I looked up from my book as the doors of the subway slid shut. There was a space of about 6 inches left and I watched intently as the young Chinese man did a sideways leap through the tiny gap. He literally made it within an inch of his life, maybe half an inch. As he landed on the floor of the subway (he really did jump in), he let out the loudest burst of laughter, ran his hand through his thick black hair and glanced around him to see if any of us subway riders had caught his proud performance. I gave him a big grin and his smile of achievement remained plastered on his face for the remainder of the journey.
I love sneakily catching these little moments. Even though I’m not really a part of the moment, just someone who happens to be in the right place at the right time, I still get some joy from it. It’s like if I trip over and start laughing by myself and someone walking nearby also notices, usually we’ll share a little chuckle of acknowledgement at the silliness of the situation. These ‘shared’ moments are something that never fail to make me smile.
Today I watched a giant leaf fall onto a lady’s head. She shook her head in such a panic that her pony tail actually fell apart. It was only a leaf. When she noticed this, she peeked over her shoulder to see if anyone walking behind her had noticed. Most people were caught up in the flurry of the morning commute, but I managed to be a part of it with her.
One unique moment for me was last Saturday night. My best friend and I were celebrating a luxury weekend at the Marina Bay Sands for her birthday. We’d just finished having a dip in the infinity pool overlooking the city of Singapore by moonlight (as you do) when we decided to stop by the rooftop cocktail bar for a quick drink. As we sipped on our incredible cocktails, complete with a mini bouquet of flowers balanced on top of the magical liquid, we looked at the couple next to us. They were dancing together but weren’t touching. They both looked so happy and every time their eyes met their smiles got bigger. It was so cool to watch. I guessed they were on their honeymoon and it looked as if with every tick of the clock, they were falling more and more in love. In fact everyone at that rooftop bar seemed to be so engrossed in the moment. Just like my friend and I, everybody was probably here for a once in a lifetime experience and for one night only they were going to make the most of every single moment. When we finished our drinks we were originally planning on going straight to bed but when we saw how free and ecstatic everyone looked on the dance floor, all thoughts of bed and sleep flew off the rooftop and we threw our bodies into the music.
Every song was my favourite song, well, in that moment. All inhibitions landed in the water and we danced like there was no tomorrow. Every so often I’d glance around at the blissful faces and I’d shout in my friend’s ear: “THIS IS AMAZING. LOOK HOW HAPPY EVERYONE IS!” Usually in clubs people can be a little pretentious and there’s always some kind of drama, whether it be a fight that breaks out or some sleazy guy hitting on every second girl. Everyone is trying to impress and people are so busy eyeing up other people or looking at themselves in the mirror that they forget to actually enjoy that moment that is happening right now. That moment where they are completely free, immersed in the music and the movement of their bodies, surrounded by their friends, emanating total joy. That night at Marina Bay Sands, everyone was in the moment.
Those are the moments we remember. The moments where everyone is singing at the top of their lungs, where you laugh so much that snot flies from your nose and yet the last thing you care about in that exact moment is whether or not you look OK. The stolen moments where you intrude on someone’s romantic airport arrival with your nosy eyes. The moment when you see a child playing so freely, swinging high in the air, and then the calm when she reaches out and grabs her Daddy’s hand. Listening in to the conversation of the old couple- still so in love- walking in front of you on the way home. Our world is positively overflowing with all these tiny moments. Sometimes you are the creator and sometimes you are just someone standing on the sidelines who happens to walk by at the right moment. Either way, these moments are all around you and all you need to do is be present and these snippets of pure delight will flourish right before your eyes.
This is one of my favourite memories from when I attended my Chinese friend’s wedding in her little village in Sichuan. All the villagers joined the party and we feasted and celebrated for two whole days. These guys played their tin trumpet things to announce the arrival of every new dish. I love the way this picture captures a moment, a moment of happy full bellies and total contentedness.
This is another pic from the Chinese wedding. Being able to share the coming-together of a Dutch family and a Chinese family is one I’ll never forget. This pic absolutely captures their excitement at being newly weds.
Finally, this is the photo that inspired me to write about ‘moments.’ This is me and my best friend dancing and laughing on the edge of the infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands last weekend. She’s actually afraid of heights and I NEVER show my teeth in photos. Clearly we were both so caught up in the thrill of this moment that we completely forgot our irrational fears and delved straight into what will be a weekend I will always laugh at and cherish.