Summer Holidays… Not quite… 2017

Yes, we are back from summer hols and today was the first day of school.

The first day my boy steps into a new chapter of his school life! My teenager! More about that in another post… maybe.

Usually, i fill this post with all the sights we have seen and the things we have done and the food we have eaten while on holiday. But not this year.

This year was spent dealing with the long-term medical needs of both my in-laws who were in the hospital from May to July. We spent 2 plus weeks as their full-time, 24/7 carers, the rest of the time training the 2 hired helpers/carers. It was what we needed to do and we did it with as much love and patience as we could. Only God and the support of our family and friends around the world helped us through it all.

 

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We spent tons of time learning medical stuff and dealing with medical stuff and buying medical stuff etc…

Only God and the support of our family and friends around the world helped us through it all. i thank you all for all your kind words of encouragement, your support, your prayers and just your friendships.

 

Thank you to family who put up with us being unavailable and for your never-wavering support in all ways; big and small. Thank you to my parents for being understanding and caring for my boy so i could care for my in-laws. Thank you to friends who helped lots, including being drivers and bringing yummy home-cooked food to us. Thank you to friends who just dropped by to visit, just because we could not go out to you.

i apologise to family and friends whom we have missed out on seeing and spending time with. We will make it up to you next year.

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Thankful that we were able to attend a dear friend’s wedding (congrats again, my dear!) and we did get to eat some lovely and much-missed foods, even though we were home-bound most of the time.

 

i also wanted to thank my dear friend who has helped to hold the fort down in Switzerland.

 

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Because of a friend’s care, i am able to return to a flourishing garden. Thank you ❤

You all have been just wonderful! Thank you. We love you all.

 

While it has been a trying, tiring and stressful time, it is also our duty to care for our parents and parents-in-laws. And because we live so far away from them most of the year, this was the time we could show our care and love to them. This has also brought our little family closer together; closer as husband and wife, closer as a family, closer to God too. i am also grateful that God has arranged such patient and caring people to be the long-term help for my in-laws. Thank you, God.

syc

Holiday Summary – Summer 2015…

WOW, 7 weeks without a single post here!

i think i have not taken such a long break from blogging for ages. i had every intention of blogging a few days after we got back from summer holidays but as you can see, it didn’t happen. Heehehe 😉 This is what happens when we arrive home just 2 days before the new school year starts :p

Well, here is the traditional picture summary of our time spent with family and friends in Singapore. Enjoy!

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This year we left earlier than usual for our summer break. i pulled my boy out of school 2 days before the holidays so that we could fly back in time for one of my best friend’s wedding. It was a long-awaited event and we just had to be there to celebrate it with him! So we arrived on the Friday and the next day was the wedding. It was a simple but lovely affair and i love the little table gifts (pictured above, left). And for those who are not familiar with a Chinese wedding, the 7-dish lunch menu above is a scaled-down version of what is usually a 10-course dinner.

So happy for the wonderful couple! 😀

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And of course being in Singapore means everything centers around FOOD! We had really really expensive Japanese food which was ooooh-so-good! (pictured top left) And then i enjoyed a night out with my friends from my poly days. It was Korean BBQ at which we got offered the little surprise of trying Korean rice wine. (pictured top middle)

And of course, we had loads more Japanese food, specifically sushi because Tobias is a sushi monster! (pictured top right is sushi without the rice, just fish – YUM!) This time we had so very very much of it i was almost at the point of not wanting anymore. Almost.

And in keeping with the eastern theme, we tried out an interesting Korean dessert, Bingsu, Korean Snowflake Ice Cream. It was very nice but i found the portion huge, so glad we decided to share.

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Just a month before we left for Singapore, i received a mysterious message on Facebook asking if i went to HD Primary School. What a lovely surprise it was to find out that my Primary 6 class was trying to contact everyone and are trying to get a 30-years-later gathering going for next year (2016). It was fantastic to re-connect after so very many years and even more wonderful to actually get to meet a few of my old classmates when i arrived in Singapore!

We arranged for a little makan (eating) session at a famous hawker area (Chomp Chomp) and of course, the food was good but the company was superb!

Before we met for supper, a few of us went to visit another classmate who now works at the Singapore Turf Club as a horse trainer. It was great because he could get us into the owners lounge area and we got to meet one of the horses he trains. It was VIP treatment! It is a place i would, otherwise, never have stepped into. We all placed small bets, as a show of support for his horse, and 2 of us won a tiny bit. Lovely!

Oh, i must point out the very sweet little commemorative t-shirt which was printed with our class photo (pictured top right). i think they made it to the size we were when we were in school. Mine was so small even my boy had to squeeze into it so i could fulfill the task of sending in a selfie of me (mini-me in this case) in the t-shirt… hahhaa

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Let me introduce you to Biscuit and Brownie! Tobias’ new pets! His grandfather (my dad) bought them for him. Yep, he has pets in Singapore too. No, they didn’t come back to Switzerland with us. These terrapins will stay with my parents and my brother will look after them. We get to see them via Skype.

