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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm bilingual now

I've been living in Singapore now for just over a year. It's been fun listening to all the different languages and different accents. They are always so beautiful and exotic. It's one of the things I don't think I could ever tire of.

English is one of the 4 official languages of Singapore so that has helped us communicate with just about everyone. The kids take Mandarin in school and are pretty good at it too. They were able to talk to a few people while we were in China. It was awesome listening to my kids speak a different language. I have been studying Mandarin but I am no good. The voice inflections get me and I get too flustered. Our trip to China showed me just how crappy my Mandarin skills are!

I have however picked up on another language spoken here although it isn't an "official" language it is spoken everywhere! I speak of British English! Seriously! If facebook will let me choose it as a language I speak then I will choose it! Yes my friends I am slowly becoming very adept at speaking British English!

Here are a few examples for you non-believers.
My friend Tanya uses a pram for her children.
Notice that I say pram and not stroller. Pram is British English

Here's another...
Natalie loves to ride in the lift.
Lift is British for elevator. See how good I am at this? It's almost like my ancestors came from Britian or something!

Bob likes to put his beer in an esky.
In America we would say cooler but the British are so proper they like to say esky.
Even pinterest recognizes the difference between British English and American English as recognized by this poster....

So, Now on a hot summer day the kids will be offered cold on a cob instead of popsicles.
It has been hard to learn the differences in some places. I told the maintenance guy I liked his truck and he did not understand until I said I liked his lorry. It can still be confusing. Next I will try to learn the spelling of British English. How to spell movie theatre instead of movie theater, or go to the shopping centre instead of the shopping center. Being bilingual is hard but so fascinating.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving in Singapore take 2

This is our 2nd year we get to celebrate Thanksgiving in Singapore. This one we kind of know what we are doing! Last year we were just too new, but we still enjoyed it.

 Last year we had someone else make some of our feastly food. This year we had him do ALL of it, except deviled eggs. The kids like to do those. Mr. Hoe, from the Singapore American School makes the BEST turkey I have EVER had! He makes many things for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and it is worth EVERY penny. It gave us more time to enjoy each other as a family and just to relax a little. I also didn't have to worry about any of the preparations or getting any of the food ingredients. SO easy! I did, however, take snapshots of all the prices I WOULD have paid for a Singaporean Thanksgiving. It's not like the States  and that's OKAY with me! In the States I would NEVER have got it catered.

Here is the price of a Singaporean Turkey. One Kg is equal to 2.2 pounds. So a ten pound turkey would cost you 44 dollars. Except this is my oven here in Singapore and I'm  not sure it would fit. I barely fit a full sized cookie sheet in it with a "personal" sized pizza on it! 

Next up we have a green bean casserole. Since living here I usually just get fresh green beans but I couldn't find any and barely found the last can of green beans at the store I was at! Plus, what is green bean casserole without the french fried onions? No picture of the cream soup because I totally forgot about it, good thing someone else was cooking my meal! This would be about $15 for the casserole itself! Mashed potatoes too, A 5 pound bag will cost about $5 here. I already had some so I didn't go out of my way to look. Just take my word for it! 

What would a Thanksgiving dinner be without the Pumpkin Pie? Although the day I was taking the pictures the store was out of pie crusts I still got a picture of how much it would cost if they did have some. When you add in the Cool whip at $6 for the small tub, two pumpkin pies will cost you about $25! 

Stuffing is a must have and although we usually drink grape juice with sprite I took a picture of the pints of milk! And don't forget the cranberry sauce. Of course you can use fresh cranberries but most of us like the canned stuff. So, that was about $4 for the can. 

Of course you need rolls and usually I just buy crescent rolls from the Pillsbury people. They are rare here in Singapore and can cost you ALMOST $12 depending on where  you buy them. For 12 crescents that would be about $24! Add in our pints of milk and some stuffing and you have a meal that costs about $145. 

