…things are so much different.

The atmosphere no longer suffocates, the buildings no longer impose, and the place no longer seems dead.

In every nook and cranny, the expression of life presents itself in different forms.

Orchard Road brims with candy–sweets hanging from the trees and street lamps wrapped as candy canes. The Sweet Family delights shoppers as the Christmas Mascot for 2008.

Bugis Street bustles with activity under the afternoon heat, each stall presenting great bargains to enthusiastic shoppers. Funky T-shirts with cheeky messages take the limelight, followed by watches, accessories, and what not.

I went to Kampung Gelam for the first time, and the rich cultural heritage captivated me for the night. I had a candle lit Egyptian dinner at the roadside with Ate Ashley, Kuya Raffy, and Merryn at Arab Street, while others ate on rugs on the ground, smoking sheeshas (standing tobacco pipes provided by the eatery) and strumming guitars. It was quite a romantic sight.

Along the streets, every shophouse was marked by its own unique flavour: some had cute wall designs, some were sprayed with graffitti, and one toy shop selling toys made in the 70s even had a moving robot in front of it. We also passed by a family playing badminton in front of a shop selling ‘kain dari Jepun’, the women clad in baju kurung. I was struck with nostalgia, as if I had just stepped into an old painting.

I slept over at Ate Ash’s house with Merryn and Czarina that night, where we dragged cushions and mattresses to the living room and had some sort of pajama party. It felt so good to see all of them again–in fact, it felt as if no time had passed and no distance had grown since we last met. What melts and tickles me at the same time is that Ashley actually cried when she saw me!

I spent the next day talking to Ate Tere who came back at 3am the night before. We cooked Adobo (chicken in vinegar and soy sauce) together, and then Merryn sent me off at the train station. She’s done with JC now and will be returning to the Philippines in a couple of days.

I got to do all this, even though I actually only went to Singapore for 2 short days to close my bank account. I feel so loved by all these people who deliberately took time out to spend it with me. I met Jas in her rushed lunch hour, and I am just. so. thrilled. to learn that Tony (my favourite Tony!!!) proposed to her on top of the Singapore Flier in October!!! She also gave me a book called The Last Lecture.

It is a waste that my memory card is throwing a tantrum & is refusing to work on my laptop right now, or I’d show you some beautiful pictures. It was a really fruitful and enjoyable trip.