Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I'd like to dedicate this blog to the theme of "Our First Christmas". This holiday included many firsts and each one threw us for a loop. However, we surprise even ourselves at how well we can handle this now. So I go down the list...
Our first Christmas as a married couple: This one was probably the biggest adjustment. Coming from two families that have very distinct Christmas traditions, we were both hell bent on doing things our own way. Ya see, Aaron's family does their Christmas fun on Christmas Eve. My family does EVERYTHING (minus church, Grandma's house and the McDonnell's house) on Christmas Day. So I had to remind Aaron that it was against the very core of my Christmas-loving soul to open anything before Christmas morning. Keeping his hands off the wrapped gifts was a daily task. He even sunk so low as to say "Well, we can open it now and then rewrap it and open it again on Christmas morning on the Skype and then our family would never know we opened it early." To this I replied, "But God would know Aaron, and he'd be very disappointed in you." That shut him up until the next day.
So when Christmas morning got here, you'd better believe Aaron was up at 7am (we didn't get home from the previous night's festivities and to bed until 3am). But he was too excited. I was less than thrilled to be woken up at that hour, but thought it was sweet that he was that excited to play Santa. He'd also made our breakfast and a big pot of coffee (a.k.a. Megan niceness juice).
It was a perfect Christmas morning for just the two of us. It made me feel very lucky to have a husband that would make Christmas feel this special even if it's just the two of us. Our children are going to have a wonderful father. (Just hopefully not in Singapore.)
Our first Christmas in Singapore: Singapore goes crazy for Christmas. They decorate every inch of the city and every establishment has a Christmas tree. They don't give a hoot about political correctness either. Everyone is saying "Merry Christmas" everywhere you go. Being a Christian, I loved it. I liked not having to dilute the meaning of the holiday with "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays".
Christmas is also the only time of year that the stores are open past 9pm. In Singapore, most stores are only open from 11am to 9pm. It was really hard to get used to at first (actually it's still a pain at times). However, a lot of stores stayed open until 11pm during the month of December. Even though we don't do much shopping here. It was nice to have the option. Shopping in Singapore is very expensive and very crowded. It's a tourist city afterall.
Our first Christmas away from family: I was seriously dreading this aspect of our first Christmas. Aaron had already spent a Christmas away from home, but this was going to be my first one. Much like Aaron's family, my family is extremely close. Before I left, I spoke to my sister daily on the phone. My mom also called everyday, even when I lived at home before the wedding. I talked to everyone else at least once or more a week. So the thought of spending the most important holiday of the year away from them made me very sad. However, thanks to a little invention called Skype we were able to spend Christmas with both Aaron's and my family. We did Christmas Eve (our Christmas morning) with the Spreers and then spent Christmas morning (our Christmas evening) with my parents (in fact, we joked that we were the only kids to show up for Christmas breakfast at my parents house.) It was almost as good as really being there. Everyone else that we didn't get to see, called us in the spaces in between.
So all in all, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. In fact, it was kinda great.
Don't get me wrong though, I'd still have rather spent it in Kansas.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I was just wondering when you were coming cuz I've been carrying my stocking around for a while now. There's still nothing in it.
I don't really know when Christmas is, but it seems like it should be here by now. If you wanna come early, that'd be cool. I might have accidentally chewed up all of my good toys. I think I smelled some new ones under the tree, but I'm not allowed to open those until my Mom says I can.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Merry Christmas Singapore - Culture Vulture
Singapore has recorded its own Christmas song. Since I'm striving to be less critical and keep the blog upbeat, I'll let you form your own opinion. However, just imagine sitting in an office and being forced to listen to it everyday. EVERYDAY.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
We started out the night at a restaurant called Paulaner. It's owned by the same German company that makes Paulaner beers. I had the weiner schnitzel. Aaron was mildly intimidated. (just kidding)
Then they had us get on stage and play a song game which entailed feeling each other up. (Again, probably something that wouldn't have been so appealing with a sober mindset.)
and then they handed Faby and me a tamborine. You can't say no to a tamborine! So we went back on stage, yet again.
It was a long night, but so so so much fun. I hope we can go back soon. A couple of the musicians are American and their sense of humor is right up our alley.
