I remember before moving in 2009, a lot of people warned me how boring Singapore could get - its size, crazy rules and limited choices were pointed out. But boredom was never part of my vocabulary while living there.
How could one get bored when the place is buzzing and booming (of course, having crazy friends helped a lot too)!
And if I do get in that state - Bangkok, Hong Kong, Bali and Manila are just a quick plane ride away.
But I remember seeing a lot of changes (in the six plus years that I've lived there) - the whole Marina Bay landscape drastically changing with Marina Bay Sands and the Art Science Museum, creating a lot of green projects including the Gardens by the Bay to help realize its vision to be "a city within a garden", the crazy beautiful makeover of the National Gallery, popping of new hip (and foodie!) areas like Tiong Bahru and Keong Saik Road, new amazing architecture, hotels, clubs, restaurants - strengthening its hold on being a food haven!
And so each day could be a chance to enjoy all these or to just savor the good ol' tried and tested - having satay in Lau Pa Sat, my Xiao Long Bao's in Yum Cha, Din Tai Fung or Dynasty, Laksa in Geylang or some Pad Thai on the top floor of Orchard Towers (yes, hard to believe, but they do have good Thai food!). That is one thing I love (and miss) about Singapore - I can never run out food choices and places to eat. Everything that I would crave for, I could easily get.
And I guess this is a reflection of it being a true cosmopolitan city.
It is a melting pot of different cultures, beautifully coexisting and feeding into each other. And a hawker center (like Newton Circus, Lau Pa Sat, Makansutra) strongly visualizes this - people from different races and walks of life enjoying the variety of food stalls.
Big life lessons I have learned living there - with respect and acceptance, we all can enjoy the beauty of diversity.
And one should never (ever) judge others because the uncle wearing that plain-looking shirt quietly eating his Char Kway Teow could be the patriarch of some empire.
There are days when I seriously miss Singapore - its tropical climate (yes even the scorching hot days!), the laid-back Sundays at Tanjong Beach Club, after-work drinks at Boat Quay or Club Street, a chill night in some rooftop bar or dancing the night away in the newest club, escapes to Pulau Ubin, morning runs from Robertson Quay to Marina Bay and back, going through little alleys and discovering an auntie making the best popiah, Sentosa weekends, Cheese Prata Bombs at Spize after a crazy night, champagne brunches, cycling through the East Coast, its beautiful people (especially my acupressure master who gave me my weekly back fix), ending my sentences with lah, leh and lor, having an easy access to anything that I need and just basking in its vibrant energy. There is something about this city that just awakens my senses and restores my mojo - pushing me to believe that anything is possible.
But it is comforting to know that when I can no longer fight my Singapore craving, it's just 12 hours away.
And just like that, I'd be home again.