Memories of 2016?

4seasons

Guess this blog has truly been gathering cobwebs 😀 It is at this moment at the start of 2017 that I wished I wrote a bit more for 2016 so that I could remember the little moments that have happened. My memory is like Swiss Cheese sometimes. Luckily, I do take copious amount of photos, so that certainly helps to recall the memories of 2016.

Jan – Feb: Winter was superbly kind to us this year and was no where near the polar vortex double digit negative C temps we experienced when we first moved here. I think I can count on one hand how many times it snowed. And no slipping or falling this year! So that was awesome.

I remember feeling rather lonely this time of year. The husband was traveling every week for work and I was on an internship as well on top of 3 classes. It was hard to juggle both work, school and home on my own. I remember having to walk Rusty in the wee hours of the morning and then rushing right home after work to walk him again. Rusty never saw daylight much during that period because it would be still dark when we did our morning walks and already dark when I reached home at around 6pm each day. The husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary over FaceTime #consultantlife, both of us eating our respective dinners as we chatted. He was away during my birthday as well, but thankfully I was showered with lots of love by eveeleva and family. ❤

March: March was a month of friendships. We had 2 sets of visitors from Singapore and had such a good time bringing them around Chicago and Evanston. I did have to take the Chicago River Cruise twice, go to the Bean twice, eat frozen custard twice, eat deep dish twice, eat fried chicken twice (the one opposite our house is the yummiest!) within the span of 1 week.

After finishing up my final thesis, I also went on a trip to LA to meet up with K, M and A for a short weekend vacay to celebrate. It was really a treasured trip since 3 of us flew in from different cities (Chicago, Seattle & Houston) just to spend time together. We went to Disneyland for free (K works there!), drove along the coast to Santa Monica and Malibu, went to see the Hollywood sign at the Griffith Observatory and ate hipster vegan food. 😀

April: Celebrated the husband’s birthday this month. We ate lots of pancakes on the actual day. The husband was traveling a lot less by this time (yay!) and started working a lot from home. We  hung out quite a bit at the library together, he with his work-work, me with my school-work. We also went to the Lincoln Park Zoo for the first time and the weather was nice enough to picnic with Rusty by the lake. Fun times!

May: Spring was in full bloom here in Chicago/Evanston. We went to the Botanic Gardens multiple times to see all the flowers that were popping up. Love the poppies and explosion of apple blossoms (like cherry blossoms). Also hosted another group of friends from Singapore who came in from California and a Mee Pok party for our Singapore friends living here.

June: Finally graduated! Though the feeling was a lot more bittersweet. Couldn’t believe how 2 years just flew by like that. While we celebrated the accomplishment, it also felt sad knowing that I may never see some of my friends again.

The parents and brother were here to attend graduation and vacation in the US. We did a short road trip to Michigan. And I did the cruise, bean, frozen custard, deep dish and fried chicken circuit again. lol. It was great to connect as a family. I think the last time we were all together traveling in a foreign country was almost 10 years ago. The apartment felt a bit crowded at times but it was also an unforgettable and precious experience.

July: The husband had to go home to Singapore to settle visa issues for the first 2 weeks of July. We missed watching the 4th of July fireworks together this year. 😦 The house wasn’t empty though as we hosted our Singapore friends with their 3 kids during their transition period of moving to New Haven.

The 2nd half was July was a lot more fun. The husband had to travel to Orange County for a work meeting and we planned an impromptu vacation around that. It was crazy going to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree at the height of Summer (40+C weather every day!!) but it was loads of fun. I loved how the desert landscape was so different from what I have ever seen. Most memorable trip for me for sure. And all that yummy Asian food in California, wow.

August – September: Took advantage of the great weather and went out a lot! Ate the rainbow cone at Navy Pier, went for sunset walks by the lake, scored last minute reservations at a hot new restaurant, went to watch a performance at Second City, hiked at the Morton Arboretum, went to a Renaissance Faire (so weird), outdoor movie at Ravinia Park and watched our first and last night time Northwestern Football game.

October: The colors of the trees were changing beautifully by now and I snapped so many fall color photos. We were transfixed by election news and watched CNN every night plus all the Presidential debates. Our obsession was a bit cray-cray.

