Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our first Christmas in so many ways

I guess I'll get my nose out of my Twilight books and update you all so you know we're still alive. (I'm already finished with book two and I've only been reading the series for about a week. It's sad, I know.)

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

To: Santa, From: Guinness

Hi Santa.

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.

Also, please don't put me on the "naughty list" for sticking my tongue out at Mom when she took my stocking away.
Thanks! I'll try to leave you some treats by my dish. The ones shaped like bones are the best!
Love,
Guinness

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Perhaps we should stick to Jingle Bells


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.

Rock Chalk Christmas

Call it sacrilegious....


and we'll call you a Missouri fan.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

24, which is almost 25, which is waaay too close to 30

(not that there's anything wrong with being thirty :) )
God gave me a great present for my birthday. He worked in his mysterious ways to get the Ministry of Manpower to approve the other girl's work pass. So now I have freedom! See, I was hired as part time which meant I work Wednesday afternoon, Thursday, Friday and alternate Saturdays. However, because her pass had not gone through, I was working everyday. (But you've all already read my bitching about my work schedule...SO ANYWAYS)

Today, I had another very treasured day off. I spent it going to the NEX, out to lunch with colleagues to celebrate the office birthdays and then home to clean the grossness in our house. Not a very fun day off, but a much needed one.
As for my birthday, we had such a great time. Minus a bout with a little sickness, it was a perfect day. We went out the night before the big day to Howl at the Moon Singapore. It's an awesome dueling piano bar that Paula (Aaron's mom) told us about. They have one in KC's Power and Light district and they just opened one here a couple of months ago. It's the most fun we've had since we arrived here. I'm not even joking. We had about ten people with us and it made for a very fun night. Here's some pictures from the evening:

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 we ventured over to Howl at the Moon.
Upon returning from the bathroom, I see this phrase written on the mirror behind the stage. I guess our friends gave the musicians a dollar to write "Happy Birthday Megan, We almost Love you". I thought it was pretty funny.
Then they called my name to come get on stage. It was a mildly embarassing moment of me not being able to get my big butt up on the piano, but I made it. Then I found out that a couple of our friends had arranged to get me a birthday cake. Isn't that so sweet? I was very excited. So I sat on the piano while everyone sang Happy Birthday. Awkward, but fun. Just like me.
Although, once we brought it back to the table, we were told that due to Singapore law, a bar is not allowed to house cutlery. So had to eat our cake with our hands and on napkins because they also had a limited supply of plates. I get it. It's a bar and angry drunk people may try to stab others. I found it more amusing than upsetting. That could have been the booze disrupting my thought process though.
So following all of this and a mountain of song requests from our table, we got a little rowdy.
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

Say it in Singlish

I've decided to start an occasional update called "Say it in Singlish" as a way to show you kids at home the kinds of things I hear everyday. I'm constantly asking people to repeat themselves or asking them what the heck they've just said. I'll post these little snippets of my day on the blog to show you the challenge I'm facing in learning a British/Malay/Mandarin/Tamil version of English. This time though, it sounds more like a Brit.

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

Crawling out of my hole

Hi. Since today is Hari Raya Haji (a Muslim holiday celebrated in Singapore and many other parts of the world), I actually have a day off work. So now I have a free moment to update you all.

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)
9:00-6:00 "Work"
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

Your tax dollars make me smile

Sorry for the delay in blogs. My new job has had me working a lot this week and to top it off, one of the lovely monsoon storms of Singapore knocked out our internet and we've both been too busy to call and get it fixed. So here's the blog I meant to write on Tuesday:



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:



A SNACK! A friggin' snack?! Are you kidding me? I can't possibly fit anymore food into my body —or my bag for that matter. So I get the brilliant idea of just taking it off the plane with us, in plain view, and hoping no one notices. The guy working "customs" was so tired and annoyed that we got in late that he didn't mind much. We ended up taking three boxes of snack with us cuz all of us were too full. I had dinner for three nights. No joke.


And now here's the best place in Asia. It's the building that holds the commissary, BX and two food courts. It's ginormous. I love it. We went here everyday. Apparently this is the type of thing that they have on most bases, just not ours. We totally got shafted on the whole convenience thing.



So yeah our NEX doubles as our commissary and a PX, but...it's about the size of a large gas station convenience store. If they don't have what we need, which is usually the case, we must go out in town. However, that requires paying four times as much. For example, the equivalent of a gallon of milk costs about $10 in Singapore grocery stores. A small bottle of Coffee Mate coffee creamer costs as much as the milk. So yeah, it sucks. That's what happens when you live in a country that must ship everything into it. Tropical paradise it might be, but for those that live in it, it's an expensive hell at times. Needless to say, I'm ok now. I brought home some coffee creamer in a cooler. I love you Japanese commissary! Will you please come home with me?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I have a crush on Japan

It's true. I love Japan. I kinda want to move there for a minute. It's my favorite part of Asia so far.

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.
Yep, all of the signs are in Japanese. We had no idea where we were walking or where anything was. I thought it was a fun adventure. Cold, but fun.


