This time around, I’ve chosen to give a more practical twist to my blogging. Naturally, this leads me to my first topic: how to avoid the giant Malaysian moth swarming. I don’t know if moths have eyelids, but if they do I’m sure that they are not even blinking as I make a highly coordinated attempt to shoo them off every evening. I have since opted for a less aggressive tactic, avoidance, which seems to be working just fine.
During daylight hours, when I can freely leave my room without worrying about being attacked by a swarm of angry black butterflies, I am trying to finally become settled in Singapore. My free, thousand-dollar data plan has been most useful in keeping in touch with my friends and family while I’m abroad. In fact, thanks to my mom, who insists that the family balance will be thrown without my virtual presence at every major milestone, this weekend I was able to watch my baby sister go for her G driver’s license test!
In addition to a SIM card, shampoo, toothpaste and some rather exotic groceries, I also had the privilege of attaining a student pass from Singapore’s immigration checkpoint authorities. After undergoing the usual test of patience that is immigration work, I returned to my laptop for some R&R to find I received an email. This would be how I met my first Canadian friend in Singapore, Jed. His desperate attempt to leave his cockroach-infested residence and find friends by emailing the exchange coordinator at NUS proves to be a hilarious inside joke whenever people ask how we met. “We met at NUS”, followed by a smirk is our usual response.
I also met a lovely group of German travelers who are studying and/or working in Singapore. Being FIFA victors, they decided to invite us to a spectacle of their new found confidence at a German Dragon Boating event one weekend. $15SGD later, we were geared up, filled with 100 Plus energy drink and ready to paddle through Kallang River, which, as it turns out, is also a fantastic way to see downtown Singapore… Though, sightseeing was the last thing our instructor/drummer was preaching to us. She was tough, tight and gave a mean pep talk, which culminated with advice on how to incorporate our drive into work, hobbies, and…Finding a significant other. Moments earlier, I was moved to the engine of the canoe to provide some much needed leg room for the older and burlier Britt who now sat staring at me from his side of our shared canoe bench. Due to the sweat, tears and blood that were shed in our efforts to win the newbie race, I only managed to snatch a husband and a picture of the beach and the keg of Paulaner beer after we washed up ashore.
My final group of friends is one that has organized some of the greatest experiences I’ve had so far in Singapore: the NUS Climbing Club. From meeting bouldering legend Rustam Gelmanov while volunteering for BoulderActive to completing my first lead ascent at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, the climbing club has helped me make the most of my time in Singapore and nurture a passion I picked up during my Professional Experience Year (PEY) in Belgium.
This weekend I visited Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with a few climbing buddies to check out Asia’s largest indoor climbing gym, Camp5. We came, we conquered Jalan Alor food street and worked it all off on the wall. For those of you who are interested in budget accommodation, Serenity hostel in Bukit Bintang was in the dead center of a famous nightlife district and well worth the $10.00SGD we spent per night. While it didn’t include parking, it did provide an interesting rooftop shower experience and a modest selection of first come first serve toast, jam, boiled eggs, and coffee for breakfast, which was more like breakfast and a show once we realized there were more guests than food to go around.
Now that I’ve settled down and began networking it’s time to get moving around Southeast Asia. More from my trip to Phuket, Thailand when I return!