Singapore Adventure

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Good Stuff
by venitha

It's hard. As I sob uncontrollably over the unexpected discovery of Maggie's ashes... as I fill out endless tax forms and realize that our January 31st move means the accountants get to embezzle from us for a third straight year... as I face the overwhelming mountain of effort that will be required to restore our chaotic house to a comfortable home...

It's hard not to view the last two years as a horrible, colossal, nighmarish mistake.

"But surely there were good things, too," prompted Ellen when I'd said, "Uh, no!" when she'd asked if we'd liked Singapore.

Head bobbing at the loan desk of our credit union, I'd swiveled in my chair, and in a happy and awaking surprise come face to face with Ellen, a kind and old friend, the kind of old friend that when you're less than 24 hours recovered from a 27-hour trip around the world, when you're as big as a house, when you're borrowing money, and when you're hoping to see no one you know but really expecting no less than a self-assured, tanned and fit ex-boyfriend, or the gorgeous young blonde thing who stole him away, or a satanic old boss, or all three at once, convinces you that in spite of war and poverty and the indescribable evil of health insurance providers, God is truly benevolent.

"Yes, there were good things, too," I echoed, blinking dumbly into her patient smile, and I rifled frantically through my jetlag-addled brain to think of some.
    We loved not having a car. Singapore's busses and trains and taxis combine to form a mass transit system that's affordable, efficient, and the envy of the rest of the world.

    We've been everywhere. We gasped upon a first glimpse of Angkor Wat and lingered over a last look at the Taj Mahal. We soared over Kakadu in Australia, sailed through Halong Bay in Vietnam, trekked through Taroko Gorge in Taiwan. We gorged ourselves on pineapples in Thailand and lassis in India and black ride pudding in Bali and xiao long bao in China. And, oh, yeah! Did I mention Singapore?

    Our apartment was fabulous. A luxury 19th-floor penthouse with a private rooftop terrace boasting a sweeping skyline view frequently adorned with fireworks? It sounds like something out of a fairytale, and it was.

    We made wonderful friends. Friends from all over the world, but mostly and unexpectedly, from the US and from Colorado. Friends I'd never have met or taken the time get to know in my previous life, but friends I'll now treasure for the rest of it.

    Then, too, there are the happy glimpses of daily life in Singapore: Dawood's ready grin and cackling laugh, the shy nod of recognition from my favorite popiah vendor, the vase of orchids gracing my sideboard, the handy dandy rubbish chute, our frequent rooftop parties.

    Of course, there's also Jim and our relationship that's weathered two years of tropical storms and is stronger and closer and better because of it. And, last of all, there's the baby conceived in Singapore, who now leads us onward to our next adventure.

Yes, there were good things, too, and that's what I want to remember and will try hard to talk about when I reminisce about our Singapore Adventure. Perhaps I should write this list in permanent marker, down one forearm and up the other. But no, when my memory starts to fade, I'll read this blog, with both its rants and its raves (surely there were some raves), to remind me of it all.

Thanks to all of you for reading, and thanks especially to the complete strangers who sent kind words of encouragement during the darkest days of the last two years. This blog has been a lifeline, a catharsis, and an escape, and it definitely belongs on this list of the good stuff.