Now, that's just the bare bones. Nothing fancy. And ALL that time and preparation is just too tiring. Especially when  you can just go pick it up here from SAS. We paid about $180 for all of that plus something new called pork cracklin'. And everything comes in a container already for you to put away the leftovers. The turkey comes pre-sliced but still looking like a turkey! 

We all had a good time! And enjoyed the food more because clean up was a breeze!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

And we'll have fun, fun, fun....

My 17th wedding anniversary was this last weekend. Bob and I have always done something fun with the family to celebrate. After all our kids are part of our marriage, they are what comes from our love. This year we decided to go to...
Universal Studios Singapore and do Ifly at Sentosa.
I don't know who had more fun, us or the kids! I love amusement parks and I especially love the rides. This time ALL our kids can ride ALL the rides! Proof that the years are still flying by. We had so much fun walking around and just enjoying eachother. By far our most favorite ride was Battlestar Galactica but the blue side or Alien side. THAT WAS AWESOME! Natalie was disappointed in some of the rides because they were too short since they are geared towards some of the littler kids. After the Canopy flyer in the Jurassic Park area Natalie shouts"Oh! EM! GEE! is that it?" That one could have been way more fun if it was just a bit longer. Oh well, makes a great story to tell!
After touring Universal we had a flight time of 5 at Ifly. We checked in, had a quick training class and geared up to go fly. Ifly is the largest wind tunnel in Singapore and simulates the free fall you have after jumping out of an airplane. It is AMAZING! I am so ready to take this up as a new hobby but Bob says I need to earn some money first. Maybe I can just put up a donation button to feed my adrenaline junkie side? It's not as easy as it looks and I was true to my inner clutz and ran smack dab into the window! I didn't even see it sneak up on me but I conked my head pretty good! Another great story to tell. Jake stopped after his first turn but is ready to go back and try again!

It was a really good family day and was such fun to celebrate our love with our little loves.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm so proud of myself!

There is a new icon on my blog! Did you see it? Yes, that one for expat arrivals! I kind of earned that logo!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the Expat arrivals site to write an article for them. No pay or anything just write an article and maybe I'll get more visitors to my blog. I would have wrote the article anyway. I like helping people, and giving MY side of advice. And this little article I did for them...  is just that, my experience and the advice I can give out. I'm really no expert on anything and everyone will have different experiences or ideas what is best for them. But this is a good guideline to start with.

The Expat Arrivals site has many informative articles. It is worth checking out. They have real people living in Singapore telling how they deal with the culture shock  or with renting property here. I personally like the real world experience that people can share as opposed to the books written by people that have never really "lived" in Singapore.

I was very happy they even asked for me to be a contributor. Like I said, I like helping others as much as I can and I do like writing from time to time. This was good for me to write to someone for someone else's needs. It made me think about how much I've become accustomed to many things here in Singapore. I had to think about how I felt the first few weeks and how daunting it was for me to go outside the house much less find a Dr. and lately I feel like we have been living at the Dr. offices. So, I may not be the best expert they could have asked but I'm happy just the same to share the little bit of info I did have.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


This is one of the funny signs I found while at the Airport.
My biggest question was what if you are in between the toilets?
Do you go right to the one you just saw or go to the left and keep your eyes open?
Or do you just stand there confused?
I'm sure I know people who would do all 3! Not the same person, I hope!
However, I am glad that there are signs to tell you and I don't have to hunt EVERYWHERE for the bathroom! That is not fun at all, especially when you or your child REALLY has to go.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My 7 links

I was recently nominated by  my friend and fellow expat blogger Bec to participate in the Seven Links Project. The Seven links Blog Project is a way of uniting bloggers together and to share some forgotten blog posts and then nominate other bloggers to participate. So, I looked through all my blog posts this morning took a nice trip down memory lane. I don't like to brag but all my posts are pretty good, here are my 7 most.....

