Hello! My name is Sharon Wheatley and it feels like I haven’t blogged in forever because the last time I sat and wrote
a blog was Tuesday and this is Sunday evening. Unheard of for me to be away from all of you for so long, and while I thank Charlotte for pinch hitting for me with her way-deep blog post about her existential religion dilemma (uh–in the eighth grade all I was worrying about was how many ho-ho’s I could sneak while sneaking and watching Gilligan’s Island, while blowing off my homework.). Extra thanks to all of you who joined the discussion. Charlotte read every comment and nodded her head a lot. I think it helps to know that other people struggle with it, too.
I am so hungry. Seriously, it’s all I can think about. Rob’s making my “birthday dinner” because he’s been out of town and missed it, so I’m not dreaming of a white Christmas, I’m dreaming of filet and sweet potatoes and salad and pretzel bread and cheesecake (I don’t really eat cheesecake, but everyone else likes it). If you remember all the way back to the Pancreas series you’ll know that Rob usually makes me a Boston Creme Pie for my birthday and triples the chocolate glaze recipe. I am foregoing it because of the Weight Watcher’s situation I find myself in this year. Hence, the cheesecake.
Tomorrow I will write about what I did for my birthday because it really is not to be believed and I’ve decided I must dedicate an entire Daily Dose to it. I. Can’t. Wait. But you have to.
We left off with opening night in Singapore, correct? The party of all parties and me in a bow tie? The funny thing about Singapore was that it kind of all felt like a party, or maybe is better described as the greatest field trip ever. I mean, think about it. We were on the other side of the world for three months doing a hugely popular show, we were making a fortune, we were basically cut off from everyone we know because it was NINETEEN NINETY FOUR, which is basically the same as 1884 communications-wise compared to today. Rob and I were basically communicating via message in a bottle. It was ridiculous. So what to do? Well….why not bond with everyone else in the cast. Oh, and I want to tell you because I’d totally forgotten and maybe three of you would care about this, Ashley Tisdale from the Disney Channel fame (High School Musical, the bitchy blonde) was on tour with us as one of the Little Cosette’s. She was about nine-years-old at the time and brunette and very sweet.
I can smell the food. Excited.
Speaking of food, one of the big events was dining. There was a place near the theater called “Hot Pot” (or maybe it wasn’t called that, but we just nicknamed it that) and a lot of us would go there between shows. The gist of it as I recall, was they would put you at a table with a hole in the middle and in the hole they would put a vat of boiling grease. Then, they would bring raw meat like chicken and beef (at least you HOPED it was chicken and beef) and giant prawns. You skewer the meat and then dip it in the bubbling grease to cook it. There are fifty fire safety regulations being broken in this method–it’s basically fondue gone crazy dangerous–but hey–it’s Singapore and they think American rules are for wimps. Well….except that sticky wicket that there is no gum chewing and they hang you for drugs and the cops walk around with uzi’s….but hey, it’s fine to put boiling grease on a table in a family restaurant. Remind me to tell you about the Zoo which has to be one of the most dangerous places on the planet. And totally fantastic. Here’s my biggest memory of Hot Pot–everyone ordered these big ass disgusting prawns the size of your hand with giant antennae thing-ys, and they would “pop off” the heads to cook them. And by “pop off the heads” I mean they would kind of karate chop them with their chop sticks and the head would go flying. Totally disgusting. Just ew.
Funny, I am suddenly not as hungry. Oh! And with that Charlotte just announced dinner is ready. If it is anything resembling giant prawns, heads will roll. Back in a minute.
Back! I am stuffed and feeling fine. Back to giant prawns, which thankfully did not make an appearance on my birthday dinner table. Another popular activity was bowling, yes bowling. Have you ever been bowling with a group of theater people? It’s more than bowling, it’s a performance. We had a rule that every time you got a strike you had to do the splits. I have probably a dozen pictures of this, which makes me think we started doing the splits all the time once we had more and more beer, but for now I will only share these.
Singapore was fun. There were day trips snorkeling and scuba diving (which I didn’t do…one word…sharks), late night trips to Pasta Fresca, drinking, and an extended Chinese New Year’s celebration. Seriously, Chinese New Year rivals our Christmas for commitment to celebrating. Replace Santa’s with dragons that take six people to operate them, and you’ll have an idea. It was thrilling. Despite all this hoopla, I spent a lot of time in my very expensive and musty smelling hotel room missing Rob and missing normal food. After a few weeks the novelty wore off and the grind of being a day ahead and millions of miles away from every one we love started to kick in. The good news for me was that Rob was scheduled to join me in Singapore about half way through our stay. As a bonus, he’d even managed to land some work playing in the orchestra pit, so he was going to be a member of the company and have a place to go, not just a tag along, which is how it sometimes feels to be the loved one of someone on tour (I’ve been in that position
plenty.) To keep myself occupied until his arrival, I did what any self respecting 20 something would do, especially one who was pretty annoyed that she wasn’t engaged. I flirted. A lot. And with one guy in particular. Now before you get all Judge Judy on me, you should know that nothing ever happened, although he did call me the morning of my wedding and asked me if I was SURE I wanted to get married. I was sure. We laughed and then I told him to quit calling. He was a lot of work.
I’m sure I was insufferable to be around as the days grew closer to Rob’s arrival, I was so excited. I wanted everything to be perfect, so I decided to move out of the hotel with a friend, and we moved into a groovy cool and extremely new (read: still under construction) apartment building. I was s-p-a-r-k-l-i-n-g clean and slightly cheaper than the hotel. As an added bonus it had a kitchen, so I could cook the $8 Lean Cuisines I purchased at the American grocery.
Everything was set. I was ready for Rob to arrive. The morning he arrived, I will never forget it, he walked through customs, out to me and said with a dreamy look in his eye, “……
To read the next installment of this series, go here