Singa Refresh | 22-280118

Home Alone. With S in Australia until Friday night, I strongly feel like that’s where I want to be as well – leaving that wonderful country on my own feels strange and deeply undesirable, but, alas, whereas he’s got meetings there all of this week, I was only able to work from there for a week, for which, in itself, I am deeply grateful. Have trouble finding out what to make of being back in Singapore (even if I try to live healthily, joyously and balanced, making most of everyday moments wherever I am, I do apparently experience post-travel-blues), and at night I have trouble sleeping alone. Blah….! I obviously need to just suck it up and relax, don’t think too much about what it’s like being here and steer clear of coffee, fruit and wine before bedtime. Just let the waves of goodness and calm come to me when they come. And they do come. Singapore quite quickly shows me why it is good living here, actually, haha. I work early and late every day, from the trendy, lively downtown office during the day and from the bar counter at lively, romantic Merci Marcel at night. I dive into translations of articles for the newest (and last, for now) issue of BLAD and other hobby assignments. Chat to old friends on the phone. Love the lunar new year decorations that I pass on the way to and from the CBD through Chinatown. As soon as Christmas decorations came down, they went up, covering streets and plazas with glitter and colourful plastic and paper pineapples, oranges and dogs (it’s the year of the dog coming up). Go for daily sunrise barre classes, loving the familiar scent of the mat-cleaning-spray with essential oils that always fills the studio, and the fact that my favourite teacher is teaching all week. With a super precise and physiologically-aware focus, she also manages to bring a soothing sensual and elegant feel to the classes. She likes teaching barre, but her heart is with contemporary dance. In a few weeks, she’s headed to London and Tel Aviv to pursue a dance career there – she’s got a bunch of auditions lined up in both places. I’m sad to see her go – but happy and excited for her, admiring her for pursuing her dream. That typical feeling. People coming and going and being close and so far away. She’s in my life now, and I’m in hers, our lives touched each other – and will do so again – and until they do so physically, we will follow each other’s insta stories, haha. And who knows, maybe I will meet some sweet people at her leaving party on Saturday, at Jigger and Pony, hehe. On Friday night, I join my team for TGIF drinks, something I never usually do, at Sugar Hall. Super fun – and a good way to connect with them in real life and about other things than work, seeing as there’s always one or more working remotely, making most of our communication digital and 100% work-related. They are such sweet and smart girls, from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea respectively, and working/hanging out with them is a definite highlight of living in Singapore. I feel so lucky and grateful to have wonderful colleagues with varied cultural backgrounds. Bits and pieces of info from our upbringing and native countries and customs seep into each conversation, but always in a natural, relevant and insightful way, expanding our horizons and enabling us to laugh a lot – it’s pretty balanced as well; we’ve all lived abroad for so long now that our conversations don’t just revolve around cultural differences; we have a lot of common ground…

Wonderful Weekend. Nice flow. Allow ourselves to just hang out all weekend, without any plans. Any admin stuff – buy gear for ski trip with my parents in February, plan and make bookings for trip to Bali in March with S’s parents, buy a basketball for use at the court around the corner from our house – can wait till next weekend. On Saturday morning, I stock up on ginger lilies for the living room and fruits from the market. Love the atmosphere down there before dawn. At home, we do an energising yoga session with Adriene together. I then walk down to Spottiswoode Park for a cup of coffee with a Danish girl living there, and admire how her condo combines three quintessential Singapore elements – sleek, airy luxury living on the 18th floor, the view of the quaint, colourful Peranakan shophouses on Everton and Blair, the view of the harbour with cranes and containers. Back, coffee from Strangers’ Reunion in hand, for lunch with S at Tiann’s, where they know us and our dietary requirements and preferences and always ask how my parents are doing (impressively still remembering that they frequented the cafe during their stay last June!). Pick up flowers from the market for a housewarming in Yong Siak Street – a French girl, a friend of a friend, is moving in with an American guy, in a charming flat, whose balcony faces the, possibly, most charming street in the country, and whose floors are completely covered in blue-and-white tiles. They seem radiantly happy as they greet us with sparkling wine on the cramped balcony. We meet a sweet French couple, who recently moved here from New Zealand – he is a film set designer, working for Lucas Film, and she makes beautiful leather bags. She and I exchange numbers when S and I leave the party, and I feel like a little girl when I notice myself getting excited about her texting me right away, asking to meet for a glass of wine sometime soon. Haha. S and I cycle over to our preferred sports bar, Boomerang, right on the river in Rob Quay, to watch Wozniacki win her first grand slam – something which some sports commentators refer to as the greatest achievement by a Danish athlete ever! – and regain her title as the number 1 female tennis player in the world. Tears of joy in my eyes as we watch her thank her dad/coach and fiancé, who are smiling down at her and hugging each other, haha. I’m hugging a Danish girl, Caroline, whom we meet at the bar. She seems familiar, and at first I attribute that to the fact that she is tall, blonde and blue-eyed, kind of similar to the Caroline on the big screens above us and unmistakably Danish, but later, when we start chatting, it turns out that we have indeed met before – she also used to live in London, where we met at a Danish networking event more than 6 years ago, haha. Working as a marketing freelancer, she just moved here for a 3-month role. She is really sweet, and after bonding over the exciting match, we exchange numbers and agree to meet soon again. Then S and I pop upstairs to dine in the lounge at 1880, before heading over to the farewell party at Jigger and Pony. Feeling a bit tired, I was thinking to come early (the party starts at 9:30pm) and leave after one drink. End up staying for 3 hours, though, without even glancing at my phone even once. I love that. Rather than the other way around – planning on partying all night at someone’s function but really wanting to leave after 30 mins! Another great thing about being punctual, is that the sweet hostess and her boyfriend are the only ones at the bar when we show up, meaning we can have a lovely long chat together before the other guests show up. When they do show up, they turn out to be lovely, interesting folks too, from New Zealand and various spots around Asia respectively – more potential friends, haha. On Sunday, S and I go for a long walk in Tiong Bahru and discover that there’s a huge, beautiful park right on the edge of our neighbourhood! Partly artfully manicured and partly forest-like wild with gorgeous papaya and rambutan trees, lavender beds, various kinds of palm trees and sculptural benches and playgrounds. It’s amazing that we’ve been living here for close to two years without noticing it… I LOVE Singapore, and the way in which we keep discovering new wonderful natural and cultural phenomena here. It keeps amazing me how serious the government is in their attempt to create and sustain the most intense garden city in the world. After lunch, we cycle over for a pop-up barre class at Lulu Lemon’s beautiful top-floor studio in Duxton Hill. Long afternoon of hanging out at home, enjoying each other’s company as always. This week, he was in Australia. Next week, I’m in Malaysia. The week after, he’s in Manila, and the week after that, he’s in Miami. All for work. Pleasurable work. After that, we’re both vacationing in Italy. So we beat on, boats riding on the current, borne forth ceaselessly into the present of the future. At 8pm, I head up to Kuala Lumpur, or Cyberjaya, halfway between the airport and the city center. When I land from the 30-minutes trip, our business partner picks me up at the airport and drops me off at my hotel, a resort that’s pretty nice and clean, pretty deserted – and pretty good at recalling the good old ’80s.

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