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There Is Always Chicken Curry at Funerals

7 minute read

Last Rites

Living in Singapore is not easy, one can quickly see. Could it be that we tire quickly from our programming — the PSLE, the Os, the As, the university, the serving the nation, the feeding your family and all these things? Or is it that we pack the rush hour morning and evening trains daily, increasingly unable to recognize our neighbours or the languages they speak?

If you thought the living was uneasy, just you wait and see.

Being dead in Singapore doesn’t seem particularly different.

As if being alive and drawing air here didn’t already call for us to live packed closely together in high-rise public housing, since we lack “space” in the corporeal sense, not two hours after you’re gone your family members will be making plans to pack you into spiritual equivalent of the flats you’ve lived in all your life, as I found out last week.

– “Ah Gong will be living in Block 206 ok? Any objections?”

– “What level?”

– “Level 6.” (No lifts or floors with lift landings here, I’m afraid.)

– “Unit 281.”

And on and on it goes, debating the merits and the cons of the block (C, D, or A?), level and unit, direction it faces (“sea- or ‘mountain’- facing?”), until somebody, i.e me, goes, “Explain to me what the difference is between Ah Gong ‘living’ there and in another block, level or unit?”

– “$200. The uncle say ah, if you want to choose the unit, must pay.”

Turns out it wasn’t just $200 that made all the difference. The Chinese/ atheist/ Buddhist/ Taoist dead (categories which tended to overlap with each other) got the lower floor. The Christians — who tended to be Chinese, Indian, and Eurasian — were upstairs. Upstairs seemed to get a bit more air, a bit more sunlight, and didn’t heat up too much at mid-day, unlike at the other blocks I’d been to. Not that it mattered to Ah Gong. Ah Gong survived poverty and hunger in his childhood in China, a cleaver-attack on his head in mid-life, and a smart alec grand-child in his late years… he’d adapt.

– “Sorry, if you want to put him in a Christian block, you need to show a baptism certificate for him or for an immediate family member.” Unbelievable — racial/religious quotas… for the dead? Turns out the Christian lots are in such high demand, like our schools, that everyone, even non-Christians, wanted to be there.

Keeping your urn in a randomly assigned spot: no extra charge

Wanting your urn to be in a specific spot: $200

Pre-booking your urn spot next to your loved one: $1500, depending on religion, site, and race

– “Better not to pre-book lah! Sekali here also kena enbloc then how?”

– “Then die lor. Oh budden die orreadi hor.”

It read like there was a statutory board (with an appropriate death-related acronym) administering this thing.

The funeral director was a man named Fred who, like all and sundry who call our sunny shores ‘home’ these days, was foreign talent. He worked long hours, spoke perfect English, left the Chinese dialects to the middle-aged Chinese men he hired, and unlike these middle-aged Chinese men, seemed to genuinely care.

He, and everyone involved in this, was so efficient that within 3 hours of Ah Gong’s passing at the hospital, he was returned to us at home — embalmed, coffin-ed, dressed, ready to go. Ready to lie down for a few days while people sat around pretending to look at him, eating peanuts, collecting money. Even the cartons of Yeo’s packet drinks, in winter melon, chrysanthemum and lemon barley flavours, had been bought.

Because our estate is currently in the throes of HIP (Home Improvement Programme), having recently undergone HUP (Home Upgrading Programme), there was no space at our void deck for the wake. So at 10 am, all of us lined up at the opposite block, uniformly dressed in our funeral whites. The tentage had been up for hours, the chairs and tables had been put out, as had their corresponding plastic sheets and peanuts.

Some dramatic music sounded from the back of the hearse, out of its improvised 2.1 system (speaker+flower+coffin).

We lined up to welcome Ah Gong home. Except that in this homecoming version, he wasn’t breathing. And he was in a shirt and tie, which convinced me something had REALLY gone wrong this time.

The shit hit the fan several times, but he always came home in his white singlet — the only thing he bothered to wear, in all the 24 years I’ve known him. He only wore a suit once in his life: at his wedding, or rather, when his wedding portrait was taken. Even at my brother’s wedding he compromised only slightly by wearing some kind of short-sleeved shirt over his singlet (unbuttoned so his Flying Goose brand singlet was unmistakable). I never thought I’d see him in a tie.

I never thought I’d see him dead.