So even though I miss my family and my bestest friends from home, it was a great birthday...followed by another long and wonderful day of Skype with everyone from home.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Singaporean version: "I forgot to clear my rubbish from the bin. Could you help there?"
How I must translate: "I forgot to take out my trash. Could you do it for me?"
Yes, their way sounds much prettier. However, I'm sticking to my American sass. It seems to be fewer words that way. I'll be posting more interesting ones as I remember them.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
In response to several questioning people about why I haven't blogged, this blog shall serve to tell you why.
So even though I was only hired at my new job to work part time, I have been thrust into full time status thanks to a pokey work pass approval system affecting my coworker. This would be no big deal back home in the States, but here in Singapore, it sucks. Especially without a car. Did I mention that in Singapore full time includes Saturdays? Yeah. Me no likey.
Check out a typical day:
6:30 Wake up and get ready for work
7:45 Walk to the bus stop located about 4 blocks of hot humidity away
7:55-8:00 Catch the bus
8:10 Get off the bus and walk underground to get across the busy street then up several escalators to get to the above ground MRT
8:12 Throw some elbows and run and shove into the empty train to be able to get a seat or face standing up in shoulder to shoulder sardine-ness for the whole ride, which is not cool in a country that doesn't value the use of deodorant
8:43 Get off the MRT at Douby Ghaut station, walk up several flights of stairs, walk a half a mile and down several flights of stairs to switch to the other MRT train
8:49 Take the other train to the next stop which is directly under my office building
8:56 Walk up several flights of stairs and down several hallways and into the office tower section of the mall I work in
9:00 Finally make it up to the 16th floor and walk into my office hoping my day won't start with me getting screamed at (which is usually the case)
6:00-7:35 Repeat the same travel routine in the reverse
So yeah, when I get home, I'm dead tired. We have just enough time to cook dinner, eat it, take care of poor neglected Guinness, sit for 1 hour and then go to bed. It pretty much sucks. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the extra money and having something to do everyday...it's just a bit much. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Thank you tax payers of America. Because of you, we not only got a lovely free flight to Japan (to merely get to a decent grocery store) but we also got enough food to feed a small country on both the flight to and from. Please read about the ridiculous amount of food we were given.
First, the lovely flight attendant came around with a basket of peanuts and pretzels. She even told us to take a couple if we wanted. Um totally. Airline peanuts are so much better than regular peanuts. I grabbed like three.
Then, she came around five minutes later to take our food order. Chicken or sea bass? Sea bass?! On a plane? Interesting...
However, I don't trust seafood from unreliable sources and I hadn't warmed up to the free flight people yet. So I got the chicken.
Look how much food they gave us:
That's two large chicken breasts, steamed veggies, mashed potatoes and gravy, a dinner roll, biscuit crackers, shrimp cocktail, a brownie/cake, cheese spread and OJ. I could barely eat half. I snuck the pre-wrapped stuff into my carry-on. You can give a cheap skate money, but deep down she's still a cheap skate. :)
So then, after the smorgusboard of food, I tried to take a nap. Twenty minutes in, the same chick came around with a basket full of candy bars. Twix, 3 Musketeers, Milky Way, Snickers, and the list goes on. She again told us to grab a couple. This chick played dirty.
I finally get a nap in during the in-flight movie. I awake to this:
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I'm actually going to have to make several posts about my trip because we (mostly me) experienced so much in our short few days.
First of all, check this out. Holy Mother of God, it's Taco Bell! I was in burrito, quesadilla and taco heaven. Best day ever (everyday because that's how often I ate it.)
Here's me at one of the really cool temples in Tokyo. I was all psyched about it until I realized that these "temples" are really cemetaries. Oh well, I still think they're pretty.
This picture is for my nephew Aidan. He's my Star Wars buff and he's only 5. This is the mail drop box on the base in Japan. Isn't it sweet?
I promise to post more and to go into a little more detail. However, I just got back yesterday afternoon and I had to start my new job today. I'm a little too tired for stories today. I'll have to recharge first. I'll post all of our pics on facebook for those that can't wait.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
For example: They have an Outback Steakhouse, a Burger King, and a TACO BELL Express ALL on the FRICKIN' BASE. There's several restaurants all in a five minute drive, not to mention all of the other comforts of home they have too. It's like a little city.
