Wow…we have officially been here for six months.
I started the blog as a way to keep in touch with friends back home. To my surprise and joy, some of my readers are locals or fellow expats who have no reason to waste part of their busy day here–thanks for joining the party! Looking back, I have to admit that I’ve used the blog to poke quite a bit of fun at Singapore. I’ve also talked fairly extensively about things that frustrate me here, whether due to cultural barriers or because they don’t exist (or not to my admittedly high standards). So today I thought I’d do something different and share six awesome things I love about Singapore to honor our six-month-aversary today.
This is not necessarily a top six…more of a stream of consciousness thing.
#1-The Singapore Zoo
As I wrote just a few weeks ago, the Singapore Zoo is one of the most amazing zoo’s I’ve seen worldwide. If you live here or visit here, it is well worth a day of your life. The variety of animals, the beautiful views from look-out point, the tropical garden appeal to the photographer, the child, the child at heart and the animal lover. I’ve been to the Singapore Zoo more in the six months we’ve been here than I’d been to the Franklin Park Zoo in the past five years. And no, having E doesn’t really change much–I’m a fan of zoos all on my own. That she loves it too makes it an awesome mom/daughter (or mom/daughter/helper) day out. I love the animals, and when it’s so hot that your sweat is creating a second skin–I love the waterpark. When we someday leave Singapore, this will be one of the things I miss the most.
#2-Quiz Night At Krish
My friend Paula invited me to quiz night some number of months ago. My response was “why not?” and I joined her and her friends. Some of those friends have become friends of mine as well. I’ve brought some new friends…and I’ve never had a bad night there. Granted, that’s saying that I’ve never had a crap night out with my friends (and I should hope not) but the quiz gives the night some focus and a lot of fun. From random questions (the name of the music teacher on The Simpsons–nope, we had no idea either) to movie quotes (including the arguments it engenders over which Julia Roberts movie that quote was from..if you were there you know what I’m talking about), the rounds inspire us to laughter, teamwork, and another round of champagne. That we’ve won a number of times doesn’t hurt (or the reward of a bottle of wine and free bar snacks for winning). Quiz night is Wednesdays at 8:30pm in the bar upstairs at Krish. One of these days I’m going to need to actually go there for dinner, and not just quiz night.
I decided to try Palawan on the spur-of-the-moment. I was attracted to that whole “Southernmost Point of Continental Asia” thing. But to my surprise, it’s become a favored way to retreat from the city. The water is gentle, so I have no worried about E being knocked over by waves (as she was at the beach in Phuket…she was NOT a fan of that). There are many food outlets and a 7/11 to get snacks from. The lookout towers give you a gorgeous 360 view of water, the port, and the man-made beauty of Sentosa. Although Ravi and I would occasionally make it to Hampton Beach in New Hampshire a few times over the summer, and always loved the annual sand sculpture contest, it’s hard to argue the supremacy of icy Atlantic Ocean water to the gentle tepid water of the Singapore Strait.
#4-The local flora
While part of me is screaming mad with jealousy over my friend’s cool fall weather with the advent of chilly mornings with just a bit of bite, hot apple cider, and leaves crunching beneath their trick or treating feet…I’d be lying if I didn’t say that every time I leave my house I see a flower or a plant that just takes my breath away. Maybe growing up in the Northeastern US for 31 years did it, but palm trees still seem so exotic to me, even after being part of my daily life for six months. The vivid flower colors make my hands itch for my camera. There are moments when I feel like I’m walking through some exotic magical land…especially in places like the Night Safari where you feel as though you might be alone in a tropical jungle. It’s kind of sexy actually!
The leaves here are bigger than my kid!
#5-Having a pool at my apartment building
To be fair, we had a pool at the apartment building in Cambridge that Ravi was living in when we met. It had a deep end and a diving board, and I do miss those. But it was usable a mere twelve weeks out of the year…Memorial Day (last weekend in May) to Labor Day (first weekend in September). Here I have a pool that I can (should) swim in every day, 365 days a year. That blows my mind, much for the same reason that palm trees seem so exotic. Massachusetts has all four seasons with a vengeance…and I won’t miss digging my car out of snow up to my knees or losing feeling in my fingers as I scrape ice off my windshield in subzero temperatures, especially when I could be swimming in the pool instead. At some point I will gladly trade it in for a home in the US, but for now, it’s a reason to be glad that we’re coming back to Singapore after our November in the US.
It also gives me a place to teach E how to splash her father
#6-Having a Helper
Yes, it may sound elitist, but having a live in helper has made a huge difference in my life and in my relationships. Not having to fight over who’s going to deal with dishes or the trash or the laundry has removed several regular fights from Ravi’s and my relationship. Knowing that we have a sitter has allowed us to have regular date nights…a luxury we only indulged in infrequently back home, and there it was a luxury that came with a curfew. How do you think I find time to post five days a week most weeks? It’s not because I have the world’s most well-behaved toddler; it’s having a helper so I can take time every day to write or to go and do photography. While large chunks of Singapore are fairly stroller friendly, when it’s not, it’s most often B who is my lifesaver (for people who are new to the site–I have a bad back and a daughter quickly approaching the limit of what I can lift safely). She is a wonderful addition to our home, and one who I hope will be with us for as long as we are in Singapore. Yes, there are tradeoffs…but overall, it is a luxury we could never afford back home.