1. Eat a lot of crappy food, then don’t eat at all. Cry. Workout til you want to throw up. Punch the wall if you must, scream if you must. Watch Pretty Woman and wish Richard Gere would climb a fire escape to rescue you. Then watch Terminator 2, drool over Linda Hamiliton’s muscles and remember you don’t need a man to to rescue you or to kick butt. Try and swallow the tears before you walk into the office, because being dumped is not a reason to be late. Stare at the ceiling as you try to fall asleep for the seventeenth time. Wake up, repeat.
2. Wipe your tears, and use your leftover flight credits you had booked for a trip to visit him and book it for Singapore to visit one of your best friends instead.
3. Make a promise to yourself that once you board that plane you won’t come back the same person you are right now.
4. Arrive in Singapore and give your friend the biggest hug, because in that hug is everything you’ve been carrying alone for the past 4 months. Your shoulders already seem a little lighter now. Hold on tight to your bags as she waves down a taxi, hop in and begin to take it all in. The buildings are tall and otherworldly, from the future maybe. It’s almost 1AM but you’re not tired anymore. The reality of being somewhere brand new electrifies your body and stimulates your senses.
5. Drop your bags in your hotel room and dive into the sea of white sheets. Wrap yourself in them as you lay back and stare out the window. It took you almost 28 hours to get here. You’re in the future, major Marty McFly style. Before you go out make a list for yourself.
1. Live in the moment
2. Laugh a LOT
3. DON’T check your email
4. Eat whatever you want
5. Leave your worries here
You can’t leave until you’ve checked everything off this list.
6. While your friend is at work take this opportunity to explore like mad. You won’t have cell phone service, so memorize the street names, left and right turns, bus stops and go. Walk without headphones and take in the sounds around you. The different languages and motorcycles wooshing by. The old Chinese man playing Jesus Loves Me on his harmonica. Oh, and words of advice, wait for the little guy on the crosswalk to turn green before you try and gun it across the street like the locals do you don’t wanna risk being toppled by a double decker bus.
Look to the right and left, up and down. Don’t miss a thing. Ask a stranger for directions and he’ll tell you he doesn’t speak english. Ask another stranger for directions and he’ll ask why the heck you’re walking that far and to “just take a taxi!” and you’ll simply reply that it’s because you want to. He’ll laugh to himself as he points you in the right direction.
7. Keep getting lost until you finally stumble upon one of the wonders you’ve been drooling over in all of the travel magazines and blogs. It’s real this time for you, up close and personal. You stand amongst the others–some tourists, some locals, and admire it, crane your neck to take in the vastness of it all. It’s even more overwhelming in person, more than you imagined it to be. Take lots of pictures, your trip doesn’t exist without pictures (or does it?).
8. Go out to eat and try literally EVERYTHING. Nothing’s off limits. Peppered bullfrog, veal tongue, chili crab, smooth yummy bread rolls, yes I said smooth, because they were. Taste it and sigh with satisfaction, because it’s so dang good. Memorize the spiciness of the veggies and sweetness of the traditional chendol, and pray to God that you’ll be able to recreate something even remotely similar when you get back home.
9. Meet the perfect stranger who just happens to know everybody in this town. Let him whisk you and your friends away to unlock a different part of the city. It’s crawling with unexpected excitement. The music, the food, the people. You’ll meet so many amazing characters, I swear tonight will feel like a movie, especially after late night karaoke ;)
10. Eat more food.
11. Tour the Financial District at night and watch it become a place of wonder as 30 or so cyclists whisk by you with their bright headlights, momentarily transforming themselves into temporary floating stars.
12. Get stuck in immigration coming back from Malaysia and fear for your life for 90 minutes (don’t ask).
13. Make new memories to replace the bad ones…
14. Spend your last night at your friend’s place scrolling through the hundreds of photos and videos you’ve taken. You both giggle in the dark, with bright screens illuminating your faces. Your bodies are sore from the several days of constant exploring but you can barely fall asleep. You’re not ready to leave yet but you close your eyes and try to sleep anyways.
15. You catch your last taxi ride in Singapore to the airport. Other than the traditional Chinese music playing in the cab, it’s eerily quiet on the streets tonight, or maybe it’s just your feelings reflected onto the city. As your plane takes off, smile to yourself when you think of all the good times you had that week. Watching cyclists turn the city into a sea of fireflies, the smell of the street vendors and durian because of the laughs they brought you, the colorful view of Malaysia, watching BigBang music videos at 2 in the morning, forgetting that you needed to pay for toilet paper (HA). You’re grinning from ear to ear so much so that your neighbor asks what you’re thinking of. You simply smile and say that you had the best time of your life.
16. You remember now that the world is bigger than one relationship. That maybe you’ll be okay. And that my friends, means everything.