2.5 years ago, I moved to this tropical island state, all alone, without any plans or expectations (well, I did know that a great job, lovely colleagues from the entire South East Asian region, a charming house in a hip and quaint neighbourhood and the sweetest imaginable housemates were here to welcome me, and that I’d probably get to immerse myself in a cultural mix and experiences that were totally novel and fascinating to me, but I kept all of those factors as a sort of comforting padding around an open mind). Today, I look back on such incredible, enriching times. I know for a fact that I cried myself to sleep in the first few weeks, even though I don’t recall the feelings of homesickness that my journal tells me I harboured, but apart from that, every single moment of this experience has been vibrating with pure bliss and invaluable insights. Culture, nature, climate, so many dear friends from all corners of the world, physical and mental wellbeing, fantastic travels, finding the love of my life and qualifying for a dreamy job, which I’ll embark on next Monday, about 6 months after first applying for it and asking said love if he’d be up for moving halfway across the planet in case I’d get it… thank you for everything, Singapore! A wise man said that if you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life. I love both, and look forward to reuniting them in a month’s time. Loving Singapore as well, I do believe it’s always, always (bitter)sweet to be able to leave on a high note.
Final five days … for now. Monday: morning yoga with Adriene and Sanoop, breathing exercises, run in the park, returning home to his chai and coconut yoghurt. Plain Vanilla Bakery: admin work, newspaper. Visit my florist friend, Aude (Ask a French), who is high-season busy in her home atelier; we drink iced tea, chat, and then I watch her to her thing. Evening barre class. Tuesday: Sanoop is off to the Philippines after a morning of yoga, meditation, chai and then breakfast at Ronin, where we had our first coffee date 2.5 years ago. We gaze into each other’s eyes, try laughingly to recreate the conversation we would have had back then. I walk home through Chinatown, admiring some new murals on the way. Lunch with Anna (Lost Guides) in Everton Park. Barre. Wine with Alicia (Esse) at one of the bars in Hong Kong Street. Dinner and late night swim with friends at their Orchard luxury condo, admiring the sweeping views of all of downtown from their rooftop. Wednesday: adventure with Amelia, who is traveling from Sydney to New York by motorcycle and boat (The Extreme Life). We meander around Bugis and the Marina Bay, and end up in Tiong Bahru, having dinner with a Danish and Australian friend of mine, the latter of which turns out to have lived in the very same building in North Bondi, at the same time, as the friend I brought to the dinner. We laugh at the sheer multitude of ‘small world moments‘ we’ve all encountered over the years of travelling. The world is small – and our circles of friends, though we think we’re ever so internationally inclined, are even smaller, haha. Thursday: hanging with another Danish friend and a Kiwi friend – barre class, Emerald Hill walk, 500 m pool swim, Tiong Bahru Market, RedSea Gallery in Dempsey, lunch at Open Farm Community, sunset white wine balcony session at one of the girls’ Orchard pad, dining at Papi’s in Bugis. Friday: breakfast with my old flatmate, the first person I met in Singapore, literally when I landed, at Tiann’s. I then spend the day doing freelance work at my favourite cafes, and taking two barre classes. In the evening, I have dinner with my Australian friend on her balcony at the Highline, enjoying the familiar view of the heritage buildings and the modern skyscrapers below and around us for one final time, and feeling so grateful for everything I’ve experienced and all of the sweet, smart, inspiring friends I’ve made here. Sanoop is back from his trip at 9:30pm, waiting for me at home on our own green balcony.
Chilled chilly weekend in Richmond. We arrive in London late on Saturday night and take an Uber to Richmond, where we’re staying with our friend and her sweet mum, who’ve opened their house on the Green to us until we find a flat of our own. They’re so welcoming and thoughtful, doing everything they can to make us feel at home. They’re prepared a lovely room for us, and left a few issues of one of our favourite travel magazines, Suitcase, on the bed. We shower, have a cup of tea with our lovely hosts, and head to bed. Sunday: morning coffee at Kiss the Hippo – perhaps our new Plain Vanilla? Stocking up on woollen clothes from Cos. Sipping hot spiced apple juice at the local Christmas market. Heading out along the river to check out the deer in Richmond Park and the charm of Petersham Nurseries, before circling back to get comfy and play scrabble at the local pub, The Duke. Fighting to stay awake until 9pm, we have a lovely first wintry day in the UK together.