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We did not do many touristy things this time. But we did go to the Dreamworks Exhibition at the Art Science Museum. i loved seeing all the work which goes into creating an animated feature. There were character sketches, detailed drawings of different expressions for a single character, 3-D models for the computer animated stuff and more. But my favourite style of animation is traditional claymation and it was a treat to see this model of Gromit, from Wallace and Gromit, in the green house. (see picture above) And of course, after the exhibition, there was more food and laughter to be had with dear friends.

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Speaking of friends and family, we got to spend more time with our darling godson. He is certainly growing up fast and i always lament that we are missing out on so very much of his cute years. This time we took him out for an afternoon by ourselves and it was great!

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The only other touristy thing we did was visit the Alive Museum with an old friend of mine, who also lives in Europe. It was a little disappointing. We didn’t get the pictures we thought we would get. The “alive” effect for quite a number of the exhibits was not very good. But still we had fun.

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This year’s visit has been more about spending time with family and friends rather than visiting places. And i truly enjoyed that.

The major event was the big gathering with my cousins. My mother’s side of the family is big and the cousins have been spread out all over the world for a long time now. But this year all of us were in Singapore at the same time. All of us save one. So that definitely called for a big dinner! So we did. 18 of us at a Chinese restaurant downtown. There was so much catching up to do, it was a really special evening 😀

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Other lovely things we did: we spent the night at Walter’s best friend’s home, we visited with Tobias’ cousins for an afternoon of pool fun. The highlight was also finally meeting up with one of Walter’s best friends after donkeys of years! Sorry i have no picture of that, it’s all on Walter’s phone.

Of course, there was a scary part to our trip this year. My father was warded into hospital just the day before we had planned to leave Singapore. He has a very serious lung infection which caused his lungs to fill with water. Of course, we extended our stay. And praise the Lord, my dad recovered quite quickly. He was discharged and on his way home when we landed here in Switzerland. Thank you to everyone who prayed for him.

The other sad event was that we returned to find that Patch, one of our mice, had died. We had expected it to happen. She was at the end of her life and had a benign tumour. But it was still sad.

i think that’s it for this summer holiday summer. Till next year my beloved family and friends.

syc

PS: actually, i don’t have to wait so long. My uncle is coming for a tour of Europe and we might get to see him. My cousin, who wasn’t able to be at this year’s big gathering is coming here with her parents for holiday and they will pass through Switzerland so i am very much looking forward to their visits!

Annual SG Picture Summary…

Yep! It’s that time of the year again when i flood you with images of our trip back to our homeland, the tiny red dot, the island nation of Singapore 😉

This year, of course, we visited with family and friends and had a ball eating all the yummy foods we miss. But we did a whole lot more touristy things than previous years so i’ll be showing lots of places you can visit (whether you are local or foreign to SG).

The first place we visited was the S.E.A. Aquarium on the fun-filled island of Sentosa. The tickets are a little pricey but we thought the Aquarium was well done and worth the money. We were told to be prepared to queue even though we bought tickets online. But we chose a Monday and schools were already back in full swing so there was no crowd when we got there about 11am. However, it did start to get crowded later in the day. Your ticket enables you to enjoy the Maritime Experimential Museum as well which was good, but not very big. Tobias enjoyed it greatly as he loves all things ocean-related. If you wanted to cover the whole place thoroughly, i would advice giving it a whole day. We spent a little under 5 hours there, including lunch.

Tobias getting a henna tattoo of a scorpion at the Maritime Museum.
Tobias getting a henna tattoo of a scorpion at the Maritime Museum.
Some of the many sea creatures we saw. The last picture shows Walter and Tobias at the touch pool.
Some of the many sea creatures we saw. The last picture shows Walter and Tobias at the touch pool.
Left: The largest tank/window in the world. It was amazing to just sit there and watch. Right: At the celebrity restaurant, The Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora.
Left: The largest tank/window in the world. It was amazing to just sit there and watch. Right: At the celebrity restaurant, The Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora.

Talking about the ocean, Tobias had great fun at this Sushi place which served your order on race cars (see picture below). We also did a nice long walk from Shenton Way (the financial center) to Marina Square, taking in the river-front sights and the Merlion Park. The place has certainly changed. See this post.

From Left to Right: At the Merlion Park, relaxing at the entrance of the Fullerton by the Bay Hotel, enjoying sushi delivered by race car ;)
From Left to Right: At the Merlion Park, relaxing at the entrance of the Fullerton by the Bay Hotel, enjoying sushi delivered by race car 😉

Next we headed to the far remote end of the island, Jurong, where the Singapore Discovery Centre is located. As the name suggests, it allows you to discover Singapore, its history and quirks. It was quite interesting. The Military Museum was just next door so we walked around that too. There you can learn what National Service is, how it started and what’s it like now. These places are free for citizens to visit. The highlight for Tobias was getting to shoot a real pistol and a standard-issued army rifle.