So....I might be a little jealous.
You know what we have in Singapore? We don't even have a base. We have a "place". (That's what the military wives call it.) Once you get to our "place" we have diddly. We have a NEX the size of a large gas station convenience store, a Subway and The Terror Club. I'm not even sure we can claim the Terror Club either.
So I'm going to Japan to see if the grass is greener over there. I'm packing my hoodies and jeans cuz they have Fall there. Right now, I'm brushing up on my Japanese...
Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
So here we are in all our toga glory:
It was kinda odd going to a Halloween party in an outdoor setting and actually sweat. I'm used to freezing in whatever costume I choose to wear. It was a nice change.
Here's the rest of the guys. They actually followed the theme pretty well.
and the gals in white....
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I read a whole article written by the Command's food inspectors a couple days ago. Turns out, there is an extreme possibility that these little suckers are incubators of salmonella. Isn't that a treat? Apparently, because they are not refrigerated, ever, until you take them home, the chances of salmonella growing inside them is very probable. If you must buy them, they have to be cooked completely with no runny-ness at all. (Yeah, I don't always do that. I like sunny side up breakfasts. It makes my plate look happier.)
So why don't the Singaporeans get sick then, one might ask? It's like when you go to Mexico and they tell you not to drink the water. And then you see Mexicans drinking it and they're fine. Well, same goes for the Singapore peeps. They've built up an immunity to food filth. That makes me feel great about eating out in town. I'm so going to die of some weird food borne illness here.
Here's another fun factoid: They've now found traces of melamine in eggs from China. Great.
I'm boycotting eggs this week/month/year.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
These are Simon's friends in their traditional dress. The material is really pretty when you see these clothes in person. Everyone looked awesome. (Except the skanky Americans that showed up, ha ha.)
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Lights or lamps are the decoration of choice during this festival as it represents the victory of good over evil in each person. (Hence the Festival of Lights name.) There's also a story about King Rama of Ayodhya defeating the evil demon Narakasura, but as the naiive little American girl, I feel wrong telling it. Read it here on Wikipedia.
To celebrate in Singapore, they have a parade of some sort and a bunch of night festivities in Little India. The last time we were there, they were making beautiful necklaces out of fresh flowers and such and setting up major shopping extravaganzas. Also, every business is closed in the country which lets us Americans know that it's a pretty big deal.
Friday, October 24, 2008
You'll have to ask me the particulars by calling us because I'm not wanting to share too much. I know of people that have gotten fired for talking about work on blogs, facebook, etc. I do not wish to fall into that category. Yes, I'm lame.
Now comes the paperwork for my Singapore equivalent of a green card. Cross your fingers, I hear this part sucks.
So the best way I can describe Teppenyaki is that it's a Hibatchi Steakhouse without the thrills and frills. This chef is no show pony. In fact, you may even question whether he wants to be there at all. He doesn't even know how to smile, I'm sure. This is very different to their flame-throwing American counterparts. Those men are the ultimate entertainers and awkward moment makers. I don't enjoy when they throw things at me and expect me to catch them in my mouth because it never makes it there. However, I won't lie. It made me a little sad that they didn't make a flaming choo choo train out of the onions in my dish. However, the food is delish.
I'm sorry that I didn't take pictures (Travis). I know blogs are better with pictures, but here's what I had:
Shredded lettuce with chilli sauce (mildly resembled a tossed salad)
Rice and Miso soup
Garlic rice (the ratio of garlic and rice was about equal)
Half shell something (it looked like clams but I swear the menu said shallots)
A bed of slimy sprout crap that I didn't touch
So the food was good. The chef was boring. I'll let it slide. However something exciting did occur. I used chop sticks through the entire meal (minus the soup duh). That's amazing for me! I even ate the rice with chopsticks. Yeah, I'm awesome. I think I'm ready for my numchucks now.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Then a miracle happened. It was as if he heard us plotting. Ever since that day, he has been a near angel. Minus a chewed tag on a blanket, he's done no wrong. No accidents. No slimy toys shoved in our face. He hasn't even had an accident in his kennel which was something he did everyday for a week before we were plotting his demise. He is a very smart boy.
