April 7, 2014

Beautiful Singapore!

Selfie Time on the bus en route à la aéroport

On Friday evening I traveled to Singapore along with 5 other members of my Academic Bowl team and 1 of our moderators. This trip was a rapidly planned excursion that we were all sure would end in near-distaster. We weren't entirely wrong…
Two of the three Freshmen on our team, awaiting our plane at NAIA (Ace and Eugene: top to bottom)

Our flight was delayed leaving Manila which resulted in us arriving at 12:06 AM in Singapore. We were all exhausted and starving as the meals we were served were none too plentiful.
 My roommate Ace and I eating the Cheetos we purchased in the airport onboard the plane, still on the Tarmac

We finally arrived in Singapore and, despite the late hour, I couldn't help noticing how absolutely gorgeous the country is! It's clean, it's efficient, and the greenery is beautiful--a nice change of pace from the smoggy concrete jungle I live in (though I do love Manila more than words as well).
Brian, the third and final Freshman, snoring behind us on the plane

Before we even got to the hotel, there was drama. (Isn't there always?) As soon as we got on the bus I reached for my iPod that I had slipped into my travel purse. It wasn't there. I ransacked all my bags and was on the verge of tears when we got to the hotel, my iPod was nowhere to be found. Ace and I were talking in the lobby when Eugene picks up her bag and we hear an "Oh!" My iPod was sitting on top of Ace's duffle bag, and had been for the past hour. I then nearly cried in relief, though it may have been the late hour.

We stayed in Hotel V, a really nice hotel, perfect for our little group. I think I speak for all of us when I say we crashed as soon as we got in our rooms. But before we could sleep, we absolutely had to eat. So we all trekked downstairs again and to the little convenience store on the same block as our hotel. It was then that Ace discovered she had lost her wallet that contained her ID, money, and phone. This wallet was not found until the next morning; she had left it on the bus.
My breakfast: fried fish soup with tofu, spinach, and celery. #Yummy

All of us woke up at 6 AM to eat a "team breakfast" before heading to the competition. Thankfully there was a mini "food court" right next to our hotel and we could delight in some genuine Singaporean food. (These little food courts have different stalls/booths where people cook the food right in front of you. Each stall has different options and there are thousands of combinations you can put together)

We walked back to the hotel and one of the other teams, Shanghai American School Puxi, was waiting in the lobby. We were all riding the hotel together. I think the presence of our competitors made us all nervous, everyone started to fidget and I could tell our hearts were beating at a hummingbird pace. The other team showed off their smarts on the bus while Ace and I started lamenting the absence of our two Captains: Seniors Armand and Kabir, "Armanstah" (alternatively "Ourmonster") and "Thank You Brain". 
Ace with the very funny Mr. Harvey

We arrived at Singapore American School without any problems and were greeted by the social science teacher named Mr. Harvey. He was the main moderator and the reader for several of our matches. We were given a run-down of events and began the very long day. As always, it was nerve wracking at the beginning but we soon slipped into our groove. Ace and I were elected "Team Captain" for our respective teams and I have to say, I love being Captain. (No surprise there for anyone who knows me)

The competition was fierce and our team was obviously not prepared for it. However, we learned a lot from the experience and made many new friends--which was, after all, the whole goal. The entire day, all 10 teams mingled whilst munching on Oreos, brownies, cookies, chips, soda, grapes, or pineapple. (#BrainFood, yeah right)
With one of the teams we faced-off against, a strong representation of females that I very much appreciated
Ace with some other competitors
The very generous snack room provided a backdrop for this photo with Ace and Jennifer
The highly-trained assassins of Academic Bowl, Singapore American School: the overall winners! (Oh, and Ace is there with Nathan too)
Ace with "dirty rocker" Dylan from SAS Puxi (shhh, don't tell him we nicknamed him that!)
One of our readers, (I believe his name was Granite)…lui è così attraente!

I even met one of the readers that brought back a HUGE feeling of deja vu…but I'll leave those of you who know why with the secret and those of you who don't, well…think "last summer".
All "suited up" for the rounds…we were, by far, the best dressed team there (according to Mr. Sinclair anyway)

Ace and I watched the exciting final rounds, took selfies, ate, and took more selfies. All in all, it was a very productive afternoon. Some of the golden quotes that came out of this weekend were: "Why is there a bow on the ass?", "#HayNako", "TIMBERRRRRR!", and "The Breakfast Club!…NO WAIT IT'S PERCY JACKSON!".

After the lovely competition was over, we returned to the hotel. By this point it was 6:30 and we were all famished and ready for dinner. So we changed quickly, Ace and I changed the color palette of our war paint (aka makeup) and our entire team + Mr. Sinclair + the moderators of SAS Puxi + two people I had never seen before walked to the nearby MRT station.
One of my fellow Brent-1 teammates, a Sophomore named Jaeho, riding the MRT

The MRT stations in Singapore surpassed any I've ever seen before! They were clean, they were all very efficient, and the people were very polite. It was only a couple of stops until we reached our destination: Maxwell Street. I personally didn't know what Maxwell Street was until we got there and once we did, I fell in love.
Ace in the food court

There is a giant warehouse-looking building absolutely filled with rows and rows of food stalls with round picnic tables in the center. Navigating it was like playing that annoying game where you try to get the little metal ball into the five holes except more fun + food!
One of Ace's many dishes
And the lovely little kitchen she purchased it from

Ace immediately flocked to about three different stalls and ended up with about five different dishes…I know there were squid balls, (goat?) rice, and soybean yogurt/pudding involved.
My lovely food dish
The lovely stall where two women prepared my food…smelled absolutely wonderful!

I went with a more conservative choice: teriyaki salmon, rice with teriyaki sauce, spiced cabbage, and miso soup. It was so delicious! I was completely stuffed after this, and after having two bites of Ace's pudding which was masarap.
Jaeho, Ace, and Arthur

Our team all sat together and had one of the funniest conversations I've ever experienced. First, Brian ate the paper on the bottom of his Korean dish--making Arthur and Jaeho both flip out and leaving the rest of us in hysterics. Then we started talking about…anatomy (as to not scar your minds) and that part was hilarious as well.

Ace, Eugene, Jaeho, and Arthur's head

We were all exhausted at the end of our meal so we wandered back to the hotel and stayed shut in for the rest of the night. Early the next morning, Eugene, Ace, and I all strolled down to the same food court for breakfast. I, however, was not hungry so I watched Eugene and Ace eat their breakfasts. Immediately afterwards we were forced to take two as the bus hired to transport us to the airport was nowhere to be found. 

Not only did we all sleep on the bus, we also slept on the plane before we even took off. We also slept on the bus ride from the airport back to school where we had dropped our school stuff on Friday before we left. 
Home again! Beautiful, maganda, beau, bello, hermoso Philippines

So…it was a truly hectic 24 hours in Singapore and it was truly one of the best school trips I've ever had in my life. My roommate was a blast--we ate Cheetos, Oreos, and Pringles in bed while watching vines and that "sittin' on a toilet" video on replay. Eugene and Brian were sweet and my "Mafia boys" as I called Jaeho and Arthur were very funny and lifted my spirits whenever they started to droop. 

I cannot wait until I get to visit beautiful Singapore again…I highly recommend it!


[P.S. I'll leave you with another photo because…respiro pesante…così così così attraente!]

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