06 October 2013


Being back in Singapore makes me really appreciate all of the little things in a normal, first-world sort of life. My first evening, Wednesday, I made my way by taxi from the airport to Megan’s and Troy’s flat in Robertson Quay. Greeted not only by my friends but also by their two amazing Scottish Terriers, who I call “the kids,” I enjoyed a little bit of time catching up with my friends before settling in for the evening.

One of my favorite things about staying with Megan is accompanying her on an evening dog walk around the neighborhood. Robertson Quay is nestled in between the Central Business District and Orchard Road. Against the night sky, the streets and sidewalks are aglow from decorative stringed lights, lights hanging on tree limbs and lights abounding from numerous restaurants that line the sidewalks adjacent to the river.

The sidewalks and restaurants are filled with people enjoying life every night of the week. Runners, bikers and casual amblers are abundant, bringing the neighborhood to life and emanating a lively vibe.

I appreciated the ability to breathe in clean air, only noticing one or two foul smells. I appreciated the ability to walk outside after dark with another woman, sans male supervision or permission, and casually walk with a feeling of complete security.

When Megan stopped to pick up after her dogs, I told her that I genuinely appreciated that trash cans were prevalent and readily available.

Paul was supposed to be with me on my flight Wednesday afternoon but we learned Wednesday morning that his ticket for personal travel had not yet been approved. Thursday morning, however, I was advised that he would only be with me in Bangkok for one evening; he would not be in Singapore at all. We were both bummed but it is still nice that he will be able to join me and our friends in Bangkok for my birthday dinner.

After a morning marathon consisting of several rounds of annual health checks and consuming more water in an hour than I ever thought possible (more than a liter on an otherwise empty stomach), I went off in search of lunch and some face time with the one and only Nicola Brown.

Throughout the day I found myself appreciating more everyday first-world amenities: the freedom to go where I wanted – not just needed – alone and on my own terms, the security of knowing that I did not need to check with my husband about where I was going, what I was doing or sending him updates anytime I left or arrived somewhere. Walking through one of the many malls, I was sweetly hit with the euphoric smell of baked items from Bread Talk. My mouth watered as I ordered and collected the dim sum feast Nic and I were to enjoy.

I spent all afternoon and half the evening with Nic and loved every minute of it. When Duncan finished work, he was kind enough to bring us dinner. When he called at 7:30 to advise us that he was leaving work and that we should place our order, I found myself off in my own world. I was thinking about how great it was to be there and how it seemed like this was just any other day. I knew it was a week night but I also had yet to see Duncan so I was thinking about how late I could politely keep them awake.

Then, I gasped at the realization that I don’t actually have my own home and that, though Megan and Troy were likely to let me do what I liked on my own schedule, I knew Megan went to bed early because she woke early. I didn’t have a key to their apartment so one of them would have to buzz me in. I would feel awful if they were both in bed by the time I arrived and I definitely wanted to catch up with them after their day at their respective jobs. I thought I would be an awful houseguest for being so late and non-communicative.

I quickly sent Megan a text advising her where I was and that I would be on my way as soon as we finished our to-be-delivered dinner. I apologized to Duncan for eating and running but it was nearing 9 p.m. and I knew Megan wouldn’t be up much longer. Sure enough, she was in bed when I arrived back at her place but Troy and I were able to catch up over a couple episodes of The Big Bang Theory and we all saw each other the next morning so I felt a bit better.

Friday was an extremely enjoyable day that began with a morning run – outdoors! I was able to run outside in the open air on paved roads, sidewalks and, get this, actual running paths in a legitimate park – by myself! My treadmill runs the last month have not been impressive so I was not expecting much out of myself but, for some reason, I found myself pushing on and running farther at a pace better than my previous Singapore runs. Maybe it was the sun, maybe it was the fresh air, maybe it was the ground on which I ran. Maybe it was a combination of everything that I love. Whatever it was, it made me feel amazing and truly appreciative.

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