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The chronicles of two Portlanders in Singapore

This is, perhaps, a bit closer to what the new normal looks like.  Beverly leaves in the morning, a shower and a kaya roll seeing her off.  Perhaps I too can struggle out of bed, Mini moving in ways that indicate that she needs to be let out.  The smell of bug spray is heavy in those early hours, as countless bites and hundreds of warnings of dengue have taught me the habit of spraying up in the dawn hours.  The day progresses strangely for me – a routine hasn’t yet been established, but after the fears of the last week have finally quieted down and the meetup schedule a bit lessened, I find quiet times to write, to play, or simply to think, about all the parts of life that I haven’t yet thought of.

I’ll go to the gym or swim some laps in the pool – neither with the passion nor regularity of someone trying desperately to lose weight, but out of boredom or a need to move.  Nothing more really appeals to me.  I enjoy a good 2K run or 500m in the pool as a way to relax, or again, to think.

It’s the process of thought that really hones in with so much time on one’s hands.  I worry that perhaps I have too much but so far I’ve found ways to fill the days without being totally useless.  It still doesn’t quite feel like the new normal, but it’s getting more familiar by the day.

Mostly, however, I explore.  Online and not, I am starting to enjoy getting to know the nooks and crannies of this adopted city of mine.  Singapore is an incredibly dense city, as an island town must be.  Not only does the city grow up, but also down, underground, and shops and services fill every square meter of space available.  It is so easy to walk by a food centre without knowing it exists, or past a path that leads to another part of town so close you’re shocked at its proximity.

Above all, you find all the ways that islanders learn to deal with the humidity and find yourself adapting in kind.  I write that in second person on purpose – because at times, it feels like I am watching someone else’s life, like I am still on vacation within my own life.  It’s only during the times when I am socializing, when I interact and feel that pleasure of human connection that I begin to feel like myself once again.  This is a strange reversal from back home when I had craved solitude to center myself, but I suppose, that’s only to be expected when you move from the familiar to the strange.

For all of those feelings, though, I’m finding that it’s only truly the weather that bothers me here any more.  I may begin to look for a job, or throw myself into my writing even deeper, but the sense of familiarity that is beginning to take hold serves as a capable buoy.

If only I could stop sweating here, though!

Categories: The New Normal

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