Date with a New Yorker. Monday night I walk up through the gorgeously evening sun lit alleys of Tiong Bahru to meet a friend of a friend for a light dinner of shared salads at PS Petit. Only yesterday did it dawn on our mutual friend to set us up, even though the girl has been in Singapore for 7 weeks with work already and is leaving on Thursday. Haha, really bittersweet: she is so sweet and open and has such an energising disposition; we have so much in common; we could have had a blast together for 7 weeks… but, of course, a little is better than nothing, and a successful blind date is valuable in itself, and if I’m ever in Stockholm, where she lives, or in New York, where she is from and still has a strong connection to, or if she’s ever here again, or…, we might meet again. After dinner, we continue to celebrate our easy chemistry at Tippling Club, whose edible cocktail menu gimmick never fails to impress: each client is greeted with a striped paper candy bag full of gummy bears into which have been distilled the flavour of each of the cocktails on offer:
Vesak Day. At 6am, I go to the beach for a swim – I have a constant latent want to immerse myself in salt water and swim until I’m generally invigorated, physically exhausted and mentally high, and sometimes it overflows and becomes an active craving. Such as this morning. Home alone. It’s nice to rediscover that I can do this on my own, haha. Usually, Sanoop and I do everything together, at least when it comes to outings, trips. While he’s travelling, I can go on my own adventures. At least for a few hours to satisfy a salt water craving. The beach is empty except for a few dog walkers; dog swimming companions. Very nice atmosphere. After a few hours of that, I go back into the city, drink a cup of coffee at Ronin while reading the newspaper, go for a barre class, and then go back home to curl up in the livingroom with my laptop and work until 8pm (I’m accumulating all of the Singaporean mid-week holidays into a week-long holiday in October), when I meet my Chinese-Canadian friend for dinner at the new low-key Thai joint in Tiong Bahru, Little Elephant Thai Bistro. One of my first friends in town, she has travelled extensively all over the globe in the time I’ve known her and has held at least four different positions in as many different companies; in a few weeks, she starts a new role at a big tech company. It’s always fascinating to listen to her stories and perspectives… while enjoying the chilled juice of one fresh coconut after the other, hehe.
My Barre2Barre Interview is Wednesday’s highlight. I celebrate wrapping it up with one of the teachers after class – and ample coffee at Ronin. She is Singaporean, has lived on the East Coast her entire life, and is now moving to Orchard with her boyfriend. Her story is fascinating as well.
SPRMRKT. Man, all of times you connect and have so much fun with someone and then after 3-6-12-24 months have to drink that final morning coffee for now, hug each other farewell and say, ‘see you sometime somewhere in the world!’ The charm of this transient world – and these adventurous people! There are some tough aspects to it, but mainly it’s just exciting, rewarding, life-affirming. On Thursday morning, I meet my newest Danish friend in Singapore for a farewell breakfast by the river. We met at a sports bar while watching Wozniacki win her first Grand Slam, Australian Open, a few months ago, haha, and quickly connected. Countless mid-week breakfasts and coffees later, we’re now at the point where her freelance gig in this part of the world has come to an end and a new endeavour is about to start, probably in London. All I can say is – thanks for stopping by Singapore and stepping into my life; we’ll meet again, somewhere, sometime, and in the meantime, we’ll follow each other closely on Instagram, haha.
Kiwis at 1880. 12 hours later, I join a new friend from Auckland, whom I met at another friend’s farewell party in January, and her childhood friend for virgin cocktails and fish curry on 1880’s terrace overlooking the river – just a stone’s throw from the breakfast place. I love the balance of exploring new places and then returning again and again to Robertson Quay to nurture some familiar ground, haha. The two Kiwi girls both work from the club’s co-working space, and so they spend most of their time here and share lots of insightful stories of the daily entrepreneurial vibrance filling the air of the lounge and terrace.
Dragonflies. So amazing and moving a performance by Pangdemonium Theatre. You know the feeling when you experience something you want EVERYONE you know to experience as well – because you know that it will resonate with absolutely everyone, regardless of their personal tastes and dispositions? So well-produced, -directed, -performed! Dragonflies travel such long distances on such thin wings – ‘home’ and ‘hope’ are at the heart of this passionate, moving, exhilarating play … and humour, travel, empathy, family, our time in this wonderful and terrifying world. And Victoria Theatre is such an opulent, grand setting! Beautiful heritage building right on the river. My friend and I meet at Raffles Place after work to pick up food from Salad Stop, and then we walk down to the river, cross it and take a seat in the little park in front of the theatre to eat our food and chat in the golden hour. After the show, when we come out, we’re met by the stunning iconic downtown Singapore by night vista – the national theatre, Marina Bay Sands, skyscrapers and bridges, all of the lights…. ahhh.
Meanwhile in LA: postcard from Snoop ft. Snoop. Just like last year, Snoop Dogg is performing at Sanoop’s company off-site. He sends me pictures of the artist smoking weed on stage while singing into his trademark gold mike – and throwing small packs of rolling paper out to the cheering crowd. On a more wholesome note, Sanoop sends a bunch of sunlit, happy snaps from a hike in the mountains rising above the city with his best friend and his girlfriend…
Honeymoon Crasher. On Friday night, a lovely former colleague from London and her husband arrive in Singapore for their honeymoon. They live in Copenhagen, got married last sunday and are now celebrating love in Singapore and Bali. While in town, they’re staying in our flat – perfect for everyone, as it gives them the opportunity to have a ‘local experience’ and us some peace of mind knowing that someone is here while we’re abroad. Before flying off to London late in the evening, I show them around Tiong Bahru and take them for dinner at 1880, loving the enthusiasm, joy and interest with which they face everything we see and do – and their willingness to let me crash the first eve of their honeymoon, hehe…
Richmond. I land in London at 6:30am and go straight to my friend’s beautiful place on Richmond Green. She’s welcoming me at the door, lifting my suitcase up to a beautiful guest room facing the lush garden and showing me out into the skylit kitchen where she’s in the midst of baking a vegan banana bread and brewing gourmet coffee. Need I say how thankful I am? We spend the morning wandering along the river and around the park. At lunch, I go for a real classic ballet class at Barreworks – fun, feminine, oh so romantic! Makes me feel like a very young, very excited girl, haha! Dancing back across the lively Green in the HOT summer air, I meet Sanoop, who just flew in from LA. As we enter the house, our friend and hostess has prepared a delicious lunch – freshly baked rye bread, avocado, hummus. Yum! Dessert – picking up vegan chocolate ice cream made fresh at a small parlour across the green. Long afternoon wander along the river to the gorgeous Petersham Nurseries (why have I never been there before??!!), where we browse around in the fairytale greenhouses and finally sit down outside one of them with a glass of chilled rosé wine. Hike up through the park, enjoying the smell of grass, the splendid views (all the way to the skyline of central London!), the hazy sunlight… Dinner at a rustic Italian joint in town. Catching up on sleep. Late brekkie at charming Persian R and H in baking heat.
East London. As much as I love experiencing things/places that are new to me with Sanoop, it’s also quite wonderful to introduce him to my ‘old’ loved things/places – and see them in a new warm light with him. Connecting favourite dots. Scorcher of a Sunday. Train to Waterloo. Uber to the grand, magnificent house right where Clerkenwell meets Islington, between Exmouth Market and Angel Station, where my friend and her boyfriend live in a neat parterre flat. We’re staying with them until next Friday. Lovely chat with them, and then I take Sanoop for the walk I’ve been dreaming of taking him on since the day we met, or even years before then, haha: Upper Street and Camden Passage in Angel, along Regents Canal, through Columbia Road Flower Market. Places I love so much for equal measures of delight in their own right and tonnes of sweet memories. Show him the house in which I lived with three close friends on Swanfield Street. Allpress on Redchurch Street – we sit on stools outside it and drink the same coffee as we’ve drunk in Melbourne together. Now he gets to see where I first met and fell in love with Allpress – and where I used to sit with my best London friends on most mornings and watch life go by while mulling over small and grand thoughts. Ace’s lobby, vibrant as ever. Meander back up towards Haggerston Park, Hackney City Farm, the canal. We meet his Swedish friend from Hong Kong on Broadway – and settle down in London Fields with vegan sandwiches and more coffee. Golden hour light, hazy barbecue smoke, laughter and chatter from the young and old people frolicking on the lawns around us. Walk back to Angel along the canal. Chilled evening with our hosts in Angel.