Most Beautiful 

I know I'm going against the rules here but I have two I love. So, you decide which one you like and ignore the other! I have this one.... because it has 2 of my kids, my husband and my cat that I really do miss. The only thing wrong with it is Greyson isn't in it. My other most beautiful post would have to the one about Sweetarts. Mostly I think it deserves most beautiful because it's words of wisdom from my mom and it's carried me through many bumps in the road of life. 

Next up...
Most Popular 
This one was a little tough for me. I ended up picking the one that BECAME my most favorite outside of my blog. Which had to be this one titled ...ADDICTION.  This post didn't have the most comments or even the most views HOWEVER, it did have the most recipients. We bought a ton of these shoe/slippers and gave them out as gifts! TO EVERYONE we had ever met it felt like. The shoes were quite popular and I miss wearing them but the fur is just too hot for my tropical paradise. 

Now we have the post for...
Most Controversial 
This one got chose only because it has the word KILL in it and it really would be a hard decision to make! I think if my husband has said that to me there would be one less husband walking this earth.

Now we have the
Most Helpful 
I don't write helpful posts. I'm not an expert in much of anything and I really just like to write about me and how I feel, that's something that I am an expert at! So, this one had me puzzled but I found the post entitled...That time of the month. It happened almost one full year ago! I chose it because it made me remember that being helpful is good, but being myself helps ME even more!

We move onto
The Most Surprisingly Successful post
This one still gets comments! That is why I chose Something for my exercising friends as the most successful. Most of the comments are spam but once in awhile I get a funny one. A few months ago I had one in another language and it sounded like they wanted to actually BUY one!

Onto the
Most Underrated
This one was totally about me and the role music plays in my life. I think I need to update it because I have more music to add. The soundtrack of my life is funny but it is part of me. Music plays a big role in my life. It describes me in many ways, it helps me through bad times, is right alongside me in good times and just seems to always be in the background. I can do ANYTHING with music, well, except sing but whatever. I chose it as most underrated because it really is a good description of me and I think most people read it and think it's just a funny.

And finally the post that I am
Most Proud of 
The Ying to my Yang is the post I am most proud of. Marriage is hard. It takes work, understanding and sometimes tough love. But ours is still strong after almost 20 years together. It hasn't been easy but the hard work makes me so proud. I am proud to call Bob my husband. He really is the best compliment I could have for myself. We fit well and for that I am proud.

In turn I am going to nominate
1. Canesa, I see she has been blogging lately and I want to see some of her older posts again.
2. Tanya who is also a friend, fellow expat and blogger. She'll see how far she has come in her few short months here in Singapore. Memory lane is wonderful!
3. Andrea who is also a friend, a fellow expat and most importantly a HELPFUL blogger.
Good luck Girls.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The circle of life

Yes, I know I'm behind again. What's new? It's the story of my blogging life! Welcome to my world people! I've suffered from writers block again. I have noticed that when I am working through other things in my life the "easy" posts become harder. I NEED to write some of my life situations out. This is my own personal journal, right? LOL.
My children started school about 2 weeks ago. It really is a hard time for me. I've had a hard time since my youngest started first grade. Which in our area was full day, kindergarten was still half day. And that is where my challenges begin!

I stumbled upon motherhood. I wanted a career and a good daycare. I ended up falling in love, quitting college and then having kids. I LOVE MOTHERHOOD! I never thought I would but it has me in it's grips and most days I struggle with letting my kids go. It's so hard for me. I cry the first day of school and NOT from joy. I miss them. By the end of the day I'm sitting at the door impatiently waiting for my kids to come home. I miss them needing me like when they were younger. I think it a cruel thing to be a mother with the only purpose to love your kids and teach them to one day leave you! Does any other job do that?

I know someday they will leave me and I do want that. It's the circle of life. I don't baby my kids so that they must stay with me either. I try my hardest to give them the wings to fly without me. Somedays I would love to clip those wings and just hold them tight. To have ME be the center of their little universe. But that is not the way it goes. I need to teach them those little things so that they can become good members of society and start the circle all over again with their families.