I never thought that behind the white tents of the void deck, the ones I’ve walked past often in all my years living in a HDB flat, would lie someone I knew, someone I loved.

I never thought I’d be, three days later after the fact, walking glumly and sullenly through the carpark not because I hadn’t done my homework and didn’t want to go to school, but because my uncle was carrying a large photo of the man I’ve come home (and left home) greeting every single day of my life: ah gong ah ma wa tyng lai leoh! That we’d walk lock-step to the hearse, that I would find myself making a mental note to remember to tell my children to pick a non-peak hour when I “chuk sua” — the impatient Singaporean drivers would really annoy me even when I’m dead, honking the way they do in trying to overtake a coffin while people are crying behind it.

It only seemed right to share with the world what the recently deceased were known for. In writing his eulogy, I hopped about with a notepad and a pen tucked above my ear, asking all my cousins: “what did Ah Gong always say to you?”

Da Jie said, “si sua ta!” (“Anyhow say!”)

Er jie said, “sark suk!” (“Silly!”)

My brother, his favourite grand-child, said, “Dua cha.” (“Big blockhead”.. which was his nickname)

To my other cousins who spoke Mandarin instead of Teochew, he took great pains to translate his terms of affection. “Ben ben!” (“Stupid stupid!” in Mandarin) “You mei you mai liu lian?” (“Did you buy durian?”)

So I wrote him a eulogy and I got to say si sua ta, sark suk, dua cha and liu lian all at the same time.

I stood before the crowd and I introduced myself. I cried instantly.

I tried to say my Teochew name for the first time in my life (vastly different from my English name and my Mandarin name), but I could not: Ah Gong had sabo-ed me, again! The only time I ever heard my name being said in Teochew was when he talked about having named me. He always said it in a way which rhymed with the hour. jit tiang, nor tiang, sa tiang! So I stood there and introduced myself as li- ‘hour’. People in the audience laughed loudly and my uncle, who reminds me most of Ah Gong, called out: and your name is also two o’clock and three o’clock! And si- tiang too!

Ah Gong, ni you pian wo! His eulogy was delivered, not entirely flawlessly, in Teochew by me and in English by my brother. I wrote an essay in Teochew called “Torchlights and Alarm Clocks”. I talked about how it’s going to be weird not having him tie pink ribbons to my backpacks so I can see them come out of the baggage carousel, how he’d write my Chinese name on everything I owned, even the cool ones; my brother and I both said growing up with him was about having a torchlight shone on your face at 3 am every night, just so he knew we were there. I cried a lot. I laughed a lot. He was a silly, funny man and he made us all laugh. We said in heaven he’s cursing all day on sweet potatoes (his only bad words were Teochew vulgarities about stuffing your mouth with a sweet potato, and something about your mother’s eggs). I think in heaven Ah Gong is back in his singlet, shaking his leg like the China-man he is, with Bruno his favourite dog. And his alarm clocks are going off all at the same time, and his torchlights never need their batteries replaced.

ah gong wa tyng lai, lv zu kee loh.

I never got to say goodbye.

I miss you so damn much.

No related posts.

Ah Gong and I

2 minute read

Let’s just say I don’t do death.

I’ve never had to deal with it, never thought about it, possibly because I never had a pet, and never had family or friends who’d passed on or contracted anything major. People lived, in my family, and lived quite long.

Especially my grandma and grandpa, who seemed to just go on and on. If that’s a skewed perspective of old age that might be because I have seen them go on everyday from the moment I was born: they have lived with us forever.

Ah Gong was always in the next room. He never laughed; he sniggered, he chuckled slyly, he was grumpy as hell — in the most endearing way possible. He was a traditional Chinese man — born in China in 1930, adopted then brought to Malaysia, saw his adopted father beaten to death by Japanese soldiers during the war — who, for most intents and purposes, kept his feelings (and thoughts) to himself, avoiding actions or words of affection like the plague, but was the sort of man you warmed to anyway.

I like to think he waited for me long enough, given how well-timed the whole incident was — he only fell drastically sick when I was due to return, and I at least managed a week or so with him, despite his sedate state, despite how he was barely there at all. I had expected my trip to the Middle East and London this last time to be like any other — I’d be back, he’d pretend he barely cared, but he’d get quite quickly to the only way he seems to know how to show any love: verbal-sparring with me in our secret language, Teochew.

