Spring Flowers

Felt kind of sad looking at my Spring flower photos and realized that I didn’t blog about them at all! So here they are!

Spring is definitely my second favorite season (Fall is a clear first). I love seeing different flowers blooming at different times throughout the season. A patch of grass can have a few different kinds of beautiful blooms coming and going in a span of a few weeks. It’s so fleeting and you really want to appreciate them all you can when you see them.

Unfortunately, one of my favorite “sakura” trees was fell by a lightning storm earlier this Summer. 😦 Will miss its canopy of pink come next Spring.


Feeling Human Again (almost)

School is finally out! woohoo!

I wish I can say that I have been kicking back, crocheting and having a good time. But, I’ve still been doing some school & work related (I work in the program office part time) stuff here and there. AND I just checked the class community page and realized that I have a ton of stuff due DURING the holidays for my new classes starting in Winter! It’s only the 1st week of the holidays and we’re already bombarded with stuff reminding us of school. This graduate student gig is really not very fun and it is pretty obvious from the lack of updates here in this space I guess.

Hope that I’ll have a better grasp of time next quarter and have a bit more time outside of school to cook, craft and head out more often. Of course some time to blog too. Having said that, I have been blogging loads in school, all academic stuff, no one else would be too interested to read it besides my instructors. πŸ˜€

One of the first things I did when school closed was to go shopping! Not the usual kind of shopping though. We went to check out Costco! Interestingly, I just found out that Singapore would be getting its own version of this chain as well.

Anyway, I think I am most ignorant for not knowing that you need a membership to get into the store and buy stuff. We dutifully paid the $55 membership fee and fought off the sales people who tried to make us upgrade to the $110 version. They couldn’t tell us the advantage of upgrading clearly, so don’t know, don’t care. In any case, we’re not sure if we’d be headed there often enough to make the membership worth our while. But for a fun once-in-a-while trip, the basic version is more than enough expensive for us.

So like most people I know who go to Costco, we bought toilet paper!!! lol. We also bought a ton of post-it notes! (for school) and some wool socks for winter.

To be honest, not everything is significantly cheap at Costco, so you still need to scrutinize the prices properly. My socks were just normally priced but I needed them. The fresh food section has prices that are almost the same if not more expensive at my usual supermarket. I think it only gets super cheaper if you buy a lot and for certain products! And of course, it’s a great place to come to if you are having a huge huge party and need cartons ofΒ  drinks and chips!

Nevertheless, we still had a lot of fun exploring the whole place for almost 2 hours. It was most amusing to see lots of familiar brands sold in humungo sizes. We might go back again just for kicks, since I think they switch out different products for sale from time to time. Might as well too, we have membership after all…


Singapore Day 10-14

I don’t have that many photos of my last few days in Singapore. Probably reflective of the fact that I tried to stay home as much as possible since the parents were back from their holiday. Wanted to be a “guai” (good) daughter and show face at home. But you know what, I was “abandoned” for half a day on Saturday, so I went out to do my own stuff alone, on my own. The solitude I had was actually very much welcomed!

One thing I really hate seeing in Singapore is the scene of domestic helpers walking their employers’ dogs. I don’t know why people have pets when they throw them to their helpers to look after. The poor dogs are often used as an excuse for the helpers to head out of the house to make their phone calls on the sly. These furry cuties don’t get to explore, play and walk much. Many of them end up sitting on the pavement, sometimes in the scorching sun.

I don’t really blame these helpers because they too need their private time away from their employers and this is usually the best opportunity. I blame the employers, the pet owners who don’t look out for the welfare of their dogs.

Love this photo of Elsa and the mouse. I had forgotten that I had given my ex-boss the mouse as well, so it was a surprise when she posted this photo of my gift of Elsa to her. Am glad they both went to someone who really appreciates them, and to a boss that I appreciate for all her help and generosity to me.

