And I’m back in sunny, humid Singapore, with all her familiar smells. It was raining so hard all the way back from the airport (think of all American counties and Indian farms that could do with the water…) and when we drove past Bugis Junction, I just thought about the Ferrari-taxi crash. Hadn’t prayed so hard in a while haha.
I’m glad to be home, and a little tired of European cities, and the overabundance of churches with their baby Jesuses and donation boxes and museum shops. (Well, the churches were mainly in Prague and Vienna, and it’s a little unnerving to see religious tourism in action.) But more importantly it made me realize that the opportunities I’ve used to travel, while privileged, are also selfish. I’ve seen quite a bit and I’ve only been taking in and not really giving anything back… Food for thought about where to go next and what I would do there.
I guess this would be a good time to talk about my trip to my godma’s house in suburban Harpenden, London. Aunty Kitty and Uncle Nick are like, the coolest couple I personally know (my parents are still the awesomest).
Uncle Nick and Aunty Kitty live in a cool 200-year-old house which they’ve restored beautifully. While the rest of us (me, rather) rack up $300 bills in electricity, they use REAL firewood and their water is stored in some pumps which the non-engineer in me can tell you next to nothing about! But basically it’s cool. They also live next to a farmer who has beautiful white horses… AND THEY HAVE THEIR OWN CHICKENS. AND PIGS (my godparents, I’m not sure about the farmer).
I won’t pretend to know much about what it is like to live in a place such as my godparents’ but I love that it’s such a self-sufficient house that has its own organic food (Aunty Kitty plants her own raspberries and potatoes and tomatoes free of pesticides) and contains so much history in it. In the meantime, I get caught up sometimes with how I would like to own a Birkin someday in the distant future or a Celine this-or-that if I can’t afford the former. And yeah I’m sure that would be nice but it’s such a good reminder to see that richness and wealth come in so many forms. I daresay that that afternoon in Harpenden is first or second in my favourite memories about the trip. There was something magical about that garden of theirs… Serenity, I think. Contentedness, which has the air of bliss.
Uncle Nick is extra cool and helps run a business school in Sierra Leone called Living Seeds. Aunty Kitty is a PHD holder with a green thumb and amazing culinary skills.
While I really enjoyed our long afternoon chat (we were supposed to take the 4.30 train but ended up leaving on the 7.08), I’ve got to say they also have the friendliest pets ever.
Pippa was found in their shed shuddering from the cold, and Uncle Nick suspects she was abandoned by Irish gypsies in the area. When she was found she had scars from a cord tied around her neck, but now look at her!!!
They also adopted Snowball who, true to his name, somehow manages to keep pristine white fur. Snowball just appeared on their doorstep one day, and loves to go on his solitary adventures. We saw one of the ‘fruits’ of such a trip: a decapitated rat, whose photo I shall spare everybody of.
Even if I wasn’t already inspired by my godparents to try to make the world a better place in whatever way I can, or to cut down on my carbon footprint, or try to grow my own food organically, I know that at least I can shelter animals right? My friend Audrey is a firm advocate of adopting pets (as opposed to going to puppy mills or pet shops) and for the longest time I was like, this girl is cray, but you know what? I realise it was just my vanity speaking: I want a cute puppy who looks perfect and plays the role of the adorable pet well… But that’s not how love works! “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated,” said Gandhi.
I don’t know about a nation… But I think Harpenden, Sierra Leone, Pippa, Snowball and I are very blessed to know Uncle Nick and Aunty Kitty.