Energy and Friends | 19-250318

Energy. This week, I was more than normally energetic, and instead of storing some of that fuel for weaker days, I just went with it and spent it freely, in some moments as a sort of investment, sensing how going with the flow had a self-perpetuating effect and made me even more switched on, and in other instances maybe a bit oblivious to the clearly draining effect – I started recognising flu-like signs towards the end of the week, but decided to just focus on all of the fun stuff I was doing rather than slowing down. Every morning, I woke at 6 and felt full of an inexplicable vitality, excitement and curiosity – and so I went jogging along the river, went for early barre classes and did sunrise yoga with S. Long, productive days at work. Freelance work on top of that. Spontaneous free-time activities. Leaving the office around 6pm on Tuesday to continue work from home, I was suddenly caught in a heavy downpour when someone called my name from Birds of a Feather in Amoy Street (oh, how I love the covered walkways of the charming old Peranakan shophouses!). The voice belonged to my friend, who was having a drink with her other friend. They invited me to join; I hesitated for a moment, but then agreed, because I really felt like it. We had such a good time, dry and comfy, chatting as we watched the rain tumbling down right in front of us, and when the shower subsided, a fancy cocktail and some artfully presented squids later, I went home and worked happily until after midnight. On Wednesday, also just after work, I ran into three friends sitting on bar stools in the walkway in front of Bottega in Hong Kong Street, and before long, S joined as well – wine, chat and laughter until 10pm, when we cycled home through Chinatown. On Thursday, S and I remembered that we’d signed up for a bar opening in Robertson Quay, in connection with 1880. We went and had some pretty good conversations with people we’d only met a few times before. And we each managed to do quite a lot of constructive work after walking home along the river late that night. After several weekdays and weekends away from Singapore throughout the beginning of this year, it felt good to interact and connect with people here – and especially in such a spontaneous way, which only seemed to have a positive effect on my work, creativity and exercise patterns all week. I really got things done, without having planned much of it; nothing felt like a drag or a duty; everything felt natural and stimulating. By Friday, though, I really needed to curl up in my own little bubble. Most people in my team were working from home, and I followed suit. S had bought some beautiful white spring blooms for our combined dinner/office table, and it felt really soothing to just sink down under the fragrant bouquet and tap away on my laptop in solitude. That night, we cooked dinner at home for a couple of friends arriving from a holiday in Bali at around 9pm, and, fortunately, they were just as ready for bed after a few glasses of wine and stories about the magic of Indonesia as we were. It was very good to see them – and we’d be able to hang out all weekend. My friend from London, who came to visit 1.5 years ago as well, and her, Swedish, boyfriend, who had never been here before. She already took him around to all of the most important sights last weekend, though, when they stayed at our house when we were in Bali. This weekend, we were gonna have NO PLANS; just leave the house whenever everyone was ready on Saturday morning and then go, meander, wander, stroll around the country … the important thing being quality time together. If it’s wise to hang out with people who energise you, this planless weekend plan was definitely a good decision. The company and pace was great; maybe I should have taken half a day to fully relax, though. Me-time. How do I learn to call such shots?

Friends from London. We started out with a wholesome breakfast at leafy, luxurious PS in Dempsey; walked around the hilly area, chatting, browsing through galleries, boutiques and pretty restaurants. Were gonna head over to the Botanic Gardens, but got stuck in the rain at Open Farm Community, where we simply sat down side by side on a covered couch on the deck between the restaurant and the lush gardens and gazed out upon the torrential waterfall covering the world in front of us. The force with which the drops hit and fired back up from the ping pong table across from our couch was spectacular. At times, the rain slowed down a bit, only to gain strength shortly after again. In the beginning I felt a bit on edge – what if the others hated it; I should have found us a better shelter! But then I looked over and saw nothing but relaxed postures, happy smiles and curious eyes. They all embraced the adventure. This realisation made me relax and smile along with them. It became one of our favourite moments (well, hours!) of the entire weekend. Later, we went for a massage in Tanjong Pagar to properly dry up, and then wandered around Chinatown, watching a line dancing performance in front of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, browsing through the curious stalls of the big Chinatown complex, drinking exotic craft beers at wonderfully casual Smith Street Taps and munching on the Cheapest Michelin-Starred Meal in the World at Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle. Such an incredible sensation when a hawker stall was awarded the star last year – this is the, not very clean nor particularly aesthetically pleasing, restaurant, which the owner of the stall eventually moved into. You order, collect and pay for your food at the greasy counter. There are four dishes to choose from. The chicken is very tender. Not sure it ever roamed about freely or organically anywhere, but its meat is definitely prepared very well – along with plain boiled rice and different sauces. Simple, tasty, …. cheap. Next stop on our journey: 1880 for a drink and some jazz – Alemay Fernandez was performing in the lounge, her voice both smoky rich and pitch perfect. At first, casting quick, searching glances around the room and casting her body around at awkward angles between her band and her audience, she seemed a bit nervous and unsettled, physically, emotionally, but a few soulful songs on, she visibly started relaxing and feeling more comfortable and confident. Maybe the someone she had been searching for had showed up by then. Who knows. We smiled and clapped encouragingly. I want to experience more live music in Singapore, small, intimate gigs like this! From there, we walked along the river and through the empty CBD and buzzing Chinatown to Gibson for a night cap. On Sunday morning, after a surprisingly demanding, very stretchy class at Yoga Inc, we had coffee and breakfast at Plain Vanilla, parted ways for a few hours, our guests heading to the Southern Ridges while S and I went home to take care of some life admin, and met up again in Little India in the early afternoon for a banana leaf Malayali lunch at Premaas, everyone enjoying the novelty of eating the food directly with the fingers of their right hand, meandering through the bazaar and main street afterwards to slowly digest while soaking in the sensory overload of the area. In Jalan Besar, we stopped for a beer at the hip Druggists and a cup of coffee at the even hipper Hardware store, before continuing down to Bugis – for a foot massage at one of the many parlours lining the roads, followed by a bowl of hearty soup at Mrs Pho. Feet thus nimble and stomachs overly full, we decided to walk back to Tiong Bahru, chatting, chatting, chatting all the way, drifting in and out of different constellations – each of us getting to walk and talk 1:1 with each of the others on the hour-long wander.

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