When I did actually hang out with the parents, it was always about the food. I am definitely my father’s daughter as we both live to eat! My dad really travels for good food, even bringing us to JB when we were young. We had the most decadent of dishes, this cold crab with abundant roe was one of them, and the simplest of fish ball noodles. Although for the latter, I had to wake up at 6.30am to go beat the queue with mom and dad!

Suggested that they go try out FIX today, a new cafe in the Balestier area. The donuts with 桁沙 sauce were da bomb. Made hot and fresh with a wonderful sweet/salty egg custard dipping sauce. Dad said it was better than eating the bun version from dim sum restaurants as you can control the amount of sauce you want. Mom was seen mopping up the sauce when all the donuts were gone. Looks like they enjoyed this place that I introduced them to.

On my day alone, I decided to head downtown to run some errands and pick up some yummies to bring back to the husband. He had a short list of requests and I made sure to fulfill them. πŸ™‚ Popped by one of our favorite sushi places for a one person lunch. This place is by far one of the cheapest conveyer belt sushi joints around. Quality is clearly not the best but I don’t mind it much since it is so cheap. And if you stalk the belt long enough, the aburi salmon sushi is really quite yummy. But terribly illusive to eat since you cannot order it off a menu at all!

Missed the husband very much this day. We used to eat here fairly often and it was always fun to just sit there and hunt down our favorite sushi plates together. Even the aburi sushi didn’t taste so good without him around you know? Missing him terribly and so glad I am heading home to Evanston soon!

Singapore Day 7-9

I am getting to the end of my social tether in terms of my appointments in Singapore. Some people might find this hard to believe, but I am actually an introvert at heart, or at least slowly and surely becoming more of one when I get older. Feeling that I just want to stay at home and chill for the next few days! And also counting down the days to heading back to quiet Evanston where I feel less harried and rushed. It’s not that I don’t enjoy meeting up with my friends and all but after being away from them for so long and suddenly condensing all engagements in one week is pretty overwhelming!

Woke up bright and early on Sunday to head out for breakfast with the brother. We ended up at this prata place that we’ve been eating at since we were young. We’ve not had many opportunities to spend time alone together so this breakfast was quite special to me. I don’t think I have ever had him queue and buy food for me before, so it was a pretty sweet feeling.

I was introduced to Coin Prata, a new invention of sorts in the prata world. Essentially just miniature sized versions of this yummy fried Indian pancake. They were extra crispy on the outside and nice and doughy on the inside. I think I prefer them to the normal ones. Each set had 6 pieces and it was easily polished off.

Did my envoy duties and trooped down to the in-laws for dinner. As expected, I had a feast waiting for me when I arrived. And mind you, this was only for 4 persons including the helper. My in-laws eat really simply on normal days, like a bowl of oats, porridge or just some boiled sweet potatoes. But they always become OTT when the husband and I head over. He wasn’t with me this time but the quality and quantity of food was no less! While I really wished they didn’t go through all that trouble, I do feel terribly loved by them. And that is such a blessing when it comes to relationships with in-laws, I know not everyone has that!

I did have to sit through a few hours of non stop talking though. The MIL was evidently very excited that I was back. Perhaps she hasn’t had many people to talk to for some time, so I sat through a really long spiel. I told the husband that I wished he was around then. He’s really the best person to help control the situation. πŸ˜€

I made time to meet a special bunch of people this trip, a group of women bloggers I was introduced to online several months back. It’s been a community that I have really appreciated being part of. Everyone is just so nice and we share fun/funny conversations as well as issues relating to our blogs and real lives. All of them have awesome blogs, some award winning no less. So I feel fortunate to be included into their fold just because I happen to keep a humble blog that is an embarressing mish mash record of my life. Even though I have never met them in real life before this, our lunch together was not at all awkward and seemed like a gathering of old friends. If ever I need to cite an example of a successful online community, this is one group that I will definitely talk about. haha θŒδΈšη—…

Took time to make everyone little brooches since I had been sharing photos of my craft works with them. Loved how the brooches turned out with all the different color permutations I made. Thankfully there were enough pieces to go around in the end as the attendance for our gathering really ballooned! Am so grateful that so many made time to meet during my short trip home. Thank you!