Every year the beginning of school affects me and every year I take a day to feel sorry for myself. Then I move on and cry in private and hope that I tell my kids I love them enough and that I am giving them enough tools for life.This year is a little different, this year I know that I need to move on. I can't change how life goes. They will leave as they should and there is no way I would want any different for them. So, this year I am going to grow up myself. I'm going to decide what I want to do with my life outside the family. This year I started counseling to help me decide these things. Why counseling? To fight off the guilt I feel for not giving my all to my family.

I am one of those people that knows it is good for my kids to move on but feel guilty when I do things for me. It hasn't always been this way just in the last few years as I see them needing me less and less and as I feel that my "worth" is dwindling. I no longer know everything, I'm no longer supermom, I'm no longer the ONLY person they want for comfort or even just to play with. The guilt was getting so bad that I said sorry about everything even if it wasn't my fault. I got stuck in a rut and am now seeking help to deal with the future.

Of course when the kids were little I didn't do much thinking about things that I like and things that interest me. I dabbled in crafts, reading, writing, sewing and so many other things. I'm okay at a bunch of things but not really great at anything. This is a year for me to explore other talents that may have lain hidden, to find me while I continue to teach my kids to fly. WIthout guilt, without pressure but with the help and support of my family and friends. But most of all it is me getting off my pity pot that I'm old, that my kids don't need me and re-creating me. Millions of mothers before me have done this, millions of mothers have survived. It is the circle of life.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Let me tell you a little story.

Once upon a time way back  in 2008 the Olympics were held in Beijing, China. They created this swimming complex for all those competitions that are done in the water. This complex is called The Watercube. This is THE complex where Michael Phelps broke records and became the fastest man in water. We watched those Olympics more than any other.
Fast Forward to 2011....
When we decided to go to Beijing we knew we would go to see this Watercube and the other well known Stadium the Bird's Nest. However, what we did NOT know until we got to Beijing was that one of the pools at the Watercube was turned into a waterpark for the public to enjoy more and most likely earn more money. We HAD to go! HAD TO! Even Greyson, who isn't particularly fond of waterparks was ready to go. Think about it, Americans. In China. At the Watercube. Swimming. We were so there!
We toured the competition pools, did some looking around. Recognized the diving platforms from TV. Took our pics of Henry the Gnome and decided to get a little lunch. We find a table to sit at and instantly we are bombarded by people wanting our picture! There was one Grandma that just kept posing her Grandkids all around us and asking for more pictures. Then Greyson walked over with some of our food and the picture posing started ALL over again. As she's taking pictures other people are sneaking in photos of us while we are posing. It was hilarious!
