Confessions of a Country-Turned-City Mouse – Movement Labs

Confessions of a Country-Turned-City Mouse

Sometimes, I use this space to talk about weird, annoying, or frustrating things I’ve discovered about living in Singapore.  But the truth is, I love living here.  And I love it for many, many reasons.  But tonight, as I actually work on a serious (and probably controversial) blog post (not this one, another one), here is one of those reasons:

At 7:04, I tossed my wallet into my purse and stepped out the door.

I put on my shoes, took the elevator downstairs, walked three blocks, and had this made up fresh for me in about 3 minutes (no, I did not call ahead), and for $5 SGD ($4 USD):

Chicken Rice (a local favorite), and Kai-Lan (veggie)

Chicken Rice, a local favorite dish. Although usually, the chicken is served on the rice, and the veggies are separate. This is a very deceiving presentation of this dish. Still: Plenty of delicious and moderately healthy local food to fill my belly!

Then, I walked a block and stopped at one of the local supermarkets.  I picked up some necessities, and some soda water (for diluting my lime juice – which is practically a necessity):

Mostly, things that are too bulky or heavy to buy on my "regular" weekly shopping trip.

Mostly, things that are too bulky or heavy to buy on my “regular” weekly shopping trip.

With groceries in tow, I walked home.  I took the elevator upstairs, removed my shoes, let myself into the apartment, set down my bags, and checked the clock.  It was 7:22.

I was born and raised in a relatively rural area (that is now, sadly, nearly suburbanized) – and I love the solitude of life in the country.  But I do appreciate the convenience, efficiency, and eco-friendliness of being able to get dinner and groceries, without ever setting foot in a vehicle, in a mere 18 minutes.  [Where I grew up, 18 minutes would get us very close to pulling into the parking lot at the nearest grocery store.]

Furthermore, there are 4 gourmet ice cream parlors within a 5 minute walk from our front door.  Shh…Do you hear it?  You do, right?  One of them is calling my name, right?  That’s what I thought!   Catch ya’ll later, dudes! 🙂

We keep open boxes of tissues in four rooms of our apartment.  How did they all manage to end up empty in the last 24 hours?
[Apparently, we distribute our tissue usage very equally, over both time and place.]

Can you do any errands by walking (or cycling) where you live?  Do you?

What’s your dinner plan for tonight?

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  1. misszippy1 May 30, 2013 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    I’ve always thought city life would be fun for those reasons. I’m glad you are enjoying it and taking advantage of it. I live in a planned community–not much charm to that. But, each neighborhood within the community has it’s own “village center,” that is within easy walking/bike riding distance. The centers all have a grocery store, a few restaurants, and other things. I love having this mix of suburban/urban life! Oh, and we have 90 miles of biking/running paths that link all areas of town together..another bonus.

    • Holly KN May 30, 2013 at 11:18 pm - Reply

      That’s a cute way of trying to make development-type living feel more like…a community!

      Yeah…you’d need to cross the whole island of Singapore twice to even begin approaching 90 miles! 🙂

  2. Allison May 30, 2013 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    For 3 years we lived in the country. It took me 15 min just to get into town. I loved the feeling of being done with the world when I got home. Surrounded by 30 acres it was really nice to unwind and enjoy.
    Now we live in the suburbs of dallas. The gas station down the road is super convenient for cookie runs and chip cravings. I do miss life out in the rural area though.

    • Holly KN May 30, 2013 at 11:29 pm - Reply

      I used to think I always wanted to live in a rural spot, and now…here I am, and I love lots of city living, too. I figure I’m lucky to happen to love wherever I am; sure is saving me some misery, otherwise! 🙂

      [Although I’ll admit to being a bit jealous of your garden!! The best we can do…is a potted basil plant or two!]

  3. Kristen L May 31, 2013 at 3:02 am - Reply

    We have a little convenience store that is close enough to walk to, but honestly it’s pretty sketchy, and I think people only go there to buy booze. But there is also a good pizza place there — we don’t get it very often though. Most of the time we do drive to do our shopping, however its only a 5 min drive — we are in the city so it’s pretty easy.

    Tonight, I will probably have fish for dinner! With some veggies on the side. 🙂

    • Holly KN May 31, 2013 at 10:58 am - Reply

      Fish should be up in rotation next week…it’s been awhile for us, and we do get some pretty good fish out here!

      Hahaha…I think the “sketchy” element is pretty common with local convenience stores, right? It’s more like “Chips, alcohol, and cigarettes” than anything else. Hmmm…what does that say about America? 🙂

  4. stridingmom May 31, 2013 at 5:32 am - Reply

    I love to bike to my Trader Joe’s which is just a few miles away. Sometimes I grab a backpack, the kids and we head on out to the semi-open, totally busy road and snag the food to make dinner and come home. It takes a lot longer than 18 minutes, but never fails to serve up an adventure.

