Things I’ve learned – Singapore Day One

After a long (we left my parents in Roanoke at 8:30 am Monday morning and walked into our apt in Singapore at 12:50 p.m. East Coast time Tuesday) and luckily mostly uneventful journey we made it to our new home weary but safe and sound.

It took awhile to settle down and even though we were tired we were all back up and at them at 7:20 a.m.

Today I learned:

Hearing a little girl say “Daddy there’s a lizard on the wall” is a very interesting way to wake up.

I really enjoy having my morning coffee on MY veranda.

There is an amazing resort-like infinity pool right outside our building.

Singapore has just upgraded all of its Internet lines to fiberoptic so there is a 3-4 week wait for high speed fiberoptic Internet hookup.

A bag of salad mix costs $7.50 and gold fish crackers are $4.99 a bag at the local grocery store but a family of four can eat chicken and rice with soup for $9.00 total at the hawlker stands down the street.

NOWHERE gives out napkins so everyone carries packages of tissues to use as napkins.

Going to a Chinese wet market /grocery store fish section is like going to an aquarium. You see live eels, sharks, crabs and pretty much any kind of live fish and mollusk you can think of swimming around in tanks and containers of water. There are even buckets of LIVE frogs. It’s wild, literally, and will make your 4 year old scream at the top of her lungs when the giant Alaska king crab flashes its claws at her.

It’s hot, sweaty and steamy when you are walking around but if you are just sitting still the cross winds can be lovely.

Not bad for my first day…

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Two days of Birthday Fun

41!

Yup, that’s right  I’m now officially 41, fourty-one years old ( I must admit when I say that in my head I’m saying it like Sally O’Malley but saying 41 instead of 50 –http://youtu.be/aiehDcVZ-vA).

I can honestly say I remember a time when I thought 41 was old but I don’t feel old most of the time.  I think of myself as still young and fun even if my body doesn’t always feel that way.

To celebrate my the end of my 40th year and the beginning of my 41st we had two days of fun.  Aren’t I a lucky girl?

The last day of my 40th year was spent at the Virginia Safari park – http://www.virginiasafaripark.com/.  I have never been and since its only about 40 mins from my parents in Natural Bridge we decided to go.  It was so worth it just in giggles alone.  We laughed the whole way through.  There is just something about seeing animals roaming around on this huge property and then have them wander up to your car and stick their heads right into your car for a little snack that makes you giggle.  You have to be careful because they are greedy and will eat everything in your bucket and even take your bucket if you aren’t careful.

We followed the Safari Park with lunch at the Pink Cadillac Diner which is a 50’s decorated diner – http://www.pinkcadillacdineronline.com/home.html.  The food was good (service was just ok) and the atmosphere was worth a visit.

 

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My actual Birthday I received beautiful flowers and Monique and her girls met us for an adventure on the Roanoke Downtown Market complete with a trip to the famous Roanoke Wiener Stand for hot dogs and cokes.

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It was a wonderful two day celebration, thank you all for helping make it special.

 

Lake fun

While we have been in Roanoke we have been able to sneak down to Smith Mountain Lake and visit with my cousin Monique and her family.

She has a house on the lake which means swimming and boat riding and just tons of fun.

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RED

Back in January, on a whim, Ken went on line to see if there were any tickets to see Taylor Swift anywhere near us.  Low and behold there were 4 tickets to see her at Metlife Stadium in NJ (AKA the Medowlands, AKA Giants or Jets Stadium).  We couldn’t believe it hadn’t sold out.  He scooped them up with the thought that it would only be a 2 hour drive down and it was on a Saturday so we could go see her.

The girls were beside themselves with excitement and all we had to do is wait the 6 months to the concert.

UNTIL we decided to do the big move.  Off the girls and I went to Virginia and off Ken went to Singapore so we had to adjust plans a bit. Mom stepped in to take Ken’s place,  a hotel was booked, and a drive from Virginia to New Jersey was planned.

So on July 13th my Mom, Ellie, Sadie and I drove up to NJ to see Taylor Swift’s Red tour at Metlife Stadium.

The drive was long but the hotel was very close and we were able to take a shuttle over to the stadium so I didn’t have to drive and park.

We got there just as the first act Joel Crouse was going off stage.  Next up was Austin Mahone which appealed to the teenie boppers in the crowd.

Ed Sheeran took the stage right before Taylor Swift.  I have to say I was very impressed with Ed.  Just him and a guitar and a fancy foot peddle that recorded him playing so that it sounded like he had a back up band.  He sounded even better than he does on the radio and I now declare myself a fan.

Finally the sun began to set and the crowd lit up.  It was amazing to see all the lights from posters and crowd.

Taylor took the stage and Ellie and the crowd of 55,000 went wild.  I’ve been to a lot of shows but never one like this.  Everyone singing along with every song was amazing and Taylor Swift is a true entertainer.  There were costume AND stage changes.  It was a real show and spectacle and she sounded awesome.  She played to the crowd and even with a sold out 55,000 person crowd she made everyone feel included.

The girls had a blast (and if I am honest so did Mom and I).  The 8 hour drive up and the 8 1/2 hour drive back in two days was a bit hard but so worth it.

So excited

So excited

waiting

waiting

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All the lights

All the lights

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A few of the decisions

Many things have had to be decided in this whole moving to Singapore thing.

Two of them so far have been where we are going to live and where Ellie will be in school.  Since we aren’t from Singapore,  Ellie can’t go to public school and must go to private school.

In April, Ken made a trip over to check some things out before the final decision to go was made.  He luckily was able to visit a few of the schools and we narrowed it down to two.  In the end, Ellie looked at everything and as a group a decision was made.  After receiving her records, testing and a letter of reference from her current awesome second grade teacher Ms. Banks, Ellie was accepted into her and our school of choice, Nexus International School- http://www.nexus.edu.sg/.

