“(Wikipedia) ‘An Expatriate (often shortened to Expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of their citizenship. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (“out of”) and patria (“country, fatherland”).
This blog aims to discover people who are adventurers like me, venturing out in a new place to call home and creating memories. I have previously lived with my parents and siblings in the Saudi Arabia when I was in high school. I have enjoyed and cherished my memories in the beautiful Sandbox I once called my home. Now, I am in a new adventure with my husband and sons here in Singapore.
I am featuring Expats in different countries to share their experiences and adventures with you and me.
Today, I am featuring a schoolmate from Saudi Arabia who I am happy to know is also in Singapore with her husband and cute baby girl. She is a yoga advocate, a new mom and a beautiful spirit. She will be sharing with us her Singapore adventure. Meet Marichris or lovingly known as Chee to her family & friends.”
1. Can you tell the readers a little bit about yourself and where you are originally from?
Credit:Pervical John Photography
• Born and raised in Saudi Arabia
• Moved to Manila to finish my studies and answer fascinating questions about the desert life to curious classmates.
• New mom to my favorite human and a wife to my complete opposite.
• On Mondays I like my coffee venti size and on Fridays – tall size, my essentials to effectively work as a Marketer for a pharmaceutical company.
• Yoga is my favorite thing to do.
2. What made you move to Singapore? How long have you been here?
It was a spontaneous move. I remember how unprepared I was and how little I had when I arrived. It’s been 6 wonderful years and so much has happened since.
3. What do you miss about our home country?
Driving. My car was present in all my fondest memories. Sometimes, traffic jams are a good thing.
4. What are the wonderful discoveries and things you like about in Singapore?
I live in Geylang. Believe me when I say I rarely see any of the wild shenanigans the area is famous for.
I live here because of convenience, which makes it a wonderful discovery:
a) Accessible food. The famous Hokkien mee, ban mian, char siew pau, the Airport Road Hawker Centre, and many more are all within walking distance from our building.
b) Yoga. I live 700 meters away from one of the most popular studios in the country, Yoga Inc.
c) Singapore Cafes. Artisan coffee and homemade desserts within reach. Need I say more?
d) Singapore Sports Hub. We live 2 bus stops away from Singapore’s newest tourist destination which features all you need to keep fit. Although we mainly go there to eat.
5. What are the 3 tips you can give to fellow expats in Singapore or those you planning to move here?
Get lost in Singapore, Complain Less, and Support Local Businesses.
6. The LITTLE MISS HONEY community gets inspired through travel, food and books. Can you tell us your current FAVORITE TRAVEL SPOT, current FAVORITE FOOD/RESTAURANT DISCOVERIES & current FAVORITE BOOK?
• Favorite Travel Spot – Palawan. Besides the beaches, I do imagine myself living in Puerto Princesa sometimes.
• Restaurant Discovery – I love exploring Singapore Cafes/Restos. There are just so many of them to try here. The latest one we went to is Nosh at Rochester Park. Their Crab Benedict is a must-try. Also, you don’t see many places that serve shakshouka so the arab in me was pleased.
• Favorite Book – “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss, “The Wonderful Things You Will Be” by Emily Winfield Martin. I’ve read this to my daughter so many times I now know the words by heart. I think these books just hit me more. Children’s books make great motivational books.
7. Where do you get your inspirations? Who or what inspires you?
I get a lot of lightbulb moments in a yoga class. In class, you surrender to the voice of the teacher. Your body flows according to their instruction – the transitions, the breathing. “You don’t think, you just do.” When work or home becomes too much for me, I escape here for an hour. After yoga, I am calmer and my mind is clearer. Therefore, lightbulbs.
8. You are a yoga enthusiast. I love yoga too! What attracted you to practicing yoga?
Yoga keeps me sane. I started with shallow reasons – to lose weight. I thought going for hot exercises would help me achieve that. Last 2008, I googled (or yahoo-ed?) for hot exercises and Bikram Yoga was on top of the list. I did my first Bikram class in Makati and got hooked instantly. Class after class, I cared less and less about my weight. I loved the effects it had on me which made me love myself more. Fast forward to 6 years later, I started practicing other yoga disciplines. My world got bigger, and so did my heart. But my first love will always be Bikram Yoga. It is nice to have something to be passionate about.
9. Where are your suggested best yoga places here in Singapore?
For Bikram Yoga or Hot Yoga, I recommend Bikram Yoga Katong and Bikram Yoga Harbourfront. The Bikram community is small, warm, and loyal. Aside from the intense exercise, you will find family here.
Yoga Inc at Guillemard Road is my second home. Not only is it nearby my place, but they offer a wide selection of yoga to choose from. A lot of my breakthroughs happened here, a lot of inspiration as well.
10. Can you give us an easy yoga flow sequence we can do daily?
Sun Salutations is the most popular flow sequence. But to add a little fun, I reverse it.
Sun Salutation A:
Credit:Pervical John Photography
• Stand at the top of your mat in mountain pose (tadasana) with your hands in prayer. You may set an intention for your practice if you choose to.
• Inhale, bring your arms out to the side and and gaze at your hands above your head. Slide your shoulders away from your ears. You can do a slight backbend.
• Exhale, swan dive over your legs into a forward fold (uttanasana) and let your head hang heavy.
• Inhale, gaze forward and lift your fingertips up to form a flat back or a straight spine.
• Exhale, step or jump back to plank pose. Shift your weight forward and bend at your elbows to lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor and and close to the ribs (chaturanga)
• Inhale, slide to upward facing dog.
• Exhale, tuck your toes to downward facing dog.
Reverse Sun Salutation A (Going back to where you started)
Credit:Pervical John Photography
• From downward facing dog, inhale – roll your spine back to upward facing dog.
• Exhale, move down to chaturanga and push yourself back up to plank pose.
• Jump or step forward to your hands with a flat back or straight spine. Remember to gaze forward.
• Exhale, forward fold into uttanasana.
• Inhale, rise fully and look up with your arms over your head.
• Exhale to mountain pose with your hands in prayer.
11. If you have a friend coming to visit Singapore for the first time and you have the whole day to show her around, which places are you going to take her?
We’d probably start the day at Gardens By the Bay to wake up and smell the roses. Go up the overhead bridge towards Marina Bay Sands Hotel and take in the 360-degree view.
From the hotel, have lunch at the Shoppes. My favorite lunch place is Pizzeria Mozza. Because, they have a Filipina exec chef.
Walk around the Art Science Museum, cross the Singapore River via the Helix Bridge and walk towards the Esplanade. Rest and enjoy the free shows.
Have dinner at MakanSutra, buy a dish in every stall to get a taste of the famous Singaporean food. Walk towards the Merlion and finally, relax with a few drinks by the river.
12. Lastly, can you share with what is your inspirational mantra in life?
It never gets easier; you just get better.
“Thank you Chee for that detailed itinerary for visiting friends going to Singapore. I will definitely use it as a guide. I love your easy yoga sequence you shared with me and my readers. You made me rekindle my love for Bikram Yoga. I will be trying this sequence tomorrow morning.
For more yoga love and inspirations, follow Chee in instagram at www.instagram.com/yogicakes/
If you are an expat or know any expats who are interested to be featured, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
*All photos by Marichris’ talented husband. Check out Pervical John Photography.