That Feeling. Every morning this week, I have this excited feeling in my stomach as I walk to work or to my barre classes, passing all of the goodies and lights laid out on tables and tableaus for the Hungry Ghost, watching the sun rise and the city grow light, thinking about the day ahead. It’s like a fresh crisp autumn feeling when the new semester starts and I’d have a new pile of freshly-bound books, a new outfit and new academic and social intentions for the season ahead. It’s great to realise that the external factors may vary – as long as the mindset and body are fresh and healthy. I’m not longing to be in Europe right now – I’m very happy here. My family is happy and healthy where they are, and so are my best friends, and knowing that is all I need in order to relax and be present where I am. Well, I do plan and look forward to adventures in new places (Bangkok in November and Goa in December) and reunion with old places (Australia, Hong Kong and Bali in September and Denmark, London and Germany in October-November), but I’m not longing to leave Singapore.
S. I don’t want to be too sentimental or private in this forum, but I do want to mention that every day with S is wonderful, and I’m smiling all the way to work on Monday morning thinking about our weekend trip to Malacca, and after work, he meets me for a barre class and a walk home together after sunset.
Esse Studio. My friend just launched her new fashion brand, Esse, and on Tuesday night, I go to her – beautifully simple and minimalist – place to see her old and new collections, drink red wine, watch a bunch of episodes of Chef’s Table, eat vegan sourdough pizza soaked in truffle oil and talk, talk, talk… When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time thinking about designs and sketching clothes. I never had the courage to pursue a career in fashion, though, and so I really admire my friend for doing it, and with a passionate focus on sustainability – in everything from production to durability of each single piece – at that. Very happy with my choices in life so far, I don’t envy her; I just really like her style and feel very fortunate to have met and befriended her.
Pop-Up Yoga. On Thursday night, at 6:30pm, half an hour before sunset, I meet an English friend, who has moved back to London but is here on business, for a pop-up yoga class on the Marina Boulevard, just to the left of Marina Bay Sands, down on the boardwalk, by the river boats, at the end of the Olympic Walk of palm trees. All the way through the hour-long class, we just beam at each other – as the sun sets below the skyline in front of us, its orange light reflected in the water just below us along with the neon lights from the skyscrapers. Jazzy tunes from the restaurants at the Shoppes behind us create a symphony with the happy chatter from bypassers. A soft ocean breeze is blowing through the canopies of the palm trees above us. The sweet yoga teachers applies drops of lavender oil onto our palms. After the class, we have dinner and catch up at the hip and happening Bread Station at the Shoppes, which is open out towards the Olympic Walk. Very tasteful decor and tasty dishes – we share a delicious salmon tartare, lemongrass-marinated chicken, seasonal veggies and crispy duck salad. Sitting across from each other at a counter just by the promenade, we fill each other in on the most essential things that have happened in our lives and minds in London and Singapore since we last saw each other while sharing a jug of Pimm’s. Haha.
Digital Minimalism. S sends the article to me with the comment, ‘Wild and crazy article.’ My response, ‘yes! It’s great – and it’s very much in line with what we do, isn’t it? With food, with alcohol, with social interactions, with physical exercise, with work / relaxation, with our apartment and clothes etc. Rather than constantly jumping between toxification and detoxification, it’s all about moderation. Even if there’s still room for improvement. My bad habit is less fomo-related yet still important to address: playing with photos instead of just spending more time observing, feeling, experiencing the phenomena I want to document / edit. I try to balance it though, and sometimes I also want to allow myself space to let go of the bad conscience that always pops up when I do it. The fun thing is that as I read the article, I more or less consciously / automatically, click to follow ‘the minimalists’ and ‘pursoma’ on Instagram. Tech is in our lives, and it can be freaking awesome, but as with everything, it’s a question of mastering the art of moderation / minimalism to allow room for absorption and immersion. I love how you’ve inspired me to put my phone away when I’m walking around town and to let it sleep in a different room than us. It’s interesting as this article points out that generations younger than ours see Social Media as THE internet. Lol, I like the phrase, ‘going ’90s, or just taking a bath, the idea of cutting back.’ Creating a life with digital wellness by means of incorporating mindfulness, psychology, neuroscience and good creativity practices into your life is important for all generations. And now that I’m already engaging in a social media activity, I wanted to also ask you out on a date that mixes activity and relaxation, analog and digital entertainment, toxins and health: Friday night: barre at 6pm -> aperol spritz and easily digestible light pizzas made with natural leaven, patience, exceptional produce and fine-tuned knowledge of food chemistry at -> watching 3% at home?! The good thing is that you can choose to enjoy 1 or more of the elements, mindfully, consciously, lovingly.’ S’s response, ‘I enjoyed reading your reflection and response. The point about jumping from toxification to detoxification stood out for me. As EVERYTHING always has and will be about moderation. And for all of us, our moderation sweet spot is unique. That’s also good to know. For Friday Night, yes please on the activities you proposed.’ My response, ‘You’re so right on the sweet spot being individual and unique! And, I personally think that if generally there’s a balanced minimalistic approach, experiencing the joy of waking up refreshed and feeling good in your body and mind on most days, sometimes there’s room for sticking out – having fun either with working (too) long or (too) hard on something, partying wildly or going device-free. While balance doesn’t have to be boring – we are also (just) human and sometimes in need of testing our full capacity, maybe? For some? Haha 🙂 We’re fortunate to be free to choose – we have all extremes as well as all forms of wellness sources at our disposal.’ On Friday night, we then meet in Hong Kong Street for exercise and for an Italian dinner at the beautifully designed (I use that phrase a lot and need to come up with variations or specifications!) Amò. However, instead of walking home to watch Netflix, we walk over to have a drink at Butcher Boy in Keong Saik Street 🙂
Weekend. Ah… just pure bliss: waking up early on Saturday to sketch a card (a barrerina in her studio and a sweet congratulating note), buy flowers at the market (which is so wonderfully alive already at 7am), kiss S goodbye and walk over to the barre studio for an 8am class in celebration of their first anniversary. Giving the manager my gifts and a hug, loving the energetic class, feeling excited as if it were my own birthday – I’ve been coming to the studio ever since it opened, followed its growth and loving everything about it, from the exercise itself to the ambiance in the studio to the girls running it. Meeting S for breakfast and newspaper reading at Ronin at 9am. Back to the studio for another class at 11. Meeting S for some afternoon work at Warehouse Hotel. Going home to take a nap and watch We Bare Bears together before walking through the twilight to Esquina, our favourite restaurant in town, for an incredible meal prepared by the chefs standing right in front of us, and way too much wine. We laugh so much – and the day after I get to pay for it. I walk up early and feel well enough. Walk down to the bakery in cosily pouring rain to pick up sourdough bread for me, a croissant for S, orange / carrot / ginger juice for both of us and a soy flat white for myself. Do a bit of writing. Start to feel weak around 11am. Really weak. Tension is crawling up my neck and creating an intense pain in my scull. I take a shower and go to bed with a book and the aircon on. S provides me with water, kisses and lunch, a salad from Tiann’s, when I need it. My hangovers always disappear around 3-4pm, and today is no exception. I promise myself to never drink those few but critical too many glasses of red wine ever again. Crawl out of bed and take another shower. Order an uber and go with my boyfriend for delicious freshly baked pita and freshly stirred hummus, baba ghanoush and harissa at the Pita Bakery in Bali Lane, followed by a wander through Haji Lane with a cold-pressed ABC juice, ending up at our favourite cinema, The Projector, to watch The Big Sick – a wonderfully authentic film. I cry and laugh a lot all the way through it.
This Week’s Specials: