Summer/Winter Solstice near the Equator | 1806-240618

Monday’s Highlights: the soothing hour-long massage we get after a long day’s post-holiday work. Well, and the fact that the lump that Sanoop finds under his arm and goes to the hospital to have checked out turns out to be a benign tumour, a lipoma.

Tuesday’s Highlights: cooking dinner from our organic vegetable box together and watching Anthony Bourdain’s incredible and incredibly insightful food and culture shows from Singapore,  which inspires us to make a list of Singaporean experiences we want to have:

Food:

  • Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant (sour fish curry with pineapple)
  • Swee Choon dim sum
  • Classified, Little India
  • Keng Eng Kee Seafood
  • Burnt Ends
  • Cheek by Jowl

Activities:

  • Outdoor yoga 
  • Watching the sun set from the green roof of the Marina Barracks
  • Symphony orchestra at the Botanic Gardens
  • Theatre, ballet, concerts

Wednesday’s Highlight: my mid-day barre class, a much-needed break in a work day that stretches from 9am to past midnight.

Thursday’s Highlights: fun afternoon of taking the smart, sweet kids Children’s Wishing Well on a tour of the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome in Gardens by the Bay as a volunteer work event. In the evening, I meet Sanoop and some of our Danish and Aussie friends at the Australian sports bar Boomerang by the river to watch our two countries play against each other in the World Cup. Sanoop said he’d wear a red-and-white shirt for the event, and I can only laugh and kiss him when he shows up in his only garment that fits the description: a red T-shirt with a white kangaroo on the chest. He also predicted a draw… 1:1! One of the girls in the group only just moved here from Sydney six weeks ago, and this is the first time we meet her. It’s an interesting scenario: she’s really sweet and we have a good time chatting and getting to know each other – with frequent interruptions of cheering and crying at opposite times throughout the match, haha. We all walk home together – the new girl lives in Tiong Bahru like the rest of us, in the new swanky condo built between our old Art Deco walkups and the Tiong Bahru Plaza down the road. Can’t wait to become friends with her and be able to hang out at her luxurious pool, haha.

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Friday’s Highlights: back to the sports bar to watch Sanoop’s fellow countrymen play – he was born and spent the three first years of his life in Nigeria. Party at 1880. Without alcohol. Sanoop has decided to go alcohol-free for an indefinite period of time. I have thought about it, agreed with him that it feels good to wake up in the morning and not be weighed down by the grogginess and heaviness and other types of discomfort typically resulting from consuming alcohol, and decided that I don’t want to restrict myself. I just want to be mindful and only drink wine, beer or cocktails when I really feel like it – and not just automatically, because of a perceived social pressure or to just have something in my hand. When it comes to alcohol, for me, there are three aspects to consider:

  • Flavour & ambiance – intrinsically related. Life is too short for bad-quality stuff… I want to allow myself to enjoy a good glass of my parents’ favourite organic wine when visiting them…. visiting wineries… craft beer or cocktail bars… chilled rosé or aperol spritz on a beautiful summer night with friends… that one cup of gløgg at Christmas… that fermented palm wine we sometimes get with Sanoop’s parents in India.. all in moderation… one glass, maybe two or three, but not mindlessly excessive… and only once in a while.
  • Intoxication – really not aspirational/applicable/relevant. Whether I have a fun night or not, whether I’m ‘good company’ or not, depends entirely on my energy levels, my physical and mental state in general…
  • Social expectations – haven’t we grown past that stage where we’d drink solely because other people are drinking / urge us to drink? If it’s about nursing a glass of liquid while conversing with someone, if I don’t have an intrinsic desire to consume alcohol, I want to feel free to quench my social thirst with something that’s nourishing me, like a cold-pressed juice or fresh lime soda… haha.

Saturday’s Highlights. Wildly picturesque if less so flavoursome ‘Mod Sin’ lunch at swanky Wild Rocket with friends. Meander through Little India to pick up some ripe mangos. Sankt Hans celebration at the Danish Seaman’s Church: celebrating southern hemisphere winter solstice and northern hemisphere summer solstice one-and-a-half degrees north of the Equator with the Danish midsummer song, frikadeller and cold potato salad and a neat small Singapore-approved ‘bonfire’ lit on top of a barbecue grill, from which we send off a ‘witch’ made of a wooden broomstick and old rags… she’ll fly all the way to Blocksberg in Germany, where she’ll dance the night away with all of the other witches! A small part of me finds it crucial to communicate to Sanoop that this is not how Sankt Hans is celebrated in Denmark: at home, we have huge bonfires on the beach, and we’ll sit around them all through the night and enjoy the cool air and the hot fire and the company of our loved ones. (The witch is more or less authentic.) On the other hand, I want to shut up about that and just be grateful that we can enjoy a fun composite cultural experience here in the palm-filled garden of the beautiful colonial building, the function of which is to act as a welcoming, happy place for Danes and their friends, in the rainforests of the Southern Ridges together with sweet, friendly people, who all do their best to do the same. Cheers to cheerfully lighter and cosily darker days, and also to creating new memories in the Endless Summer of Singapore! 🔥

Sunday’s Highlights: swimming laps in Tiong Bahru’s public pool, while a big group of happy women are doing water zumba in the pool next to the lap pool. Considering my pool-less walk-up flat, my deep love of swimming and my healthy general curiosity about my surroundings, I really wonder why it took me two years to locate the local public baths… very odd, haha!

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