Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Singapore Autumn

We've had a long and happy October weekend, where we saw local sights,  got outside, and celebrated an early Canadian Thanksgiving with good neighbors. Stirring up fall spirit in Singapore means sweating in a 90 degree kitchen and shooing geckos away while one makes apple-cranberry chutney out of lingonberries she bought at IKEA and possibly a mango.

While I've had my share of cranky pants days resenting those contrasts and sighing a lot, this weekend was all about celebrating what makes this place weird and wonderful. It started with a date night drinking happy hour pints that were twice as much a US six pack (each...ack!) followed by a crowded MRT ride where the subway passenger next to me was wearing shoes made of old computer keyboards. We popped out on Orchard Road to witness the pilot of "pedestrian night." The advertisement said Singapore's version of 5th Avenue would be closed to traffic and open to shoppers. Is everyone with me that you too assume we'll all be allowed onto the road for a festive evening of European-like piazza strolling? They didn't allow a foot on the car-less pavement. As an expat, you have a choice with those "but WHYs?". You can laugh and say, "And I was here to witness it," or you can smash your head against a wall. Every day. Twelve times a day. I find I like myself and those around me a whole lot better when we all opt for the former. So, forced-chuckling, we tried very hard to make it to a side street before we were smothered to death in the massive fenced-in crowds all there to marvel at the empty space into which we were not permitted.

Singapore is small, but somehow, just a kilometer from our door there is a seemingly endless bike path network where we spent Sunday dodging sunning lizards instead of frenzied shoppers. Unlike the previous evening, at times we were all alone with the turtles and kingfishers and ginormous tankers--the latter blurring the coastline between us and Malaysia. We've certainly had prettier (and cooler) autumn rides along the Vltava River and Birch Bay's tide flats, but this is our now, and it feels all right.

And how can you not be All Right when thirty or so neighbors (and that's not all of them!) gathered later for a potluck feast? There were butter tarts, Nanaimo bars, orange sauce, pecan studded casseroles, and Rice Krispy turkeys made out of ingredients one can only find in North America. We did a superb job raising blood sugar levels and channeling our inner autumns:

If I had to pick a favorite month---one degree north of the equator or not---it is our now:

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