My second visit to Singapore was a bit sooner than I expected. But with Christmas season coming, and then January busy for many people over here recovering from the Western New Year celebration and preparing for the Chinese New Year celebrations, folks there wouldn’t have been available until February. And when I realized I could piggyback a trip to Taiwan on top of this, it made even more sense.
Getting to know a new place takes time. Thankfully there is a small group of folks I’ve already been interacting with for over a year now, off-and-on, first through Zoom and now through visits. We shared a time of worship together Friday evening, and then had a wonderful dinner together. Johanna, Steven and Johan are wonderful folks I look forward to becoming good friends with!
Traveling alone is both exciting and awkward. The temptation to stay in my hotel room can be overwhelming at times. But that’s not how you meet people. That’s not how you get comfortable with a place. So out I went again.
I headed towards an area of town I had passed through a month earlier on my first visit. It’s full of little restaurants and shops and seems to be a pretty vibrant part of town. I can’t say how it happened exactly. Perhaps there’s a certain smell, a certain quivering of the nasal hairs, an imperceptible aura that draws me. I ducked into a crowded restaurant/bar playing Western rock and roll and headed to the back, hoping at least for an incongruous seat.
And there it was.
A pool table.
I watched a few games and one guy was holding the table against all the others. So I put my name on the list and when it was my turn I beat him. And the next two guys. For the next couple of hours we hung out shooting pool and I was adopted into this small group of Australian transplants to Singapore. They took the game seriously and when they realized I did as well I was welcomed into their crew. They’ve shot pool for years, but Covid made them into brothers. And as we parted at the end of the night we exchanged numbers so the next time I’m in town I can find out where they are and meet up with them.
It’s a small thing. But a good first step. Towards relationship, towards an opportunity to love my neighbor, and to follow up on conversations that hinted to them there was more to me than a steady cue. I look forward to opportunities to follow up on those conversations over more games of pool
And it certainly is better than sitting in a hotel room!