Singapore, The Move, Travel South East Asia

And then we came to the end…

We’re back in California now. After three weeks of being back in Los Gatos, it still hardly seems real.

So, I’m turning back to this blog to “wrap it up”.

Our final days in Singapore were wonderful, bittersweet and touching. We had numerous going away parties! We felt so loved and so lucky for the farewell from friends.

Ben's an enthusiastic party goer!  Here are some of our favorite neighbors - Brenton, Adrian, Alex, Nicholas, Pacific, Lanceton, Nicky Grigg
Ben’s an enthusiastic party goer! Here are some of our favorite neighbors – Brenton, Adrian, Alex, Nicholas, Pacific, Lanceton, Nicky Grigg

Here’s a couple of pictures of special friends:

Nicky Grigg - and Virginia - at the Ice Cream truck outside the back gate

So many afternoons and evenings and Saturdays and Sundays spent with Alex and his family.
So many afternoons and evenings and Saturdays and Sundays spent with Alex and his family.

Our dear friends Scott and Sarah had their new baby girl and we were so lucky to be able to visit her before we moved:
Dave and River Smiley

And in our last month at 26 Oakwood Grove, yet another stray cat took up residency. We were lucky to get Sarah (Alex’s mom) to adopt this kitty. They are the perfect family to take this cat from Ferrel to Family!

this is when Arlene and I capture the kitty to transfer him to Sarah's house.
this is when Arlene and I capture the kitty to transfer him to Sarah’s house.

And as Christmas approached, we watched our home get slowly packed away. It wasn’t too festive but we did our best:
Christmas 2012

The moving took over and we could only join in:
Ben, Alex and Davis getting packed away in our container!

In the end, it took a team of Malaysians to shut down our life:
Squeezing it all in!

And we haven’t seen our stuff since! I tried to tell my friend Sarah that “Home is where the Heart is”:
Home is where the Heart is.
She wasn’t the slightest bit touched by my sentimentality and quickly countered: “Home is where your Crap is”. Well, it’s been about 6 weeks since we’ve seen our Crap and we all agree whole heartedly now! We won’t feel at home until our crap gets here!

So, in the meantime, once our container took sail, we were lucky enough to be distracted by Ben’s baseball tournament in Bangkok. We all flew off to the 10 and Under baseball games being held at the International School of Bangkok. A more perfect distraction could not be had! The games were exciting and it was fun to experience the different cultural aspects between the teams. Ben pitched the opening game and the closing game:
Ben pitches

Getting ready to pitch

And after the tournament, we went up to Chiang Mai for one last Asian Adventure:
Ben at a waterfall in Chiang Mai

and Nicky at the waterfall

We ziplined on the world’s longest set of ziplines while in Chiang Mail:
Nicky on the ziplines.
...and Ben!

We went to some hot springs outside of Chiang Mai and discovered the local delicacy of “hot spring boiled eggs”!
the beautiful hotsprings...

buying our eggs...

boiling our eggs...

We took a wonderful bike ride out to a lake:
Chiang Mail Lake swim

They did the best they could with Christmas in Chiang Mai:
Ginger Bread house


Once we returned to Singapore for our final time, we really just had to clean house and, the hardest part of all, say good by to Arlene.

Arlene helped me clean the mold off this leather jacket before taking it home to USA.  I asked her to try the jacket on.  I don't think she's ever worn so much clothing!
Arlene helped me clean the mold off this leather jacket before taking it home to USA. I asked her to try the jacket on. I don’t think she’s ever worn so much clothing!

We were all so sad to part ways. We’re staying in touch via Facebook but it’s not the same. Arlene was so much more than just a help around the house or a companion when Dave was gone. She was a friend and a good part of our household and family. We miss her everyday.

So, this chapter of our lives has come to an end. And, it is sad. Now that we’re back in CA and the trauma of making the move is over, it’s easy to put Singapore in the rear view mirror. But, we will never forget what we gained after our almost 5 years in Singapore: a love of Asia, a desire to travel more and more, and a strong connection with our family through our summer travels. We also made – most literally – a world of friends: starting with our friends and family from the USA who traveled around the world to visit us, to the friends we made in Singapore who now span the globe. Our time in Asia may have ended for now, but our world is forever enriched as a result. We have been fortunate.

