I apologize that I have been a little MIA over here. I’m adjusting to a lot of things: a 14 hour time difference, a 100 degree temperature difference, and of course the culture shock of working and living on the other side of the world.
I’m back now with a super long post for you to enjoy. (Thanks for reading Mom!)
I arrived in Singapore very late Wednesday morning after 24 hours in the air (MSP to Chicago, Chicago to Tokyo, Tokyo to Singapore) There was a driver at the airport to escort me to my apartment and I made it to bed by 2:30 am. I wanted to get up and run to get onto a regular routine and get over jet lag as quickly as possible, so I was up and running by 6:30 am. Not early enough! By the end of my 10k run, I was walking. It was quite hot. My body was definitely tired, dehydrated, and not ready for the heat. I think it’s going to take a little bit to get adjusted to this (somewhat stifling) heat and humidity.
The corporate apartment where I will be living for the next six weeks is steps away from a canal that has a decent running path along it. I ran that canal nearly every day the last time I was here. Unfortunately, there is a ton of construction going on (for a new train) so it’s a little more complicated following the path but its more or less a decent route.
Here’s one of the many bridges across the canal:
So my first morning I ran outside, but yesterday morning, I had a speed workout on the schedule. Remember how I am working with a coach this time around for the Tokyo marathon? So far each week there has been a speed workout and a threshold workout (i.e. tempo) workout. Yesterday was the speed day, so I decided to do that one on the treadmill in the apartment gym. I was glad I opted for the treadmill because it was pouring! I don’t mind running in the rain when its hot outside, but I think that for such a specific speed session, the treadmill might be my better option.
Well, the treadmill option had its own early morning complications! I started up the treadmill before quickly realizing that the pace was kilometer/min. I had to go back to my apartment and look up the conversions quickly for the assigned paces from my coach (I used this site on Runner’s World to convert my coach’s paces to kilometer paces)
I ran outside again this morning and stay tuned for an interesting story from that run. I’ll save it for the weekly recap!
In addition to running, I am hoping to experience more of what Singapore has to offer in fitness. One of the analysts on my team invited me to join her for a spin class and Bodypump class at her gym. Apparently her gym gives you shorts, a t-shirt, and socks. They also have “Molten Brown shower gel” (She was very excited to tell me about this shower gel!) I am really curious to see what the classes will be like here. We have plans to go there next Sunday.
Have you ever been to a gym that provides you with shorts/shirt to wear?
I think this is supposed to help you not have to worry about packing gym clothes along since most everyone takes public transportation here. Maybe this is a normal thing in bigger cities? It seems like a sensible idea, though what about the Fitness Fashion? We shall see. Either way, I’m excited to check out a “local” gym. It’s almost as though she KNEW about the Right Fits, offering me her guest pass, right?
I’ll be honest that I was a little surprised to hear that she works out only because most of the people in the office that I have talked to about running just look at me like I’m insane. Our office is almost entirely locals, with only one guy from Chicago. Running is a foreign concept to this group of people, but I know that it’s not foreign to everyone since I see tons of runners out there AND this Sunday is the Singapore Marathon! You can bet that when I found out about the marathon, I checked to see if I could register for any of the events (marathon, half marathon, 10k) but the events are all filled. Instead, I plan to head out there on Sunday to cheer for strangers. Nothing more inspiring than cheering at a marathon!
I have also been trying to find other fitness classes to test out while I am here. In fact, after work tonight I tried a barre class at “Upside Motion” studio on Orchard Road. I will share more about that experience in a separate post. There’s a little bit of everything here (though no [solidcore]).
In non-fitness related updates…
The language of the financial markets in Singapore is English. Everyone in my office speaks English as a second language, but to each other, they speak Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. Within those languages there are a lot of different dialects. I may sound really ignorant, but I have a lot of trouble understanding everyone, especially when they are talking about places, because they are pronouced so differently than I would have expected.
Maybe I can’t understand what everyone is saying, but I speak their language when it comes to food! Oh my goodness, the food. There are SO many options and I swear everything is so good. And CHEAP-most of my lunches have been about 3 SGD. There are plenty of Americanized options too, but my best meals have been the local food stalls or “coffeeshops” as they are called.
For breakfast, I have lucked out. The apartment where I am living hosts an awesome breakfast for people “living” there every day with Western and local options. It’s pretty delicious and I have to remember I am not here to gain 20 pounds!
