Digesting. After having paced myself for months, it takes some time to really tune in properly and allow myself to swallow in relief, excitement, happiness, pride… Yes, there are things to sort out – Sanoop’s career, all the logistics around moving, mixed emotions about leaving Singapore and everything and everyone lovely here. And, yes, I do want to aspire to nurturing a general sense of harmony and happiness, i.e. all of that pacing has been healthy, as it means I’m capable of replacing nervousness and worry with calm and positivity. BUT…. I do want to take a step back and bask in the sunlight for a moment. The whole idea of this journal is to recognise the beauty and excitement in everyday moments, or, actually to eliminate any distinctions between ‘everyday’ and … what, special occasions… Life is life. I don’t have any goals and milestones when looking towards the future. BUT… looking back, this moment, right now, when I’m signing a contract for a new exciting job, and someone else is signing it as well, because they want me to come work with them, does have a special glow to it … I want to savour it, spray glitter on it and exhibit it with other comparable moments, like when I graduated from high school with the utopian ’13’ (which was since removed from the grade scale, because it was so hard to achieve) scribbled into my graduation hat to reflect what I’d scored in my final exams, or when I moved across the country and into my own beautiful flat in Copenhagen a few months after graduating, ready to embark on 5 years of dream studies at Copenhagen University, or when I got my first dreamy job in London a few days after handing in my master’s thesis, or when I got my second dreamy job in London three years after that, or when the company sponsored my relocation to Singapore, two years after that… and everything those professional milestones entailed in terms of feeling challenged, learning, safety, comfort, expansion of my world, excitement. So, yeah, I want to allow myself to cherish this moment. I’ve never thought of myself as a ‘career’ person, or put myself in any identifying box for that matter, and I’ve always just gone with the flow… But now, suddenly, I look back and realise that I am actually building a career. Well, in the context of a full life. But, I mean, isn’t it amazing to thing that a shy little girl in a small town in Jutland… would grow to live and work in big American companies in London and Singapore… well, not so surprising, maybe, as I was inhaling English and American novels set all over the world from an early age… But I never dared dreaming of living where the characters in my favourite books did. I just did my own thing… and that led me to where I am. This week, I’m celebrating that – with Sanoop, first and foremost. On the phone with loved ones in Denmark and London. With friends here in Singapore – lunches, drinks, dinners, walks. And, with myself.
Celebrating Diversity. Cycling through Chinatown in glorious morning light. Snapping this photo of a cow and lanterns perched over the street – and smiling at the fact that there’s a Hindu temple next to Mosque St in Chinatown!
Grids and Circles. Coffee date with a sweet Kiwi girl.
Ah Chiang’s Porridge. Local dinner with Sanoop and a mutual friend. Goodbye to those embarrassing moments of admitting to peckish Grab drivers that I’ve never eaten at that super famous, phenomenal, perpetually packed and very brightly lit congee joint down on the corner. As with most big bowls of steaming, comforting porridge, our dinner didn’t disappoint. Yummy with all sorts of crunchy, juicy veggies and a side of century egg with fresh chili and ladies’ fingers with garlic and sambal.
Tropical Seasonality – pink flowers are falling off the trees all along the river. Every morning this week, I wake up full of energy and a desire to go running. Whenever I feel like that, there’s no time to waste or doubt or stay in bed, haha: best to just take advantage of it. I run along the river and stop only to smell and snap photos of those gorgeous blooms.
PS Celebration. Late night local catch-up dinner with an Aussie friend, who just returned from a lavish wedding in Bali.
Google Brekkie. Meeting my recruiter for breakfast and a tour of the Singapore office. I’ve been there before, with Sanoop, but it’s interesting to enter the giant, elaborately humorously and futuristically decked out building buzzing with seemingly thriving, energetic people knowing that I’m on my way to becoming an insider.
Southern Ridges Morning Walk. Meeting a friend for a long early morning walk across Henderson Waves, through the Tree Top Walk and around HortPark, and returning home just as Sanoop is ready to serve his special morning chai.
Merci Marcel Club Street. After-work wine date with myself. Something I’ve only done once before in my entire life – on a business trip to Boston four years ago, haha. It feels deliciously decadent and wonderful.
Heritage Tiong Bahru. Dinner at our friend’s house in a beautifully renovated walk-up behind the market in Tiong Bahru. She did all of the tearing down of the original derelict interiors, installed beautiful features and fixtures and Chinese Scandi-replica furniture and knickknack… only keeping the original, ornately patterned tiles on the floor. As she’s moving to Beijing to take on a role as the Beijing bureau editor-in-chief of the Straits Times, this is a sort of leaving dinner. A great mix of Thai and local treats. Lots of red wine.
Whisk and Paddle. The gift that keeps on reappearing – @asiatoday’s 2017 Christmas gift, a monthly breakfast in a new place throughout ‘18, has taken us to venues loved for their cuisine, their design, their location or, in some fortunate cases, a happy mix of all 3, with a consistently high level of service and decent to amazing tea or coffee, in Melbourne, Sydney, Venice, Ubud, Juelsminde, Tanjong Pagar, Orchard, Chinatown and now, this Saturday morning, Punggol! Beautiful riverside spot … ideal in combination with a walk, jog or bike ride along the incredibly long and lush Punggol Waterway Park Connector… which we do: cycle for kilometres…
Taku. In the evening, we walk towards Tanjong Pagar, poke our heads into the lobby of D. Bespoke to chat to our bartender friend… put our feet up for a long, blissful reflexology session at OD Wellness… meander around, looking for place to eat, stumble upon this beautiful Japanese spot, Taku… hidden, not advertised anywhere… minimalist, calm ambiance… take a seat across from the bar/kitchen counter… love the expression on sushi master’s face, pride, precision, focus, joy, as he’s shaping the treats just in front of us… a waitress in a beautiful kimono keeps refilling our tea cups… amazing food.
Sunday. Read Haruki Murakami’s wry, whimsical, wise, wonderful Men without Women in bed… Balcony breakfast of coconut yoghurt and kiwi… Sanoop’s chai drizzled with dried rose petals… He sleeps for most of the day to get rid of a cold while I study anatomy and physiology for next week’s barre teacher certification course in Thailand… We only leave the house briefly, to meet some friends for a cheap and cheerful local lunch…