Home Life, The Move


Al Ameen - Waiting for food
Al Ameen - Waiting for food

Dave was gone a whole week – he got stuck in San Fran due to the typhoon in Hong Kong which delayed all flights thru Asia.  On our last morning with out him, we ventured down to Al Ameen, our local food stall, to try some Roti Prata for breakfast.  This place has an incredible assortment of yummy Indian, Thai, and Muslim foods.  Fortunately there are pictures of the foods all over the wall.  But, we found the Roti Prata by looking for the guy making these Indian fried doughs on a hot griddle.    When the food arrived, I had too very happy little boys!  And, I had the best cup of tea ever.

Lime Juice and Happiness!
Lime Juice and Happiness!


Dave made it home late last night with TWO huge suitcases (he had to buy a second one) full of American goodies like coffee, maple syrup, trader joes essentials and even some juice boxes (crazy expensive over here!).  And, more Motrin/Advil and the likes than I hope we’ll ever need but it’s good to have on hand now.  Best of all, daddy is home!

Home Life, The Move





Boo cried!  And, when I finally had a minute to drag poor Jacob out of his crate, he crawled into my lap and buried his head under my arm. 

Boo has already been on two walks!  He looks good – a bit thinner and very dirty but he’s still Boo.  He got right to digging a nice sleeping hole in the front yard.  I fed him a whole chicken breast.  He is settling right in and is very busy trying to get at Jacob.  Meanwhile, Jacob is reacclimating to life in our house.  So, he’s holed up in the bathroom for the foreseeable future.  I plan on spending some quality time on the floor there later this evening.

Home At Last
Home At Last
The Move

A new week

<<Please check out a new page on the right – “Singapore Highlights”.>>

It’s 5:00 pm on Monday.  The thermometer says it’s 88 degrees F but feels like 104 with the humidity.  Our refridge has been out since Saturday morning.  I had been trying to keep food on ice in the freezer but that’s coming to an end as the freezer has started to stink now.  They say the new fridge will come some time on Wednesday.  I got upset with them and told them I needed a refridge before then so I could feed Ben breakfast on Wednesday – his first day of school.  The oven doesn’t work either but the fridge has become the big priority.  The good news is, though, all 8 of our airconditioning units are working.  For now 🙂  I hear this is the way it is in these houses.  My neighbor is waiting for a termite guy to come take care of a huge termite problem they uncovered this morning.  I hope the guy comes quick before those termites find their way across the street to us!

We did go to the Zoo today with our neighbor and had a wonderful time.  And, yesterday we found a wonderful shopping area filled with teak furniture.  GOOD BYE SWEDEN, HELLO SINGAPORE!  We are not buying anything else from IKEA!  We’ve moved on!!  (We’re actually very sick of IKEA – we both can’t stand the construction and I’m going batty over how much the wool rugs shed.)  (what was I thinking buying a wool rug in this country anyway!??)

Proof that Dave is not stuck in the parking garage any more!
Proof that Dave is not stuck in the parking garage any more!
The Move

Thursday and Friday August 7 and 8

 Moving In

Here we are in our house.  This is the main room that you see in the video as well as our front.  You practically park the car in the living room.  That is so the car can be under the over hang during rain.  But, I pull the car out to the street to extend the living area during cooler times. 

We’re starting to meet our neighbors.  This has been really fun.  Just across the street is a 5 year old boy who will turn 6 on September 7 (Ben is September 8!).  And, they have a younger boy who turned 4 in July.  They have a third boy who is under 2.  They seem very nice.  Met a street full of people at lunch time today, too. 

I will take better videos for the houses and area soon.  This is just for fun.  But, there’s some interesting things to show so I’ll post those soon. 

Thank you to the folks -each of you- who have been reading this regularly and sending supportive comments.  It means the world to me.  My intention in making this site was to give our younger friends a chance to see a bit of this side of the world .  But, as it turns out, writing this, posting pictures, reading comments is becoming my total lifeline.  Thank you.

Boo and Jacob will be delivered on August 20.  OH My gosh will they be soooo surprised to see us!  It’s going to be hysterical.  I just can’t wait.

