Thursday, 13 June 2013


I never told you I was planning a trip to see my dear friend Natalie. That is why I am now sitting at a twenty-four hour coffee shop at Heathrow airport in London. The journey has been tumultuous because that is the nature of the beast, and I am very sleepy, though I shall do my best to summarize my last day. Alicia and I were both leaving in the wee hours on Thursday, and so we took a cab to the airport and had chai tea lattes at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf until I had to catch my plane. Since then I have traveled from Singapore to Doha, Doha to Stockholm, Stockholm to Oslo and Oslo to London. Tomorrow, or rather later today (it is 1:04 as I write this), I will be catching the tube from Heathrow to Euston, from whence I take the train to Bangor, Wales, with stops in Chester and Crewe. The logistics were a bit of a nightmare to plan as the cheaper tickets always take you to the oddest corners of the world (with a pit stop in Hades) before they set you down in your desired location.

At the start of the journey I was a bit worried about the train ride from Heathrow to Euston to Bangor, as I have only ever visited London for a grand total of three days in  my entire life. But then I gave the whole thing to God and remembered that the worst thing that could happen to me is to get lost, which already happens to me far more often than it should. When I arrived in Heathrow, despite being unable to afford a hotel, hostel, or anything resembling a bed, I found a clean, spacious restroom to wash up in (will be using that in a few hours) and a twenty-four hour coffee shop with free wi fi. I really couldn't ask for much else. The restroom reminds me of my time in the Nagoya airport when I arrived twelve hours ahead of the rest of the interns and took a nap on a cot in the toilet meant for the handicapped. As of now, I have tidied up, eaten a sandwich, brushed my teeth, and I am dressed in my striped  nightgown, ready for three and a half hours of sleep in the airline lounge. If you didn't catch that last part--I am sitting in Heathrow airport in my pyjamas! You're all jealous!

P.S. Dear Natalie, I don't expect you to read this until I am already on the train, but have no fears. All is well with my soul.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

High Fashion at High Tea

My friend Alicia and I went to high tea at the Raffles Hotel, which is very exclusive and very lovely. We dressed for the occasion, of course, and as it is a very historic place, having hosted both Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling at some point in time, I thought it was only best to wear something in the same fashion. I pinned my hair up on top of my head and wore my new blouse from Forever Twenty-one. The mint colour makes me think of Maria in the Sound of Music, and I am very pleased with it.

The Gibson girl hairstyle is much easier than you would think.

The best way to look anachronistic? Stand by a staircase and sneer at others, tut-tutting their presence in my household. "Who are these people?" I ask and wrinkle my nose as I shoo them away with my perfumed handkerchief.

Alicia, ever a lion of fashion, wore stripes (my favorite) from Banana Republic.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, 
either write things worth the reading or do things worth the writing.                                                                  - Benjamin Franklin


Singapore likes to position itself as a gleaming metropolis in world affairs, sprawling from coast to coast of this small island, simmering in the heat of the noonday sun; but Nature knows better. We get too comfortable with who we are and where we are going, and Nature reaches out with unreserved power to remind us of the true order of things. We live under the delusion that we have her tamed, when she is simply keeping up appearances, perhaps to guard our fragile egos.

I too get a little big for my breeches sometimes and hang my thumbs from my belt-loops and swagger about, crowing over my achievements and readying myself for ill-advised adventure. That's when a monkey will climb the rails outside my flat and lightning flicker uselessly in the thick night air above me, and I will pause--village idiot that I am--to consider the implications, my brain moving sluggishly through congealed vanity. Low bursts of thunder will roll in the distant, rainless sky, and all that I have forgotten will come back to me at once, and I remember suddenly my very humble part to play in this world: I bow my head to say grace and feel small in the best possible way.

Speaking of Things Unrelated to the Topic

So Judith, Rebecca, and I are walking down a suburban street, and I sneeze loudly.
"Bless you," says Judith, "in your nook!" She pantomimes sneezing and tucking her face into the crook of her elbow. I gather she does this a lot with her second graders. "IN YOUR NOOK!" She repeats herself as if to make even this half-wit understand.
I look innocent. "But I only have a Kindle."


I like my polkadot blouse. I found it in a flea market, and it was obviously a leftover from the eighties. I cut out the shoulder pads and then it was good enough to wear. Mother didn't agree. How could I wear something of the sort? I looked like a clown! Yes, mamma, and isn't it wonderful?
Ahoy there, mateys!

Puffed sleeves, polkadots, sailor collar. What's not to love? It's like someone magical found out all the best things in the world and combined them into one technicolor dreamcoat.

It's hot as hot can be here in Singapore, but I still find the time to wear stockings and long sleeves to church. The heat has never bothered me much, but my friend Alicia is coming next week and she melted into a puddle during high summer in Japan. I'm not sure how she'll fare here, but I suppose I should warn her. And I will. Eventually.