Instead, I got back this time and found the house strangely empty. No Ah Gong pottering about finding things to amuse himself, no Ah Gong waking me up with 8 alarm clocks and 1 mobile phone call, no Ah Gong to play hide and seek with when it came to the subject of how cigarettes mysteriously appear in my bag all the time, in increasingly strange (or secret) compartments or methods of concealment. He always found them, he always out-talked me, he was always right, he figured out stuff quicker than I could think, and he laughed and smirked because he liked being right much more than the fact that I was doing what I shouldn’t. In his last days Ah Gong sat mostly on his wheelchair, his mind still sharp and observant, and his temperament still endearingly grumpy.

But life and love doesn’t go on and on, I’ve come to find the hard way, and as he lies there I can imagine him saying: every single time you go abroad you buy me a clock, and the one time you haven’t I’ve really gone.

In Mandarin to “gift a clock” can also mean to send someone off at their funeral. It’s thus taboo to give your elders time-keeping devices of any sort. But we had a special relationship based on the two great loves of his life: torchlights and alarm clocks. He never said I love you, or I care about you, but when he did, he gave you a torch. Or two.

And All The Roads That Lead You There Were Winding

3 minute read

I came to the Middle East to do just one thing: see a part of the world that I felt I needed to learn more about. Its language was alien, but familiar – many Malay and Hindi words have roots in Arabic. Its customs and food strange, but not dissimilar – much of the Indian subcontinent that I love and call home was influenced, for the better and the worse, by centuries of Mughal rule. Dubai and Singapore had many things in common, and then not at all.

My months through the region are coming to an end. As I travelled through Dubai I fell hard for the United Arab Emirates, but not for its most famous, brashest city. I loved Abu Dhabi and I loved Al Ain. I loved the weekend drives into the desert, and camping trips to Oman. I discovered the lengths people will go to for bootleg alcohol, when liquor licenses and hotel drinking start to dry up (driving to Ajman to get bootleg supplies etc).

And as I embarked on my quest to see the real middle east, after giving up on Dubai – I was in for a treat. Yemen, bombs and all, shook me; it was like nothing I had seen before. Then my ambitious overland journey, beginning with Beirut. That’s now drawing to an end.

The last month or so that i’ve been properly on the road, I’ve navigated my way around Lebanon through Syria through Turkey, without once knowing how to drive a car. I’ve met ridiculously awesome people. I’ve had countless cups of tea with strangers. I’ve seen some sights.

And the sights I’ve seen, I’m amazed by the opportunity – and good luck I’ve had in seeing some of these wonders. From a castle built by one man, still alive, in Beiteddine, to the phenomenal Kraks des Chevaliers in Syria (the embodiment of all childhood castle jousting fantasies, says Theroux, and he’s right – again). The ancient cities of Damascus and Sana’a. The friends I’ve made all through Beirut, Damascus, Palmyra, Aleppo, Antalya, Cappadocia and Istanbul.

The long bus rides. I left Damascus last week and 36 hours later arrived in Antalya, but not before being stranded in Adana with too many Syrian pounds but no Turkish lira – and no money changer or warm clothes in the freezing cold of an eastern Turkish morning.

Done with my last bus ride (12 hours from Goreme to Istanbul), I now sleepwalk through Taksim Square at 7 in the morning, pleased to be back to one of my favourite cities in the world. One that makes me thankful for the beautiful people I call my friends, who last shared this city with me

– Alp, Z and gang. It was the city where was conceived, at the start of this tremendous journey.

But journeys never end, only their chapters do. It strikes me now that for all my complaints and grievances about the middle east, this region is truly special and needs to be seen to be understood. And I’m glad I had the chance to see it while I could.

If I could do it again, I would do a few weeks in Iran. But that will have to wait.

For now, long Turkish bus rides and what’s left of my Istanbul days – one filled with lots of ‘midye dolma’, wet hamburgers, fish sandwiches, Bosphorous views and raki when the sun goes down, I’m sure.

Then London. Then moving into my new pad in Kuala Lumpur. Then a new chapter in life, love, and adulthood. I think I have airtickets booked or planned for every month from now through January, though, so the adventure doesn’t end – it’ll be the last of the middle east and Europe for some time, but more awaits.

