My Perfect Weekend with Sarah Ichioka

One of the first things Ms Sarah Ichioka does each day is open all of our doors and windows for fresh air and the sound of birdsong.
One of the first things Ms Sarah Ichioka does each day is open the doors and windows for fresh air and the sound of birdsong.PHOTO: SARAH ICHIOKA


Ms Sarah Ichioka, 42, leads Desire Lines, a strategic consultancy for environmental, cultural and social-impact organisations and initiatives. A dual American-British citizen, she has lived in Singapore since 2014 with her husband and two children. Ichioka's book Flourish: Design Paradigms For Our Planetary Emergency, co-authored with British architect Michael Pawlyn, will be published in September. "I miss family and friends who live outside Singapore, but during this pandemic period, I have appreciated how my life and work, my values and actions, have become better integrated.

For one thing, my carbon footprint related to travel has shrunk dramatically. I used to fly long haul frequently for professional and personal reasons, but the last time I was on a plane was around Chinese New Year last year (2020).

It is healthier for my body, for my young family's bonding and for the Earth for us to be more grounded. My weekends are slower and smaller, but better appreciated than they were before.

Our weekends begin with a Friday night 'dance party'. Over the years, my husband has built up a pretty impressive home sound system and vinyl collection.

Now that our two children are old enough to enjoy it, they dance their hearts out to the tunes of DJ Dadda and proudly help my husband in changing the records.

Also, the LED lighting we bought to look more awake for Zoom work meetings does double duty now - as a disco strobe.

I feel incredibly lucky that our house has a garden. It is my happy place. The garden is full of plants given to us by friends and neighbours. It is a magnet for birds and butterflies ever since we renaturalised our front lawn by allowing it to grow with minimal mowing during the circuit breaker last year.

One of the first things I do each day is open all of our doors and windows for fresh air and the sound of birdsong.

On a Saturday morning, I like to pad around the yard, checking on my plants while hand-grinding the beans for my coffee. I savour my first cup while reading the newspapers and listening to my children play (or quarrel) outside.

When we are lucky, breakfast will include fruit harvested straight from our garden. We grow passionfruit, mulberry, banana, papaya, guava and the occasional pineapple.

With gatherings curtailed under the current heightened alert, I stay active and social by stepping out for a brisk walk and to chat long-distance with friends who live in other time zones.

I have never been a big drinker but on Saturdays around 6pm, the pandemic-enforced home time has definitely boosted my appreciation for cocktail hour. The team from (wine delivery portal) R.A.W. Wine helps to keep us well-stocked.

Sunday mornings are dedicated to a Skype call with my parents in California. My children are very excited to speak to grandma and grandpa, who are top-notch storytellers.

Sunday evenings are the children's designated screen time for the week, when they are allowed to watch a movie, freeing my husband and myself to get a head start on our to-dos for the week ahead.

Our children are currently obsessed with (the 1989 film) Kiki's Delivery Service - a fitting title for this period. Where would we be without our brave delivery heroes and heroines?