YUM

I had heard that Jaime Oliver had a restaurant here in Singapore but had yet to try it.  I think he is a pretty interesting and cool person with recipes that aren’t extremely hard do do.

So last weekend we decided to finally give Jaime’s Italian at Vivocity a try.  It was truly worth the wait. The food from start to finish was so good.  The atmosphere was also very interesting. Laid back but still nice with very cool lighting and tables.  It was right on the water so the view of Sentosa was amazing. There were neat added features like a view finders for the kids that had pictures of the kids meals on it and planks of meats and desserts.

I had truffle pasta that I didn’t want to end and even the kiddos pastas were amazing.

We will for sure be going back for more.

After dinner we went for a stroll along the Sentosa Boardwalk to help walk off our dinner, enjoy the stalls of shopping and the sunset.

Sometimes living in Singapore is like being on vacation.  Wonderful places to eat and views for a evening stroll.

Every six months

Every six months we make a trip to Boston for Ellie’s heart check up.  That usually entails a three hour drive up to Boston all day scans and tests then a drive home.  This time it was a bit more complicated.

We were home from Bali four days (with a birthday party in that time) when we caught a flight and headed to the Sates.  Singapore-Narita-Chicago-Boston, 29 hours later we were walking into our hotel in Boston.  We decided because it was such a crazy journey that only Ellie and I would go.  This meant for the first time Ellie was able to sit in first / business class on the flights.  United has a requirement for employees’ families traveling on passes must be 8 to sit in first / business class.  This was the first time since she turned 8 we didn’t have Sadie with us so we scored business class there and back on the longest leg of the journey.  Ellie was in heaven.  Huge seats and tvs with real blankets and pillows AND ice cream sundaes.  She never wants to fly coach again.

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IMG_5465The visit to Boston Childrens’ went very well.  Dr Marx said there wasn’t much change in her meausrements but he wanted to see her this summer when we were home. He would like to do a stress test.  The expectation is as she gets bigger that she will begin to slow down especially in sustained / long activity because her mitral valve won’t be able to keep up.  He wants to see what long activity does to her numbers.  It will give us a better idea of when her next surgery will be.

Since we finished early at the hospital we went on a walk before returning to the hotel.  After being in an airplane for 29 hours and in the hospital for half a day if felt good to stretch our legs. I knew there where Fens in Boston and that there was Fenway Park but until I walked down a street that had the Fens on one side and Fenway on the other it never connected in my brain Fenway is called Fenway because of the Fens.  Humm.

We even found one of the best burgers in Boston at Boston Burger Company.  It was worth the walk! With a full tummies and a bit of jet lag, we returned to the hotel and were in bed early.

IMG_5391The next morning, early enough to see the sunrise from in the air,  we went to Hampton Roads (the creative way via Newark and Richmond because of full and canceled flights) to visit friends.

IMG_5396We ate a few of our favs with a few of our favs.  We had wonderful time with the Harrells and the Scalffs.  It was just so awesome to reconnect and have time with my besties.Adding the kiddos to the dynamic was just the icing.

We ended the whirl wind six day trip in Richmond.  Since we had to fly into Richmond instead of Norfolk I needed to return the rental car there.  It was an awesome chance to see my oldest friend as well as my second Mom and family.  I got to visit with Cherie, Missy, their families and Polly Ann and Wayne.  It felt so good to see them again even though it was only for a few hours and Ellie got to spend time with Ellie.  It really made my heart full seeing Ellie get along so well with my friends children.  The next generation making us proud …

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Coffee at a Hardware store

A few months back a Flight Attendant friend of mine Lisa sent me a message that a long time friend of hers – Kristy-  was moving to Singapore with her family.  Through the magic of Facebook she was able to introduce us.

It has been a few months and with busy school and holiday schedules we finally were able to meet up last week for a coffee and a chat.

Kristy suggested a place I had never heard of and I am so glad she did.

