“… to all Singaporeans and residents of Singapore, a warm welcome home… ” my flight just touched down at Singapore Changi International Airport. It was 5.50am on 13 December 2008, Singapore time.
It just hit me that I had really left Houston, I was finally home in Singapore. About 24 hours earlier, I had left Houston. Was feeling exhausted from packing my apartment for handover and my luggages before I left for the airport, really tired.
My last morning in Houston – I had gone for breakfast at my fav cafe, French Riviera Bakery Cafe for french bread with 2 sunny-side up and a cup of regular coffee, with Sandra. I realized this shall be the last time we met for a chat for a long time to come, but I believe we will meet again. On the way there, we passed one of my fav roads in Houston – tree-lined Chimney Rocks between I-10 to Westheimer. The other being tree-lined Rice Boulevard.
At the entrance to the check-in terminal, my luggages had fallen flat with the cart when I was pushing up the ramp towards the automoatic door – yes, 2 luggages and 3 boxes fell in all directions. I still managed to laugh, and 2 guys who had just got down from the taxi helped me to pick up the pieces before helping their own luggages. Ok, that is my last memories of Houston, I managed to laugh at my own boo-boos as I live.
When I got on the flight, I saw a familiar face – I smiled to myself. He did not see me. … Hours into my flight after dinner service, and half goggy, I saw the same familiar face coming towards me, smiling. We had a chat. And soon, I was served a special privilege – a cappucino with 3 chocolates. And soon after, I was given additional privileges – bottled water, biscotti, assorted fruits and 2 packets of tortillas chips … I passed a bottle to the Spanish guy seated at the window seat, we were separated by an empty seat between us. “Do you know him?“, Jorge said to me, he must be surprised by the extras I received as an economy class passenger. “Yah, he is my uncle! He is my mum’s youngest brother.” Yes, my uncle has been working with the same airline for the last 20 years(?), and despite being a frequent traveller on my job in the last couple of years, I have never chanced upon him on the same flight. On this flight, he was the leading steward serving the business class section. He had said to me, if he had known I was in Houston, we could have met up the last 2 days he was there. That was his first trip to Houston with the airline. But I was happy to see him on the flight. My uncle wanted to make sure I was comfortable on the flight before he stopped over in Moscow while I continued the flight back to Singapore. Nice!
5 movies and many songs later … Yes, of the 21.5 hours of actual flight time, and 1.5 hour transit time over in Moscow, I slept only for 2-3 hours. I wasn’t sure if I was too exhausted to sleep … or I was feeling strange or excited, I was actually going home. I watched 2 American, 2 Japanese and 1 Korean movies – my fav was 10 Promises Made to My Dog – heart-touching … about promises made and forgotten as the relationship grew apart, even though this movie was a human-dog relationship. Despite the random criticism made on the actor (about him being 34 and playing a 19 year old?), on the actress (about the limited emotion expressed by her dried tears at the dog’s deathbed?) etc, I enjoyed the movie – sometimes we should learn to enjoy the plot, and appreciate the meaning behind it all, without tearing the plot and characters apart and judging the flaws from every angle. Interestingly though, BK was watching the same movie and loved it, on his flight home from Hong Kong to Singapore, he touched down into Singapore a few hours before me. Oh I also concluded, I am not into Western R&B, more Western pop and sentimental pop as well as select Mandarin R&B and pop, I like some Cantonese songs but I don’t understand the words.
At the arrival hall at Singapore Changi International Airport, I wasn’t sure if BK would be receiving me as he arrived home only a couple of hours earlier. We planned such that he would be around when I arrived home, I told him I did not want to return to an empty home. I only realized during the transit in Moscow that my pre-paid SIM card from US did not work outside US. At the arrival hall, I was surprised to be received by my family – my Dad & Mum, my bro & my sis, and BK of course. “You had just washed your face?” as BK gave me a hug. Huh? No… I perspired profusely the moment I came out into the arrival hall. It was the high humidity that hit me the first thing. A big adjustment from snowing Chicago and snowing Houston.
The first thing we did when I got home – changed and went for a local breakfast – plain fried bee hoon (akarice vermicelli) with fried chicken wing and fried egg, and a local kopi (aka coffee with condensed milk). Next thing was to wait for my appointment with a chef while BK went for his music lesson. Then back home for a nap before dinner at my parents’ cum bro’s place. Wow all my family were there for dinner – mum cooked curry chicken while my bro bought a variety of local food. Not sure if it was the travel and jet-lagged, was feeling bloated and sluggish.
Sunday noon. I had woken up after a good sleep. Meeting Dad for brunch with BK. It was our routine before I left for Houston. Oh, brunch for Dad was at 1pm ;p …
BK will be leaving for Beijing late night. I will be home alone… and kept busy.
(to post pix later … firstly, can’t remember where I put my camera cable… secondly, I need to sleep, woke up to say bye to BK before he left for airport to go Beijing, and going back to sleep soon for The Appt tmr!)