Sometimes I think life would be a lot simpler if it were just a bit more like a musical. There are times when it seems perfectly appropriate to break out into song and dance, and wouldn’t it be convenient if the rest of the world would provide the harmony for your solo and join you in a set of instinctive choreographed dance moves. I mean who doesn’t want to walk around and, when struck by a sudden surge of joy, just belt out their own rendition of “You’ve Got the Beat” with fifty complete strangers joining in as if it is perfectly normal? Instead, I’m afraid, if you happened to try to encourage your fellow passengers on the subway train to join you in a little round of “Footloose” or “The Time Warp” complete with swinging, dancing, and running through the cars you’d get some pretty strange looks, a glare…or five, and, in Singapore, probably arrested.
Not only would life as a musical be convenient for all the moments of unexpected, complete, and utter joy, but also wouldn’t it be just perfect to use song and dance to express those more complex emotions…jealousy, fury, love, greed, fear, pain, hope. We would all connect and understand one another a lot better if we knew the specific song and dance for “leave me alone, I had a rough day at work today” for example. It might just be me (and I certainly know some people who would be absolutely horrified if suddenly if became o.k. to spend your time singing and dancing your way through life), but I imagine living on the set of a musical to be a perfectly lovely place to spend one’s time. Life IS a stage anyway right?
Yet, however lovely, there are some things about living in a musical world that would be rather impractical. Besides the obvious, (who really has time to perform a complete song and dance number every time a new emotion or idea pops into the minds of the leading cast members) there would also be the problem of slicking on pancake and all the other thick and pore-clogging stage make-up for an hour every morning, making your way through the day in fishnet stockings, corsets, and hoops skirts, and worrying about smelling like BO at the office after a particularly strenuous lunchtime performance.
Therefore, rather reluctantly I had accepted the fact that, despite my sometimes real desire to perform every emotion, idea and simple thought that crossed my mind, life as a musical probably was not all that realistic. I had, that is, until last weekend at the dance club Dbl O, when my faith that a musical life could actually exist in some form was reaffirmed.
Out of nowhere forty twenty-something-year- old Singaporeans walked onto the dance floor and proceeded to perform a series of choreographed, pantomime-esqu, dances to at least thirty songs in a row. (No, I did not fabricate this in my crazy “I wish life was a musical” mind.) It actually did happen, and, as they picked up some of the steps, others, including myself of course, joined them. It was probably, no definitely, the most surreal moment I’ve ever experienced at a dance club. How different from the usual random crazy jumping, swinging, and general chaos. It was a real life musical. And the best part…this is not atypical. Mambo Jambo, as I later found out it is called, happens quite often (YouTube it if you don’t believe me). In America, you probably wouldn’t find a group of young adults who actually think it’s cool to spend their free time learning a series of dance steps to be performed in perfect unison at one of the city’s premier dance clubs. (If you do, let me know. I want to be their friend). But, this is my life in Asia.
Unfortunately, other than my Saturday evening musical dream come true, I have not spent to much more time dancing my way through life. Though occasionally, I have busted a random dance move for no particular reason. Nothing atypical.
Friday night I joined my co-workers for Thai food to celebrate one of the English teacher’s birthdays. The highlight of Sunday was a brunch with the other PiAers complete with mango/strawberry crepes, Christmas eggs (with green and red peppers), fresh fruit, Chinese tea, and a Dutch baby (a sort of combination between an omelet and a puff pastry, what more could you ask for?). Other than that, my free time has been spent taking a couple hot yoga classes, getting a massage, and fixing a few recipes that I’ve picked out of my new Vegetarian Cookbook.
School has been going well this week. There has definitely been less flipping off of the teacher and rubber band throwing. Tomorrow (Thursday) the students have e-learning day during which they stay home and complete lessons online. This is all in preparation for a possible pandemic, like H1N1, for example. Singapore’s motto, like the Girl Guides, really should be “always prepared.” So, without the students in school, we as teachers will be spending our day in character development workshops, playing bonding games, eating of course, and taking a walk around the reservoir across from the school.
The weekend should be pretty relaxed again with a trip to see “Men in Tutus” at the theatre planned for Saturday night, and a possible beach outing on the agenda for Sunday. The next exciting event at school: level camps. Next Wednesday through Friday, I will be going on a “camping” trip with all the secondary two students (not the kind of rugged South Dakota camping I know and love, but the one with hot showers, facilitators to take us on adventure hikes, and catered food, which is the kind I know less of but will equally love I’m sure). We will be staying at Jurong Bird Park, and while the students will be “roughing it” in tents at the campsite, the teacher’s have a special treat. We will be sleeping with the penguins. This is my life in Asia.
TIA and Cheers,