Time to finish breakfast, put on my heavy backpack, and walk the last 1km to my hostel. It shall be the last hostel in awhile – I’m not giving up backpacking, I’m just… Upgrading. Life, travel, trading in my hobo life for the chance of getting to own things beyond my baggage allowance for the first time in a while.

I’m happy.

Bombay Burning

7 minute read

I don’t have to tell you what happened in Mumbai. You already know it. I wasn’t there that day, and although I may at some point in the future, I have never lived here. Not in the real sense of ‘living’ somewhere, with bank accounts and rented residences, or jobs. But Mumbai is my city, my friends are Mumbaikars, and I feel every bit one myself: I still call it Bombay, because Bombay is romantic and real and Mumbai isn’t; I love the city, have my favourite haunts in Bombay, both north and south, and know the city well.

Perhaps too well.

On any regular Bombay evening, my friends and I would be sitting at Cafe Leopold in Colaba Causeway. I’m there every night, not that I particularly like it. When the papers and news reports tell you the gunmen threw a grenade into a ‘popular tourist cafe’ in Colaba, you need to know first that Leopold isn’t just any popular cafe, Colaba isn’t any regular street… and Bombay isn’t any regular city. Leopold had a strange, inexplicable draw. Mr Shantaram was there, back when he was actually living in the slum a few streets behind it, and so were the real life cast that inspired his fictional motley crew of Bombay misfits, mafia and other things. Even now that Johnny Depp is going to play him in the movie, now that he’s a minor celebrity, he is still there. You never quite leave Leopold.

My friends and I at Leopold would just be like any regular bunch of friends who might be sitting there that night. Young and foreign — photographers, wannabe Bollywood stars, scruffy Bollywood recruiters, writers. Drawn by the magic of Leopold: the bad music, the bad pasta, the Kingfisher and Cobra beer that was never terribly cold, but the coldest the city could give. And our friends: each other, and the chattering yuppie Indian middle classes. When we were done someone might say, let’s go for a kebab. We’d pop around the corner to the famous Bade Miya, just down the road from the Taj, sit in a derelict building outrageously (and illegally) outfitted with fluorescent lights, while more young scruffy expats and Indophiles like me sat with each other and with our yuppie middle class Indian friends — smoking, eating with our hands, and perhaps someone would say let’s go to the sea.

Bombay is a city by the sea, but not in the usual sense of it. It’s beautiful, but only if you look hard. The Arabian sea engulfs it on one side, and on a hot Bombay night there is nothing more entertaining than sitting by the Arabian Sea, eating bhelpuri and drinking_chai_ with your love — and Bombay is a city for lovers — on Juhu Beach or by the rails along Marine Drive. You’d look out to the domain of old Bombay money, Napean Sea Road and Malabar Hill, shimmering away in the distance. The majestic Taj hotel behind you. The Gateway of India, and all its pigeons and pigeon shit and tourists, to your left. Bom Bahai, Bombay, Bom Bahai the good harbour, as the Portuguese called it.

And CST was where it all started and ended. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, so renamed to please the frothing at the mouth Shiv Sena, Marathi supremists and their Shivaji cultists. Victoria Terminus, or VT, was what the rest of us called it. You entered Bombay at VT, stepped over sleeping bodies, crouched all over the station and platform floor. They never did that in ones, rarely twos — the Indians do everything in groups, and especially in Bombay groups of ten, twenty, will all be sleeping, chatting, sitting, drinking tea on the floor, squatting by their ancient-looking luggages, waiting for trains to take them homes. Some of them would have just got in to Bombay, destined to a lifetime of pavement-sleeping in this crowded city; others would be veterans, waiting to go home for the week after months or years in the big city. You can tell who’s been here for a while by the way they talk about the city: there’s a certain degree of Bombay smugness. Or perhaps smug is not the word — it’s the air of knowing. When you know Bombay, whether you’ve lived there all your life, whether you’re Parsi, Gujarati, Malayali, Singaporean, American, British, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, whether you go back to sleeping on your pavement, to a Malabar Hill Road address or your expensive room at the Oberoi. It doesn’t matter. When Bombay is your city, it shows. Whether you stepped out into Bombay in the morning at CST, or in the dead of night, they were there. And to get out you had to step over them, shove your way through the porters, and the thronging multitude carrying what seems to be hundreds of kilograms of things they were carting home: sweets, hay stacks, goods. When you left Bombay, you did so at CST too. If you left for a day trip you might go to a place like Matheran, where I like going whenever I’m in Bombay, and you’d take the train from CST to Neral Junction to get there. If you lived in Bombay, especially in the north, you would take a train home from CST, too. You’d get on one of those dangerously overcrowded suburban locals, the ones I so love.

