When I say that, I mean it in the secular sense, stripped of all religious implications and significance. Being non-Christian, I never cared much for Christmas; being single on Christmas every year of my life save 2006, I decidedly didn't give a shit about Christmas. I don't exchange gifts, I don't buy gifts for my family and friends, and the only thing I look forward to on Christmas is the log cake.
Then again, the preceding sentence should have been in the past tense. This time around, I looked forward to it not simply because of the four-day weekend, but because I finally had someone to spend it with to give shape to the secular promise of the romance of Christmas.
And it was great. It was the best Christmas ever. On Christmas Eve we drove (okay, I drove) to my other condo for tennis in the afternoon, after which we went back to our respective homes for dinner. After dinner, upon my request, we cabbed to Orchard because I wanted to take pictures with the Christmas lights.
It was positively one of the lamest things I've ever done. When I told Mag about my plan in the afternoon, she texted, "Christmas lights? Alien who has abducted my friend, please return her, thanks." That is not untrue; but then again, this Christmas lights nonsense hardly tops the list of Not Me things that I've done, have wanted to do, or have said, or wanted to say, since getting together with Wei Chuen. I prefer not to think of it as something out of character; rather, it is all part of the other side of me that had been in hibernation since I had my heart broken. And it's nice to let it out, to feel like a girl, to let someone else in and let him love me.
Anyway, the cab driver, out of good conscience, stopped us at Tanglin Mall where there a tiny display of Christmas tree, huts and other weird stuff that I've forgotten had been set up outside. I was all excited; I went, "OMG I'm so excited! Are you excited?" As expected, he didn't answer me, merely took my hand and started walking.
The display was small and there were a lot of people milling around and taking pictures. I decided that I wanted one. So when a couple of tourists - Koreans, he guessed (but he'd know; they're his fellow countrymen) - accosted us to help them take a picture, Wei Chuen asked them if they'd return the favour.
And they did! Look at this. I love this picture:
When he told me that he was wearing jeans in the cab, my mouth hung open for about three seconds. It was the first time I'd ever seen him in jeans - and we've been together for almost six months now. It's too bad he doesn't like wearing jeans (he only wore jeans because his two other pair of pants - the green one and the brown one - either hadn't been ironed or hadn't been washed. I forgot which) because I think he looks great in jeans. I thought he looked incredibly sexy that night, and I adore the shorter hair. Makes him look like a new person, right? I totally have a new boyfriend now.
Anyway, we started walking towards Ion and took this picture along the way:
Traffic on the road was non-moving. I marvelled over how people had the patience to sit in the car and do nothing but wait for the cars in front of them to move. If it'd been me, I would've...I don't know what I would've done. Probably swore so much that all the swear words that are in existence would've been exhausted. It was a good thing I didn't drive, and Wei Chuen was lucky to get that cab driver - he told the driver to stop him anywhere in Orchard and the driver told him that Tanglin Mall was the safest place. Turned out to be spot-on.
We witnessed a slight commotion on the road, between an ang moh woman and some other ang mohs. Wei Chuen said the parties involved drove a BMW convertible and a Mercedes-Benz or something. They got out of their cars, the ang moh woman screamed, "You fucking asshole!", some policemen came out, and we moved on to the toilet. The point of saying this is that there is no point. I don't know what happened. But it was unsurprising that something did, considering the crazy traffic.
It was my first time ever in Orchard on Christmas Eve. Wei Chuen warned me about the crowd, about the fuckholes spraying rubbish into the crowd, and about the crowd. He warned me that he'd be pissed off, that I'd be pissed off, that we'd see if I'd still be all excited and smiling and happy when someone sprayed something into my face. Undaunted, I insisted that we went because I wanted to take pictures with him (last time we went - a week before Christmas - I forgot my camera).
I hereby declare that I'm never going to Orchard on Christmas Eve ever again. EVER AGAIN. The Hilton hotel stretch (with the ugly blue lights) was still decent. There weren't too many people around and we could breathe and walk at a decent pace. When we got out of Ion, though, the crowd was starting to get thicker and thicker - and thicker and thicker. Wei Chuen started to get annoyed, as can be seen here:
(I look like I'm pregnant with his baby but I promise that I'm not. It was just the angle. Or maybe I really am that fat.)
The annoyance is reflected pretty well on his face. Credit to him for not losing his cool like I would've done; as we tried to make our way through the crowd, with me clinging on to his arm, it got worse and worse. But the worst part arrived when a few idiots started spraying their whatever nonsense synthetic foam crap. I desperately did NOT want any of that junk on my body, on my clothes, in my hair, and especially not on my face. When the local ah bengs and ah lians/China people/Bangladeshi workers/Taiwanese tourists started spraying their crap, I clinged harder to Wei Chuen's arm and kept my head really low. I wanted to get out of there, and I wanted out of there as soon as humanly possible.
When we were almost right in front of Ngee Ann City, the crowd stopped moving - literally. The idiots with their stupid spray cans didn't stop their nonsense. I was literally afraid of being hit by that nasty stuff, and I wanted out of there even more. Wei Chuen pretty much felt the same way, and so when we spotted an opening to our right where the barricades were, we made a beeline for it.
We reached the barricades after some difficulty involving people walking against traffic and some that had to be shoved past. Wei Chuen climbed over first and did so with no difficulty. When it came to me, I half-wondered if I'd be able to make it, and when I found myself hoisting myself up the barricade with little difficulty, that was when I knew all the tennis - the playing and the obsession - had really come a long way in making me relatively fitter than I was before the tennis thing happened.