Brush up on your Singlish!
Brush up on your Singlish!
Shooting the pistol and playing TV stars.
Shooting the pistol and playing local TV stars.
Daddy showing the son what is known as the standard obstacle course (SOC) on a smaller scale. It is what all guys in Singapore go through in their National Service.
Daddy showing the son what is known as the standard obstacle course (SOC) on a smaller scale. It is what all guys in Singapore go through in their National Service.

Singapore started as a little fishing village and for a long time people lived in villages, called kampongs. Now there is almost none left except a remote kampong on the mainland and on Pulau Ubin (Pulau means island in Malay). We decided Tobias needed to see/experience this kampong before it is gone too. So we spent a day cycling around the tiny island of Ubin. It was tiring but fun.

Tobias was so ready to ride at the start of the day. It took a whole ton of encouragement to get him to finish strong as he was starving by then, even with small snacks in between.
Tobias was so ready to ride at the start of the day. It took a whole ton of encouragement to get him to finish strong as he was starving by the end, even with small snacks in between.
Won't you like to live in such tranquility? The simple kampong life.
Won’t you like to live in such tranquility? The simple kampong life.
Here's Walter trying to pet some of the wild boars and my favourite - the mangroves. i'm fascinated by how they grow and root themselves and the creatures which live around them.
Left: Walter trying to pet some of the wild boars. Right: my favourite – the mangroves. i’m fascinated by how they grow and root themselves and the creatures which live around them.

We went back again to the island of Sentosa, this time we went to Adventure Cove Waterpark. It is filled with water-rides of the thrilling sort and the lazing sort. i don’t have many pictures as it is a waterpark and i don’t have a waterproof camera. There weren’t too many people (we went on a weekday and it was school-term time) but still Tobias was put off after having to queue just under 30 minutes for his first thrilling ride which lasted less than a minute. So if you are planning to go, try to go during non-peak times like we did. Or else be prepared to queue much longer. We spent a fair amount of time on the Lazy River and in the Wave Pool. The attraction which Tobias loved and gladly queued again for was the Rainbow Reef where you could snorkel and see the ocean reef-fishes.

Tobias all excited on the cable-car ride to Sentosa. A view of the waterpark as we "flew" over it.
Left: Tobias all excited on the cable-car ride to Sentosa. Right: A view of the waterpark as we “flew” over it.
Left: Tobias and my brother snorkling. Right: The overhead view of the empty and silent waterpark at the end of the day.
Left: Tobias and my brother snorkling. Right: The overhead view of the empty and silent waterpark at the end of the day.

Our final tourist stop was the River Safari, showcasing all creatures which live along the major rivers of the world. This is not yet fully opened, one of the main rivers (the Amazon River) was closed, which was a shame as that was the only river which featured a boat ride. But ticket prices were reduced because of that so it was okay for us. Another main attraction here is the two Giant Pandas, KaiKai and JiaJia. A special enclosure in the middle of the Safari has been built for them and of course there were lots of Panda-themed merchandise and even food items you could get. Once again, Tobias enjoyed this as he loves water-creatures. However, because he has already watched so many documentaries about these creatures, he couldn’t be bothered to read more about them during this trip. So we finished walking around the whole Safari in less than 3 hours. But if you are going and if the Amazon River is open, then do plan for more time there. There are tickets you can buy which enables you to get entry into the Singapore Zoo, the River Safari as well as the Night Safari which are all next to each other. And if you are really into animals/birds, you can also get a ticket which would include the Bird Park (located in Jurong) as well.

Tobias really doesn't like being made the centre of attention in photos.
Tobias really doesn’t like being made the centre of attention in photos.
Some of the river creatures we saw.
Some of the river creatures we saw.
Top Left: Meekong River showcasing huge catfishes and kaps. Top Right: monkeys are actually quite at home near water. Bottom Left: The Red Panda. Bottom Right: a pair of Cranes.
Top Left: Meekong River showcasing huge catfishes and kaps. Top Right: monkeys are actually quite at home near water. Bottom Left: The Red Panda. Bottom Right: a pair of Cranes.
The Giant Pandas; KaiKai and JiaJia. Can you guess which one is KaiKai (male)?
The Giant Pandas; KaiKai and JiaJia. Can you guess which one is KaiKai (male)?
i thought the "dragon" boat was so funny. But it is apparently sea-worthy as it has a license number. Safari is built into a large river which already served the other attractions there.
i thought the “dragon” boat was so funny. But it is apparently sea-worthy as it has a license number. The Safari is built onto a large river which already served the other attractions there.
More furry creatures along the rivers.
More furry creatures along the rivers.
The Mantees!! Another highlight for me. Of course there were also scary fish such as the piranhas and this ancient fish with it's gills on the outside (those white brushes).
The Manatees!! Another highlight for me. Of course there were also scary fish such as the piranhas and this ancient fish with its gills on the outside (those white brushes).

Well, that was the touristy highlights of our trip this year. We would highly recommend that all the above be enjoyed in the great companion of family and friends. We loved our time with our family and friends, just enjoying each other and the food, of course 😉

Till next year Singapore…
syc