Chey Seng Huat Hardware is located off of Lavender Street in Singapore.  This whole area has old school style places to buy hardware and D-I-Y products.  At first you think CSHH is a closed hardware store.  There are grates across the front of the building and it doesn’t appear to be occupied at all.  If you didn’t know better you would walk right past it without giving it a second glance.

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IMG_4891Those in the know sneak through the big iron gates at the side of the building. (I have to admit I felt extra hip and cool sneaking into this hidden gem.)

IMG_4895 I couldn’t believe what was behind those gates.

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There was an outside area with tables to hang out in the courtyard and a DJ turn table for tunes if you are there in the evening.  A great choice of coffees from the traditional brewed to fancy and yummy “tummy fillers” and desserts.

I enjoyed myself so much I forgot to take pictures of my latte and smoked salmon salad.  The prices weren’t bad and the salad and coffee were very good.  Most of all the company was excellent.

Thanks for the meet up and introduction to the groovy new place Kristy!

 

600 really?

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.

Halloween

Our first Halloween in Singapore we weren’t really sure what to expect.  Did they go all out like we do in the States or is it really no big deal.  We found out it was a combination of the two. In fact, it was very much like going out on Halloween in the States except it was a hot 88 degrees ( I remember a Halloween not too long ago where we were Trick or Treating in the snow) and we were going up to apartments in groups of kids instead of houses. Also the candy was different.  Chocolate melts in the heat and is also expensive to buy so there was very little chocolate in the trick or treat buckets. It was mostly hard candy, suckers, and gummy candies that were given out.  All of this keep Mommy and Daddy from having to “test” the candy and any late night after the girls went to bed raids of the buckets.

Our complex, like many around here, organized a trick or treat event.  They had you sign up for trick or treating and for giving out candy that way they knew how many kids and which apartments would actually be apart of the candy giving. This was really nice because we knew exactly which buildings and floors to go.

All the kiddos and parents met in the main reception area and there was a parade of costumes.  All the kiddos lined up and marched by showing off all the costumes.  I was surprised at how many kiddos there actually were.

IMG_0610 DSCN1489 Ellie once again made the decision on what her and Sadie were going to be.  Ellie went for Kiki, one of her favorite characters from the movie Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Sadie was Kiki’s black cat. By far one of the easiest costume years so far and they both looked really cute.

DSCN1483 DSCN1487 IMG_0601We trick or treated and enjoyed the festivities.

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IMG_0611 IMG_0606 IMG_0608Two funniest things heard on Halloween night:

Ken got home from work and announced he needed “to go put on my Halloween shorts” and a friend of ours who dressed up like Batman announced that “Halloween costumes bought in America are not Singapore friendly” because of the heat.  Both of which really brought home to me that even thought we were Trick or Treating like every year, we now live very close to the Equator.

 

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…

The decision

After much going back and forth, introspection and discussion an offer was made near the beginning of May and was accepted.

We are off to Singapore!

Ken accepted a postion at Yale -NUS and will be starting July 15th.

So, you might ask, how do you plan and carry out a move half way around the world?  I’ll tell you in the next few posts.

 

Singapore Part One

About the time we had 40 inches of snow (see previous post) and we were all done with old man winter, Ken talked to Pericles Lewis, the President of the new Yale-NUS College in Singapore, about a position in Educational Resources and Technology. Ken first heard about the position the year before and I had vetoed it before it even became more than a thought.

I mean Singapore is a L-O-N-G way away – as in half a world away – as in you can’t get any further or you are on your way back.

Enter in the snow storm and the idea of 80-100 degree weather and no snow EVERY DAY began to sound really good.

I told Ken to have a talk with them and I would pick up a trip so I could have a layover and check it out. Looking back all I can say is he caught me in a moment of weakness.

This is what I saw through my tired and jet legged eyes in my 24 hours in Singapore:

It was beautiful, amazing, visually stunning and WARM but could we live there?  It is truly a world away from Ct.  The food, people and culture all so new and different.  They do speak English but with a strong accent and a few words of their very own thrown in for flavor and with it’s own name: Singlish.

It was a big decision and one that wouldn’t be easy to make.