My Own Training Routine. Listening to my body while testing it, I find more and more exercises, day by day, that work well with my injured and swollen knee. My muscles and mind have a strong memory of every barre routine they’ve been exposed to during the past 9 month – a range of exercises to pick from and fit to my personal use. The first thing that S and I do when getting out of bed is to fold out our yoga mats on the balcony. My leg agrees to a whole sun salutation by now – huge progress since the previous week. After 45-60 minutes, we get up and get on with our morning ritual: brekkie, shower and a short walk to the bakery for coffee. Morning rain or crisp sunshine. Soothing, refreshing, invigorating, revitalising. Snapshots of white-yellow frangipani flowers covered in glistening raindrops on the walkway just under our flat.
Surprise Party. On Tuesday, we join a surprise party crowd in the old flat on Tiong Poh. Staggering home a few minutes after the happy chorus of SURPRISE screams and warm hugs with the truly surprised and happy birthday child, we’re happy that we joined even if my leg didn’t allow us to stay and drink champagne and mingle with the big crowd of people our age that seemed so friendly in the pre-surprise-moment gin-and-tonic-sipping, tiptoeing, whispering excitement. We don’t know a lot of people in Singapore, and it would be lovely to get to know more, but at least we got to show one of the ones we do know that we care by showing up with a shout and a gift.
Vesak Day. On Wednesday this week, Buddhists celebrate the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha; an annual moment of joy, peace and reflection. As with central Christian, Hindu and Muslim celebrations, this is treated as a holiday in Singapore. After our training, we go for our favourite breakfast at the Daily Roundup, followed by a walk along Keppel Bay and a nap in the grass on the edge of the water by the end of the walk, followed by a few episodes of LOVE while cuddling on the sofa back home. That was that day – full of joy, peace and reflection indeed.
11 Moons Celebration. The moon is full on Thursday, which marks our 11 month anniversary. 11 full moons ago, S and I went on our first date! After work, we meet for dinner at vegan Afterglow (great food, great drinks, great decor, but still not-so-great- ambiance… how is that possible!?) and drinks at D. Bespoke, the speakeasy where we know one of the bartenders, who always waits un us when we visit. S has a gift for me – Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. I’ll get one for him by the next full moon…
Friday Morning. Homemade açaí bowls on the fire escape, our sunlit piece of the world, peering out at the green tree canopies, the coffee shops, that couple of pigeons, lovebirds, poking their sharp, orange beaks at each other. Wanting to step out into that world. Staggering down the stairs with one crutch for support to get coffee together, the first time without my brace on, which makes me feel naked and vulnerable, but also liberated. So liberated, with an accumulated strength, that I forget my crutch at the cafe, when taking a car to the physio from there. Giggling when S calls the bakery up and says, ‘My girlfriend forgot her crutch by one of your outdoor tables – will you please hold it for us until tomorrow?”. Such slight audible distinction. O-u, uh-la-la, ha ha.
Googly TGIF. After work on Friday, I meet him at his office for a drink and a chat with some of his colleagues. They have bartenders. Who pour good red wine. To the rim of large wine glasses. At the office. Bar. Every Friday at 5pm.
Green Is the New Black. Spending Friday night at a hippie festival in a big hotel on the anything but hippie island of Sentosa. Our friend is promoting her indie Singapore guidebook from a small stall between sellers of everything conscious and organic, from clothes to ceramics to chocolate. We chat with her, and buy a deconstructed falafel wrap, vegan banana bread and spirulina smoothie to share… sneak out as the acoustic band starts playing and snoop around the luxurious Sentosa resort, finding a perfect spot on a lawn somewhere by a pool to lie down on for a while, staring up into the cable cars and stars above us, totally calm, even if it feels a bit clandestine. Well, we didn’t jump any fences to get there; I couldn’t have done that, with my leg…
Ronin. What I love. I love love. I love walking – being able to walk again. On Saturday morning, I do it even without that one crutch that I forgot on my last walk, taking that as a sign I don’t need it anymore. Rain. Walking in the refreshing rain. With the man I love. We walk along the river to Ronin, the cafe where we met for our second date. It was his suggestion; he used to go there every Saturday, drawn by the perfect cappuccino, the comfortable darkness, their selection of newspapers, the general calm and lovely ambiance. I read Sapiens; he reads the FT. We have poached eggs on toast. Chat to one of my favourite barre teachers, who’s back from 5 months of dance courses in Tel Aviv and Barcelona; she’s standing in line at the bar, waiting to order an iced matcha latte, the favourite drink of all of the barre teachers (the cafe is just opposite the studio), as our eyes catch each other. Hugs, smiles and happy words.
Haji Lane. As later in the day we walk through Haji Lane, I buy a stripy dress in a small design boutique. I almost never shop, but everything about this piece, from the shape to the design, called out to me from the display window as we strolled by.
Jalan Besar. From Haji Lane we meander further on to Jalan Besar by Little India. Walking slowly and carefully, I feel almost no pain in my leg. That small fact makes me happy – as well as the whole concept of exploring a neighbourhood I haven’t been to before. It hasn’t happened in a long time. And I have my favourite sidekick with me, which happens all the time, thankfully. He’s been roaming all of the streets we “find” today before, it turns out, and he’s as eager to show me places as I am to discover them. In the run of the afternoon and evening it becomes clear why this area is described as the second hippest hood in the country (after Tiong Bahru). It feels a little less polished than TB, probably because of the more random, yet in many places ornate and colourful, architecture, which on one hand makes it seem less gentrified, counting towards its hipness, but at the same time, less charming and village-y. We have a beer at Druggists, a cold brew coffee at Chye Seng Huat Hardware, a lavender soy latte at the Bravery and check out the Refinery, where it would be nice to come for dinner or cocktails another time.
Siloso Beach. Sunday morning is spent on the beach, with an accquaintance who recently moved here from the UK, a soft sea breeze, chilled prosecco, pretty plain but fresh poke bowls, poking my brace-free leg, and the other leg, into the smooth yellow sand and splashing around in the pool of the beach club. Ahh.
Warehouse. In the afternoon, I meet S for some passion project work at the Warehouse. My favourite kind of Sunday afternoon ritual…
Meandering around for Food. Leaving the hotel late in the afternoon, we walk along the river, chatting, holding hands, smiling, laughing at this or that, stopping at menus outside the restaurants of Robertson Quay to see if anything is particularly appealing… it is… maybe… but we can also keep on walking for a bit… suddenly, he has an idea and wants to show me a secret spot – it’s the basement floor of the unassuming Liang Court mall, which boasts a splendid Japanese gourmet and speciality food paradise… meandering around in the neat supermarket, and past wonderfully smelling ramen, sushi and yakitori stalls, we end up at a small running sushi place, where we share a beautiful chirashi don and several small dishes.