The paparazzi finally leave us to our food and we start to look around at the waterpark portion of the Watercube. It LOOKS AWESOME! We down our food and head downstairs to the locker rooms and entrances. Bob pays for our way in and gets the key for our locker. The place is HUGE! There are a ton of kids running around without clothes on and some of the parents aren't much better. That's just out in the common areas where the lockers are located! We make our way to the shower areas and there are so many more totally naked bodies running around that I thought we had a stripper bar, Americans are so hung up on modesty! It was hilarious but Natalie was very uncomfortable. Even the dressing stalls don't have doors! We hurry and get our swimsuits on and leave to meet the boys to put stuff in the locker.
Now, remember that key Bob got for the locker. It works like an easy pass, you scan the key and the locker opens. We found a locker and put all our junk into it! Clothes, camera, passports, money. ALL in the little locker.
We enter the great OLYMPIC WATERPARK. This place is packed! And a little cold, they have aircon being pumped into it but get in the water and it's fine. There is a huge wave pool near a stage and they do shows on the stage every so often. There is also a big screen on the wall by the wave pool, this is great for watching the show. The show has blasting music, live dancers, an emcee and a balloonist dressed as a clown! During the show there are cameras that film the swimmers and when you are on the big screen you are splashed by EVERYONE! It was great! Grey loved it and Jake seemed a bit overwhelmed by all the people!
Natalie and I waited in line at the slides for a very long time. She wanted to do the red slide that actually shoots you UP! We decided against that one and went on the blue one that is much more tame. I still didn't like it, I hate being in an enclosed space in my older age. Greyson and Bob did the red slide and LOVED it. You are  put into a tube and they count down before you free fall into the slide! It was pretty cool but I couldn't get up the nerve to do it. We ended the trip with the lazy river and decided we were done.
There seems to be no such thing as water diapers here so I was a little more careful than I usually am at a pool. I saw lots of naked baby buts in the pool. We headed to the showers to wash off the chlorine and any thing else we may have picked up. Once again, tons of naked bodies all cramming into a tight space. However, the showers were nice and hot even with tons of people using them.
We all meet back at our locker and CAN NOT get the thing open! We try and try. The scanner thing is not working. The Chinese kid next to us starts speaking to us in ENGLISH! We were so happy to understand someone. Seems we made a HUGE mistake! There is actually a number on the key fob and THAT was the locker number we needed to use. NO ONE told us! ALL of our important stuff is in that locker! Unless someone who has that key came and threw our stuff out. It's a tense situation!  After some laughs at our benefit our new little friend helps us find an employee to help us.  Of course the employee knows no english and our mandarin is practically non-existent. (note: when visiting a foreign country brush up on the local language)  We are saved by our English speaking Chinese friend, again. They all laugh at us AGAIN but We all finally understand each other and the locker is opened! Wallah, Our stuff is safe and sound! We all breath a sigh of relief. That could have been so bad. I'm so grateful that the Chinese believe in teaching their kids a second language at an early age, I am also grateful that out of all those lockers we got the one by the kind english speaking grandfather and kids. God looks out for us fools!
Our trip to the watercube is over and we are all very happy. We end up finding a McDonald's for dinner, discuss our amazing time at the Cube and then find a ride back to the hotel. The ride was another one of our big mistakes but I'll save that for another post!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Beijing...Something to start with

