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 always wanted to raise a family near wherever my parents are living because I grew up far away from my grandparents. My mum’s parents live in Montreal, QC where I was born and my dad’s parents have moved from Montreal to Toronto, ON where most of my cousins live. Seeing my grandparents was always a scheduled event involving a car trip, overnight bags, passports, and green cards (which we forgot once). I was always envious of friends whose grandparents picked them up from school and friends who saw their grandparents whenever anyone wanted. Spending time with grandparents has really always been something that I’ve treasured, which was exactly the case during our week in the Adirondack Mountains in good ole upstate New York.
In order to bring all of us together, though we missed my brother who couldn’t take off work, my parents rented a cabin on the lake just outside the adorable little town of Old Forge, NY. We went into town for ice cream, Mum’s daily latte, and to visit Old Forge Hardware, which sells everything and is a delight to explore.We didn’t have cell service and wifi only worked in certain corners of the cabin, so I read a lot and was very happy to disconnect for a while.
In true holiday fashion, we quite enjoyed our view of the world from the cabin porch:
We had a pontoon boat and a kayak to play with and were out on the water every day. My dad and grandfathers went out fishing a few times and I went with them for the sake of the scenery. In six days, the three men managed to catch two fish. That, according to my dad, is why they call it fishing and not catching.
I love being out on the water.
I also love hiking! One morning, my parents and I hiked Black Bear Mountain and we decided to bring Puck along just to see how he would do. Turns out, the dog is part mountain goat and it’s a good thing, too, because the trail was fairly steep and very muddy.
The view from the summit was beautiful, too:
Later in the week, my dad and I hiked Bald Mountain, so named because it’s very rocky (as opposed to leafy, I guess). It’s a much shorter hike and therefore was also more crowded. I’ve never spent time in the Jurassic Age, but I think it looked like Bald Mountain.
We climbed this tower at the summit . . .
. . . from which my dad pointed out all of the seven lakes that make up the central region of the Adirondacks:
And of course, because that’s what you do up in the mountains when it gets cold after sundown, we made a fire every night. My trusty Syracuse University sweatshirt reeked of smoke (and so did my hair) but I had packed it just for that reason. I’m a bit of a pyromaniac when I’m allowed to be; I love watching the flames dance and hearing the crackle of the wood and the whistling of the fire. Had some good fun with my zoom lens, too:
In sum, that was the week. Time outside to hike in the mountains, boat and kayak in the lake, and run along the trails. Quiet time to read. Singing, telling stories, and laughing over the fire. Being together with family. Very relaxing and very simple. Can’t ask for more than that.
Some time ago, home stopped meaning places and started meaning people. Home is where my people are, wherever it is they happen to be. Home is multiple places at once because I’m lucky enough to have friends and family members the world over.
But Rochester, New York is my first home. My longest home. Rochester is the place I know the best and the place I feel safest. It’s where my immediate family lives, where my oldest friends are from and where some still are. It’s a place of both fond memories and dark moments, times of absolute elation and the deepest uncertainty. Rochester and its people have raised me and only asked that I remember where I come from wherever I go.
Rochester is technically a mid-size city on the shores of the Genesee River and Erie Canal, but it’s very much a small town. People are friendly, the pace of life is calm, and there’s a sense of collective responsibility and a spirit of helpfulness. People make connections with others, knowing they’ll cross paths again. Rochesterians have a sense of genuine pride in their city that they want to share with others. It’s not enough that we love our town and that we’ve made our homes here; we want you to feel the same way.
I’ve called other places home since going away for college back in 2008, but Rochester has always been home home. No matter where in the world I am, it always will be.
Photos, travels, musings, and ideas on education by a twenty-something teacher trying to make the world a better and more peaceful place