When we weren’t glued to the TV, we went out quite a bit too. We went to an outdoor Fall festival with our friends and had super yummy food cooked by some of the best restaurants in Chicago. Attended the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House event for the first time and toured several historical properties in Evanston. The husband ran the Chicago marathon and came in with his 2nd worst timing because he didn’t have time to train #consultantlife. We had kind friends who let us and Rusty bunk over in their home the night before the marathon. They stayed much nearer to downtown and it was a super kind gesture. Was also super fun to hang out with them.

Highlight of October has got to be the impromptu trip to Door County with eveeleva and family. First time driving in the dark but it felt safe with another family with us. Having a hot McDonald’s filet o fish supper on the way up during the 5 hour drive was one of the highlights. 😀 We went trigger happy exploring the parks and crazy gorgeous colors in Door County. My newly acquired iPhone 7 Plus was the best investment ever because it turned out so many beautiful family photos. And who can forget the scrumptious Swedish pancakes we had on the last day. The husband would like to forget the lunch we had at the Goat Creamery on the first day. 😀 lol

November: Month of crazy devastating news because of the election results. We felt so lost and depressed, and everyone around us was so sombre. Basically sealed our decision to head home to Singapore sooner than later.

December: Swung by Boston for a week long trip for the husband to attend a workshop and for us to visit good friends. Ate too much good food, especially seafood. First snow in Evanston when we landed, which didn’t stop for a day and a half. Freezing cold for about a week just before Christmas. Took it easy during Christmas and New Year’s, no big parties or anything, just quiet and cosy.

….and 2017 is here.

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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. 😀

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 of  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…

 

First Taste of American Football

Just finished a super duper-ly dense reading for one of my classes and have decided to just quit and call it a night. It was tough and a very very academic piece and I  wasn’t getting closer to better understanding it! School has been pretty draining these 2 weeks. When you think you have gotten all your homework done, the cycle starts all over again!

In the midst of the crazy brain sapping activity called readings and assignments, I have thankfully met a bunch of great classmates who are truly some of the nicest people around. When you work/study in the human development area, I suppose it is kind of a prerequisite to be of a certain sociable and people loving (or at least not people hating) mould.

Several of us ditched our homework today to head down for a Northwestern football game. Was pretty amazing how everything came together for this class outing. Someone settled all the tickets for us and another hosted a fantabulous tailgate just before the game.

What is a tailgate you ask? It’s basically a party you have from the back of your car in the parking lot near the  stadium where the game is played. Americans take their tailgating seriously, so it is not just a mini sit behind the boot and eat snacks kind of thing but a full blown BBQ pit with hot dogs, burgers and lots of alcohol. As you can see from the photos above, fancy tents are even set up to shield revelers from the elements. Btw, some people don’t even make it to the game, they just tailgate the whole way and have a good time.

Our classmate D’s tent was simply amazing. She’s a super Northwestern fan, so she does this every time there is a home game on. We were so so well fed and the set up was totally Pinterest worthy. Everything that could be purple was! Purple pretzels, M&Ms, cookies, pasta, napkins, cutlery, table cloth etc… We had so much fun JUST at the tailgate alone.

Had absolutely no clue what was going on during the game though. American football is just TOO technical. It’s not just about getting the ball from one end to the other. Too many rules…. Luckily the husband could explain it a little along the way and I could also depend on my American classmates. I just cheered when everyone else did. 😀 The good news is that NU won the game today, so it was a good day to be out at the games. We even ran on to the field in the end to take photos and high 5 the players. The crazy undergrads were swarming the players like mad. After all, college football stars are quite the celebrities.

The only thing that marred the experience today was the bitter cold. Chicago actually saw snow flurries this morning!!! Today’s temperature apparently set some kind of record since it was so unseasonably cold. We stood outdoors in 5C weather for most of the day but thankfully we were quite prepared with hats, several layers, gloves, tights and boots! I even scored a free T-shirt that was meant for undergrads to add more layers on. I guess I still look quite young. haha.

Enjoying my ginger tea with honey now to make sure my body stays nourished and warm. Looking forward to a hot bath to warm up cold muscles later.