We spent 7 glorious days in Beijing, China. 7 Days I would NEVER have EVER thought I would do! I'm an American girl who grew up basically in the middle of the USA. I was happy just to go the neighboring state. So, finding myself in CHINA was like a dream. It sometimes didn't feel like it was me. Even now and looking at all the pictures it doesn't seem like I was really there. I've said it a million times and I'll say it a million times more, I LOVE seeing these different cultures and learning from them. It is perhaps more fun to me than some of the sites we see.

The first thing I noticed about Beijing was the grass, the kind I'm use to in the US. It was odd at first. Then we started driving more into the city and there wasn't much grass left to see. There are millions of people in Beijing, literally! And I think everyone of them owns a car and all were on the rode while we were driving to the hotel. They drive on the right side of the rode, unlike Singapore, and that too was weird at first. We looked like the tourists we with our heads looking all around and sometimes with our mouths wide open. We realized that Beijing is very much like the US. We even looked up the coordinates of Beijing and it is about the same coordinates as where 2 of my sisters live in Nebraska. The only thing that was different was the people were a bit shorter and didn't have the pasty white skin tone, theirs is a beautiful caramel brown.

Looks a lot like where I grew up
There were also TONS of bikes/scooters/motorcycles EVERYWHERE! I've seen bikes but these ones seemed to multiply! Some had seats on the back for the rider, some just had 2 or more people on them balancing and driving along, at the same time! Sometimes the bikes weaved in and out of traffic and the cars would honk. I will never again complain about Singapore traffic after being in Beijing. With all the people and cars and bikes it is an aggressive path to anywhere you may want to go.
this is a tame picture of traffic

The food was always good and always a surprise. Our tour guide, Lily, took us around most of the time we were there and we told her we wanted Chinese food and not Western food. She obliged and we had some of the most delicious food! We ate tons of vegetables that I'm going to start adding to our dinners and we had some of the best noodles I have ever had in my life! I even ate mushrooms AND liked them! We are expanding our palate little by little but I have not been disappointed yet! It's such a refreshing change from the same old food we were use to.
Beijing noodles! Even Henry, our Gnome loved them

One of the biggest things we noticed was all the Chinese writing on everything. DUH! I don't know why it surprised us at first. You go to any big city and most everything is written in the local language and maybe one more. English was few and far between on buildings and it wasn't one of the most widely used languages but we found enough people who knew enough English to help us to get what we wanted or needed. We went to a grocery store and I didn't see ANY English on any of the products unless it was part of the description of the product, Lay's potato chips were "English style". Chinese writing is beautiful and it almost added to the beauty of the buildings.
no idea what it says but it sure looks pretty

We live in Singapore, I have seen Chinese, they have seen westerners. However, in Beijing we were like a rare creature. People asked to take our pictures, A LOT! We had people silently stand next to us and pose, I think I scared one lady when I turned around and smiled for her picture! We all got asked to be in at least one picture alone. The kids were the bigger hit, they were asked so much that Jake and Nat both said their cheeks hurt from smiling. We would have been able to pay for our trip if we charged for the pictures, that's how much we got asked! I wonder what the people say when they show the pictures of us westerners to their families. Hope we left a good impression.

one of many pics taken of us

Friday, August 5, 2011


We just got back from Beijing, China last night. 9 wonderful days. Some frustrating some not but all exhilarating!

I want to make so many blog posts but my history shows I'm awful at the frequent posting thing. Life gets in my way or writers block starts. There are still some posts I want to do about things we did in JUNE!

However, I just really don't know where to start on the things we did and the things we saw in China. Do I start with the Forbidden City and it's great architecture, or just the plain history of China which is really very overwhelming in itself. Do I begin with the people who are so kind and rude sometimes at the same time. Do I start with my take as an American overseas? Those things that may seem weird or rude to me but not to the natives of that particular country. Or maybe I should start with the Great Wall, something I only colored in on a map while in school, a place so far away it was impractical to really even think about! A place we loved so much we did it TWICE! So many things that I thought about and wondered at. I love how traveling makes me feel younger and makes me think of life.

So, we had a very, very nice trip. I'm so glad that we have been given this great opportunity in life. Not only for my husband's career but also for where we are able to go. It doesn't cost as much as if we lived in the states and it really is a totally different world then the one we were use to. I'm so glad I get to show these things to my kids and the conversations that we have over different lifestyles and cultures. It has been so fun doing these things.

I think I need to think more on what to write so I'll leave you with one of my favorite pictures.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Japanese Garden

After the Chinese Garden we went across the bridge to the Japanese Garden. Our first look was of a bunch of tires with Bonsai trees in them. It wasn't very pretty at all and I think all of us were looking for the nearest exit out of there.

AND THEN .........

When we turned the corner and saw the most amazing lily pond! It was blooming and it was gorgeous! My mom is an art lover so I have grown up with art books and art replicas since birth. Turning that corner I felt like I was seeing Monet's lily pond paintings in real life! Honestly, I'm not sure what else was at the Japanese Garden except for the pond.

We sat at the pond for awhile. It was just so peaceful. Jake, my child who is always on the go, says he HAS to come back here to sketch pictures, it's just so great! Seriously, he said that! Natalie quickly replied with what a great idea and she was excited to come back too.

Natalie took this picture of a lily flower. It's one of my most favorite pictures. She also has a nice one of a butterfly on a rock. It was like some artistic spirit just came and invaded my children's minds! I'm not complaining at all! It was fun to see their creativity.

Grey even afforded Grandma a smile. I love all the green around him. Oh, and the Japanese lanterns were also in the garden! The lanterns were okay but I don't know how you can compete with the flowers and the water! Mom took one of me too. Of course I had to smile!

