It’s so strange to me that I was here for Singapore’s 50th birthday two years ago. At some moments, it feels like I’ve been away for ages but tonight reminded me that a year really isn’t that long. Just like two years ago, I celebrated National Day at Gardens by the Bay, which I’ve written about a few times.
While still exciting and patriotic, SG52 was much calmer than SG50. Far fewer people and much less hype.
We were able to actually move around freely to watch the nightly light show . . .
. . . and take in the fireworks.
We also ate Middle Eastern, Malaysian, Chinese, and Singaporean food at Satay by the Bay. We felt pretty darn inclusive in a country that spends National Day highlighting unity.
I’ve had a few emails and personal messages asking how I’m doing, what I’m doing, and what my life looks like. They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words, so here are four pictures that will hopefully help satisfy some curiosity and allay any concerns about my well-being:
And in case those pictures weren’t enough, let me also say that my people here have been as good to me as they always were. In a lot of ways, it feels like I never left; in others, it feels like years have passed. I think I’ll be exploring that grey area between foreign and familiar for some time, but that’s just fine with me.
The following Beatles lyrics keep floating unbidden to mind:
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?
I’ve been feeling a lot like poor ol’ Eleanor Rigby recently. It’s a lot of preparing to go out, being happy with friends, coming home, looking frantically for distraction. More podcasts and playlists than usual lately. The silence when I’m alone leaves me with my thoughts, and my thoughts are spinning.
Our last day with kids was Friday and we have two days of “wrapping up” to do this week and then one more school year is in the books. It is all happening shockingly quickly. My friends and colleagues begin flying out Tuesday night, which means that this whole leaving thing is now very, very real. I don’t actually head out for another two weeks but I’ll be in Laos next weekend and the following weekend means losing my apartment and beginning a very long plane ride. This was my last real weekend here in Singapore, which took me by surprise when I realized it Saturday night.
However, thanks (as usual!) to Lauren and Jamie, it was a really good one.
The weekend started with a department end-of-year celebration at Hombre Cantina, a Mexican restaurant in Boat Quay where I had surprisingly spicy margaritas and a veggie quesadilla. Very fun evening with some truly wonderful people.
The delicious food theme continued on Saturday when Jamie, Lauren, and I went to the first annual Singapore Coffee Festival to sample brews and foods from Singapore’s best coffee shops.
The event lasted for four days and included the three-storey exhibition of coffee, food, and independent “lifestyle” boutiques; live music; lab demonstrations from brewers; and open chats about coffee, brewing, and local coffee culture. The price of admission also included a nifty tote bag and a couple cool mugs! The festival organizers actually stopped door sales of tickets while we were there on Saturday because the F1 Pit Building that housed the festival was very crowded. If you want to go next year, which I really encourage, I highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance! They’re discounted during the pre-sale, too!
A going away party for another friend Saturday night gave me one more look at Marina Bays Sands all lit up. The Singapore Flyer is over on the left.
My bucket list item for today was a visit to East Coast Park. I’d initially been planning to rent bikes to go exploring, but we decided a walk would suit our needs (and other plans for the day) just fine. It’s so funny seeing the shipping lanes right off the beach, though. I still can’t get used to that.
My primary objective overall was to spend as much time with my friends as possible, which we certainly accomplished. We made time for aloo gobi and garlic naan from Tekka Centre in Little India, too! That was a major highlight. Love me some Indian food, especially in this part of the world.
What I enjoyed most was spending this weekend in so many diverse environments. A mere 48 hours managed to cover Mexican food, hipster coffee culture, fancy bars, the beach, and the crush of people and delicious foods that represent Sunday in Little India.
I’m going to miss this place. A whole hell of a lot.
If you need me, I’ll be in a corner with my eyes closed and hands wrapped around my knees. And tomorrow morning, I’ll take that face out of the jar by the door and head back to school for the second to last time.
Photos, travels, musings, and ideas on education by a twenty-something teacher trying to make the world a better and more peaceful place