Friday was my 25th birthday and all of the fellows had an afternoon event at US embassy. Several important people made time to talk to us although the embassy was abuzz preparing for Vice President Bidin's upcoming visit) so we heard from the economic officer, the guy who deals with Americans jailed in Singapore (men can still legally get caned as a punishment in Singapore and American (men especially) need to look out for are "outrage of modesty" charges if a woman feels assaulted in any way) and this awesome ambassador named Lou who convinced us all that we want to abandon lives as scientists and work for the government in foreign countries. I wish I had more energy to write about the cool stuff we learned but it's currently 1:28 AM Singapore time and I know this post is going to be long-ish anyway. After the visit, all fourteen of us went to Arab street for some shopping/exploring then they all treated me to dinner at a Turkish restaurant. Paul surprised me with a birthday "cake" of baklava. It was a real treat to have everyone together- we haven't all been reunited since orientation and it probably won't happen again until the closing ceremonies. After that, various people dispersed but a bunch of us stayed out for the nightlife. We saw these bicyclists completely decked out in blinking glowsticks cruise down the street at some point which was interesting. We didn't stay out too late since I'd been out almost every night last week and we were going to wake up for an island adventure at Pulao Ubin early the next morning but it was a great to catch up with everyone. Alissa gave me some Japanese Pocky, a lizard showed up to my bedroom to munch on my aunts and I enjoyed reading all the birthday cards Ken brought me from the US.
|Birthday dinner with all the fellows on Arab Street- starting with Alissa and going counterclockwise it's Alissa, Jen, Luke, Stephanic, Justin, me, Paul, Deb, David, Ken, Kevin, Dawn and Marie|
We went on a hike under swaying coconut palms through the wetlands at Chek Jawa and saw all sorts of snakes, flourishing mangroves and mud lobsters. Only a few families live on the rustic island and the whole time, it felt like we went back in time.
|Flashing peace signs on the wet land boardwalk at Pulao Ubin|
|On the top of the observation tower at Pulao Ubin|
|Being 'Merican at the US embassy Fourth of July celebration|
|View of chanting monks at the Golden Tooth temple, Chinatown|