To be quite honest, I don’t really miss living in Singapore a whole lot. But after meeting an old neighbor for morning coffee and walking around my old hood, it felt kind of sad that I wasn’t living in my old apartment any more. I miss my neighbors especially, the best kind anyone can ask for in HDB style living. In modern apartments where closed doors are the norm, interacting with your neighbors, sometimes even knowing their names is a rarity!

I hear that the kids no longer play at the lift lobby outside my home as the new tenants on the floor (including mine) are not so friendly and find them noisy. That’s sad because it’s the funnest experience I find living there, to hear kids play, laugh and enjoy each other’s company in the communal space. I have great memories of Rusty sitting by the door and watching the kids play, longing to join them as well. And me handing treats and berries to the kids so that they could command Rusty to do his repertoire of tricks. Amazing memories.

Where I can, I have been trying to catch up with the husband over FaceTime. Of course I try to talk to my darling Rusty too. But it has been difficult. Dogs don’t seem to get video chatting much. lol πŸ˜€ And the computer must distort my voice quite a bit as Rusty doesn’t hear or acknowledge that I am there even. Can’t wait to give him hugs and kisses (which he absolutely hates) when I am home. In the meantime, I’ll just live with hearing stories about him from the husband and staring sillily at old photos on my phone.

Singapore Day 4-6

I basically devoted Day 4 to heading back to the old office to meet with the colleagues. Even went down to the nearby hawker centre to say hi to the drinks stall Auntie & Uncle. Glad that they still recognized me! πŸ˜€ Of course their Teh Si Siu Dai is still the best around! Also caught up with my old team mates over a yummy Ipoh Hor Fun lunch.

It’s funny how 1 year can make a lot of difference to a place yet have some things stay completely the same. The office looked more run down somehow but people were still as warm and friendly as I remember. Unfortunately I was wilting from the heat and jet lag still and couldn’t stay long enough to be able to chat at length with everyone. Had to even resort to standing outside the Board Room to catch people who were heading in for the monthly management meeting. lol Had no more energy to ply all 6 floors of the building to hunt for people. Even then, I had to “sacrifice” some meetings.

Resorted to Melatonin and Counter Pain to help me sleep better this night. These were such a godsend! Switching to a bigger and less springy bed (my parents’!) also helped immensely. My nights have become less miserable from henceforth.

One thing I was afraid of coming back home to Singapore was the weight I would pile on again after eating all the yummy food! I mean, I can’t really reject people when they offer to treat me too right? Thankfully, the jet lag has helped me to temper my appetite. So I eat enough to be satisfied as opposed to enthusiastically stuffing my face. Also conclude that I don’t miss local food as much as I thought. Everything has been good and yummy but not earth-shatteringly so. I’d be happy eating salads again soon.

Found time to chop of my locks. Was getting pretty annoyed with longer hair, especially since I seem to be having an oiler scalp and more hair loss due to the change in climate. Haven’t been brave enough to venture into a hair salon in Evanston to cut my hair the past year. I still trust my local hairdresser more. I always love what she does for me.

Dinner was with my mala buddy. We definitely over ordered this night but it brought back such great memories of our Shanghai trip many moons ago. Thanks to Amazon, I actually get to eat mala pretty much anytime I want back in Evanston. But it cannot beat the heart to heart talks and catch up on our lives over a hot pot dinner together.

Crazy appointment filled Saturday that started bright and early at 8.45am queueing up for this Michelin Star restaurant. The legendary Char Siew Baos were indeed to die for! The husband would have loved the gooey, sauce drenched and ingredient ladened Lor Mai Kai. The rest of the items were ok only. I don’t know how Michelin decides on its star system….

Checked myself into a spa for 2 hours to get my knots tackled. Returned to our go to place before we left Singapore. The staff still remember me! And sent regards to the husband. How sweet. Shows how regular we were as patrons previously huh? Had a glorious rub down and a good nap. Finally finding long lasting comfort after 6 days in Singapore!