But it all fell apart. The city of dreams is burning. Those sleeping bodies on the station floor are probably all dead, and so are the waiters at Leopold — two of them. So are the sorts of people I might have met and chatted up at Leopold. Heck, my career started in Leopold when a roving photojournalist chatted me up there and we found we had an incredible chemistry and worked well as a team, sealed off with Kingfisher, Gold Flakes, and Indian whisky at Gokul just around the corner. I never went to the Taj or to the Oberoi but as India’s finest hotels, they are not mere hotels — they are symbols, testament to the power of this city and its dreams. As a young man Ratan Tata’s great grandfather, Jamshetji Nusserwanji Tata, walked into the colonial Watson’s hotel and was turned away — because he was Indian. He vowed to build a grander hotel than that, and he did: the Taj hotels are the pride of India, and the Taj Mahal in Bombay was the crown in the jewel: the Beatles stayed there, and so did endless other kings and queens, especially the ones that matter most to the Indians, the cricketing gods. For the pavement-sleepers, scruffy backpackers, middle class Indian tourists, and locals alike, The Taj was — and still is — the landmark in the city by the sea.

If something like this could happen to any city, it would be to Bombay, and it would be to these sites of great emotional resonance. The city has never been an easy one to live in. It is full of crumbling buildings and bureaucracy, it is the symbol of Indian inequality of class, wealth and status, it is the city full of people who have nothing right by the people who have everything. It is hard to imagine why anyone would live here. But Bombay, like Leopold and its terrible pasta, like the Taj and the Oberoi and its occasionally contrived grandeur, has an inexplicable aura that draws her people — and their hearts — to her. And she demands you love her despite the terror attacks, despite the gangland wars, despite the everyday inconveniences of living in a place like this with no living space, no drinking water and no dignity.

Other writers more talented than myself have made the New York connection, and it’s true: Bombay is where people come from all over India, even the world, to chase and live their dreams — I did — and they’ll do it by grumbling a heck lot, but will always grit their teeth and survive. If the terrorists wanted to take Bombay apart and show the world that they’ve destroyed this great city, they will never succeed. They do not understand this city is a very different city, and its 14 million inhabitants are hardy people who are toughened but never disillusioned — go take a walk around the chawls and slums, including Asia’s biggest one at Dharavi, and in the midst of poverty and suffering there is always an air of incredible hope and optimism. It is a city of 14 million who have fought back floods, bombs, shootings, racial riots and gangland wars, because they fight daily the misfortunes of everyday living in this city of tough love. More than any other city, Bombay knows how to survive. And will.

So be strong, my beloved Bombay. I will be with you shortly.

The Country Codes My Girlfriend And I Have Known

6 minute read

Some people do long distance relationships. Most don’t.

Some can’t spare the time or the effort. Others can’t be bothered. Some refuse because they think of the potential heartbreak the distance will cause: the time difference will compound the distance, the new social environment will open up possibilities that exclude you, or worse, what if they cheat — as we’re told they will, since that’s happened to all our friends who’ve tried?

Or in the words of male friends, in characteristic male bluntness: “What do you mean you need to travel hundreds of kilometres just to fuck?”

(Some people are worth it.)

Not too long ago the idea of having to travel any distance for anybody was a foreign concept, having secretly ruled out relationships with dates who professed to live in the wrong parts of my island, one that’s 42 kilometres long. Too far north? Too far east? Too far northeast? East, at all? No go.

One year on. I surprised myself, but I’ve been seriously dating somebody and have the phone bills to show for it. And it’s incredible.

My girlfriend and I possibly run through more country codes in a month than some people do in years. We’ve practiced to high art the art of putting the other person (and/or ourselves) into various modes of transportation on various continents. For over a year I’ve had a weekly ritual of rushing to get into buses, almost missing them each time, and missing several on different occasions. Or I’m sitting in my balcony tapping my foot awaiting the arrival of a small car after a long drive. More frequently, I’m counting the trees on the North-South Highway and predicting which billboard will come next in each state. Her entry in the address book on my phone has the four latest phone numbers from the most recent countries she’s in. I have in my head, a running list of the best international calling cards and how many minutes each one buys me to the country she’s in that week; my account perpetually refills itself . Our friends have stopped trying to keep up with where we are and turn to our blogs, Facebook and Twitter for hints. Between us, we… need a shared Google Calendar to keep track of our activities.

