A Day Back At MacRitchie

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Meet Yi Herng, my best friend of 7.5 years.

We went back to MacRitchie Reservoir, our second home, the other day.

We call it our second home, because we quite literally spent half of 6 years of our life – from Secondary 1 to JC 2 – paddling/ running/ team bonding/ afternoon napping/ eating/ drinking there.

I remember a particular week-long break in March. It was in 2013 I believe. We had an insane amount of training sessions planned for us that week: Two trainings per day, Monday to Saturday, and Sunday was “optional”… and we all know what Coach means when he says “optional”. It pretty much means “highly encouraged to come”, which then means “compulsory”.

We’d come at 6am in the morning, trained till 10am or so, have a break, have lunch, take a nap and do some homework before continuing with the second training session at 2.30pm. We’d paddle, do after-water routines such as inclined pull-ups, ab workouts or runs before cooling down and calling it a day some time between 6 – 7pm. If You did the math, we stayed almost 13 hours in MacRitchie during that period.

It was mental.

I became (sorta) mental.

But the thrill of racing and my team’s familial-esque love kept me coming back.

When Yi Herng and I came back to MacRitchie on the 14th of April (last Thursday), it wasn’t for training of any sort though. Instead, we came back to say hi to our Coach, who is by the way getting married in about a month’s time (!!!), visit both the Crescent and AC teams, cheer our competing juniors and meet up with old-but-forever-gold friends.

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Yi Herng and I couldn’t stay for very long before I had to go back to the Expo and before Yi Herng and to leave for a lecture back at Uni, but the short 2.5 hours we spent back at MacRitchie was sufficient for us to witness both AC and Crescent not only clinch some medals, but more importantly doing well and having a good time despite the stressful circumstances of the School National Games’ Finals.

We busied ourselves with catching up with Coaches Kengwi and Kaiwen when a girl who introduced herself as a representative of the National Schools Games. She told us she needed to film supporters of this Canoe event and was wondering if we were willing to be filmed as she asked us who we were supporting and some general comments about the event.

We hesitated a little (okay maybe a lot) but we could tell that she was having a difficult finding anyone to film so we decided to just go for it.

It started pretty roughly — we stuttered, rambled and were at a loss for words. Not that we were nervous, but I guess it has been a while since we’ve spoken in front of a camera. Speaking in front of an audience is more than fine for both of us, but add a camera into the equation, and it’s just a little more intimidating. It’s probably the permanence of the recording which throws us both off a little. An audience member would probably forget a screw-up in an hour or two but a video recording? That’s forever.

“When would it be up?” we questioned.

“Probably in the last week of May! You could look it up at ‘National School Games’ on Facebook,” she says as she points at the Instagram, Facebook and Twitter handles printed on the back of her T-shirt.

“Oh okay! Since You’ve gotten footage of both of us, could I take a picture too for when I’d like to look the video up?”

And that was how I got this cheeky picture of the photographer and the interviewer.

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It was amazing how many ex-canoeists came back to support their juniors. Besides me an Yi Herng, there was Cheryl, Weiqian, Hui Yi, Dana, Aira, Siong Yee and Xiao Wei among many many others. I guess we all missed the sun (although there wasn’t very much of it that day) and waters at MacRitchie Reservoir. I feel like it’s a part of us that may only fade with time but never ever disappear.

It’s a wonderful wonderful feeling to have something in my life that matters so much to me, that makes me smile and be proud about the fraction of life I’ve already lived on this planet.

It was a sweet sweet reunion. :’)

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Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit. — Aristotle

 

After my migration, we’d sometimes spend weeks without contact because we aren’t the tech-y type (unfortunately); we prefer face-to-face conversations. I’d then worry and fear that distance may harm our friendship, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned this past 8-9 months apart, it’s that the friendship we share doesn’t need daily conversation or for us to be physically together. As long as the friendship lives in the heart, true friends never part.

Every time we meet, I’m reminded all over again about why she’s someone I call a best friend. It’s simply effortless being a friend of hers.

I’m lucky.

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Here’s a floral dose of love.

Peace, warmth and sunshine. Have a great week!

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