Another thing to sort out was where we were going to live.  Ken looked at a few places and we were offered a three bedroom at Kent Vale I – http://www.nus.edu.sg/ohs/future-residents/staff/kent-vale/photo-gallery.php.  Of course we will post more pictures and details once we get there.

 

The week of the 4th

The week of the 4th we visited with Ken’s Mom in Satesville, NC.  Ken’s aunt Audrey and uncle Ron feed us well with homemade BBQ, cole claw and potato salad that I still dreaming about the first night we were there.  We had fun at a bounce house and chicken wings for the lunch the next day and the girls had loads of cuddles and fun with Grandma.

The fourth was wet and rainy but we did sneak in a burger and a few fireworks viewed from my parents front yard between showers.

 

First weekend in Va

Ken and I made it to Roanoke at 4am on the 29th of June.  Since the van had to be back at the rental car place at 9 am we had a short nap then unloaded and took it back.

That day was actually Ellie’s birthday so we had a cookout for her at my parents.  Ellie was actually born on her Great Grandmother’s birthday and her Great Grandmother was born on her Grandmother’s birthday.  Kind of crazy huh?  They celebrated together at the cookout.

Birthday girl

There were tractor rides, visits from friends, family and of course loads of yummy food and music.

Dad, Lee and Sadie strumming a tune

Tractor ride

Even Freddie got into the action

Lee playing tourist in Roanoke

Ivy and I at a knit bombed street post

It was a busy first weekend but it was so good to see family and friends and celebrate two great gals.

 

Leaving Connecticut

This move by far has been the hardest one I have ever made.  Since we are moving so far away and shipping costs are so crazy we are only taking what we can take on the airplane with us.  A few things like pictures and china are going to my parents the rest was sold or given away. It’s weird to have so few possessions left.  It’s the first time in 20 some years I haven’t owned a car.

Luckily, with help from my parents and visits from many friends the last week, we were able to pull it off .

The last weekend we were there my parents came up to help.  Dad helped Ken with a bit of DIY and Mom helped me pack.  We did sneak in one last trip to Lenny and Joe’s for a final seafood feast.

The girls had one last walk around the neighborhood which would have been lovely except in my typical graceful fashion, I took a spill and sprained my ankle and scraped up my knee.  Not exactly what I needed the last week we were there and I finally said I’m not wearing the darn cast anymore the following Friday but we did it.

The girls and my parents left on Monday for Virginia.  That gave Ken and I till Friday to finish packing, getting rid of things and finish up projects around the house.

We never could have finished that last week without the help of some very good friends.  The ladies- Alberta and Donna- from Sadie’s school – Edith B Jackson- collected stuff for their own tag sale, clearing out a bunch of things, my friend Melissa gave me loads of mental and physical support stopping by when I needed her and helping after we left with clearing out, Jeanine gave me a hug when a I needed it and a ride the the rental car place, neighbors helped with trash take out and keeping an eye on things, Themba helped Ken get organized and the with crazy 4 1/2 hour tetris puzzle load up to leave, my parents for taking the girls and giving us the time we needed and my dear friend Maureen help keep me sane by being there night and day to help in any way she could.  Without all of these people and their help, we never ever would have been able to pull this off.  Thank you all so much.

The final few hours where rough but we finally had my Dad’s pick up and a rented Dodge Carivan loaded to the gills with everything we own and ready for the drive to Roanoke and my parents.

Final load up

Good bye Connecticut

Now if we could just sale the house…

Bathroom Redo

It has often been said your house never looks as good as it does right before you sell it.  It  has never been more true than with our house.

We have done all of those projects we have been thinking of doing.  Painted the outside, fixed the gutters, painted the ceilings and the spare room so it no longer says “cuddle” on the wall, and finally redid the bathroom.

Our bathroom had duct tape on the shower wall and the original tile all the way up the walls.  The tile wouldn’t have been a problem if so many of the tiles hadn’t been cracked and broken.

We were told what we already knew, the bathroom needed to be done before we could put it on the market.  We bought it with the bathroom that way but as we all know 5 years ago it was a very different market ( the house has had many improvements and updates and is still going on the market for $22,000 less than we paid for it).  We are actually lucky the valve has only fallen that much.

There is the process to redoing any bathroom especially one from 1928.  We wanted to go original looking with subway tiles and black and white floor but were encouraged by the contractor and our realtor to go more modern.  I think we got a good mix.  We kept the original lovely tub and used fat subway tiles on the wall with a new boarder, vanity, floor tiles and toilet.   It looks lovely, fresh and new.

I’m glad we did it but I must say I’m a little bummed we don’t get to enjoy it…

Preparing

Preparing to leave Connecticut was crazy.

We had a HUGE tag/yard sale and sold as much as we could.  We sold our mini van (our VW is being bought by my Mother in law) and every bit of furniture we own.  Also just about everything in the house was sold or given away.  I became a Craig’s list pro.  Including one evening when someone drove up outside and I delievered lamps right to their car.  A drive through Craig’s List drop off.  My friend Melissa was amazed.

Everyone who came to my house in the month of June did not leave empty handed.  They had at least a plant with them when they left.  At the end we were giving things away left and right it was crazy!

A few things were hard.

Saying good bye to friends we had made and the house that we brought Sadie home to for the first time was harder then we both thought it would be.  We had to erase the the evidence of our life there and prepare the house for sale.

We painted the outside of the house

the height wall

We also remodeled the bathroom (which will get it’s own post) and painted and skimmed more ceilings than Ken will hopefully ever do again in his lifetime.

There were a few chill out times when we enjoyed the Spring by hanging in the hammock  or playing in the sprinklers but mostly it was work and more work.

Who knew leaving the country would be so hard