Once again a busy year and I have the feeling I might not want it any other way despite being a bit exhausted at times. I was traveling a lot for fun and for work. Starting the year off very nicely in January with a visit from Heather. Together with Katharina we went to Melakka and ate ourselves through the city. At the end of the same month I went to Seoul with Vinay. We looked at Temples and art, drank Sujou and met up with my friend Gi Yeon. Surprisingly I had some work to do in town and gave a lecture at one of the universities before running to the airport to catch a flight to Harbin (north China). In Harbin we visited the biggest ice festival in the world, had whisky in a brothel and drove a tank on a frozen river. Besides the magic of seeing huge illuminated palaces made from ice and walk around in a winter wonderland, we also repeatedly took giant donut rings to slide down a mountain of ice.
In February my parents came to visit and we spent time in Ubud looking at temples and enjoying the rainy season in Bali. Bali is really not my favorite place but I do enjoy spending time with my family.
In March I went to Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi to meet old friends and be at the global art forum, Art Dubai and Sharjah Biennale. It was really nice being back in the Gulf and having dinner with Jenny and lunch with Russell. I also enjoyed a lot of panels at the art forum, especially because it was connected to media this year. Can’t wait for next year. I went with Charlotte who works with me and we managed to eat all the good Lebanese and Persian delicacies that we miss here.
In April I finally went to see cousin Sony in Melakka, after not having met up in a while. It was great catching up and also learn more about the family history.
In May I went to Seoul again because I felt I did not see enough when I was there in January. That is why I organized a workshop there in cooperation with another research institute. Spend time with Gi Yeon again, hiked up a mountain with Veronika and got excited about visiting tons of art galleries. I would immediately move there if I could. Such a beautiful place.
Then it was my birthday which I celebrated with a picnic in West Coast Park with all the friends that were in town. There was a lot of cake, sparkling beverages, a view of the harbour and big shipping cranes, frisbee, dogs, and happy people. Also Christoph (one of the three roommates of the year) made a lot of fabulous cake and Andrew brought cherry wine (uh-hu!).
In June I had a brief stopover in Doha to say hello to a new friend. In June I also attended a conference in London and met up with Mona and Koen who I haven’t see in a while. The conference was great because I finally had some input I could relate to since it was about globalization and media studies instead of policy things. And Koen and Mona were great too because we had tons of material to laugh about.
From London I went to Berlin to catch up with everybody and also celebrate my grand mother’s birthday. Lars and Cecilie came from Norway to say hello, so did Anne from the Netherlands. Lucky enough I could catch up with my family as well as old friends like Florian, Till, Fabi, Lotte, Roland, Raluca, Arne, Sarah and so many more. Together with Stefan and Steffie I went to Venice Biennale which was probably one of the highlights of my year. So much art with my favorite artsy company. Then Patrick came from Singapore and I could show him Berlin. After a week of eating cake and looking at beautiful things our ways parted. This time it was even harder to go back home to Singapore because I really soaked in the time with every one I love. The great thing about this world is that it is getting smaller and smaller but the sad thing is that the star track transporter is still not invented and I can’t just drop by someone’s house thousands of kilometers away. I really miss my close friends a lot, a lot of the time.
That is why I went to Bangkok in July to catch up with Dragana, Mariko, Oystein, Casey and Khach. It feels so good being around close friends and having a good time going out and lounging around. After having some really awesome days in the city our ways parted, I took Dragana with me to Singapore and tried to show her as much as I could of my new home. With a heavy heart I let her go home to Oslo.
Surprise! In August, I did not leave Singapore. I stayed because I had to prepare work for the first conference I ever organized. It was the annual conference of my institute and I invited Gi Yeon from Korea but also about 20 other great scholars. The outcome of the conference made me very happy and I am currently working on the book that comes with it. In the middle of September I went to Hamburg and Bochum. Again I had a weekend layover in Doha to say hello. In Hamburg I stayed with Peggy and I could also see Katharina, Matthias and Lena again. Also Peggy took good care of me and surprisingly Nadia from Singapore was in town too. The only thing that was dull was that I lost my passport on the way because I still can’t take care of my belongings. After saying sad goodbyes and being unhappy about leaving everyone behind once again, I went to Bochum. Luckily I could meet my mother there for dinner and catching up. I also managed to meet my favorite highschool friend and roommate of three years, Hedi. We even managed to have some cake with our old music teacher.
The conference I attended in Bochum was interesting too. On the way back to Singapore I realized how good it is to be able to catch up with everyone, even if it is just for a short while.
In October I took my temporary passport and went off to Ankara to speak at a conference and look at the city. The conference was quite good and the city was much more interesting that people told me before I left.
In November TigerAir did not let me fly to Jakarta to visit my friend Kim because of my temporary passport. I understand, it looks like a toy. A week later I finally got a regular new passport which makes me happy. For the next trip I intend to duck tape my passport to my belly so I can not lose it again.
Next week I am going to Sri Lanka to meet Lars for a Christmas and new year’s exploration of the country a who is also living in Singapore. We will be accompanied by Lisa who work at the neighboring university here.
As you can see, I am still in an extremely privileged situation and honestly wonder until when this will continue. The situation is not only privileged because I get a temporary passport within three days and a new one within six weeks, I am able to see different parts of the world, I am eating good food, my job is mostly fulfilling and I seem to attract an incredibly loving bunch non-automated friends. And don’t forget all of the cake I ate all year!
Singapore gives me the chance to meet people from all sorts of backgrounds and I keep on learning. People are still the most important aspect of my life. Still lucky to find friends that become close friends everywhere. With keeping the old friends and making new ones there is a steady increase of valuable, lovable, loving and beautiful humans (and now also some dogs) in my life. I have no idea why I am still unhappy or frustrated at times, I am annoyed with not seeing how well I am doing at all times and being ungrateful at others. I guess, I keep on working on it.
Please enjoy the visual impressions of the year and the song about cherry wine – uh-hu!
Best roommates of the year 2015: Andrew, Debashis and Christoph
Best baker of the year 2015: Patrick
Best Champagne drinking companions of the year 2015: Charlie and Chris
Best listener of the year 2015: George
Best dance buddies of the year 2015: Nabha and Andrew
Best far away friends of the year 2015: Peggy and Mona
What I learned this year: The American concept of dating does not work for me, writing book proposals gets a lot easier with practice, a lot more food is fried in pork fat than you think, it takes a lot of hard work getting out of my own head – most of the time it doesn’t work.