This is Jake on our return trip 2 weeks later. He was so quiet and peaceful. I don't know what he was thinking but he talked non-stop afterwards. The pond wasn't so much in bloom this last time so I need to do some research so we can go when it is blooming again. Even not blooming it was a heck of a good time. It was by far one of my favorite spots in Singapore.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program.....

My laptop has been hijacked. The one with all my pictures on it! We have 2 computers and 3 laptops in this house but it was MY laptop that allows us to watch some of our missed American shows. So, my kids are currently watching Disney favorites that haven't made it here to Singapore yet through MY laptop that is hooked up to the TV. I can't get to my computer to give you the awesome pictures of the Japanese gardens or the Terra Cotta Warriors or the fireworks or anything else I want to do! The joys of motherhood and always sharing!
So, I will instead refer you to a cute little post I found one day while browsing through some expat blogs. This post talks about the "ugly expat". Even the comments are note worthy, alot of comments but all really good. 
So, here are the 12 steps to being an ugly expat, blatantly copied from this blog

1. Don’t waste your valuable time researching your destination or its people before you move — a country’s history or dominant cultural values are no concern of yours. And for heaven’s sake, don’t throw away your money on any of that cross-cultural training mumbo jumbo — everyone knows what a scam that is.

2. Likewise, don’t bother reading up on the causes and symptoms of culture shock, or how to alleviate it. That’s what Valium is for. (Pack lots!)

3. Isolate yourself. Shut yourself up in your compound/condo and refuse all contact with local people. If there’s an exclusive expatriate club nearby, rejoice: you’re saved! Choose your new friends with care, weeding out any prospects who have Gone Native. (Being too chummy with the locals is a dead giveaway.) Successful candidates will have already aced the 12 steps and will embrace you as a kindred spirit.

4. show off your wealth, especially if you live in a developing nation. Your baubles and fancy toys will breed admiration and respect among the impoverished masses, who will revere you as a role model.

5. Under no circumstances should you eat local food. They eat that unsanitary crap because they don’t know any better; you do. (You can’t be too careful — who knows what you might pick up?) If you’re offered anything unrecognizable, be sure to show your disdain by peppering your refusal with terms such as “dysentery” and “intestinal worms.” Gagging noises are optional.

6. Let everyone know how backward the country is, and how much better things are back home. I can’t stress this enough — never let an opportunity to compare the two countries pass you by. It’s your duty to teach the local populace a thing or two, and opening their eyes to their own inferiority will endear you to them. (Bonus points if you can insult cultural and religious icons or other objects of reverence.)

7. Speak your own language exclusively, especially if it happens to be English. (If the locals haven’t bowed to global pressure and learned it already, that’s their problem.) In a pinch, speaking very s-l-o-w-l-y and very LOUDLY should help them understand you. Trust me, they’ll love being talked to as though they were 5 years old. If they still don’t understand, throw your hands up in disgust and walk away, muttering under your breath. There’s some body language that won’t get lost in translation!
8. Don’t try to understand — much less accommodate — local customs. If it’s not The Way Things Are Back Home, it’s irrelevant. (Let them know they’re not fooling you with that siesta thing, for example. Everyone knows daytime napping is nothing but sheer laziness. The steaming midday temperature is just an excuse.)

9. Treat your household staff like the servants they are. They don’t need a day off, and you and I both know that hot water would only spoil them. Since it’s for their own good, I’m sure they’ll thank you later.

10. Social networking was invented for people stuck in godforsaken places like this. Spend all day on Facebook, Twitter, and email, lying about how much fun you’re having. Then log onto Farmville and spend some quality time doing whatever it is people on Farmville do.

11. Drink. A lot. It makes life so much fun, both for you and those around you.

12. Take your frustrations out on your husband. It’s all his fault, anyway. If it weren’t for his precious career, you’d be back home among people who matter, instead of wasting the best years of your life in this hellhole.

