early morning walk.
Morning light. Early in the morning even the lightest sheet can seem very heavy, and the thought of a few more hours in bed extremely tempting. Half-consciously gliding in and out of dreams, with your legs entangled in a complex labyrinth of white fabric and a perfectly shaped pillow fixed comfortably between your jawbone and shoulder. A dog-eared book, a vibrantly illustrated magazine, all the blogs and news of the world within reach on your phone, music playing softly. Nothing can get me up… with a few million exceptions. I’m not always super fresh at the crack of dawn, but the interval between the moments when I wake up and when I start to feel an urge to jump out of bed, open a window or a door and breathe in the air of the new day is rarely long. Sensing the awakening of the world. The rising sun casts its rays upon cities and countrysides, offering the new day a fresh start. It brings warmth, enlightenment and a sense of a new chance. Makes me want to write, draw, take pictures. I’ve always risen relatively early, eager to catch the first impressions of the day, have enough time to mull them over, not miss the magic. One thing is the always beautiful, life-affirming sunrise, but that doesn’t always require an early start and isn’t even always visible. What’s more important are the ideas and curiosity related to this particular period: which inputs, experiences, defeats and victories will the coming 24 hours hold? The morning is a clean slate, a new beginning, a space for wondering what lies ahead, my favourite time of day generally, and so it always has been. Childhood memories of waking up to the familiar sounds of my mum’s favourite radio shows, and she’d be greeting my brother and me with healthy seasonal breakfasts and steaming green tea with rhubarb before we’d venture out into the light or dark, the summer heat or winter chill, and either cycle or drive towards a new, exciting day of learning and socialising at school. Summer mornings of waking up in a marina somewhere idyllic, taking my dog for a walk and return to heavenly smells of freshly brewed coffee streaming up from the pantry of our yacht. December mornings of excitedly peering out through my mezzanine windows to see if I could spot any newly fallen snow on the ground. There are 365 mornings a year and millions of ways in which to spend them. In China, the streets are full of life already before sunrise. Regardless of weather, biting frost, heavy rain or strong sun, people of all ages pilgrimage to green spaces to practice tai chi. In the Alps, winter mornings are characterised by snow squeaking below the first pairs of skis and snowboards, while summer mornings see goats waking up in the tall grass, ready to be milked by dirndl-dressed girls. Most of my mornings involve a walk or a run. All year round, anywhere. I just need to get out. The possibility of a good day – maybe better than the previous – makes me view all types of morning weather in a positive light, and I want to immerse myself in it. Those rare mornings when the sun is baking the ground already at 7am. Whether it’s snowing, raining or storming. On week days, it’s not paramount to have oceans of time. Routines can be executed quickly – as long as it’s a harmonious, somewhat controlled speed. Rituals, stimulants, nourishment. Waking up body and mind slowly. No stress. A second to enjoy.
Hot Core. Having lived around the corner for 9 months, it’s only this week that I venture down to Yoga Movement – with my boyfriend and a friend of ours, for a 7 o’clock hot core class. We instantly feel how addictive this is, and promise each other it will be a once-a-week-treat.
I Love My Life, my boyfriend says as he is tying his shoe laces to venture out into the pouring rain (or, to the Uber) to go to an event at the Hive on Wednesday night. He’s just made a hot and spicy cup of masala chai for both of us, and we’ve just had a few cosy hours of watching Hans Rosling’s top TED talks (the genius and entertaining statistician passed away today, sadly), sipping a nice Australian cab sauv and snoozing while listening to the torrential tropical thunder which started just as he came home from work with a big bunch of bird of paradise flowers from the market. I’m home alone, at the work table, with the rain still dripping outside the windows of the balcony. It’s pitch black outside; I’ve lit some candles; I’ve got my tea and some bright red chunks of fresh cool watermelon; my laptop is in front of me – I’m editing drafts of my friend’s wonderfully curated guide book about Singapore that she sent over earlier. After we ran into her at Yoga Movement. And met two minutes later again, across the street at 40 Hands. Working from home has been great and productive today – at first with my boyfriend doing his emails across the table from me, and later, when he left for his office, alone, without leaving the house once. I needed that for a change. I’ve been running around so much lately. Not today. Focus on work and relaxing my body. Cheerful brief Skype chats with family and friends at home. Soothing late-afternoon break. And now, full of energy for my creative evening job. I love my life.
Thursday is a pretty fine day too; well, most days are, thankfully. I’m full of energy when I wake up; go for a run, come home to a cup of chai and Bircher muesli; walk to work in the sunshine, listening to Pinky Lilani’s Desert Island Discs, having a good, productive day at work, followed by a good form finesse barre class, and a lovely Ladies Night at my place – 9 smart, sweet, fun, beautiful and cheerful women… who leave just as my boyfriend comes home late after drinks with his friends.
Housewarming Gift. We receive a parcel of beautiful soft organic towels, designed in Denmark and produced in India (where my boyfriend is from), together with wooden butterflies for the gallery wall in our corridor and Cereal’s guide to Copenhagen. Beautifully wrapped by my mum, the sweet and thoughtful belated housewarming gift has been underway in the post for more than three months, mysteriously enough.
Barre Tossing. After an advanced level barre class with all the teachers on Friday night, I’m invited to stay for a cheerful tossing ceremony.
Good Start To The Day. Early on Saturday morning, my boyfriend and I get up, put on our caps and walk and talk through the sunshine, coffee in hand, headed for Hong Kong Street for a barre class – together! His friend joins as well, and it pleases me immensely to see, hear and feel how hard the boys think the class is – recognising how good it is for the core, ha ha. After it, we go for brunch at Punch, where we run into a couple of good friends – so nice. On to Little India for a special dress for me for our trip to the Subcontinent in two weeks.
Humpback. Drifting around in Tanjong Pagar on Saturday night, we decide to drop into the beautifully renovated Peranakan building that houses Humpback, to celebrate having known each other for 8 months with hamachi ceviche, rainbow trout and a few rounds of fresh g&t’s, talking and laughing for hours there before heading around the corner to meet some friends for a cocktail at the Cufflink Club.
Sick. Sunday is totally cancelled out. I’m in bed all day with a fever and aching body, having vomited my way through the night. Not because of the alcohol; I’m suspecting it might be food poisoning but it could also just be… I don’t know, exhaustion? I don’t feel like myself at all – I can’t read, can’t write, can’t eat, can’t even get out of bed. My boyfriend reads out to me from Paul Auster’s new novel, but I fall asleep after a minute or two. In the middle of the night, I got up to sleep in the guest room to be closer to the bathroom and to disturb him less, but I woke up at one point and found that he’d moved with me. He’s a good nurse, getting me pills and water, turning the fan on and off, covering me in blankets and removing them when I’m too hot, kissing my forehead and asking how I’m doing, texting my friends on my behalf to cancel dates.
This Week’s Specials:
- On Loop: The Chainsmokers singing Paris, Jamie Cullum singing I get a kick out of you, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone singing City of Stars, Lana Del Rey Singing Young and Beautiful, and Dooley Wilson singing As Time Goes By.
- Reads: Beyond the Mind, and this, by my favourite author in the world: