Prima Barrerina | 15-210517

Barre. After having met my favourite barre teachers over the weekend (one at Ronin, the other at the Warehouse), who were both so sweetly asking about my health, and receiving an email reminder of my expiring series, I wake up on Monday and feel that the most obvious thing to do is go for a class. Take it easy. Listen to my body and do whatever it lets me do. It’s 6:30am when I leave the house to walk in the morning sun (my bicycle still stands under the tree in front of our street door, but my friend Anna has the key and has promised to keep it fit until I can use it again), something I’ve missed so much, to Hong Kong Street. With weeks of complete immobility, barre is the reason why my right quad didn’t disappear completely; why the muscles and ligaments around my injured knee were so strong and flexible and I got back on my feet so quickly again; and a great form of rehab because of all of the small, careful and precise exercises, which are very much in line with what my physio prescribes; and the thing I missed the most because of the great general workout, ambiance and teachers. Today, it’s the teacher I met at Ronin on Saturday who’s in charge – her first class back at the studio after five months abroad. How I’ve missed her gentle intro – talk of energy flowing up and down in your aligned body – and blissful body scan at the end of class, where she makes you imagine that you’ve got warm honey flowing around in your muscles and joints. Ahh. As always, a great start to the day, and today especially so, as I’m so happy to be back. Later in the day, I receive this email from the studiomanager: ‘Thank you for your continuous love and support for Barre 2 Barre and the beloved BarreAmped method that we teach at the studio! As a token of our our appreciation, we are providing a special discount of 20% on any class packages for our top 10 attendees at Barre 2 Barre SG! As a Top 10 attendee, you will also be part of our Prima Barrerina Membership Group in the system. This means that when you log in with your email, you will automatically receive the 20% discount when you purchase class packages.  You will be able to use this discount until we update the list next (every few months). We look forward to growing the community together with you and we’ll see you at the studio again soon!” I go back on Tuesday and Wednesday, but with a week left before going to Europe for three weeks, it doesn’t make sense to purchase a new 2 weeks unlimited series, which is the smallest package you can buy, so I’m just going to continue my home training for the rest of the week – but, with a great new boost. Prima Barrerina – ha ha, I can’t recall the last time I felt as proud as I feel now. After the trip to Europe, I’m having surgery, and after that, it will be weeks, if not months, until I can train properly again, but there will be an “again”…

Misc. The rest of the week is full of nice little treats: attending a great talk given by Alexis Ohanian, the Reddit-founder (and Serena Williams’ fiancee – see Vanity Fair’s striking love story); watching a photoshoot in the streets of Tiong Bahru – Al et Clar (my designer friend) ft. Lost Guides (my travel writer friend); home cooked dinner and wine at the travel writer’s house around the corner from mine; a late night alone at the office, something that happens so rarely, and which perhaps therefore seems  so exotic and enjoyable; translating Blad, and learning so much about botany in the process, and laughing so much at the humour pervading the magazine; walking in the evening sun along the river with a girlfriend; doing yoga on the balcony to vibey house music; proofreading my brother’s master’s dissertation on credit-rating agencies civil liability in the EU (!); munching on delicious al dente and pitch black squid ink pasta in the window seat at cheap and cheerful Chapter 55 with S on Sunday night, chatting about the week that went by and scrolling through Pinterest for a specific nature print for one of our empty white walls.

National Library. On Friday, S is speaking at a children’s content conference held at the National Library, and I join him to work from one of the grand reading rooms while he’s on stage. Once he’s ready to take a lunch break, I show him a great little spot I’ve found – the garden on Level 10, called The Retreat, a quiet, light, bright and airy little terrace with a splendid view of the green country below. We have lunch at nearby Baker and Cook, walk over for a cup of coffee at Curious Palette, stop by the curious little photography gallery, Objectifs, and, quickly, take a peep into always inspiring Kapok at the National Design Centre before returning to the Library for second half of the working day. It’s a great place for getting things done – all around me in the high-ceilinged and streamlined reading room are groups of students at different ages, diligently and focussed bent across their books and laptops.

Jalan Besar. After work, we walk in the evening light towards Little India, S telling funny stories from his day and giving me a present, four brand new Singaporean children’s books by one of the writers he met at the event (a 60-something Singaporean lady, who at age 20 founded her own university, which she sold to a real estate mogul 30 years later, when she decided to become a children’s literature writer), and end up having a craft beer and a ginger beer outside Druggists, yummy yakitori dinner at the Refinery and, before falling asleep in the Uber on the way home, a cocktail in the dark and hidden bar above the restaurant, Little Bastard.

Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice. Down on the corner of our street resides one of the most famous local curry rice places – unassuming, for sure, but always with a long queue of all kinds of people, at all levels of yuppieness and hipness, tailing out from the small, primitive kitchen composed of greasy steel counters and containers. After sleeping in on Saturday, we decide to give it a shot. We venture down and order a bunch of different dishes from the kind Chinese aunties, who are chatting away amicably in the steamy open kitchen, and all of the small fried piles of food are so full of flavour. It’s heavy and greasy, and so cheap that I don’t want to know where it’s from, but all of the ingredients are fresh and prepared to perfection. We take a seat in the walkway, at a shaded corner table, and tuck into the fish, veggies and tofu covered in different aromatic sauces on bright orange plastic plates. Yum. I’d never go there on my own, but it’s definitely something I’m happy we did – an authentic local food experience for once. Fuller than comfortably full, we cross the road to get to Tiong Bahru Market, reopened after 3 months of renovation with fancy new red letters at the entrance, and purchase lots of fresh flowers and fruits to celebrate.

Dempsey & Co. We spend the rest of the weekend with close friends visiting from Hong Kong, hanging out in the greenery up north – brunching at PS Dempsey Hill, checking out a social market at Open Farm Community, meandering through the Botanic Gardens, slowly but steadily, my knee putting up with and gaining strength from the exercise.

On Loop This Week: Anderson Paak’s The Bird, John Mayer’s Slow Dancing in a Burning Room (the entire Continuum album is beautiful, I suddenly remember, after not having listened to it for years – he’s not the greatest singer in the world, but he sings with such sympathetic insight, he’s a phenomenal guitarist and the lyrics are just…), Nelly Furtado’s Promiscuous, MLTR’s Sleeping Child (a Danish ’90s classic, probably only played – and with an impressive frequency! – on Kiss ’92 in Singapore, giving me the opportunity to sing along passionately in Ubers on a weekly basis) and the Amélie soundtrack.

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