    • Holly KN May 31, 2013 at 11:00 am - Reply

      I actually thought about your post the other day, about cycling to TJs with the kids, while I was writing this! For you guys, I’m glad it takes more than 18 minutes. But, I bet there’s very little that you can do with those three munchkins that takes less than 18 minutes…. 😉

  5. Jules May 31, 2013 at 5:59 am - Reply

    Mmmm… chicken rice. Also spying the fresh chili sauce next to it. Mmm…

    I have to say I am a city girl through and through. I’ve only ever lived in big cities, apart from two years that I spent studying in the English countryside. It was great, but I had to move to London after that!

    I tend to walk / cycle to do errands almost all the time as I live close to mostly everything that I need. The only problem is that it rains half the time in the UK! We don’t own a car and the underground is pretty overpriced!

    • Holly KN May 31, 2013 at 11:02 am - Reply

      I did think of you (and wonder whether it was a little cruel to post the pic!) while I was uploading that photo!

      You guys certainly get the short end of the stick, weather wise. It rains here, too – but it’s always warm. And public transport is infinitely and fabulously affordable. I thought I’d be twitching for being without “my own” car, but I absolutely LOVE being car-free!

  6. Allee @ Griselda Mood May 31, 2013 at 7:40 am - Reply

    Ice cream shops?! Woman, stop blogging and go get yourself some! 😉 And take pictures, obviously.

    • Holly KN May 31, 2013 at 11:03 am - Reply

      OK, I’ll admit…it got late, I got tired, and I wimped out last night. BUT I will do better next week. KMN will be out of town for a few days, and I foresee lots of ice cream in my future. Also? One of the shops has alcohol infused ice cream. Dark chocolate with Triple Sec? Heavenly!!

  7. Grace May 31, 2013 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Man, chilli sauce can make or break chicken rice. But the chicken rice from the place I think you got that from is pretty good.
    I think the best thing about the city is serendipity: just walking through/ exploring a neighbourhood you don’t know can unearth all kinds of surprises that you don’t really get in a rural area where you know everything and everyone!

    • Holly KN May 31, 2013 at 11:07 am - Reply

      This is actually from a stall at Longhouse. Not bad, although they use a very strange super-short-grained rice. And I can’t for the life of me figure out why they threw the chicken in with the veggies.

      Our favorite local spot is actually the place in the plaza in front of Runner’s Gait (with UOB, Kim’s Korean, some Japanese place). It’s called…Fresh Farm Chicken? Kampong Chicken? Fresh Young Chicken? Something like that. But I wanted to go to Sheng Siong last night, which was in the other direction, so I opted for Longhouse. 🙂

  8. Jean May 31, 2013 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    Nope, gotta drive to do errands. However, I never thought being within walking distance of a store was all that great when I lived in New York. I didn’t go to the store any more often, and I’d often have to carry bags and bags and bags for like a half mile. Add 100+ degree weather to that, and it was torture. Cars are the best (well, they will be when they all run on, like, willpower).

    • Holly KN June 1, 2013 at 3:46 am - Reply

      Well, you have to go to the store more often, silly! [Of course, this is only convenient if the store is on your way home.] I usually make a trip for heavy things (this is especially to the store that carries my favorite lime juice) and a trip for the other groceries. And I usually send KMN out on the weekend if we need bulky things. 🙂

      I do miss having a car to dump stuff in. It’s impossible to do multiple “buying” errands at one go…too many packages to juggle. And I’m constantly toting around a set of workout clothes (or 6), sometimes dry but often sweaty, and a shoe-bag, sometimes with my sneakers but often with my sneakers AND my spin shoes. There are days that I dream of being able to dump everything into a car and cart it around that way. Alternatively, I think a camel would also work. [Provided I could train it not to poop on the bus.]

  9. Shoe May 31, 2013 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    I love the cheap food that you can get at any time of the day or night! Love it!

    • Holly KN June 1, 2013 at 11:54 am - Reply

      I know, I know…I used to (and still do a tad) laugh at Singaporeans for how much they eat out. But when KMN is out, and good food is so close, and so cheap…it’s easy to succumb!! 🙂

  10. Debbie @ Deb Runs... June 3, 2013 at 2:47 am - Reply

    We can easily walk to our grocery store, but I usually drive because of carrying so much stuff home. I do insist that if we are getting frozen yogurt that we walk to the store! 🙂

    Hope you are feeling better!

    • Holly KN June 3, 2013 at 8:38 am - Reply

      Yep…walking groceries takes a whole different mindset. I make a separate trip for the “heavies”: milk, juice, etc. and usually just buy for about half the week. TOTALLY different from how I grew up. But with the store <10 minutes away, and stores at many of the subway stations (ie, if I'm planning ahead, it's not even out of my way) - and a grocery list for just 2 people! - it's not too bad!

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