The Move

Wednesday August 6

What a day.  We checked out of paradise.  We moved into hell.  Only kidding…but it’s been a really rough day.  Once you get away from the air conditioned world of the Fairmont, the heat becomes an issue again.  We got to our house at 8:30 in the morning and we were all wilting.  We walked over to Ben’s school for a 9:00 orientation and by the time we got to the school gates, both boys were close to tears from tiredness and heat (its a 10 minute walk!). 

Orientation was ok.  But, we were all so hot that it was hard to muster much enthusiasm.  Immediately following, I dashed out to the grocery (Cold Storage) to pick up necessities for our house.  I shopped fast b/c I needed to get lunch back home.  And, it was a struggle – when’s the last time anyone has ordered lunch meat by the Kilogram???  What’s up with the appalling smell of Durian fruit EVERYWHERE!  And, am I really expected to pay S$15 per gallon for Horizon milk???  I have got to find out what hormones might be in the local milk.  Anyway,  I was half way thru checking out when I noticed the store only takes Cash or “NET” cards.  Not ATM or credit.  I had S$60.  I was basically able to by the lunch meat and some bread.  I was in tears as I left the store (and WHO KNEW!  Cold Storage is the largest grocery chain here…why don’t they take ATM???? IKEA does!).  Anyway, I was so upset, I hit a post in the parking garage as I was trying to back out of my parking spot. 

After my fiasco at Cold Storage, we decided we better get to a local bank and open a local checking account.  We’ve been having all kinds of problems with our banking.  So, Dave looked up the closest Citibank.  We took off after lunch and wound up in a local market with only a Citibank ATM.  This excursion turned out to be fun tho because we got to learn about the local markets.  THIS is where people shop.  Food is more reasonably priced.  You buy everything from indivitual vendors.  It’s amazing to walk thru and see all the fish, chicken, eggs displayed out on ice (or not in the case of the eggs…).  We really enjoyed this.  Durian fruit is in season and is prominently displayed.  The smell is horrendous.  And, a pealed Durian looks like bad chicken.  I can’t imagine tasting this. 

Anyway, I was just out in our back yard, taking a break from Ikea construction.  My closest neighbors have their entire kitchen outdoors.  The only thing standing between me and their pantry is a clothes line.   After cooking a dinner tonight in my kitchen, I understand why. 

Currently, Dave is stuck in a parking garage.  The garages run on Cash Cards.  We had one but it ran out of money on Dave as he was trying to exit.  He’s desparately trying to refill the card right now.  I hope he comes home soon. 

The boys are sleeping.  Our air conditioning is blasting.  It’s almost 9:00 pm and it’s still like an oven out there.  I hope we can come up with something fun for them tomorrow.  They have spent a ridiculous amount of time standing around department stores, wet markets and hotels for the last week.  Just one week ago we were having Ben’s early 6th birthday surrounded by wonderful people.  Now, we have not a friend to play with.

The Move

Tuesday August 5th

Boo Update:  Dave went to visit Boo at the quarantine facility.  He said it’s very clean and really not too bad a place.  He could tell that Boo was being checked regularly.  Boo has his essentials (bed, animal, security shirt from me).  He seems to be in good health and he was esctatic to see Dave.  But, he was confused when Dave was leaving.  I don’t think I’m going to go yet to visit.  Dave didn’t get to see Jacob because he got to the facility just as it was closing.  Just can’t wait to see both them. 

Dave’s been driving around here since two days ago.  But, I drove for the first time today.  In the downtown, for that matter.  Oh my.  We have a navigation device.  It would be absolutely impossible to find your way around here without it.  I drove to Ikea to pick up more necessities to turn that house into a home.  The parking garage was a nightmare.  I was completely winging it because it’s too hard to remember what side to be on in a tight garage that twists and turns.  Didn’t help that the garage is under construction so massive parts are blocked off. 

Looks like we’ll check out of the Fairmont tomorrow.  I will miss this place.  It’s absolutely fabulous.  Back to cooking for me.

Weather update:  you very quickly learn to deal with the heat.  Morning and later afternoon are the outdoor times.  Flip flops are most comfortable on your feet.  Tank tops are key.  We have had only one rainstorm since we’ve been here – it poured torrentially for 10 minutes and then it was over.  We all got soaked and didn’t think twice about it.  It’s been clear and sunny the rest of the time.  Very humid.