One thing I didn’t count on was dating someone who sleeps as deeply as I do, seeing as that this was an impossible feat and that my girlfriend strives to exceed my expectations in every imaginable way. This means we find ourselves springing out of bed at 5 am in Borneo one week, late as hell for our boat ride into the dense interiors, and two weeks later we’re jumping out of bed in a fancy room by Trafalgar Square, about to miss a flight to Barcelona. She’s the only person I’ve met who can dress and get ready faster than I can when we’re desperately trying to catch yet another mode of transportation, which is no small feat either. Before I’m out of bed I’m sliding into my clothes, putting on my watch, combing my hair. This woman beats me by two whole minutes. (Being a woman with a woman also means you can use toilets together at the same time, anywhere in the world.)

As recently as six years ago I was sneaking out of my house to go on dates. This past year made sneaking out of my country for lunch or dinner, or both, a fairly regular occurrence. I’d be having dinner with friends and then getting into buses to travel a few hundred kilometres northwards, then heading back the next morning to make it in time to get a book deal signed. The coming year might see that upgraded to the enterprise of sneaking out of continents. Not that we haven’t had any practice: I’ve put her into planes in random Spanish airports so she can fly back to London to fly back to Southeast Asia. Just last week I travelled 400 kilometres to drink a milkshake and a bottle of wine, took off for Jakarta that evening, and from a couch in Jakarta watched a live feed of her packing her life’s belongings to get ready to move to London — the next morning. I’m now packing my bags for my Middle Eastern adventure, and something about the idea of going on dates in any of the exotic locations in between us is rather enticing, particularly the one starting +90.

It all began with +65, and the hot, balmy night in my city. We were strangers with impossible situations, yet hardly a month later in +60 you were mine. Every other week since that one, somewhere between +65 and +60 i find myself wishing: if only half the state of Johor would disappear you would be so much closer to me. One week I’m punching +27 to call you in Stellenbosch, and the next you’re telling me silly jokes about St Francis from a +55 number from your hotel room in Porto Alegre. With a surprise 6 hours with you in Singapore since it’s supposedly partway between Brazil and South Africa, and since you do seem to like popping into my city to surprise me.

I squatted by toilets each night in +88 to talk to you on Skype, when trying to win your trust, continued the next week from +62, but it was the country codes I didn’t have to dial that did it for us. Not needing to dial a prefix means you are here. Not needing a country code means you are next to me. The country codes I haven’t had to dial made, and shaped, us; they were those times we were finally alone, those times we were going somewhere together, those times I was waiting for yet another delayed flight and you were by my side. It was those magical times in various parts of +66, in deserted islands or in bustling cities, between +66 and +60 in a cabin on a 15 hour ride, that we found each other’s place and pace in our lives. Other times, intoxicated with too much tuak, asleep with half the village in our bilik: you were always next to me, on that tilam in+6083. Then of course, cycling adventures in +34, after +33+44.

To put things into perspective the 10 000 kilometres between us means we you are only 20 times further from me than you usually are, and soon that will half to merely 5000. I can’t talk to you without shouting into a computer or pressing a million calling card digits followed by # followed by country code#city code#yournumber#, and you’re not here for dinner 95% of the time. Why this works, I think, is because the 5% of the time in which we are having dinner, in which there are no country codes needed, no matter where in the world dinner or conversation is for that particular date, we are a hundred and twenty percent about the big things. What life brings, what careers we build, the places we will travel to, and the future; our place, in all of this, the things we will do and places we will go together. Why this works is we actually end up doing these things, and going to these places, even when we least expect it. In the other 95% of the time I sometimes potter to my telephone forgetting I’ve run out of phone credit to call you at your latest prefix, but know anyway it doesn’t matter where we are or what you’re doing at that exact moment in time. Because when it’s time to get into planes it’s to come home to you.

Because this works, with or without a country code, and it’s one of those improbable things and combinations you never think of but that work out to be the best idea. Like chocolate and potato chips, peanut butter and ice cream, you and me. Us, the world, and all these possibilities.