Parents in Town. For the first time since I moved out of their home at 18, my parents are staying with me and not in a hotel. Everywhere I’ve lived in Copenhagen, London or here has been too small (or, in some Bethnal Green cases, too dodgy) for guests who want more space to themselves than an uncomfortable sofa (i.e., my parents). When they leave next week, people ask us if it isn’t nice to have the space to ourselves again, but actually, it isn’t the least bit irritating to have them stay, and I only wish they could stay longer. They are so calm, easygoing and cheerful, very low-maintainance and at the same time very good at creating a cosy atmosphere. So nice to be able to wish each other a good morning and a good night, drink the first cup of morning tea together, chat about everything and nothing or just enjoy a blissful communal silence together, play our shared favourite music on the radio, not having to coordinate meetings between two different locations. The week is pretty low-key – we do exercises together on the balcony 1-3 times a day, work from the dining room table, camp out in the Warehouse Hotel lobby on cleaning day, drink glasses of chilled red wine while enjoying the sunset from the new balcony furniture that I order online, go for small walks in Tiong Bahru, go for margaritas on the rocks and chipotle corn on the cob at Superloco by the river in Robertson Quay, yet mostly just stay in and relax… Just as my mum did last week, my dad goes exploring on his own too, taking a long walk along the river and admiring the city, the variety in its architecture, the cleanliness and the greenery that’s thoughtfully and cleverly been planted everywhere possible. It means a lot to me that they like it here and that they understand why I live here – and that they get to experience it for themselves as well.
Foot Therapy. My mum and I go for a pedicure at a random place picked for its proximity to the flat. We should have been more picky, it turns out, as the service and execution is far from wonderful, but it’s still a nice thing to do together – and the blue nail polish stays on for weeks. I want to find a good pedi place and give my feet a treat more often, even if it seems like a wild luxury. Not just because I live in the tropics and always have exposed feet, my skin type is predisposed to the formation of hard skin and calluses and I tend to forget to scrub and moisturise my feet regularly, but also just because all feet deserve an hour in the company of a skillful pedicurist now and then. Those sinewy little violins carry us through life and tolerate most things: dancing, running or jumping; wet, sandy or rocky surfaces; more or less ergonomically designed shoes…
Local Grub and Timepiece. On Wednesday, my Singaporean clothing designer friend and I meet for lunch at the Tiong Bahru Market. To her, it brings out happy childhood memories from when she used to come here with her family; for me, it’s the first time I eat here despite living around the corner. While I rest my leg at our table amongst the stalls on the first floor of the beautiful white building with the leafy atrium distributing light and air to all floors, she picks out the various dishes to share. Everything we eat is super delicious. When we wash the slightly oily and tangy treats down with fresh ABC juice before leaving, she hands me a beautiful present – a bracelet watch from a design collaboration she did with a Swiss watch company. She knows that I rarely wear any kinds of ornaments – makeup, detail-rich clothes, jewellery or indeed watches – but she thought that this was just me. It is very simple and stylish, minimalist with a raw and exciting edge. Silver face and black leather strap. I put it on – and quickly end up feeling naked whenever I’m not wearing it. How nice that she was able to see how well it would fit me. Most of the time, I have a pretty accurate sense of time, and otherwise, I quite like not thinking too much about it, but when it does become necessary to consult a chronometer, it’s actually really nice not having to pull out your phone 😉
Inspiring Ladies I Have Come to Know in Singapore. Walking back to my parents at the flat, I feel so uplifted by that meeting. This designer has had such an amazing journey, defining and growing her awareness and focus on sustainable and lasting fashion, starting her own business with a friend, and now rebranding and relaunching it as her very own business, Esse. She is just one of a handful of very creative and very sweet girls I’ve been so lucky to meet and befriend here in Singapore, in whose company I feel energised and at peace at the same time. I met her at my barre studio, where she had a pop-up store and I won one of her dresses in a training competition about six months ago. The barre girls belong to that group too – each with their own admirable story and sweet essence – as well as a Danish friend of mine, who used to join me for a lot of the classes last autumn before she moved back to Denmark for a new cool job. This week she’s back to pack down her Singapore flat, and on Thursday night she stops by with the remains of her kitchen (a bottle of wine, half a bottle of Aperol, the quarter of a bottle of some coffee liquor and bits and bobs from the fridge). She’s meeting her sister in Bali early next morning, so after we’ve drunk a glass of wine with my parents, she and I end up chatting and watching old episodes of Game of Thrones (in preparation of the new season starting in a few weeks) until 3am when she leaves for the airport. I want to travel too – to new places in Asia and around the world; to old and familiar places in Asia and around the world; alone, with friends, with family and with S. Right now, I need to focus on my recovery and on the experience of being in the present in Singapore, which is pretty amazing too. The body craves movement while the mind craves stillness; that’s attainable here.
Weekend. Slow home-cooked breakfast with tales from Australia; S came back on Friday night. Off to show my parents Little India. The colourful stalls in the Arcade, the jasmin garlands and aromatic mangos on display everywhere, the gold shops, stopping for fresh coconut water and roti prata snacks at a pavement stall. Drifting over to Jalan Besar for coffee at the hardware store. Going to the East Coast to find my mum and me a Panama hat from Hat of Cain, the passion project of a sweet American guy who and has all the time in the world to tell us about his good quality handwoven hats, his travels to Ecuador to handpick suppliers and designs, his summerhouse north of Copenhagen (he is married to a Danish woman, we learn as he recognises our accent), etc. Very nice experience! 🙂 Fine Indian dining at the Pan Pacific on Saturday night, followed by a night cap at D.Bespoke, where our family friend works – he remembers all of our favourite drinks even if it’s been 9 months since my parents were last here and three months since S and I last stopped by. Very impressive. On Sunday, we have brunch at Open Farm Community and then go home to relax as my knee is quite swollen and sore after a relatively active Saturday. We read, nap, drink homemade chai, listen to jazz… In the evening, we head over to the National Gallery to experience Yayoi Kusama’s Life Is the Heart of the Rainbow. Next up – dinner at Ah Bong’s Italian. We sit outside in the mild evening air, munching on the always so reliably delicious pasta dishes, drinking craft beer, digesting the incredibly spectacular and vibrant show by the prolific avant-garde Japanese artist. My parents are leaving the next day, and while there are so many other things I would have loved to show them and experience with them, this visit has primarily been about post surgery care; them coming halfway across the globe to support me, physically and morally, which they’ve done very well 🙂
This Week’s Specials:
- On Loop: No Promises
- One of Gretchen Rubin’s most important Secrets of Adulthood: She keeps an empty shelf and a junk drawer. She tries to accept herself while expecting more from herself. She wants to keep going and allows herself to stop. She often checks every box while also remembering that she doesn’t always have to check every box before trying something new – it’s important to not limit our sense of possibility because we think that we just don’t have enough credentials. Balance.
- How to stop time: kiss. How to travel in time: read. How to escape time: with music. How to feel time: write. How to release time: breathe.
- Yoga Journal.