[Entry written by Jasmine. Comments by Andrew inserted within brackets]
One of our reasons for starting this blog was that it could function as an archive or repository of happy memories in turbulent times. Given how busy both of us are during term time, my birthday wish this year was simply to spend a whole day with Andrew. My dear made that wish come true when he booked us a day tour and spa package at Bintan on September 12.
Ever the meticulous planner, Andrew readies our travel documents
We were whisked off to the Aroma River Spa for a pampering massage and scrub.
Choosing our scrubs and essential oils
The huts where we did our spa treatments were located in an idyllic mangrove swamp… So idyllic that I later sustained about 58 sandfly bites on my legs, and was scratching in a most unseemly manner for the following two weeks.
[Andrew: Poor dearie. I wasn’t affected at all by the sandfly bites. Perhaps Army training has really ‘thickened’ my skin.]
Attap huts at Mutiara Beach, Trikora, where we had our body scrubs and massages.
Nevertheless, the remoteness of the day spa made it seem a thousand miles removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. The chirping of the critters, for instance, was real, and not piped-in muzak! It was the ideal 12-hour break from work, commitments and having to answer the phone.
[Andrew: What was more amazing was that because the spa was so remote – there was nobody else there but us, so it seemed as if we had the whole place to ourselves.
I think the fact that we only spent about 8 hours there was another reason why Jasmine enjoyed it so much. She is very much a city girl. As much as she complains about the ‘hustle and bustle’ of the city, she would really rather spend a few days in a busy city like New York than two days in a place like this. I, on the other hand, love spending my holidays away from cities. Give me the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District any time! What Jasmine forgot to mention too was that the staff at the resort sprung a surprise on us. They prepared a birthday cake for her and sang her a birthday song when she opened the door to her spa treatment room:
Andrew: The singing was slightly out of tune and the cake wasn’t the best – it was a rather ‘sticky’ sponge cake with an over-generous chocolate rice coating. Nonetheless, it was a pleasant surprise for the both of us. ]
Reinvigorated after our respective massages!
We then enjoyed a boat ride through the mangrove. Or rather, Andrew enjoyed it whilst I endured it, since he kept making fun of my penchant for keeping my sunhat on at all times, and forcing him to slather sunscreen on himself too. It might have been fun to have done the rowing ourselves 🙂
It was then off to lunch, a homecooked meal of local Indonesian fare and fresh coconut juice, with a lanky dog never far from our table, patiently waiting for scraps.
[Andrew: I really found the dog extremely annoying. The staff kept trying to lure the dog away, but he kept coming back. There was a cat too at the Spa Centre itself which kept eyeing Dearie’s birthday cake, roaming around my legs as I tried to enjoy the cake. I get extremely annoyed (but also scared) when animals keep eyeing my food!
Once again, because we were the only ones there (with the exception of the dog), it seemed as if we had the whole beach to ourselves. It was really a good break for us.]
Trying to relax in a hammock
[Andrew: The hammock was spoilt. I tried so many times and I kept being thrown out of the hammock.]
We whiled away a lazy afternoon combing the beach and the day spa’s surroundings.
He wanted more coconut juice
By the time we got back to Singapore, it was past dinnertime and we were ravenous! Andrew drove us to Changi Bistro for an alfresco meal by the coast, and that was where he also presented me with my presents:
1. Daisy by Marc Jacobs eau de toilette
2. Ladies’ pen made of birch (perfect for slipping into tiny handbags)
3. Blueberry Girl, by Neil Gaiman (not shown in pic)
I felt so spoilt by my dear that evening. Andrew told me about all the trouble he had gone to to procure the right perfume, going down twice to Takashimaya to exchange the perfume when he realised that I preferred the original EDT over the limited edition that he had initially chosen.
If you know, my dear is not a shopaholic. In fact, he is rather allergic to window-shopping, shoe-shopping, online shopping and pretty much any other kind of shopping there is. Yet he remembered items that I had pointed out in passing on random shopping trips, such as the pen and the card, and went back to Raffles City to get them for me. He was actually… listening.
[Andrew: Yes, and in traditional ‘Andrew’ fashion, I wrote down items that you mentioned in the Notepad function of his handphone, so he could select which items to put together for your birthday package.]
Andrew could have given me nothing that day, and I would still have been happy just to have him there by my side. But I was immeasurably touched by his thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and willingness to set aside time for me. I couldn’t have asked for a better boyfriend.
Just when I thought the evening was drawing to a close, Andrew had one final surprise up his (nicely-fitted) sleeve. He brought 24 tealights, to represent the 24 years of my life, and arranged them as follows:
Carrier bags block out the wind
Given the sea breeze, lighting all 24 candles and getting them to stay lighted was an arduous task. We kept getting burned:
Gingerly does it…
But we finally made it:
Thank you, my dear, for a birthday that was beyond amazing.
Andrew: It was an amazing day for me too Dearie. Thank you, for being the love of my life.