Look at how smart he is:
So we totally can't get rid of him now. He's been such a good buddy this week. Most of the time, he just cuddles with me on the couch. I can't give away a cuddler!
We might be friends after all.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
And this bag of goodies: (some of the cookies were already eaten by Aaron by the time I got out the camera)
This poem was on the piece of paper in our bag:
Late last night, we left you a treat.
The tradition is fun, one we hope you'll repeat.
Take the ghost and pin it on your door,
to let others know, you need ghosted no more.
Now it's your duty to pass on the surprise,
to two more families, we must advise.
Gather some treats and deliver them soon,
within two nights, under the light of the moon.
Include a ghost with each package you give,
along with this poem for the tradition to live.
Now, isn't that the cutest/most fun thing ever? It's like May day, but with cookies and beer! We kind of have an idea of who our victims will be, but I have to make sure to pick people that will continue the fun. I love holiday games. There needs to be more games like this after grade school.
This might be something fun to do in a certain neighborhood in Basehor. Just an idea. :)
Oh and I need your help. Aaron and I have to come up with a costume for the Halloween theme party a week from Friday. The theme is 60's and 70's. Everyone else is going as hippies, go-go dancers and pimps. I think we need to be something completely original and awesome. Ideas are welcome.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Anyways, the durian tree grows just outside the gates of this place. It's also where the random chickens live.
One of the durians is wrapped in a plastic bag. I think it's to keep animals from eating it. I could be full of it though.
I guess there's like a dozen more durian trees in our housing area as well. We saw two more on Saturday on the same street.
But really, there are a ton of fruit trees in general around here. At our old place, we had a perfect view of a ginormous mango tree that was across the street. Down the road, one family has a pineapple tree (it's more or less a bush), a mango tree and a cherry tree in their yard. Apparently people love to plant fruit trees here.
We will not be planting trees. I'm too "city" for all that. I like my fruit to be cleaned, waxed and on display under neon lights before I eat it.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
it well....you know. However, when you live in the tropics, it pours everyday, at least once. Singapore doesn't have seasons as we know it. They have "dry season" and "rainy season". So far the only difference I can tell between the two is that in dry season, you may go at least two days without rain. In rainy season, count on it everyday, maybe twice.
The really sucky part? We have to unplug the TV, computer and any other electronic too expensive to replace. It's very common for people in our housing area to lose very pricey items to lightning storms.
So I decided to show you all how fun it is to watch it rain. Enjoy.
So when my friend Danielle asked me to participate in yesterday's Navy Birthday 5K Fun Run with her, I was more than hesitant. However, community involvement and being a good friend made me say yes. But for the record, I was not looking forward to it.
I got my butt up at 7:45 on a Saturday (which should qualify me for friend of the year anyway) and walked over to the starting line for our 8 o'clock whistle. We made our way to the back of the pack so not so many people would notice if I passed out/puked. Then we were off. At first, I did pretty good for my usual running ability. I even surprised myself. I ran a good chunk of the course. Walking around Singapore for the last 5 months has paid off. However, the glory was short lived. I hit my limit around the time I ran past my flat for the third time. Then Danielle told me that we're only half through.
"Shut....up....?!!!! Are you kidding me? What kind of self-inflicted torture game is this?"
Yeah, I sucked the last part of the race and walked most of the time. I didn't even cross the finish line which was, literally, ten feet from where I quit. Danielle's husband tossed me my free t-shirt and I walked my out of shape butt over to the Gatorade. Screw that crap. I was done.
So today I have muscle aches in places I didn't know I even had muscles. It hurts to laugh, sneeze, walk and move in general. My suspicions about this "fun" activity were correct. Running is not fun. You know what is fun? Sitting on my butt and drinking wine to numb the pain today. That's more my speed. Let's have a "Fun Sit Around the House" activity. I'd sign up for that all day.
(Danielle, I did have fun in the hanging out part. Please don't let my extreme disdain for physical activity convince you that I didn't appreciate what you were trying to do. I'm sure my muscles will forgive you one day. Ha.)
(Oh and Sis, you and your skinny, little, in shape butt are NOT allowed to comment on my laziness. You are the only Heffley who enjoys working out or at least lies and says she does. :) Love you.)
