I traveled so much this week on our little (but mega) island! Yale-NUS is right next to the larger university center, called University Town, or U-Town for short (Photo 1). It is a beautiful center where it does not look like a college at all! It has food courts, auditoriums, dance studios, restaurants, and even escalators. I got to spend more time here with my friends studying, sightseeing the area, and of course, eating delicious food. The food court here is called “Flavours @ UTown” and is the food court. Today, I had Taiwanese popcorn chicken and pork chop rice with egg. It was sooo good! At the same time, I got to have comfort food like Starbucks; therefore, I got to still have my regular coffee and sweet intake as much as I do in the States.
Besides enjoying campus food, I experienced my first hawker center! Hawker centers are open-air food courts that are filled with authentic foods from many cultures that are available for a very affordable price. My Singaporean suite neighbors took my friend and I to the one in Clementi, a fifteen-minute bus ride from campus. It was very busy but very safe since they check for everyone’s vaccination statuses before you enter (pretty much everywhere in Singapore). I had Thai curry rice and chicken. On Thursday, my suitemate surprised me and took me to another hawker center, located in a mall called Beauty World Plaza. I had Japanese curry and rice. We then shared a signature Singaporean dessert, called cendol: green rice flour jelly, coconut milk, and palm sugar syrup.
On Saturday, one of my other suitemates and I went hiking early in the morning. We went to Bukit Timah Nature Preserve, a popular nature park in the heart of Singapore’s wetlands (Photo 2). It is considered a fairly easy hiking destination. But, wow it was still difficult. I am so used to hiking when it is cooler but it was close to ninety degrees that day. Later that day, I got to play tennis at the university’s courts. I got to meet other tennis lovers who are beginners as well. There was a tennis coach who helped us get the basic skills of serving and catching the ball. We played tennis for two hours. As you could guess, after hiking and playing tennis, I was very tired by the end of the day, but it was a good feeling. I felt fulfilled and excited to be physically active in the lion city.