Staying Local | 02-081017

First weekend in Singapore for over a month – time to reconnect with what’s good here and add new treasures to that pile.

Rehab. After a travel-filled September and before a travel-filled November, I want to use October to really focus on recovering from my knee injury and surgery more than 3 months ago. I want to be fit for skiing in February and for running as soon as possible, but most importantly, I just want to do whatever I can to support the best possible recovery. I still need to rebuild a lot of strength in my quad and a lot of balance in my body in general, but I’m well on track. Apart from my ever-expanding physiotherapy routine of squatting, lunging, hopping, jumping, leg pressing and foam rolling, I bicycle a lot, walk a lot and do a barre class every day – this week, with a few private form finesse sessions tailored to my needs built in. On Sunday morning, S and I go for a relaxing hatha yoga class at our local branch of Yoga Inc, the teacher being so good and the studio so nice that we buy a package right after class. We’ve lived in Tiong Bahru for almost a year, yet this is the first time we’ve popped into the studio, so when we walk home in the soft morning light at 9am, we’re so glad we followed our impulse to try it out. My body feels strong, stretched and connected to my mind – and to Singapore πŸ™‚

East Coast Park. On Saturday morning, shortly after waking up, smiling at the sunshine streaming in our bedroom window and quickly eating a homemade chia pudding mixed with black berries, we uber to the far end of East Coast Park and pick up an oBike and Mobike respectively, as I have the first-mentioned app and S the latter, one of each conveniently standing right where the car drops us off, and cycle back in towards the city along the beach, gliding past lush greenery and lots of people engrossed in various recreational activities, from wake boarding to picnicking. At the end of the park, the futuristic skyline of our hometown doesn’t fail to impress us as we cross the Marina Barrage dam, wheel down along Gardens by the Bay and finally go around the Bay before parking our yellow and orange iron horses by the Merlion. Such an easy, fun and beautiful activity!

The Improv Company. On Saturday afternoon, inspired by a friend we met for lunch who told us about the company, I decide to book tickets for an improv show that same evening and call it a Mystery Date. The concept is simple – we take turns at planning something fun or different than the usual dinner and/or drinks, letting it reveal itself once we enter the venue, and we don’t force it; it’s just whenever we feel like it or something special comes on our radar. You’re allowed to ask if the other person is free for a mystery date on this or that date, if you’re worried he or she might have plans, but it’s even better if you don’t pronounce it until the last minute. Today I tell him, hey, get ready for a mystery date in two hours. Wear long pants. I have no idea whether the venue is going to be casual or smart, but I assume it will be air-conditioned. It turns out to be in a very hidden little spot above a tattoo parlour on South Bridge Road, a pretty casual setup, and the troupe is so impressively quick, relaxed, confident and engaged. Very enriching to watch. S thinks so too – and even suggests we come back for one of their workshops! Perfect Mystery Date! It’s the fifth so far, within 9 months, following a Piano Concert, Sensory Deprivation, Sunset Cinema and a very special Wine Tasting.

Provisions. On Monday evening, we sit down at our favourite table at PS Petit, order our favourite super food salad and a single glass of wine each, chatting and laughing with each other and with the restaurant manager, our good friend. On Tuesday afternoon, I meet a friend for coffee – she comes over with a belated birthday present in the shape of a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and then we head up to 40 Hands for our flat white, which we drink sitting on a stoop around the corner, mainly talking about her latest blog post, announcing the second edition of her Bali book, which will feature stunning photography, interviews with local creatives and wonderful tips. So excited to see it. In the evening, we cook dinner at home, which feels like a nice alternative to the many, many dinners out over the past few weeks. Well… On Wednesday, I meet a colleague, an old friend and a completely new friend for dinner and Prosecco at a charming French bistro in Club Street. On Thursday, light and healthy lunch at Punch and an exquisite dinner and cocktails at Ding Dong, each a first date with a sweet Danish girl – one is from Jutland; the other from Zealand; one is a Danish tutor to everyone from Danish expat kids to adult Australian, American and Asian partners of Danes working here; the other works with sustainability and CSR for Bang & Olufsen; one moved here 2.5 years ago with her boyfriend; the other moved here a month ago and is single; both of them are so sweet, smart and switched on. After work on Friday, I cycle through Boat Quay and across the bridge to Bugis, meeting S for dinner in one of the prettiest streets in town, Purvis Street, at a Thai place that looks like something out of a Wes Anderson movie. On Saturday, we meet a friend for great artisanal coffee at leafy, airy Glasshouse at Chijmes, across from which we then pop in for a beautiful two-course lunch at Whitegrass, which we didn’t know beforehand but are so glad to have found: from decor and service to the creativity and flavour of the food, it’s very special! Saturday, after the theatre, we walk around the corner to our favourites 28 Hong Kong Street and Vasco for cocktails. Sunday, lunch with an old friend and a new one at Greek taverna, Bakalaki. That’s a lot of good places and people – most well-known, with a few new pleasant finds πŸ™‚

Mid-Autumn Festival. Even if Singapore is located in an endless Summer climate, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is still celebrated here, though not as a public holiday like in China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. All week, our office pantry is full of ornate Mooncakes – an indispensable delicacy during the festivities. I don’t taste it, but I do enjoy the sight of it and its symbolism – lunar appreciation and contemplative moon watching. On my bike rides to and from work, I notice that the Monkey God Temple in Tiong Bahru is vibrant with decorative celebrations as well.

New Member of the Family. The highlight of this week is that my brother picks up his dog, a Welsh Corgi Cardigan puppy called Alfred, who completely melts the hearts of the whole family. I am looking so much forward to seeing Alfie in real life in November, when I go to Europe, but for now, S and I gratefully receive a handful of cute photos and videos a day, wondering whether we could possibly have a dog in Singapore, haha.

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