My Sunday Habit

2:57:00 AM

Earlier this month, I turned exactly one year here in Singapore. Funny thing was, I almost forgot about it. I only remembered it during the last hour of my flight from Hong Kong to Singapore. Right then and there, I realized I will be landing in Singapore at the same date and time as I did last year when I first moved to the Lion City. What a happy coincidence!

Right now I still feel the kilig of actually being here. It took me 8 years from that fateful first vacation in this country when I told Mama, with conviction, "Ma, someday I'll work here."

And because I wanted to start posting more about what I've been doing here in Singapore so far, I want to let you in on my Sunday habit. It's something I have been doing faithfully, every Sunday that I'm not outside the country. Spoiler: No, it's not going to church.

It's queuing at Soi 19 Thai Wanton Mee in Ang Mo Kio for 30-75 minutes just to get me some Thai noodles.

Large bowl of Thai Wanton Mee Noodles priced at S$5. Other serving sizes: Regular (S$3.50) and Jumbo (S$6)

I didn't want this post to be a review, because a) I suck at doing reviews, and b) this is a personal experience I'd rather just share with you.

Last Sunday, I clocked 70 minutes as my total queue time. It's insane how patient people are just to order at this hawker stall. Granted that it's A-rated, you'd really expect that the food would be good. But queuing that long at lunch time? Even I surprised myself that I can wait that long. I usually multitask everything that I can stack up, so the idea of just lining up for food was something I'd normally pass up.


First Step: A staff will go to the end of the line to write down the orders. That was the easiest part. After that is the most grueling. You need to wait.

The Wait: The longest I have waited took nearly two hours. The line was so long, it snaked around the corner of the block. I don't remember why I actually stayed that time. For food, would you have?

To pass my time, I used to organize my emails, read my newsfeed, chat with friends-- I used to cram so much in while listening to Spotify. Then, many months back, I read an article about how an experience without distractions is a luxury. (Read: I am easily influenced by self-help material lol) Since then, whenever I would go down to queue for Thai noodles, I made a conscious effort not to touch my phone nor listen to music. Sometimes, I'd go as far as *gasps* not bringing anything with me, aside from some coins enough to buy the noodles.

I'm certain it's not just me who has in some way become a slave to their mobile phones so this was actually a helpful exercise for me. I started noticing the people who go to that hawker centre: Most of them would be families, groups of teenagers, some young couples, and solo people, like me, who's only there for a takeaway.

Third Step: This is the signal that everything is getting better. This is when the same staff who took your order will collect payment.


Final Step: When you reach the front of the queue, it means your food will finally be served or packed right in front of you. I always try to find small things I can be happy for, and this exact moment for me every weekend, is something that truly makes me giddy. It never fails! This is also when I'd be putting condiments in my noodle bowl AKA four scoops of deep fried pork fat. (The auntie packing the takeaway boxes already knows not to close the lid because she knows I like to add pork fat.)

Eventually, the hour-long queues became my weekly zen moment. Apart from people-watching, this is when I'd ponder on what I have been doing with my life, what I need to improve on and where do I want to see myself someday. After a year, I don't see it anymore as an hour I waste to buy food. I see it as time I invest in myself, and as a bonus, I get to eat good Thai noodles.

The noodles are really good, you guys! If you come and visit Singapore, remind me to take you here.

...........


Soi 19 Thai Wanton Mee
Blk 151 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5

NEA Stall Rating: A
Also Known For: Pig Trotter Thai dish
Nearest MRT: Ang Mo Kio Station
Nearest Bus Stop: 54459

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