Top 10 Things to do in Singapore

Planning on visiting Singapore or always wanting to visit? These are my top 10 things to do in Singapore. It may only be 31 miles wide and 17 miles long, but the beautiful island is PACKED with fun things to do!

1. Eat! I know this may sounds basic, but eating may be the national pass time of Singapore. With a rich sense of culture (and a diverse culture) the variety of amazing foods and restaurants to try in Singapore is infinite. You can go as local and authentic as eating at the Hawker stalls (outdoor food courts) or dine in style at Celebrity Chef’s restaurants at the iconic Marina Bay Sands. A couple famous Singapore dishes I would highly suggest trying are Chili Crab, Chicken Rice and Laksa. (Blog post on my favorite Singapore restaurants to come!)

2. Spend some time at Marina Bay Sands. The iconic three-tower building is full of shopping, food and culture. Whether you’re looking for some high end shops, a museum or some really good food, The Sands is the place to be. And step right outside the doors to find my favorite view of the country, a 360 view of the Central Business District and the Marina right on the water.

3. Visit Little India and get a Henna tattoo. I know this is one of the stereotypical “touristy” things to do, but I still think it’s worth the visit! Little India is an area in Singapore filled with Indian stores and restaurants. The decorations and bright colors liven up the streets. Henna is an Indian plant based temporary tattoo. You can find little shops all over that do henna for $5-10, and they’re beautiful.

4. Take a walk down the Singapore River. The river runs through central Singapore, and is surrounded by Clarke Quay and Boat Quay, both of which are filled with cute little restaurants and cafes, perfect for Sunday brunch.

5. Ride the bus or MRT (underground subway). One of the best things about Singapore is how complex and useful their public transportation system is. Granted, I’m still learning how to use it, there isn’t anywhere on the tiny island that a bus or train can’t get you.

6. Spend a day walking through Orchard Road (downtown) to experience the diverse nature of Singapore. Start out at the Ion mall to see all the high end designer boutiques, and make your way to other malls, like Lucky Plaza, to experience the more local and down to earth malls.

7. Evening drinks at Lantern at the Fullerton Bay hotel. While this is on the pricier side, the incredible evening view of the Marina Bay Sands right by the water is worth it. Lantern’s drinks are delicious and the atmosphere is perfect for a fun night out. To top it all off, you get the perfect view of the MBS laser show, reflecting off the water.

8. Spend a day at Sentosa, a little island south of Singapore (it is connected). With sandy beaches and beach clubs, a day at Sentosa makes for the perfect getaway. Whether you are with kids at the water park or sipping drinks at Tanjong Beach Club, it’s always a good time.

9. Spend a few hours at the Singapore Art Museum. This small and quaint museum is constantly changing their exhibition, but is always very impressive. Their showcase of original and different art makes every trip enjoyable. I’m definitely not a museum person, but I do love this museum.

10.Spend the night at Clarke Quay. Right along the Singapore river, Clarke Quay is the nightlife hub of Singapore. Whether you’re looking for a nice restaurant, a swanky bar or a fun club, Clarke Quay has it all. Every night it’s brightly lit and full of lights and life!

If you make it to Singapore, let me know and let me know what you did!

Life Through A Lens #16- Home (Old&New)

SG- Holland Village at 6:30pm.

 

SG- Prettiest of views from my apartment.

 

SG- Fav Greek food in Asia!

 

SG- And how can you forget xiao long bao (I miss it already!).

 

SG- Potato Head Folk close to Chinatown at night.

 

SG- Inside the chic and stylish Potato Head Folk.

 

SG- Bars, restaurants and cafes outside the Marina Bay Sands.

 

SG- View of the iconic Marina Bay Sands from the Marina Bay Financial Center.

 

SG- Best view of the best little island.

 

SG- And the same view from another angle.

 

SG- A beautiful morning for the saddest goodbye (for 4 months) to my favorite country in the world. See you very soon SG!

 

LA- Morning view from Starbucks.

 

LA- I can get used to these beautiful, deep, blue skies.

 

LA- The cutest little outdoor courtyard in Pasadena.

 

LA- And another view of the cutest and most LA courtyard.

 

LA- The view of LA from our common room window.

 

LA- Super yummy lunch to get my ramen fix!

