For better or for worse, I spent my 19thbirthday on the second week of my arrival in Singapore. The day started off with a huge headache from the night before, and only went downhill from there. Despite not feeling too well, I was excited to celebrate the day with my friends after all our planning. I hit one person up…and they’re not feeling up for it. I hit the second person up….and can’t get a straight answer out of them. My roommate is gone, and I still don’t know many others. So, what’s a girl to do when she’s flaked on? Answer: put on her best shoes (in this case, my faux-Balenciaga sock boots) and go out for a day of treating herself!
I took off to explore the Bayfront, starting off with the Art Science Museum. Don’t be fooled by the “museum” part, it’s nothing like your traditional homage of the past filled with ancient relics. It’s one of the most unique attractions in Singapore (you’ve probably seen the iconic lights curtain and flower projections on Instagram). Definitely come visit to take some nice photos! However, it has much more to offer than pretty backgrounds for your feed. It’s actually really emblematic of what the country values.
A lot of the exhibits are directed towards children, like balls or blocks that change color and play music, moving pictures on the walls, and crawl spaces around the perimeter of a room. The key point is the integration of technology with things that would appeal to little kids, like drawing a spaceship on paper and seeing it come alive on the wall projection. It’s clear that the attitude towards youth is to foster their creativity and innovation of the future, which is a wonderful way to raise the junior generation. I think that other countries should implement this idea of education (museums) as a way to engage with people. (BTW: tickets to Art Science are cheaper if you show your student ID)
Afterwards, I headed off to the Shoppes at MBS for some birthday splurging! Unfortunately, everything at the grandest mall in the nation costs an arm and a leg so the idea had a very short lifespan. Instead, I decided to blow my money on fancy dinner at the TWG Salon (famous for their overpriced teas). I ordered a full course meal, complete with lobster, caviar and of course, some celebratory champagne for a table of one. It was the first time I was celebrating alone without family or friends, who usually put in a lot of effort to make it a special day. I never felt more grateful for having them in my life than I did at that moment, sitting across from an empty seat, and even the opulence (which usually never fails to cheer me up on a bad day) felt empty. So, if I had to take away a lesson from this really depressing experience it would be this: you never realize what you have until it’s gone. And that seems to be the overarching truth in my study abroad experience.