Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A phenomenal surprise

It's amazing to think that I've been here three years, and I'm going on my fourth. Which means, poignantly, my very first students I ever taught in Singapore are graduating in a few weeks. And just like them, I feel like I'm graduating too. I've gone through the "freshman" stage of newbie-expat confusion, got to the sophomore time of a bit of gained knowledge to base the new lessons on, and finally, became an upper-classman, someone who can actually give advice to someone else who's new in the country. Someone who weaves in and out of crowds, jumps on and off public transport, and has her favorite "hang out" spots - if not like a local, then at least like someone who's been here for a while. And I feel the confidence of an upperclassman. That feeling like I've taken on the world and have something to show for it.

...But I'm planning to hang around a bit longer. So think of me as a "super-upper-classman."

With all I've seen and done in Singapore, there's still a few goals I haven't reached. One of those was unexpectedly met by a past student.

Out of the blue, I got an email from a student - the kind of email that my fellow professors and I would consider a "keeper" - a message you print out and file away for a frustrating day down the road when you need a reminder that you've done stuff that's mattered. Within this touching email was a gift of thanks. Working as an usher, he had a single ticket for Singin' in the Rain at Marina Bay Sands Theater, and he wanted me to see it.

He did not know that seeing a stageplay at Marina Bay Sands had been on my Singapore Bucket List since 2012. But I did, and I told him so. I was delighted and touched that he would think of me.

On Sunday evening I took two trains down to the Bayfront. Marina Bay Sands, as you might recall from earlier posts, is an integrated resort-casino-theater and shopping mall. It's beautiful just to walk around window-shopping in, but I hurried past store windows to get to the box office. I told them that a ticket was being held for me, they told me to come back in 45 minutes... so what's a girl to do? I went to the nearest cafe and got a flat white and a cupcake.

Back to the box office I went and was given my ticket and was taken to my seat. I had a fantastic view of the stage in row R, seat 3. The theater was uniquely utilitarian in a beautiful way; it wasn't until recently that I realized how turn-of-the-century Buffalo's theaters are. Shea's reflects the gilded age; Kleinhans is as "modern" as a Buffalo theater gets, in my experience, with its beautiful wood interior. Marina Bay Sands Theater was comfortable and spacious, with deeply padded chairs and a perfect view of the stage. 

While Marina Bay Sands may have lived in the present, the play transported me to the Golden Age of Hollywood; the Roaring Twenties were alive on stage, and I felt a pang of regret that I wouldn't be teaching Survey of Mass Communication again this semester (where I play clips from The Jazz Singer and other early forays into cinema). The titular scene of the play finds the audience laughing in delight as Don Lockwood cavorts through puddles (real puddles! on a stage where water is pelting down in a realistic thunderstorm!), splashing the three front rows, who are armed with ponchos.

I left that evening feeling light. I took the train back to Orchard Road and walked the fifteen minutes through a steamy equatorial night to my apartment with showtunes on my mind and a sense of comfort in my heart for this island city. What a glorious feeling, indeed.


jenny said...

I can't tell you how happy this makes me, Amanda. I am SO proud of all you have done and become. Quite a transformation from that little girl who used to be my pen pal, though I loved her and was proud of her too. :)

Amanda Lohiser said...

Awww, thanks, Jenny! That means a lot to me! ❤

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