 

LA- Pretty evening skies from the middle of campus.

 

LA- The picture-perfect view of the LA sunset from right outside my dorm.

 

LA- Sunset drives home.

A goodbye to high school

So I graduated high school. That still feels so weird to say, or, I guess, type. As of today, it’s been 37 days since I walked across the big stage in Singapore, in front of all my friends, teachers and family, to receive my High School diploma. It’s honestly surreal. I’ve tried to write this so many times over the last 36 days, but for some reason I’ve been unable to. It’s evoked too many emotions that I couldn’t handle so soon. There were days when I felt too disconnected from my high school life to write this. But usually, it was because I couldn’t accept the fact that I had graduated. Now, I know that may sound weird, but let me try to put some things in perspective.

I was born in Singapore and have lived here my whole life. I went to one school for Kindergarten, but since first grade I have gone to the same school, Singapore American School (SAS). I still remember every single teacher I’ve ever had, every tryout session for the school’s swim team, and every milestone I accomplished at school. When I was in fourth grade, my sister started the same school as me. Suddenly, SAS became my family’s life. We spent countless weekends at school for swim practices and swim meets, I spent so many after schools going to watch dance shows and drama performances that my friends were in, and I spent 13 hours five days a week at this place that very quickly became my second home. School was the place I met all of my friends, all of my coaches, and all of the teachers who inspired me. It became my life. I loved working at attending sports games of all kinds and wearing my SAS gear. I was proud to be an eagle. And this wasn’t just for the four years of high school, this was the 12 years I spent as an eagle. So when it came time for me to graduate, I quickly realized that I wasn’t just graduating from high school, but I was graduating SAS and this chapter of my life. After all, this moment in my life is the peak of change. When I leave for college, I will no longer be living in a house with my family, I will no longer walk down the streets to see many familiar faces, I will no longer walk into school each morning greeted by the friends and teachers I had known and trusted for years, and I will no longer have this place to call my second home. It’s not one individual person or a singular place, but it’s my life. And honestly, speaking right now in this moment, I don’t think I realize that until right now.

The night of graduation was chaotic, emotional, and well…wonderful. It was chaotic simply because of the sheer number of people. My graduating class had 287 students, most of whom had brought an average of 6 family members and friends to graduation. Add that to the hundreds of faculty members and staff, and you have a humongous group of people. The commencement ceremony lasted around two and a half hours, and that was followed by an hour of picture taking with all of the people squished into one small reception area. That was chaotic. It was also extremely emotional. From the time I put on my dress at home to the time I hugged my mom, dad and sister after the ceremony, all sorts of emotions were constantly rushing over me. Saying goodbye to teachers and some friends who had changed my life was so sad. Standing there with all of my classmates around me, for the last time, as we through our caps in the air was bittersweet. And walking out of the theater, leaving high school behind me was devastating. But while graduation night was all those things, it was also wonderful. I knew going in to the night how hard it was going to be for me to close that chapter, so I decided the day before that instead of being sad, I was going to be grateful. Instead of being upset that all the things I loved about high school were going to be over, I decided to be grateful that I had something so special that I didn’t want it to end. Instead of crying after saying goodbye to my favorite teachers, I decided to be grateful that I had adults in my life that inspired me and motivate me every single day. And instead of thinking of the final goodbye I would have to say to my friends, I decided to be grateful that SAS gave me a place to meet all these people who quickly became my second family. Now, I can tell you that there were moments that I was sad, there were moments I was angry, and there were moments where I cried uncontrollably, but choosing to be grateful made everything worth it.

I was once asked the question, ‘What is your biggest regret in life?’. Well, some people may think that an 18 year old isn’t old enough to answer that question whole-heartedly, but I don’t think that’s the case for me. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of my answer to that question, and I think I have one; one that’s simple, but also really complicated. My answer: I have none. Just like I chose to be grateful for everything high school had to offer me, I also decided that I wasn’t going to regret anything I did, but be grateful that my mistakes helped me learn and grow as a person. When I look back at all the highs and lows of high school, I don’t regret a single thing. Even if the lows were preventable, I don’t regret it. And I don’t regret I because out of every low came extreme growth for me.

