26 January 2012


Spending a month in the States really gave me a new appreciation for Singapore. I am in love with this country, it’s quirky people, the scenery and the amazing experiences that I am afforded just by being here.

Helping me explore new areas of the city are some of my American Women’s Association ladies. My first full week back in Singapore, I joined a few friends at Mount Faber Park for a refreshing three-hour hike. They inspired me to begin a new workout regimen, which I have kept since our inaugural outing.

Today, at my somewhat selfish and totally prideful request, the group travelled from far and away places like Orchard Road to have a fun morning at the East Coast Park. I was happy to show off my neighborhood to eight constant and new friends.

We broke into two groups – one walking and one biking – and spent two hours working out, chatting and enjoying the scenery. I felt so blessed to be out on a beautiful day, without pain and with the ability to keep a great pace.

After the two-hour bike ride, I hosted seven of the eight ladies at my house. I have had my share of lunches and dinner parties and typically end up spending hours in the kitchen, stressing myself out and missing out on social time because I have too much to accomplish before food time.

This week I decided to play the Prep Ahead game, which worked out beautifully. I baked a banana bread and cut all of my needed vegetables the day before. Then I washed the dishes. This morning, I sliced a baguette, arranged some fruit around a cheese platter, made a pasta salad and a quiche dough. Then I washed the dishes.

I was not rushed; the only thing I had to do when we arrived back at my condo was to slice some of the fruit and put together the quiche. My use of plastic plates and my genius decision to wash dishes before I left for the park meant that cleanup was a cinch.

Everyone had a great time hanging out and we decided to include lunch into our workout days moving forward.

After lunch, two of the ladies invited me to join them for a foot massage. What could be better than that after a morning workout? “Sure,” I said. I grabbed my essentials and met them for our quick journey to a local shopping center.

Along the way, I was advised that this was not any Asian pedi spa, this was one of Singapore’s famous reflexology locations. I first heard of foot reflexology while watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” hosted from Singapore.

Let me just say that I do not have any kids. I have not gone through childbirth so I am not sure how painful that process is. I can say that this was the most physically painful experience I have ever had in my entire life and I swear that the woman working on me was wholeheartedly gaining pleasure from inflicting pain.

This is my unedited expression:

While I was suffering, squirming, breathing ever so deeply and praying to God who in all things gives me strength, I was amazed that my new Singaporean friend to my right just sat there and took it with ease. We met after I sat in the chair next to her. She asked where my friends and I were from, like everyone in Asia does, and I kindly explained that we were Singaporean residents.

I was amazed that while the man was punching her legs with his fists (yes, I was punched several times in both feet and both legs), she just sat there reading a paper and singing along to the streaming music while my eyes were popping out of my head. Speaking of popping out, I was waiting for one of my toes to break in my lady’s hands.

You may be reading this and laughing at my usually-normal overemphasis of what really occurred. I like to exaggerate. Allow me to show you my bruises:

Though painful, I did feel surprisingly light and refreshed after my treatment. I was amazed by some of the things that I learned while my feet felt as if they were being destroyed. I was told that I did not drink enough water because an area running up and down one of my feet was rough and tight.

She told me that I was not sleeping well enough and that I had a hard time getting comfortable at night. True, at least the last couple of days. At one point, the woman casually advised me that I had tension in my neck and shoulders. “Yes!” I exclaimed. “I woke up with a strained neck and a knot in my shoulder this morning.” Crazy.

I wanted to know how often people put themselves through this much trauma and was advised that it depended on one’s profession. “Those working on feet all day, once a week. Housewife, once a month.” Ha. My friends and I laughed because one comment regarding housewives was their lack of having something to do. “Um, we have plenty to do!” We all continued to joke about our demanding days consisting of errand running, tending to the kids they have and I don’t, tending to the house, our workout schedules and, of course, our coffee dates.

After the foot torture, we were convinced to try a traditional massage. A woman who was somewhere around 60 and likely weighed as many pounds as her age put so much pressure on my body, I mistook her for a sumo wrestler. When she pressed down on my lower back, I uncontrollably let out a soft moan resembling the sound I make when my husband jabs me in the diaphragm for kicks.

I had no idea I had tension in my butt until she kneaded me like dough. I had no idea there was a knot in the middle of my back on the right side until she dug her elbow into me. The pain was not completely unbearable; my mind told me that I needed the pain in order to make the pain go away…truth or fiction?

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