I had more difficulty going from the metal barricade to the edge of the building - that is, the front of the shopping mall where they decided to plaint some shrubs and whatever else plants. My shoes were too loose, my dress was too dangerous; I was afraid that my shoes would fall off, and I was afraid of flashing the crowd (which would be flashing half of Singapore). Nevertheless, my overwhelming desire to get out of the war zone propelled me forward. Wei Chuen eventually pulled me to safety.
But that was not all! We had to climb up one more obstacle. Once again, I hoisted myself up and luckily for me, behind me was an older woman who was nice enough to flatten down the front of my dress to prevent any potential flashing. Wei Chuen once again climbed up with no difficulty, as if he could do it in his sleep (can I just say here that I find his fitness really sexy?). We made a beeline for the entrance to the underpass and got out at the other side - Lucky Plaza.
We walked round the back of Lucky Plaza, outisde Mount Elizabeth Hospital, and we finally breathed fresh air again. It felt like we'd just escaped from a war. Not that I'd know how that feels like, but it felt like it anyway. It was really, REALLY one of the scariest and worst experiences I've had with crowds, ever. It was much worse than clubbing, no thanks to the stupid synthetic foam crap that I was trying to hide from. Absolutely horrifying. Absolutely never happening again.
We sought refuge in Hyatt Hotel. The air-conditioning was like water on the Sahara; the lush, swanky hotel bar was like a fucking oasis. I lost my temper a bit at the elderly waiter who told us to move from our cushy sofa to a non-cushy chair as they wanted to move the tables, but I decided to stop being mean. I was extra nice to the waiter after that - in my own way, that is. I don't think Wei Chuen noticed. Oh well.
Anyway, after we ordered he opened his Christmas present. I went down to Ngee Ann's Ralph Lauren during lunch break on Wednesday to buy it - a white shirt he pointed out to me once when we were there, one that I thought looked exactly like the American Eagle white shirt he has. But since he wanted the horse logo, and since he only wears two brands, and since I figured that Christmas was important to him, I decided to buy it.
He was surprised. He said, "So attentive ah?" I was more excited to give him this present than his birthday present, and it was one of the rare times I was excited to give someone something (usually I'm only excited about receiving). The fact that it meant something to him made it all worthwhile.
Of course, things never go smoothly for me. Later that night he messaged me and said, "Oh no! I didn't realise the shirt is short-sleeved!" Upon seeing that I almost killed myself. I just had this bad feeling that the shirt was short-sleeved as it was too cheap for a Ralph Lauren shirt (original price - $169. Clearly something was wrong). But because I only went down to Orchard at 1.25 that day, after I'd eaten, after I'd changed my mind again and decided to go after all, I was in a hurry. In my hurry I forgot to ask the saleswoman if the shirt was long-sleeved, because he only wears long-sleeved shirts.
I KNEW THAT I HAD TO ASK. BUT I FORGOT. This stupid snafu unfortunately diminished the joy I derived from giving him that present as it bloody hell made it flawed and I wanted it to be perfect. DAMMIT. And I took very long to decide what to buy for him; eventually decided to buy the shirt because it was the most meaningful out of the options I had. AND IT'S RUINED. I AM SO SAD.
That aside, and the stupid Orchard crowd aside, Christmas Eve was great. Sharing the horrifying experience with him was great, in a warped way. He said he vowed never to go to Orchard on Christmas Eve when he encountered the situation last year but went again this year because of me. Isn't that sweet? I think it is. I think he's the sweetest boyfriend ever.
On Christmas I woke up at an ungodly hour of 8 a.m. to go to church with Wei Chuen. I thought I should, since it was Christmas, and it was important to him. I wanted to go for him, and so I did.
The cab ride to Tampines was long and bumpy. And - not gonna lie - I didn't understand what went on during the service. I enjoyed looking at the pictures on the PowerPoint slides though, when songs were being sung and lyrics were flashed on the projector screen. I fell asleep during the sermon 'cause I was SO sleepy and I just couldn't help myself.
He held my hand from time to time, put his arm around me from time to time. Later on that night, at his place, just before he got out of my car, he said, "You're the first girl I've ever brought to church."
Along a similar vein, I brought him home, so to speak. My grandma requested his presence at Christmas lunch that we do every year for the fun of it. He had his own Christmas lunch which was objectively more important since his family is Christian, but he came along for a while. We reached way before everyone else; even sat at a cafe across the road to wait for my grandma to be ready.
It was...strangely nice to introduce him to my relatives - some of them, at least. My grandma, surprisingly, was the one that talked to him the most. I thought it'd be the opposite, but I was wrong. It was amusing watching attempting to converse in Mandarin but it worked. My grandma knew what dialect he was before everyone else, my parents included! Me included!
I spent lunch re-watching the final set of the Federer/Roddick Wimbledon final. And sitting around, waiting for things to happen, and messaging Wei Chuen. It was okay. Saw my cousin's Sri Lankan-American boyfriend which was cool.
At night, after dinner, I went over to Wei Chuen's house where I picked out my Christmas present. He shortlisted four dresses from ASOS.com for me to choose. Despite me spending some time looking at all the size 6 sale dresses, in the end the ones I chose were from his shortlist.
I'm so happy my boyfriend has good taste.And I really love him very much. He drew me a Christmas card and I absolutely love it.