I know this post may seem a little convoluted and disorganized, but in a way, that’s how my high school experience was. It wasn’t simple, it wasn’t easy and it didn’t always make sense. But looking back on it now, it has been life changing. I learned from mistakes, I formed relationships to last a lifetime, and I was inspired. I’ve been trying to find closure, a way to make sense of this crazy journey, and writing this now, I think I’ve found it. So to those of you who still have part or all of this entire journey to look forward to, take advantage of it. Don’t wish for it to be over, because once it is you will be wishing for it to still be there. Don’t beat yourself down about the little things, but learn from your mistakes. Allow yourself to fall and be inspired. That’s what I did, and like I said, I have no regrets. I’m sitting here now with tears in my eyes and a huge smile on my face. High school, thank you for everything, I’ll miss you.

Life Through A Lens #11- SG Summers

My brunch at Prive was accompanied by this view of downtown Singapore, Orchard Road.

 

This framed picture captures everything I love about Singapore. The view of the Central Business District from the Marina Bay Sands.

 

Wall murals, this one of the durian-shaped Esplanade.

 

More wall murals of the iconic Merlion.

 

Morning coffee with a view of the famous Orchard Road.

 

Currently: obsessed with Singapore sunsets.

 

And the obsession grows.

 

When the sunset makes your house look picture-perfect.

 

The only thing better than a pool day is a pool day with this view.

 

Singapore nightlife down by the Singapore River and Clarke Quay.

 

One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite Acai places, Haakon Superfoods.

 

And the obsession grows…again.

 

I got to play tourist this past week while showing a friend around Singapore. Henna at the Hindu temple in Chinatown.

 

The coolest most hip little bar, Sugarhall, in downtown Singapore. P.S. All drinks taste better in a coconut (this one was an amazing coconut daiquiri).

 

The Central Business District at night.

 

Decorations in Chinatown.

 

Doesn’t get much better than down to earth, home-style Singaporean food.

 

High school graduation festivities! We spent the day on a yacht partying with some cake and champagne (how classy:).

What I’m Loving- Summer 2017

Happy summer! Here are the things I’ve been loving this summer. I will try to leave as many links down below at the end of this post. And please let me know what you’re loving this summer in the comments below!

I’ve always been the person who would mix and match my bikini sets. My current favorite is my Cotton On Body black bikini top with my Hollister hot pink bottoms. The black looks great with a tan and the pink adds a nice pop of color.

During the summer, I typically don’t like to wear a lot of make-up, but when I do, I always always always use this The Body Shop bronzing gel. It’s very lightweight and adds a nice shimmery glow.

Although I naturally get tanner during the summer months, when I get dressed up for a night out, I love spraying on this Sephora self-tanning body mist. It’s a very fine mist, doesn’t leave streaks and leaves a nice glowy finish.

Although I have been lifting for a while, I’ve never tried crossfit until I watched the documentary, Fittest On Earth. And now that I’ve started, I’m hooked. Your heart rate goes up almost right away and even over the first 2 weeks I felt myself getting much stronger.

I am OBSESSED with everything Kate Spade, and when I saw this coconut cross-body on sale, I had to get it. It’s the perfect size to fit my phone, cards and money, and looks so good with any summery outfit, day or night.

Last summer, my family was constantly on the lookout for good poke restaurants, and this summer we decided to start making it at home, and it’s delicious! To make it healthier, add tons more veggies and swap out white rice for a brown rice.

This is kind of obvious, because it’s summer, but I have been out in the sun every second that the sun is out. I take my book (for summer reading) and try to get through about 20 pages every day. I also (I know this is weird) have been reading old issues of People. I don’t know why, but I’ve been loving it. My mom has always stressed the importance of getting tan, not burnt, so I use the Coppertone Sport on my body and the Neutrogena ultra sheer on my face. I have not gotten burnt at all so far, but I have a deep tan:)

Since I’m counting down the days I have left in Singapore, I’ve been paying extra attention to all the things I may have taken for granted over the last 18 years. Since the weather has been so nice and the sky has been so clear, the sunsets have been absolutely stunning! #nofilter

*Disclaimer: I am of legal drinking age in Singapore (the drinking age is 18).
Tiger beer is the local beer in Singapore, and now that I am 18, I have been loving being able to drink a local drink. Although it may not be the best beer in the world, it gives me such a sense of home.