Speaking of gaining weight:…
True story- a woman in the Singapore office who I met the last time I was here four years ago was chatting with me about when I was here last. She said, “oh yes, four years ago, when you were much thinner, right?!”
Exact words. Huh. After she said it, I must have blushed a bit, but no one around us seemed to think it was an odd comment. Maybe it was lost in translation? I guess I need to look back at my pictures from Singapore in 2011 and see what I looked like!
Lunches at the office are a big deal. People are gone for like 1.5-2 hours! It’s so different than my office at home, where most people bring in leftovers that they eat at their desks while working. That would be unheard of here at our Singapore office. If people do bring food back, they eat it in the break room while hanging out and chatting. They go to “food hawkers” or “coffeeshops” which are just local restaurants cooking up food. I have been tagging along with the team wherever they want to go. I have usually just asked one of the analysts to tell me what to order. There are so many options at each food buildings and I have no clue what’s good or even what anything is! Besides, I’m not a picky eater; I don’t mind spicy food; I eat meat, etc., so everything she has ordered for me has been fabulous.
Eating lunch with the team though has been a reminder that my chopstick skills need some work. I usually think that I am competent with chopsticks. Yet when I am here, everyone in the office sees me and then asks politely, “are you sure you don’t want me to ask for a fork?” so clearly I am doing it wrong.
Dinners have usually been on my own, though last night I met up with my sister’s old neighbors in a cute little area on Club Street. This area was mostly “Westernized” bars and restaurants, so the food was pretty standard. It was great to have a friendly face to hang out with though!
Additionally, there is a grocery store right by my apartment so I have gone there to get a few things. I was surprised but pleased to see that they did have Gatorade (only one flavor- RED) so I grabbed a few bottles as I know I will need that on my future HOT long runs. Grocery shopping in a foreign country is always kind of fascinating. I didn’t really know what most anything was. Quail eggs, anyone? There were usually English translations on the price tags, but when there wasn’t, I really had no clue..
Cabs are cheap, but the bus is even cheaper, i.e. My first day I took a cab to the office since I didn’t know what I was doing and it was 5 SGD. I took the bus on the way home and it was 78 cents. I was proud of myself for figuring out the bus system to home after work. I realized quickly that things would be a whole lot easier if I had a smart phone (for the bus schedule!), but AT&T blocks iPhone from data plans on SIM cards. Another coworker here actually gave me one of his old phones and took me to a place in Chinatown where he negotiated the price for me to get a 40 day data plan. So if you’re on WhatsApp, let me know! I have a temporary Singapore number on there now.
I know this post isn’t along the same lines as most of the Right Fits, but things might be a little different while I am here. I want to document my experience in its entirety, though I’ll try my best to focus on Fitness and Fitness Fashion along the way.
I’ll leave you with one more picture: the ladies bathroom at the office has two stalls. My first day I went into this one:
…but then was relieved to find that the other stall was a regular old toilet like I’m used to- whew!
I will do a much better job going forward with keeping you all updated on life in Singapore. I hope you enjoy reading about it!
The bathroom picture is the best! That’s actually supposed to be the most natural way to do it. Truth!
I think I have heard that before…apparently I will see a lot of those toilets in Japan too. I just wasn’t quite ready to use one at the office for the next six weeks!
I suppose I should embrace it and give it a try.
Wow!! I have so many thoughts and comments going through my mind reading this post, but first and foremost, I commend you for being such an awesome world traveler! It is not easy to be away from home, and especially for so long, but you really seem like you’re doing great. Reading this brought back memories of my own international trips– re-feeling those initial emotions of “WHAT HAVE I GOT MYSELF INTO!” to “OK, I can handle this!” to “YES! I CAN ride the bus in a foreign country–booyah!” I loved every detail of this post and I can’t wait… Read more »
Haha, yes Katie I definitely am going back and forth with frustration of not understanding what’s going on, to temporary pride in figuring out the little things 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting.
Sounds amazing! Especially the food! In Bolivia, I got very weird looks running outside and I had to just kind of guess at my pace on the treadmill. Didn’t even think to look up the conversion! Although I was also at 10,000 feet and probably would have been depressed by the pace. Have fun, keep the stories coming!
Thanks for reading Laura 🙂
Bolivia! How cool- I have never been there. Were you there for fun?
I loved reading about your experience in Singapore so far. Looking forward to how the rest of your time there goes!
Thank you for reading Ali! I am glad you are enjoying it. A nice thing about the blog is that I really can use it to document the experience for family and friends, as well as for me to look back on later.
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