Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First Impressions of Singapore

 Maybe this post needs to start slightly before I made it to Singapore.  I guess it should start with the chicken...the one who wanted to cross the road....or should I say freeway...
So my flight was super early in the morning, meaning I left the house before 5am to go to the airport, and my taxi was one of the only cars on the road. I had almost drifted off when I felt the driver slamming on the breaks. I looked up to see a chicken running right at us and then heard a bump. I don't know if the chicken was killed or not, but there was nothing the driver could have done to avoid it. On the left side, there was an accident scene, causing me to wonder if a chicken truck had somehow been hit, leaving poor little Kentucky to be hit by us. As he dropped me off, the driver said that he should have stopped and brought the chicken home for dinner. Anyways, chalk it up to ANOTHER weird thing that would only happen to me!

Anyways, check-in etc was quite uneventful, and it was my first time to fly Singapore Air, which was quite lovely.
Things I like about Singapore Air:
1. menus in economy class
2. hot towels
3. chargers and even adapters in the seat backs to link your devices to the screen
4. friendly service
5. leg room

Things I don't like about Singapore Air:

When I got to the airport, something wonderful was awaiting me just around the corner. I noticed a sign that said butterfly garden, so I went inside to experience the most wonderful few minutes I'd had all day. It was magical, there were butterflies of all sizes and colors flying everywhere, and one even landed on my hand! What an Oasis on a long day of travel! If you ever go there, it's worth finding, even if you're in a different terminal!
I proceeded to the MRT station to find my hotel, and managed to do so using a map! I was really proud of myself, because I usually tend toward convenience (like a taxi), and do get lost pretty easily, so it was a big deal for me to do it on my own!  I spent the evening walking around Little India and eating some good food. As I write this now, I'm preparing to go BACK to Singapore after my time in Thailand, which also deserves its own post. I should have posted this when I wrote it, but it was hard to get online in Singapore, and I was pretty busy with classes in Thailand. So I'll end this with a few things I noticed about Singapore compared to Taiwan.
The MRT is very similar, clean, efficient, and full of people on their iphones and ipads.
The city is much more multicultural, and colorful! I really enjoyed this aspect of it.
I did hear some Chinese around me, but more English.
I loved the straight, clean sidewalks with grass next to them, which made me feel like I was back in Canada.
Shopping seems to be the national pastime in Singapore, maybe even more so than Taiwan.
All in all, I really liked what I saw in the 20 hours I was there....hopefully I'll get a better picture of it this week!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year! (#21)

This past year has been a lot about reflecting for me, which is good, and I still have 4 more months until my 30th birthday. I hope I can continue to work toward my goals in that time. In the meantime, life still happens, right? Christmas went by in a flurry of parties and events, and new years was kind of the same. There are only 11 more days until my trip to Thailand and starting new classes. But for now, it's time to think about what 2012 is going to bring.
One of my kindred spirits, Krystal shared this blog on Facebook, and I was indeed inspired. The blog challenges us to come up with a word (One Little Word) to represent your hopes for the next year. On the blog it says, You live with it. You invite it into you life. You let it speak to you. You might even follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities
Do check it out. A lot of people had some very nice sounding words, especially in the comments, like nurture, gravity, believe etc. And as I was reading a word came into my head. Not an especially poetic word, a short little word with a lot of possibility. So I have chosen the word ASK to guide me in 2012.
Why ask?
First of all, this year, I will begin to ask a lot of questions about the future. Who do I want to be in my 30s? What do I want to do after I graduate? But more importantly, I want to ask God. I want to be more mindful of His will in my life.
As a student, I will be asking a lot, and this coming semester, I'll be asking my big research question and completing my final thesis/project.
As part of my 30 before 30, I need to continue asking myself questions to better my life: Do I really need to buy that, keep that, eat that, do that?
I mentioned in my last post that I'm leading my small group through the book of James, and in there is a verse that reminds us to be "slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to become angry." As a teacher, and especially living in Taiwan, I've been trained to always have something to say, always be ready to give a speech, or talk about something with strangers. But this year I really need to take more time to ASK other people questions and listen to their answers.
So this year, I will ask more. I'm excited to discover how that will come to manifest itself in my life. So how about you? Are you interested in joining in? What's your word for the year?