Links:

Cotton On Body bikini top: http://cottonon.com/AU/p/body/fixed-triangle-bikini-top/9344943171917.html?region=AU#region=AU&start=1

Hollister bikini bottoms: https://www.hollisterco.com/shop/us/swimwear

The Body Shop bronzing gel: https://www.thebodyshop.com/en-us/makeup/bronzer/honey-bronze-tinted-face-gel/p/p000345

Sephora self-tanning mist: http://www.sephora.com/tinted-self-tanning-body-mist-P286510

Fittest On Earth (trailer): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkRYJp6vVJk

Kate Spade coconut cross-body: https://m.katespade.com/products/breath-of-fresh-air-coconut-drink-crossbody/PXRU6832.html

Coppertone Sport sunscreen: https://www.amazon.com/Coppertone-Sport-Lotion-SPF-Sunscreen-8/dp/B000YJFHXM/ref=sr_1_7_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1499302130&sr=8-7&keywords=coppertone+sunscreen

Neutrogena ultra-sheer dry touch sunscreen: https://www.amazon.com/Neutrogena-Ultra-Dry-Touch-Sunscreen-Lotion/dp/B00CHTZ2MS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499302006&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=neutrogena+sunscreen&psc=1

Tiger Beer: https://tigerbeer.com.sg/

Redefining the idea of home

As most of you already know, I was born and raised in Singapore. But that doesn’t mean that I’m Singaporean (in fact, I’m not). I hold an American and Greek passport. Racially speaking, I come from an American, Greek and Japanese passport, but I’ve never lived in any of those places. In Singapore, we don’t own a house, we rent an apartment. We do own a cabin by a lake in northern Japan, but we only stay there a few weeks every summer. My dad’s family lives in the US and my mom’s family lives in Japan. And to top everything off, I’m getting ready to make a move from Singapore to LA to begin college. So with this, well, complicated background, you can imagine how hard it would be to answer the questions, ‘where are you from?’ and ‘where is home?’. In face, it’s more than complicated, it’s nearly impossible. 

Yesterday I was out at the famous Marina Bay Sands shopping with my mom. I’ve always loved the Marina Bay and Central Business District (CBD) of Singapore. While I can say that I’ve been almost everywhere in this small island, for the first time, I stepped outside the first floor of the Sands to stand in a spot I had never stood before. Directly in front of me was a body of water that would eventually turn into the Singapore River. The tall buildings of the CBD towered over the country. The Fullerton Bay Hotel stood with presence right next to the iconic Merlion. If I turned around, the three towers and ‘boat’ of the Marina Bay Sands leaned over me. It was the perfect 360 view of my favorite part of Singapore. There, in that moment, I felt so at home. It was a weird, but really cool feeling. I didn’t quite understand what about that view made me feel so at home, but it did. I quickly began to think more about what a home is and what or where home is for me. 

A home could be a physical house. A home could be the country you were born in. A home could be the place you currently reside. A home could be where your family is from. A home could be where your family lives. A home could be wherever you are with your loved ones. So if all of those things make up a home, where is home for me? I started to think of all the times I had felt at home. I feel at home sitting in the living room with my family in our apartment in Singapore. I feel at home laying out at the beach on a sunny summer day in LA. I feel at home walking through the isles of Greece at night. I feel at home swimming in the lake by my family’s cabin in northern Japan. I feel at home sitting at a small, street-side restaurant in Phuket. I feel at home walking through along the Seine in Paris. So if all of those places and things make me feel at home, that still doesn’t really answer the question, ‘where is home?’. But maybe that’s not a question everybody can answer. Maybe home is not what we have always imagined it to be. You can say that home is where you are from, but then why do I feel at home in the streets of Thailand. You can say that home is where you are with your loved ones, but then why did I feel at home while on a language immersion trip in France without my family. 

For me, home has taken on a meaning of it’s own, and it’s taken me 18 years to realize that. Home is not a place, home is not a thing, and home is not a person. Home is a feeling, a feeling of happiness. Home is the the places, things and people that make you happy. It’s being able to find smiles and laughter within our world. And that may not be an acceptable or understandable answer for most people, but that’s home for me.