Thursday, June 5, 2008

Singapore and back....another 2 months has passed.

Catching Up...

Nothing is stopping time I guess, Kay is now 14.5 months and I'm just lagging behind on all the blogging. So much has happened since Kay's birthday, we have gone to Singapore for 3.5 weeks, experienced extreme heat and humidity, met up with her grandparents for the first time, had her first hair-cut, got a great tan, came back to Toronto, suffered from jet lags and colds, terrible teething episodes, visited the Toronto Zoo for the first time.....and ooohhhh....that was just a short summary of those months passed. My weekly resolution for this week is to be more diligent with blog updates because we know a lot of family and friends are depending on it to get the latest news about us in faraway Canada. Sorry everyone, if you missed out on some of the great stories these past months. I will try to catch up and put them in as best as I can.

Ok, since my mommy brains do not have much of a short term/ mid-term memory, I'm just trying to recall the events after Kay's birthday. I guess we were just busy trying to get our work out of the way, so that we can prepare for the long trip to Singapore. Well at least I was. Then a whole week was spent packing the bags and buying gifts to bring back to family.

Packing for the long trip
Hhhmmm, what could we buy from Canada besides maple syrup, ice wine and Ontario Ginseng? Well, not much, so we went with the Uncle Bill's Ontario Ginseng for this trip, since we did Ice wine the last time and us Asians don't really know what to do with maple syrup. So we stocked up on everything from ginseng roots to teabags and ginseng candy for Cheeyuen's family. The largest Samsonite we have was packed with just gifts. Of course we went to the doctors to get advise on what to "medication" to take along for Kay's long flight. She was also having a cold when we left, so it brought on some worries about pressure on the plane causing ear-infections and so on. Remind me why i shouldn't be reading too much of these on the web. Well, the best they say was to feed the baby on take-off and landing, to prevent this problem. And so we did try that and loaded up on kids' Benadryl and Gravol. These were the hardest part of the packing. Kay had her own small Samsonite, full of skimpy summer clothes, baby formula and diapers. Cheeyuen and I just shared one luggage, with me taking up 90% of the space as usual. His policy is to buy when we get there. Ok, like I wasn't going to do any shopping.
Anyway, the biggest concern we had was what to bring on the plane so that Kay will get everything she needed for the day. So on our carry-on bag was a huge back-pack with 10 diapers, wipes, change of clothes for all of us, a Macbook loaded with DVDs of the Backyardigans and Wonder Pets, toys, toys and more toys. Another duffle bag was just filled with the days selection of fresh fruits, yogurt, cookies, nibbles, bread, formula, a thermos flask and 4 baby bottles filled with boiled water. Phew, it was a lot of stuff to take on the plane.
Anyway, the day came for us to make that long 24-hour flight.

In order to relate better to the incidents below, you can start browsing the above link to see the photos.

The flight...and sale of our iRobot "Buddy"
The night before we left, this guy on Craigslist decided that he wants to buy my Crazy iRobot Vacuum cleaner which we affectionately call "Buddy". So he haggled with me from $100 bucks to $50. Whatever, I was too busy worrying about my long flight to care about this guy. Anyway, he lives in Mississauga and wanted the vacuum cleaner right away so he wanted to pick it up from me at the airport. I can't believe i agreed to it. So amongst all the luggage and carry-ons, we brought along a box with Buddy in it. Our friend Mike gave us a lift to the airport, so at least there was an extra pair of hands and to help take Buddy home in case that crazy guy didn't turn up. So minutes before we got to the airport, this guy was messaging me on my cell, telling me to look out for his Yellow Hummer at the departure lanes. What a joke.!Why would someone driving such a big A** Hummer (in yellow, nonetheless) care about a crappy $50 vacuum cleaner. Anyway, it was done. Mike helped do the exchange while we were busy lining up to check-in and I never got to meet the guy in the Yellow Hummer.

Everything seemed to be going well, and like Mike said, if things fall into place at the beginning of a trip, it's a good sign that the rest of it will be fine. And he was kind of right about that.
So we boarded the plane and got into our seats. Kay was squirming and wanted to walk around.
But it was chaotic with people loading up luggages overhead so that wasn't good and we had some screaming. Anyway, while the plane was taxiing for take-off we decided to make her a bottle so that we can feed her on take-off. Problem is we made the bottle too full and it started leaking all over. And with the seat-belt signs on we thought getting an air-stewardess to help empty a little of the milk out of the bottle was a good idea. But who know, she actually emptied the entire bottle !! And there we thought the bottle will help soothe our struggling and screaming baby. Well, minutes before the final seat-belt warning came on, we scrambled to make a new bottle and things worked out.

Considering that it was Kay's first flight, I think she did pretty well. Albeit the struggling to get out of the seat-belt and screaming about not being allowed to walk around, she was a pretty good traveller. Air pressure didn't seem to bother her, but the fact that she can't move around as much did. So our advise is to travel with a baby who is not so mobile yet. It'll be easier.
Anyway, she slept for 5 of the 16 hours to Hong Kong, where we made our transit.

The two hours in Hong Kong was spent filling up our tummies with proper food and freshening up. Then it was another 4 SHORT hours to Singapore.
We arrived and survived !

The party...and first night at Clementi.
Finally landing in Singapore gave us a sense of relief and achievement. The welcomed excitement on Cheeyuen's mum's face and my brother Austin and his wife Tib, made the journey all worth it. You could see their elated expressions through the glass barrier as they waved frantically, while we waited collected our baggage on the belt.
It was a nice "welcome party" and we were quickly whisked into the car enroute to Cheeyuen's sister (Laihong's) place where we'll be spending the first week.

It was almost 11pm when we got to Clementi on the west-end of Singapore island. Of course the first question we were asked was "Are you hungry?". It was Singapore? Food paradise, you shouldn't expect anything less. Simon offered to go get some supper for us at the coffee shop downstairs. Hmmm...what did we have? With a sure answer from Cheeyuen, we had Braised Duck Rice, Grilled chicken wings and Western style Chicken Chops. A wierd choice since we just came from the Western lands. You can pretty much get great food at anytime of the day or night within a stone's throw. We really miss this aspect of convenience and accessibility to food since we moved to Toronto. Well it just got a little farther in Stouffville where we'll have to drive to get to anywhere with decent food. This and of course, we missed being close to family and friends even more.

There is also a need to clarify the difference in definition of "Supper" in Singapore. Unlike in Toronto where Supper equals Dinner, here Supper was the meal after dinner. Somewhat like a midnight "snack". So there is Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon tea, Dinner and Supper all laid out for our itinerary here. Or so we hoped.

The first night was pretty much rolling around the mattress in the dark, playing catch with Kay.
What do you expect? It was morning time in her body clock. She just wanted to play. So we did a few hours of "naps" like she did in her regular daytime schedule. Woke up at 7am in the morning and went down to the Hawker Centre for breakfast with Cherie (Kay's 12 year old cousin) and Laihong (Cheeyuen's sister). None of us could resist the idea of breakfast even though we were tired as hell and had no sleep. So off we went into the sweaty heat, the first of many such days for little Kay. She was one moody baby in the heat and humidity, we have all the photos to prove that.