Resignation. The highlight of the work week is rather emotional: I hand in my notice. 4.5 years with TripAdvisor: quite the horizon-expanding experience – much more so than I’d ever imagined, not that I imagined anything much, when I started working for the company. Being greeted by an airplane wing highlighting where I needed to go for my first interview when I entered the reception of the Soho Square office in May 2014, I immediately knew that I had landed in the right place. With the TripAdvisor content team, I have learned so much about moderating user-generated content, localising internally created content and protecting the integrity of featured businesses all over the world, made such amazing close friends, also all over the world, been happy every single day to go to work with kind, productive people, been able to work quite independently from so many different spaces globally – and, not least, with TripAdvisor, I relocated to Singapore. I will always think of the company and my time here with joy. Meeting my manager at 5pm on Monday this week, with the sole purpose of resigning, I find myself buying time by yapping about all sorts of random stuff before finally getting to the point, with a heavily beating heart and shaky voice, around 20 minutes into the call (my manager is based in London), haha. But it’s also a relief. I’m thankful for my colleagues’ reactions – they all (say that they) are sad to see my go, but happy and excited for me. I’m excited as well. And now I can finally celebrate and prepare properly, haha.
Wonderful Wedding. On Friday afternoon, Sanoop and I head to Bali – speaking of celebration! – to experience some of the first friends we made in Singapore (I met them in the first paragraphs of my Singapore journal, haha!), our old flatmates from Tiong Poh Road, a Danish girl and an Aussie guy, get hitched in their happy place, Canggu – the most amazing, FUN, vibrant, lush, TEARY tropical feast! Everything from the mouthwateringly tasty and fresh family style dinner, champagne and freshly made cocktails to the Jack Johnson of Indonesia, who entertained with his hippie happy guitar play and song during the ceremony and cocktail hour, dj and sax player to the lovely, joyful people of various nationalities to the genius, hilarious, heart-warming, touching speeches to the idyllic setting, in a spectacular villa and garden surrounded by rice paddy fields, to the point when everyone, including the sax player, jumped from the dance floor and straight into the pool…. to the vegan popsicles served around 3am… to the elaborate poolside recovery brunch… woah, just so wonderful and so THEM! As icing on the cake, they’d asked Sanoop to recite a Rumi poem on marriage at the ceremony – because they’d felt so touched when he recited it at a meditation session he arranged for them back in September. It goes, What is marriage? Is it a holy reunion, and if not what is it? Marriage is a rekindling of old souls coming together again to rejoice in the reunion. In this dance of life, through this reunion, you will discover more of who you are and who your partner is. Therefore, seek not your partner to fulfil you. Rather, give space for your partner to grow and fulfil him- or herself, for you both are sacred divinity clothed in human bodies. Seek not your partner to be in service of you but to be in service to others. In this, you will fulfil the purpose of holy reunion. You both have danced the life of man and woman many times through this universe and elsewhere. So, in this dance in this life time, be the dancer and the dance. Be the music, dance, and merriment – all of it. Be in the moment of this reunion, for it can end in a flash. Do not possess it or be afraid to lose it. Instead, embrace it fully in the present moment of now...
Canggu with My Love. In general, it’s just nice to spend a weekend in Bali with Sanoop. The first weekend trip I took after moving to Singapore was to Canggu, and apart from messaging a little bit with Sanoop, whom I’d just met a few weeks previously, I was completely offline and present all weekend, just soaking in the bliss and excitement of being in a tropical holiday destination on my own, taking surf classes, munching on buddha bowls and smoothie bowls, reading on the beach, walking for hours and hours along the narrow, temple-, rice paddy- and gutter-lined, scooter- and stray dog-filled backroads of Canggu and Seminyak, the chaos and the joy, exploring. Now, before we move to the UK, it’s nice to do this together, this thing that’s so easily accessible from Singapore – a weekend in Bali. Arriving at our lovely Canggu villa late on Friday night, we go for a slow wander around the village, enjoying the rhythmic sounds of the crickets and picking up a few raw chocolate treats at the Shady Shack before heading back to hang by our pool and fall asleep in front of Netflix. Saturday: sunrise yoga in the wooden garden shala at Desa Seni, where I’ve been longing to take Sanoop ever since that trip in the summer of 2016, haha, followed by a colour explosion for breakfast at Cafe Organic, a coffee and turmeric shot at the Shady Shack, traditional Balinese massage at the Samadi centre for radical wellbeing and self-empowerment, which is just across from our house, and then pool time until the wedding, which we leave on the back of a scooter, flying along the paddy fields, way into the morning. Sunday: farmers & crafts market and breakfast at Samadi; long, slow walk around the village to check out all of the neat non-profit cafes, boutiques, temples and gardens; reaching the beach, we meditate with out feet in the waves; long luxurious, leisurely brunch and pool-hang back at the wedding villa; long sunset walk alone together again; dinner at Ulekan – traditional Indonesian cuisine made using fair-trade and organic ingredients, without msg nor palm oil, but bursting with local flavour! Beautiful interior and lovely ambiance as well! We share so many colourful nibbles, including about 8 different prickly sambals… and the jackfruit curry is my favourite! Walk home, picking up vegan chocolate cake on the way; read Crazy Rich Asians until falling asleep. Monday: energising morning swim; breakfast at Crate Cafe; mid-morning flight back to Singapore.