Saturday, July 13, 2013

Back in the "City"

It's been three weeks since I've arrived in Singapore!

This time I am living not in downtown, but in an area further out from the center of the island. It's a bit strange because I am so used to thinking of Singapore as a conglomeration of massive high rises, but out here there is a lot of green space and lower buildings interspersed in between the taller ones.

It's also harder to get around, though the public transportation is comprehensive. The bus stop outside where I live only is serviced by two bus lines, and I need to take a bus for about 10 min to reach the nearest MRT (subway) stop. Using public transportation takes me about an hour to reach the downtown core where I lived two summers back.

Yet, at times it's nice to have this separation, where I feel as if I live within an enclosed community. It's convenient - there's a 24/7 Starbucks, ATMs, 2 food courts, a pharmacy, and a convenience store, but I want to make sure I get out and explore the city. It's easy to fall into a daily routine, especially since I have already seen a lot of the various attractions of the city from my previous trip, but I know there is still a lot more out there. I still have yet to go to Sentosa (a nice beach), or really see the different ethnic quarters like Arab Street.

Work has been really busy, and I've realized that some days it may be difficult to maintain a boundary between work and personal life, especially since I'm living in the same place where I work. I will have to be proactive in making sure that I make personal time for myself - which may involve physically distancing myself from the work and living space.

I'm actually back in New Haven for a few weeks, and I think this separation will help me reflect upon the past few weeks and see what has worked and what needs to be improved in terms of what I've been doing.

I have a few photos to share:

This first one is the remnants of a durian-tasting session we experienced at a friend's house. Durian is known as the king of fruits, but it is recognized by its extremely pungent and somewhat repulsive smell.    However, the flesh of the fruit has quite an interesting taste that some people like - kind of like sweet avocado? There are many varieties of durian, and I believe our group tried seven or eight of them. I think it is okay in small doses.

This is just a beautiful view of Singapore at dusk. You can see how the architecture of buildings here are so similar - concrete blocks, similar geometric shapes, etc. 

One day we went biking on the island of Pulau Ubin, which is about 20 minutes off of Singapore by ferry. Many Singaporeans enjoy going there on day trips to bike and kayak. The island is wooded and full of various bike trails. Right when you get off the jetty, you find little shops that rent out bikes.

We went to Chinatown one night to try out this interesting vegetarian Chinese restaurant. It was family-run, and the menu only had 5 items, one of which was randomly a sloppy joe sandwich. Afterwards we went walking the streets underneath the lights of the lanterns, searching for desserts and egg tarts.

That's it for now! I'm going to enjoy my little bit of time in New Haven - a last taste of America, as well as of my college experience, before jetting back off to Singapore.