vancouver island-based author and artist

Travel Reflections: Singapore

 Singapore, July 2016

Singapore, July 2016

'I was made to be wild, just like the storms I love.'

I was convinced the snow was never going to come last night when I was lying on the bed and remembering Singapore.  I was staring down at my legs and I remembered when they were tanned and toned and the surface of my skin wasn't parched like it is now.  I missed the way that city made me feel.  After weeks of being alone and relying on myself or being a docile stranger relying on everyone else, I got to sit at the table and eat, laugh, speak, ask, and drink like one of them, and they were like me, too.  I didn't feel like I was at home nor did Singapore feel like it could be a home for me.  But maybe it was in the way it was clean, orderly, young, so impressioned.  So historic.  Yet so heavily guarded and protected by those outside and in.  Maybe that's what made me as young as I was always supposed to be during the week I was granted to stay, protected between its cautionary walls of machine guns.  I took so much joy in proving everyone else wrong who said the people there would be unfriendly.  I ate all the spicy food I could with my allergies.  I loved the way Singapore made me sweat.  I burned.  I danced.  I found a concrete slice of paradise on the equator, and seeing all the fancy hotels and high-rises didn't make me feel cheated, the way Juan from Mexico City (why are all the men named Juan misogynist snobs?) turned his nose up and said Singapore wasn't a real city. Instead I gazed out at all the lights, admiring until I ached.  I was only sad on the last night because I couldn't take all those lights with me.  Millions of twinkling man-made stars - who am I kidding, they were made by machines - from the top of the Marina Bay Sands at the bar with the incorrectly spelled French name, were glowing to show me everything that human intelligence could do right.  I was mesmerized.  Sad because free cocktails throw punches to my damaged brain, and because my pictures would never come close to showing how beautiful that skyline was at night.  Nor at sunset, or at dusk.  That skyline, the way that burning hot lovechild between tradition and innovation made this millennial woman-child feel.  Its intersection fed my exhaustion and my restlessness the same.  It's in the same love, joy, and carefree blink of an eye with which I'll look back on these three months in paradise, sometime in the future, remembering the same.  Only here, the million twinkling stars are real, the comfort and reverent reward of falling asleep to the rain dancing gracefully on the rooftop, and waking up to the same sounds.  The rain, it's danced all night and I wonder how her legs can keep up with the music.  Then the pace quickens.  Where does the music come from?  The thunderstorms don't come by as often as I expected them to.  But I love them, and the windstorms too.  Everything in the man-made (and machine-made) world is modelled after something in nature.  Burning on the pavement in hot, hot Singapore couldn't be more different than this wet coastal air.  Yet when I surrender here - to the forces of nature, to coexistence, to impermanence - my tender, tired flesh to salty waves, I'm reminded of how my own legs carried me from country to country.  How I kept up to the music only I could  hear, calls to the world's dancefloor to the melody of my own insatiable desire to be alive.  How did I keep up?  It seems I'm remembering a different woman's story now.  But just like the rain, I danced all night.  I was made to be wild, just like the storms I love.  I have Singapore to thank for showing me how to live life this way.  To share my unbridled joy with the world or share nothing at all, to ferociously chase everything that replenishes my youth, to show me that a place can indeed build a life without having to be a home.