I have scheduled this post such that it’ll be published just as I land back in Melbourne.
It is always difficult leaving this country. For me it’s a perpetual tug-of-war between life decisions.
Why did I relocate, why didn’t I stay?
I made this trip because mum’s undergoing chemotherapy, and I was assessing the situation at home.
Dad became an excellent cook and caregiver for mum.
She got hospitalised for a week during her first chemo cycle because of complications. My trip home coincided with her second cycle.
Thankfully, she coped much better this round. I helped cook a couple of meals, and I think she perked up with my presence.
And of course, dad would also be feeding me with his creations.
Most of my first week was spent scrounging the heartlands with dad, looking for ingredients to cook nourishing meals for mum.
It even reached a point where the storekeepers recognised us and helped us with finding what we needed.
For lunch, we’d sneak out for a bite, eating things that mum can’t eat.
And then bringing home a bounty of ‘approved’ foods that mum would find palatable.
With chemotherapy, there are rules of eating, and there are ups and downs.
Can’t eat chilli, can’t eat raw salads, undercooked meats, or food left hanging out for too long…
So dad and I would eat something ‘naughty’, and then bring back something good for mum.
We have our hawker food compendiums. Sometimes food-hunting in Singapore can be such a challenge.
While mum rested at home, we made kueh together. I showed her how I made ang ku kueh back in Oz.
I enjoyed having breakfast at home with dad and mum. This is a typical scene in the mornings too, dad reading the newspaper..
Grandma also took us to the columbarium to visit grandpa.
We used to live as three generations under one roof, before I left Singapore.
My older cousin also got married during my visit. Loved the traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony.
Accompanied with a Nyonya food buffet.
The group of us cousins have now aged into another life stage, with the oldest in his 40’s.
We’re no longer the kids who used to play pranks with each other.
We got up to much tomfoolery, such as sneaking off to ‘hidden’ coffee destinations.
Where I’d introduce drinks such as magics, 3/4 lattes and piccolos.
At the end of the day, I loved the sense of family here. All additions are welcome.
I sometimes forget I still have friends here.
And they’re nice enough to follow my coffee discovery trail in Singapore.
I plan to name that future coffee post “The Singapore Piccolo Warpath”
Goodness, so many new and lovely places have popped up in recent years.
And the drinks aren’t too shabby either.
And the cafes are actually quite pleasant to hang out at.
I also re-discovered suburbs full of charm.
And bite-sized desserts.
I went upmarket one night, at a molecular gastronomy venue. Cerebrally fascinating.
But I think I know where my heart lies.
Even night markets hold a magical quality to me now.
Yes, I’m starting to like the heartlands more and more.
Mum has much support from her family and friends. She gets calls, words of kindness and homemade love.
It seems with the current chemo cycle, the worst dip passes after 11 days.
She began to feel better, and eventually started going out with us to eat.
Everything felt normal again. She’d gallivant, she’d order, we’d eat together.
While some things have changed, I’m glad the food scene hasn’t changed that much.
So we’d have lunches for three, desserts for three.
And we’d go back to the familiar food haunts, places that always satisfy.
Claypot Rice in Toa Payoh.
Curry png in Jalan Besar.
Chye Tow Kway breakfast near where we live.
Roast Duck Rice in Paya Lebar.
Heng Hwa food in our local heartland mall.
Teochew dinner in Bedok.
Kway Chap breakfast in Sembawang Hills.
But nothing beats the classic S’pore breakfast of eggs and kaya toast.
There is so much to remember and think about inside the capsule of my two week trip.
One last snack,
One last meal.
And it’s time to pack, and fly.