I’ve always been a city girl. I grew up as one and I can’t help but think I am one.
But every now and then I realize this might be a bit delusional.
It’s not like I grew up in a hick town with cows around me – I guess I’ve always been near enough to the thick of the action. And all of my career before the stripes saw me jostling to get to work with fellow city slickers. I felt terribly disconnected from the world during my two years in Great Malvern but I feel that it did me a world of good to be away. And when it was UCAS time, I immediately looked at several cities which I thought I’d do well in and fortunately got accepted to my first choice at Leeds.
Even in my short working life in London, I found myself right smack in the middle of Bond Street and bunking at a mate’s place at the Barbican Centre. Coming home to Singapore, I was always in Shenton Way or somewhere in the vicinity of the Central Business District.
The past two years on the outskirts of town were weird for me. The good part about working in a questionable area was the ability to drive to work, which I realized I didn’t like doing. I missed the zone-out time I got whilst riding public transport. I was often frustrated by the unavailability of good coffee joints I could entertain associates at and my inability to do impromptu catch-up lunches with friends. Thank God I had a few great friends in the office whom I never tired of having lunch with – Otherwise, I would have been in big trouble.
Being a little dislocated from the rest of the working world, life went on. I accepted that kopitiams were pretty much an everyday affair and teh si became my staple beverage. The only people I jostled with became the aunties and street promoters outside NTUC at lunchtime. The sights and sounds I saw everyday became comfortable and my special treat to myself during the work week would be Indian take-out from Brinda’s. And unbeknownst to me, I was slowly maxing out the heartland.
And the impact only unveiled itself to me last night, when I made my way back into the Central Business District for my first new gym session.
“Let’s go to Quiznos,” Hubba suggested when we thought about something fairly light for dinner. “Where?” I said. I had never heard of the place in my life. And when I walked into the sandwich cafe and the smells of bread and fresh condiments and coffee hit me, I was bowled over. I ooh-ed. I aah-ed.
And then I thought, OMG. What’s happened to me?
So yeah, city girl or not – I’m a total country bumpkin now. I can’t wait to start work in the city again and I’m already relishing the thought of a good latte every now and then when I crave it.
Cheap thrill, eh?