Here I am back in Singapore. Last March, I left dragging my heels, but I never thought I’d return so soon – less than a year later. The trip had been my first time visiting anywhere in Asia and it sparked an insatiable wanderlust.
While visiting Asia’s most westernized country certainly does not make me worldly, it was the farthest I’d ever travelled from home and seemed incredibly foreign. A bit like, “Asia 101,” Singapore is easy – english is spoken practically everywhere, the public transportation is organized, and the infrastructure is highly developed. It’s a bit like riding The Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney World and then thinking you’re a pirate.
Despite the astonishing user-friendly quality of Singapore, I do feel very far away, it does have dimension, and I do love it here –which is a good thing considering I’ve committed myself to staying for the next four month. Like the first class of culinary school, despite its basic level, it opened up a Pandora’s box of curiosity – for that, it will always be a place that I adore.
Within days, I’ve become re-accustomed to familiar-foreign streets and re-discovered the joys of a daily steamed-bun. I’ve also automatically re-adopted the local etiquette of handing cashiers money, and receiving change, using both hands – a custom that makes any exchange far more gracious and careful than that of western standards.
I’m beginning to remember all of the different areas I left un-explored. After visiting every museum Singapore has to offer, and covering the basic tourist areas, I had just begun to delve a little deeper beyond the novelties of durian and abnormally clean streets.
This year I’m going to travel to far western points of the island where farms still exist, I’m going to celebrate Chinese New Year surrounded by local traditions, and I’m going to eat everything that I didn’t get the chance to last year.
The other adventure on this particular trip is the opportunity to help Chef Dieter Schorner teach his Baking and Pastry class at the Culinary Institute of America location here. Not only is Chef Schorner a legend, working as the pastry chef at Le Cirque and credited for introducing the crème brulée to the United States, but as a teaching assistant I will have the opportunity to get to know the students and paint a better portrait of life here in Singapore.