I used to be the avid Formula One fan once upon a time in Bombay. Then I moved to the U.S. where the idea of waking up before 9am on a Sunday morning pretty much killed the F1 spirit. I didn’t really miss it. Baseball kept me occupied from April to October and football from September to January. (No wonder February and March were always my least-favourite months, no sports!)
Anyway, this year Singapore debuted on the F1 scene. And how! A road race. A night race. Three collisions. A stalled car. An undetached fuel hose. Pit lane penalties. Bumps. Sparks. A winner who started 15th on the grid! Oh, what a race! And I almost didn’t make it. Yeah, I was incredibly blasé about the race. Didn’t even bother buying tickets. Then good ol’ Murzy showed up with two extra tickets and the party was on. F1 is so much more than a car race. It is a licence to party unabashedly. I can’t remember the last time I stayed up till 5.30am. I can’t remember the last time I came home from a night out and made eggs. It was like Sg had decided to do away with its sterile image for a whole weekend. When we left Clarke Quay at 5am Sunday morning, every eatery on the way home was OPEN and PACKED!
Sg put up a great show. In its own characteristic way it made F1 Uniquely Singapore. Will definitely be back next year.
It takes 40 weeks for a human to create another of its own species. So in the time it takes to create life, what have I done in Sg?
Well, first and foremost I have made it home. Yes, ladies and gentleman, Singapore is HOME. I like the way my apartment is shaping up and I’m looking forward to my first Diwali here.
Second I have tossed away my immigrant mentality and boldly accepted an expat mentality; just in time for global financial crises which should be reason enough to cut spending and adopt the frugal life of a new immigrant.
Third, I have worked harder than I ever have. At some point in the future I will look at this period of adjustment and be proud of myself.
Fourth, I have travelled to Vietnam and Indonesia. Not as much as I expected but something is better than nothing. In the same time, M has amassed about 200,000 Krisflyer points.
Fifth, I have become a better and more efficient cook. And it’s my number one stress-buster. How? Think chopping vegetables.
Sixth, I have learnt not to drown my plants. Hopefully the three new ones will survive longer than my poor basil plant.
Well, there have been other minor accomplishments but so much more to do (like buy our first house or have a baby!). As the year runs away from us again, I contemplate what the new year will bring (a return to the immigrant mentality for sure!). Top of my list – eat healthier and maintain an exercise regime. I still don’t know how veggie curry and rice will fit into that but constantly being frustrated at not finding clothes that fit well is a motivator as strong as any.
It’s been a while since my last report from this new place called Singapore that is quickly beginning to feel like home. I have days when I feel uprooted and lost and I’m best avoided on those days. But mostly I feel good. Life is finally beginning to make sense again. My job is beginning to make sense. The roads, the food, the accent, the clothing sizes, the lingo (ok lor may sound like ok lah but there is a world of difference in the meaning), the odd stuff (they blow dry your hair before they cut it) – it’s all beginning to make sense. Phew!
I’m continually amazed at the human capacity to retain memories selectively. When I reflect at the time past I mostly have good memories. Of course, over-writing the memories of the recent past may take some time but I’m sure somewhere in the recesses of my mind the process has already begun.
I’m also amazed at the human capacity to adapt and adopt. Yes, I came to Sg kicking and screaming but once here I have quickly adjusted to my new environment. And now a feeling of always having been here creeping in. And that feels good.
It has been four months since I moved to Sg. Four months since I started work. And it has been one roller-coaster ride. Everyone wants to know how I like it here, how I’m adjusting, etc. etc. And I’ve been maintaining a ‘so-far-so-good’ attitude.
But last night when I was coming home from a long day at work it hit me. Of all the places in Asia we could have moved to I’m glad/fortunate we moved to Sg. The city is a perfect counterpoint to our absolutely-out-of-control life. There is no chaos. There is a structure for everything. There is guidance provided for every step you take. There is a plan to tackle any and all issues. Everything is well-organized and fairly predictable.
The Bbayite and New Yorker in me may rebel and revolt at this statement but I’m beginning to REALLY like this place.
Back in December, M suggested I use his abundant miles to buy a business class ticket for my journey from NYC to S’pore. It was a good idea considering it was a long journey (18 hours) and I would be sad and maybe bawling. Surprisingly all 40-odd business class seats were sold out though you could buy as many economy tickets as you wanted.
Today, when M was taking the very same flight from NYC, SQ was looking for volunteers to downgrade from business to economy for S$2000 in cash and a US$100 in-flight voucher! I’ve never heard of anything like this!
I’m fast becoming a die-hard fan of this airline. Are they publicly traded? Can I own their stock? And when are we flying the A380 to Sydney?
According Time Out Singapore, donuts are the new craze in Sg. There is a donut shop called Donut Factory in the mall adjoining my office. It’s a neat and hip-looking place with a velvet rope and all. At any time of the day people line up for up to an hour to buy the freshly-prepared donuts. One day the line was only 4-5 customers long, so I joined it. I’m sorry to say but the trans-fat loaded, probably frozen at some point, baked God-knows where Dunkin Donuts donut is much better.
This morning a man walked in to the office with three large boxes of Krispy Kremes. My eyes lit up (I don’t know why because KK always makes me sick). Excitedly I asked, “There’s a Krispy Kreme in Sg?”. He laughed out and replied “No, these are from Hong Kong!”. So this person actually got on a plane with three large boxes of Krispy Kremes! Talk about being crazy! And think about the donut ooops!…. brownie points he is going to earn!