Thursday, January 26, 2012

Faith. Hope. Love: Chapter Seven

My first experience cooking with gas was in Singapore. Our “L” shaped, outdoor kitchen was striking and what I would expect in a cabana on a tropical island in a location like the Whit Sundays…where the water is a clear, radiant blue; champagne is served like juice or soft drinks; and fine dining occurs under a vast blanket of stars.

Being I never really learned how to cook, I refrained from using the gas range often. One time, I distinctly remember lowering my face to watch as I tried to light the flame. Needless to say I walked away with singed eyelashes on my left eye and was fortunate I did not loose my eyebrows.

I was asked to Christmas dinner with some others whose friendship I enjoy. Cocktail dress or formal gowns were required. Thirty minutes before washing I had to remember to flip the switch outside the bathroom to heat the water. Such a tiny toggle for a fairly important job. Well, essential to me anyway, I did not favor cold showers. (Infact, I would rather stink than bathe in frigid water.) Tonight I remembered. I put on a velvety, maroon, sleeveless number, black nylon stockings, and heels. With my hair swept into a graceful do and clutch under my arm I was ready for an evening of sophisticated dining. I spritzed a bit of my favorite perfume on my neck before leaving and left a trail of fragrant fruity flowers behind me. We headed to an expensive restaurant with a sensational view as that of birds.

Seated in an alcove booth we could look out the picturesque windows and see for miles. The scenery was breathtaking. The city radiated with a glowing vibe below us. We were on top of the world. Spirits were high as we browsed the menu. Fifty dollars for a salad and appetizer and one hundred dollars purchased a dinner plate with portions so small they barely filled me up. I would most likely eat again later. But I felt it was worth every penny. I was in great company and we laughed and posed for pictures with each other after our meal. The place was deserted as we went from one location to the next for each photo…by the vase, on the stairs, near the bouquet…each change of surroundings warranted a swapping out of people. (This was before digital cameras so I am not sure how many rolls of film we went through that night.)


Before I went out some mornings I walked across the street to a little hole-in-the-wall place where I got my photographs processed. By the end of my five month stay in Singapore I had enough prints to fill an oversized album (that was rather difficult for me to transport). There were hundreds of portraits of people, colleagues, and roommates along with landscapes of the Sentosa Merlion, temples, work, the city, and rural areas. Moments of time frozen on four by six paper until they eventually fade into nothingness. Flashes of a life that can be pasted together into a story.

One final decision stood staring me in the face…where to go on my vacation? And as it came together, myself, a member of my work family, and her boyfriend planned a trip to one of the most amazing places I have ever visited…Cairns, Australia. Following were two more weeks in Singapore, back to the States for one month, then on to Taipei, Taiwan.

Faith Hope Love: Chapter Seven
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