Friday, October 17, 2008
So here's the building. It's pretty fancy for a Salvation Army. I was impressed.
What does one find in a Singaporean Salvation Army, you ask? Well, you might find a sweet Chinaman hat and an old school exercise bike circa 1982.
The furniture was a little "Asian" for our taste. People in this part of the world love elaborate carvings and gold trimmed arm rests. Me, not so much. Aside from simple jewelry and an occasional clothing embellishment, I think gold is a bit Mister T meets Liberace.
All in all, it was a good time. We even came across a couple of Aussie girls searching for an ugly bridesmaid dress for an upcoming theme party. Genius!!! I'm totally stealing that idea. It's way better than "Ugly 80s Prom Dress" parties. Those things are itchy.
...and, that's all I got.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Check out the Singapore American School bus.
(Yes, I took the photo from my window. Keep your creepy stalking neighbor comments to yourself.)
That is a frickin' Greyhound bus painted yellow to mock the school buses that my friends and I had to endure in grade school. According to the SAS web site, these buses are air-conditioned, contain a seat belt for each passenger and come complete with GPS tracking systems. One of the moms even told me that the windows are bullet proof!
Are you kidding me?! We didn't even have seatbelts on buses at Basehor-Linwood School District! We were even forced to sit three to those tiny bench seats. Air-conditioning consisted of yanking the window down to the two inch allotment and pray that some air blew in your direction. We felt lucky to have a heater that would almost melt your shoes if you sat too close.
I feel a tad cheated here.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
So last night Aaron volunteered me to bowl for his command's team in the Navy's bowling league here in Singapore. Just me though. Aaron does not bowl. He thinks it diminishes his manlyness to get schooled by a girl in a sporting activity. (At least that's my theory.) But really, he kind of sucks. Sorry babe.
It was pretty cool to check out a Singaporean bowling center. It did not smell the same at all.
However, it was cool to see that all the equipment is the same. AMF also rules the Singaporean bowling world too, Dad.
This is me after a particularly exciting strike.
Not your typical American bowling snack bar.
Check out the menu. I was sad not to see "Super nachos" and "Grilled cheese" and all of the other delectable greasy choices from home. They asianized it. They served things like Fish ball, Curry puffs and Cup of noodles.
I had a really good time bowling. Aaron had a really good time pretending to be my coach and telling me to move two boards to the left after every throw. He doesn't even know what that means. Silly boy.
Seriously though, I forgot how fun this game is. I have to get back into the groove of it after such a long absence. I bowled a 136, 146, and a 153. Not too bad for using a house ball.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
5: the number of months since I've seen American clothing sizes in a store
10: the number of Singapore Dollars it costs to buy a simple can of Folgers Coffee
5,000,000: the number of people living in Singapore (it's the size of the KC metro area)
0: the number of natural resources in Singapore
69: the number of malls Wikipedia says Singapore has (remember the size of this place)
2 1/2: the number of years I still have to live without Coldstone ice cream
These are just some interesting tidbits that I've come across recently.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
What time did the workers feel it was appropriate to start hacking away and some asphalt? 8:45 am. Now, I know some of you, particularly the ones with kids, are thinking, "Oh, poor girl, she has no idea what early is yet." Well friends, let's put it in perspective here.
I still have no job. I have no kids. I sit around the house with nothing to do all day. Do I really need to be up early to begin that sucky kind of day?
Sorry, I'm still in bitter morning mode. I'm contemplating hurling some water balloons out the windows at the stupid workers. I just need to find some balloons....
(A big thank you to Aaron's sister Jessica!!! We got your package yesterday and we are having your chimichanga recipe and margaritas for dinner tonight. We loved the pictures from Rachel and Jack too! Thank you so much! Your brother is going to call you as soon as he gets home at a decent hour. He's still working 14 hour days :( Miss you guys!)
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Here are the pics from the weekend:
(The first questions usually asked by our parents is what the room looked like, so we took pictures for them. I think it's so they know that we didn't stay in a grass hut with a dirt floor.)
Here's the group that went on the trip.
Yeah. You'd think after a weekend of relaxing that we'd be all rested up. I guess not.