Pulau Ubin – could not be more different from the city

On a normal Sunday we left in direction of the airport. Close by, in Changi Village, is a terminal with small bumboats. Pulau Ubin is an island on Singapore territory and also the goal of our Sunday trip. When we finally arrived at the terminal, everything went quickly. Five minutes in line, ten minutes in the boat and we were there. As we arrived, I got the feeling of Bali back. A lot of tourists and swift sales people. We somehow got a bike and made our way out of the tourist street, and as soon as we were around the corner, nature hit us hard. We both didn’t expect anything like it and the experience was phenomenal! Despite the heat, the bike ride made it bearable, being even further away from the concrete. Strongly recommended for anyone who is looking for a Sunday trip!

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Two day visit: What to do in Singapore

We expected my brother Martin to be here on Saturday afternoon, and he arrived perfectly on time. What to do in only two days? Very simple: Swim in Condo 50m Pool, whirlpool session, heading for supper at Sushi Tei (Vivo), Taxi to Gardens by the bay, enjoying light and sound on the artificial trees, heading to Esplanade and having a fantastic beer in front of the skyline and end the day on the balcony of your apartment.

Second day morning, walk over Southern Ridges towards Mount Faber to Vivo City, have a look at the lovely roof top, have a tasty lunch in the food court by the MRT station, head to Clarke Quay for a nice but a bit overpriced boat trip, get out after 40min, walk to one altitude to find out that it is only open at 6pm, walk to Level 33 and have some tasty, freshly brewed beers, find out that the view is nice and competes with the Marina Bay Sands (we preferred it for an afternoon trip), take taxi back and have a delicious supper in a food court.

Third day morning, go for a swim, whirlpool session nr 2, go and buy some groceries, eat lunch at a Hawker center, pack up and say good bye.

Between the lines we left out all the laughter, good chats and fun times we had in these hours. Thanks for coming Martin! It was hard letting you go.

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Playing tourists with Family and Friends

Already in our second week at work, we had visitors from home. My godmother and her friend stopped on the way to Australia for a few days. Since we just started working, we both didn’t take days off.

Our first evening we met at their hotel and went to Din Tai Fung for supper. What a fabulous start! Afterwards, we were trying to get to the Marina Bay Sands. On the way, we stumbled upon the Esplanade – the city theater which celebrated Chinese New Years by offering concerts for free… it was absolutely amazing. A perfect end to a long day!

On the second night, we headed to the Gardens by  the bay to enjoy a light show. Since we arrived right after work, we enjoyed a pizza in the magical garden, where all of us felt like in the movie avatar. This evening, we ended on top of the Marina Bay Sands, overlooking the entire city at night. Again, a very nice night.

Our last evening was supposed to be a less touristy one. We invited our guests for an apéro at our place. We didn’t really mentioned how we lived and their expectations were probably quite low. When we arrived, they were blown away by the architecture and it also showed me how quickly I got used to all of this… After a glass of wine we headed to a food court and enjoyed a tasty supper. Again, expectations were not too high. When you arrive, you are tricked by the cheap yellow chairs and fairly dirty, empty tables. But it was simply a successful evening.

It was lovely to have family and friends here! Maggie and I both realized how much we have seen in that time we are here, but also saw, how little we knew and how much more there is to discover. So please, come and visit us!

 

Zoo and a lecture on expectations

One early day, we headed out to visit the zoo. Our expectations were really high, due to the countless commercials and comments from Singaporeans and foreigners. So off we went, ready with a bottle of water, some coins for an ice cream and the spirit of eager tourists, taking pictures like there is no tomorrow. We had a lot of fun that day, but to sum it up, I think we both expected a bit too much. Of course, it is one of the nicest Zoo’s we have ever been to, but it was a problem of our expectations. If everyone is telling you, how great a croissant is, and you actually get to try it and it ends up being good, your experience was not satisfying, because you expected some amazing croissant with a flashback to childhood where life was simple and things like healthy food didn’t exist. So you end up leaving with hint of disappointment, despite the fact that you just saw some amazing animals, flown in from various places of the world to satisfy your expectations. They even had a polar bear!

At the end we bought some ice cream to heal our wounds and felt better right after. Maybe we just need more ice cream to solve our problems! Might actually cool down the planet too…

Nose Dive

So it’s hard to know where to begin to bring you up to speed on the time that’s passed since my Bali update! There have been a few ups and downs as Chris and I adjust to our new lives, and this includes our work life. I’ve started in my lab and nearly two weeks have passed since I had that first day there! I’ve enjoyed my time, there are many new things and I’m excited to see what my project on Hepatitis B has in store for me.

The past weeks we’ve also managed to go out in the evenings and explore a little more and meet new people. There are many instances where I’m pushed outside of my comfort zone, but I do my best to welcome these moments because I can feel my boundaries shifting and I walk away from these moments with a fresh perspective on what this life is all about. Not that I feel any closer to answering that question. I just come to value good friends and family more as I’m away, because no matter how great the new people are that you meet – deep friendships and strong family bonds are not simply replaced. But I meet new people wearing my silly grin, I stay curious and I keep moving forward, excited about the things that day has in store for me. With the occasional pinch as I remember where I am and what I’m doing here.

So tomorrow I’ll roll out of bed, put my feet flat on the ground and take the next step into this new world I’m discovering. Not unlike an early European explorer discovering the New World, I’m doing a nose dive all wide-eyed into this ultra-urban city with streams of stark contrasts to my lovely Northern Alberta upbringing and even my European roots flowing in. But that nose dive is much more palpable when you’re in hand-in-hand with your best friend.

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Having a coffee in Bali, clueless as to what the next weeks had in store for us.