We came home to an explosion of decorations and events for the Lunar / Chinese New Year that rival any I’ve ever seen in the States for Christmas. It is a huge celebration here in Singapore.
The first big event I got to see was at Sadie’s school. The children were asked to dress in Chinese dress or in the color red. It was very cool to see all the kiddos all dressed up.
They had a lion dance that is done this time of year. There are usually two people that make up each lion and there are loud drums and cymbals to which they perform. Each movement they make is so life like and actually has a meaning. It was amazing to see and I loved that my first real lion dance was at Sadie’s school.
The children all preformed a Chinese New Year song. Sadie being one of the tallest was in the back row. I was very impressed that they learned the song and motions in only two weeks of school.
They also did a traditional prosperity toss called yusheng or lo hei. All the vegetables and other ingredients are placed on a platter and everyone uses chop sticks to toss them up and mix them together. The higher you toss them, the more prosperous you will be. It is a way of getting everyone involved to create the dish together. Sadie had a blast mixing and eating the dish.
It was a wonderful way to begin our celebrations for the New Year.
The second week back at school this term was Sports Day at Ellie’s school. Think field day but with actual events that mirror Olympic events.
Ellie’s house shirt
Ellie is in API house which means Fire in Malaysian
There was a high jump (not over a pole just up to see who could jump highest), long jump, discus throw with tennis balls, and long and short runs.
I have to admit the long run was the one I was a bit nervous about. It was a bit of a distance and it was very hot outside. I wasn’t totally sure how Ellie was going to do. I told her just do your best.
Of course she ran her heart out and was by far the last across the line. When I made it to where she finished I wasn’t sure what she would say. She looked at me and said “Mom, I don’t care if I’m the last one as long as I gave it my best try. That’s all that matters.” Sometimes it takes a 8 year old to remind us all what is really important.
We made it back to Singapore just in time for Sadie’s first day of Kindergarten. Singapore local schools follow the January to December format. In January of the year you turn 5, you start Kindergarten I.
In December, just before returning to the States, Sadie was offered a place at the school in our complex. It’s a short five minute walk away! We really liked the school where she was going but it was two bus rides and 30-40 minutes in the morning and afternoon. The new school seems just as good, follows the local school system, has an hour and a half of Chinese a day and…did I mention is only a 5-MINUTE walk away! Sadie has an extra hour at home in the morning. It’s so nice. She was so excited on the first day she ran all the way there.
Since we didn’t find out until the middle of December, she didn’t have her new uniform for the first two weeks of school. She does now and she looks so cute in it.
After the first few days excitement wore off it’s been a bit of an adjustment, but she tells me everyday she had a great day at school.
I wasn’t totally sure that I was going to be able to say that this year. Ken and the girls left on December 18 to fly back to the States but the doctors wouldn’t release me until my counts went up. Originally they were saying I could leave on Dec. 24. Christmas Eve? Really? After I put up a fight, they finally said I could leave on the 21st. I made it home to my parents in time to meet up with Ken who had been with his Mom.
The whole gang were all there together in Virginia for the holiday. We did the annual Hutchens family Christmas party and ate so much that I gained back all the weight I lost while having the Dengue.
We even got caught up in the epic Polar Vortex. Ken made it back but the girls and I extended our vacation by a week until we could fly home. It wasn’t a hardship having another week in the States we got loads of family time but it was very cold.
The girls and I made it back home on the early hours of the 12th after 30 hours of traveling. Basically in one piece.
This is my 600 post on the blog. (Actually it is number 603 but Ken did 3 of them and they don’t really count do they?)
I started the blog all of those years ago as a way to keep our family and friends updated on what was happening while we were living so far away. I used to email photos but one day I thought, what if everyone is tired of having their inbox flooded with pictures? What if I just put it up in one place that everyone could check every once and awhile and see what Ken, Ellie and I where doing. Then came Sadie and it seemed an even better idea.
I am horrible at keeping baby books but I realized that I don’t need to – I have the blog. Whenever the girls ask when did I do this or we talk about someplace we have been, we just go online and show them. We show them pictures and let them read the text and comments that everyone has made. It’s better than any baby book. It’s an interactive history that you all share with us.
The blog has help spread news – like when Ellie had her surgery and when Sadie was born – and helped us feel not so far away while we were in England, Connecticut, and now Singapore.
Thank you all for following along on our life adventure and hope you all continue checking in for many years to come.