I like this post. It makes me think about MY legacy I will leave here. It makes me become more aware of what I do, say and even think.
I do enjoy this expat lifestyle it is in many ways  a "break from real life". I try hard to assimilate myself to new ways and new traditions. I try to teach my kids that our way may not always be the best way but an open mind is! I don't want my legacy to be just another spoiled American expat. And because I see myself in some these traits I think I still have alot of work left to do for myself.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Someone special

Before moving to Singapore I worked at a school for kids with severe special needs. The ages were from pre-k to 21. I loved this job. I am very good at taking care of people and that is exactly what I did.
This week I found out that one of the students I worked with passed away last week. I didn't work with Nicole alot because she had her own full time nurse because of how severe her needs were. However, when I did work with Nicole I had a fun time. She enjoyed getting make up put on and having her hair brushed and braided. She loved Hannah Montana music and even let me borrow a CD to burn for my daughter. She was every bit a typical  teenager she just came in a different package. She was capable of all emotions and you could clearly read her face.  She had her fits and she had her joys.  She couldn't talk but she could blink for yes or no. She was a smart young woman and she touched my heart deeply. As all the kids I worked with did. I don't know her full story and what exactly made her special needs and honestly I don't care. I just know she will be missed by me. She taught me many things in the short months I knew her and I'm glad that I got to call someone so special my friend. May you have new dreams to achieve Nicole.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Chinese Garden Singapore

The Chinese and Japanese gardens were one of my most favorite places to visit. There was so much architecture to look at and the attention to detail is just amazing. This is the 13 arch bridge you cross to go into the Chinese garden area. It was fun crossing it, we almost felt like we were going into a whole new world!

 These are the Twin Pagodas. We only climbed the five flights of stairs in one of them since they are twins. The view of the lake is gorgeous from way up top and there a ton of birds just sitting out on the roof. It's so peaceful in this area you almost forget the big city is just a short ride away!
My kids love record breaking and inside the Main arch building there is a turtle museum which has a place in the Guiness book of world records for having the largest collection of turtles. We seem to have missed a picture of the building itself but fear not we have one of the GWR seal! My 8 year old was in charge of the camera at this time and he thought the seal was more important I guess. We did not go to see the turtles at this time so I have to take the kids back. I'm sure it won't be a problem!

Then we proceeded to the 7 storey pagoda. It was beautiful! On the way there we had to stop for Jake to take a picture of the bird. He was very patient and got a great picture. We passed by the line of Chinese heroes which included Mulan. My kids were surprised that she was a real hero and not just a Disney Character. We climbed to the top of the the Pagoda, well all of us but Grey. This is our picture of him from the top. He did buy us some water while we were walking all those stairs!

Inside the Pagoda. Great architecture but greater kids!
Looking all the way the pagoda. The spiral staircase. Loved it!

We then walk around a whole bunch more. Argued about where we were and what was left to see. Scoped out some great sites for family photos that I"m going to get done someday! So the Stone boat and teahouse is behind my mom and kids. We didn't actually go in it but next time we will. Then we ended up in the garden of abundance which has a bunch of chinese zodiac characters and statues. There were so many nice sculptures it was hard to pic one but the picture of Grey won out. He is miserable and ready to go home but he smiled anyway. I guess a goodtime for a teenager is NOT hanging out in the garden with his Grandma, mom and siblings. Who knew?
We ended somewhere around this area with chinese characters carved into rocks. It was pretty. I love this one, I have no idea what it says but the shape of a heart is cool. We did go around some fruit trees and flower bushes but we didn't take many pictures. We were on a mission to get to the Japanese garden which will need to be it's own post.
The Chinese Garden really did have a lot to look at. It was very peaceful and calming. I love the attention to all the detail in the buildings and gates and even the roof. We all had fun and I think even Grey had a little fun.