Singapore was my home for 3 years. Despite leaving Singapore in 2010, I still frequently return to the Lion City for brief visits. With that familiarity comes a certain feeling of, “hey, I know this place.” But today, after having brunch with my friend, I took the MRT back to my hotel in Chinatown. I was suddenly not feeling too sure of myself. I was tempted to just hop into a cool cab, pay double or triple the price of public transport and hop off to my hotel room without breaking a sweat. My friend Shawn said, “No, Maida the MRT’s just nearby, I’ll walk you to it.” I was thinking to myself, “If he wasn’t looking, I would have just jumped in a cab.”
So I walked to the Clarke Quay station. Took the five flights of stairs down, took the MRT, then, got lost in the confusing exits of Chinatown. In the midst of the frenzy of tourists souvenirs, offers of “Chicken Rice,” and “Ang mohs (white men) drinking ice cold Tiger beer at noon as sweat trickled down their faces, I got lost. I asked three people how to get back to my hotel. But despite getting lost, there’s a certain excitement to it. I didn’t know what the auntie meant when she said, “Fa.” Does she mean is that four blocks away or far. My adrenaline and energy was building up, in my quest to find my hotel near an Indian temple. Eventually, I saw the slippers all lined up outside the temple, then spotted my hotel.
Then, it dawned on me. We often fear getting lost. But getting lost is part of adventure. You get to see new sights, meet new people, relate with others, and get tougher.
I once got lost in Lombok, Indonesia. My host, a hotel GM, left me one Sunday to the care of the hotel driver. He gave instructions to driver to bring me to several temples and show me the rambutan and other tropical fruit plantations. Before I knew it, the driver was struggling to drive the car through rough terrain. I asked him, “Rambutan here?” He misunderstood the instructions and brought me to waterfalls local Lombok residents go to for picnics. I met a lovely Muslim family, where the mom was fascinated with my tall stature. She told me to join them in a picnic. I walked with them to see the falls, but I declined to the picnic. Then, I asked the driver to take this photo. With a great big smile on my face, I was happy to be lost.
Growing up and doing great things happen outside your comfort zone. Sure , when I got to my hotel, I was sweaty and wasted some time. But I did like the sights along the way. Go ahead, get lost and enjoy the journey!
Maida’s Touch: Feeding Restless Appetites~