Thursday, October 26, 2006

watch this and you will never ever need a man in your life

the next chapter begins.

Location: Singapore

My dear darlings in London and the rest of the world,

I arrived in Singapore day before yesterday evening. The weather is sweltering hot, my skin is permanently moist and the air is polluted with haze from indonesian fires. I am currently still immensely jet-lagged, and trying to settle in to being back. It's a bit different this time, because I'm probably going to be here for awhile, so I'm enjoying slowly unpacking all my possessions and decorating my room with them. It feels wierd because I suddenly have triple the amount of space that i normally had the last 3 years in university. I have the entire 3rd floor of our new house to myself, giving me 2 bedrooms and a balcony and my very own bathroom to spread my things out all over. My own bathroom! I can't remember the day I ever had my own bathroom. Actually, I never did...and It's pretty cool. I can leave my toothbrush and towel in there! Yay! I am very much in 'decorating' mode...I cant wait to spruce up my little corner of the world.

The food is good obviously. My ma must be the best cook in the world. I've had her pilao and chicken korma 4 times today. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and nightcap. Yup. And I've forced my parents to allow me to chauffeur them around in our Jeep while they run errands. Feels amazing to be behind the wheel again. Even with mum yelping in the backseat everytime I change lanes. Ha! I love driving! Now all I need to do is muster up the courage to drive around alone on Singaporean streets. I haven't been back in a year, and already I don't recognise our neighbourhood. It's gonna take some getting used to.

I must say life is easy here. As much as I hate to admit it, the standard of living is better, everything is cheaper, and this city runs so smoothly it seriously puts London to shame. The admin is so much more efficient, technology here is light years ahead of London (we got the equivalent to the Oyster card and congestion charging years ago), and frankly, when you can have an amazing meal for a mere 80p, your life is inarguably less stressful. And yet, its not enough.

i miss London.

Damn that scene from the airport will probably haunt me for awhile.

But I hate goodbyes, I just dont do them (as of today). I've probably had too many of them in my life, so from now on I'm gonna just give goodbyes the finger. I have decided the world is an immensely small place, and so long as climate change doesnt push up airlines fares, I'm gonna be okay. And my last week in London confirmed this even more so, because I realised I may be leaving an amazing city behind, but I dont need to let go of the main reason that made living in London the best 6 years of my life: the people. It was a bit of a paradox this last week. Not really wanting to call up or meet friends and family because doing so just made it glaringly real that I was leaving, but at the same time, the hugs and kisses I got from everyone and the effort they made to come see me, and make me feel better that this is not permanent, left me alot more reassured that this isnt as big a deal as I am making it to be.

And the best part of coming back: I'm finally looking for a job (and not having to worry about work permits)! Nothing has popped up yet, but I've already made some phonecalls, and things are looking hopeful! Will keep you guys posted. Fingers crossed!!!

ps: If you miss me very much, which you better do, you can keep texting me on my UK mobile number...I always keep it on me :D I also have a new Singapore number, it's on facebook.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

New York, New York...

People either love or hate New York and I’ve decided I love it! How can you not love this city? The perfectly planned out streets, by gosh, no taxi driver could ever cheat you! And this city really does not sleep, unlike London (bah!). New York has a personal character that London lacks, it’s actually inhabited by NEW YORKERS. Not people from a 101 countries like London. Even though that is what makes London special too, it sometimes makes London a bit of a no mans land. But New York had a people. I hardly saw anything other than black, white, and latino and the odd far-eastern face here and there.

But I was even happier because I conquered New York on the first day. I got off my $15 Chinatown bus, without any maps, refused to feel intimidated. Made my way to the subway, and then finally to the YMCA on the West Side by asking people at every turn. I made sure not to look at anyone in the eyes, as my cousin warned, and I survived! Lol! Just kidding, New Yorkers are lovely!

I did the usual touristy stuff: World Trade Centre site, walk through Central Park, go on the Staten Island ferry and wave at the Statue of Liberty, stand outside the Met Museum’s admissions and peer in because you’re too cheap to pay $20 to go in (never was an art appreciater), rode a yellow cab driven by a mad Arab, spotted Christopher Walken stepping into his limo outside the Rockefellar Centre, and won lottery tickets to go see The Late Show with David Letterman LIVE!!!!!!!!! That was a highlight! And of course, what every loser ‘Friends’ fan like me does, stand outside places like ‘Pottery Barn’ and giggle.

But we also ate. And Ate. And Ate even more. The top 2?

1) Mama Empanada (in Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen) - Amazing Argentinean cafĂ© serving filled empanadas, esp. good are the steak and cheese, the Viagra (seafood cocktail), and the Elvis (peanut butter, bananas and honey) for dessert. Their fruit cocktail is also amazing.

2) Pha-Nom Thai (Greenwich Village) = the chilli stuffed sea bass. That’s all I have to say. This restaurant does good stuff. Very innovative, very fresh.

I also visited the Journalism departments of NYU and Columbia, and shed a tear and a pout standing in front of Columbia’s beautiful library steps. I really liked both institutions, NYU and it being in the heart of Greenwich Village, probably my favourite neighbourhood in Manhattan, and of course, Columbia, its prestige, it’s beautiful Harlem campus, the name Pulitzer all over the damn place! Sigh! Someday....?

The best thing is, I think I felt at home here, because I didn’t feel like a foreigner (hmm!). I think how you sound makes a huge difference, when it comes to being or feeling accepted. And my accent is waaay more American than it is British (strangely so) so I felt more quickly at ease. And I didn’t even feel this ease in Boston strangely. New York definitely suits me.