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?


This one is for my mom. Pansies are her favorite flower. I found these at a little shop in an alley in downtown Tokyo.

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

Konnichiwa

I'm taking off for Japan the rest of this week. A couple of wives and I are taking a free military flight up there to visit the commissary and experience the other American luxuries we don't have in Singapore.

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.

Got it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Actually, he's part human

Look what our genius dog does now.

video

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Toga...Toga...TOGA!

Friday was the Halloween party at the Terror Club. The theme was 60s and 70s Night. Since we live in Singapore, a place that doesn't celebrate Halloween like we do in the States, we didn't have many choices of costumes. And being the big procrastinators that we are, I didn't order us some online last month, like everyone else did. So we stretched the theme a bit. We went as the toga party kids from National Lampoon's Animal House (a movie made in 1978). Yes, it was a stretch, but I loved our costumes. The best part? They were FREE!!!! Chicka chicka yeah!

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....
It was a good time. There were quite a few drunken Aussies at the party and they always make things interesting. Apparently, one of their ships got held up and they had to stay an extra day. They were quite thrilled to stay in Singapore another night. I kept begging one of them to teach me to speak with his accent. He was very sweet and tried to teach me for quite a while. I still can't do it.
Sorry I'm not awesome.




Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Not So Sunny-Side Up

Here's a fun story I read about the other day: Remember those eggs we saw out in town at the grocery stores? Ya know, the ones that aren't refrigerated? Also the ones that we've been buying until recently? Well, turns out they're not as safe as we thought.

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

Deepavali at Simon's

As promised, here are the pictures from our Deepavali celebration at Simon's house.

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.)
Simon's family served us a huge feast. We had Indian rice, mutton, curry chicken (my fave), fried bbq chicken, Indian nachos, pineapple and cucumber salad, steamed veggies, and lots of other dishes that I wasn't sure what they were. Everything was delicious though. I love love love Indian food. We had a great time eating and talking.
We learned that Simon's son is making his first trip to the U.S. and is going to be working for Carnival Cruises. Isn't that exciting?! I'd love to get to work on a cruise ship. He's so excited. There was a time that Melissa and I contemplated leaving KU for dreams of working in a resort in Honduras. I still think being a diving instructor would have been the best job ever (even if we both don't know exactly how to dive and Mel is claustrophobic).
Anyways, Deepavali was very fun. The next big Indian holiday is Thaipusam. That's the one where they pierce their bodies with long rods and march in parades with stuff attached to their piercings. I need to read up on it more beforehand. I did hear that it's recommended that people with weak stomachs not go. I may not be in attendance. I gotta psych myself up first.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Where do you vote, sucka?

I'm sorry, I had to. It's too funny. Last one, I promise.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Deepavali

Today is Deepavali, also known as the "Festival of Lights". (Don't other religions claim that title for their celebrations too? I wonder who's the copycat here.) Deepavali is predominantly an Indian holiday, however it is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs across the globe. Don't even ask me what all those religions are because I have no clue.

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.

Aaron and I were invited over to Simon's tonight for a Deepavali dinner celebration. If it's not frowned upon or awkward to do so, I'll take pictures for you all to see. I'm excited at the possibility of Indian food. I love that curry stuff.

Friday, October 24, 2008

So it only took five months, but...

...I have a job!!!!!

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.

Teppenyaki = Hibatchi

Today I went to lunch with a couple girls to Sakae Teppenyaki. It's located in Plaza Singapura and it's oddly positioned in the center of the first floor (I think, I can't remember. There's like 7 floors to that mall.) It's a neat place that has three large tables in which they seat customers around the flat grill. So that means it doesn't matter if you know the people that came in after you or not, you're sitting together. Whatev. Fine by me.

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)
Chicken
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

I think he knows...

A couple weeks ago, Aaron and I decided that it might be best to find Guinness a new home. We were exhausted from cleaning up destroyed toys, pee, poop and parts of our few pieces of furniture. He had literally chewed all of the patience out of us. Aaron and I were done-zo. We even decided that we were going to put up a flyer on the community board to find him a loving family.

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:

video

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

We got ghosted

As soon as night fell last night, our door bell rang. However, there was no one at the door. We found this picture:



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

Not exactly the fruit tree I'd want in my yard

This is a durian tree that grows near the halfway house that's close to our housing community. Isn't that fun? Not only do we live next to a women's prison, but we also share our area with the men's halfway house. Can't you tell that the Singaporeans LOVE us?

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

When it rains...

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.

video

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.

"Fun Run" is an oxymoron

I never did understand the people that list working out and running as hobbies. I've never enjoyed sweating or pain in general. I mean, why in the hell would you choose kicking your own ass over watching a movie, going out for drinks or dare I say it, hunting? Yes, I'd rather go hunting than work out. (That's saying a lot because I'm deathly afraid of guns.) But seriously, those are hobbies that I understand. Making yourself hurt and sweat on purpose? No thanks.

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

Salvation Army Safari

My friend Danielle and I went on an adventure yesterday. We rode the 171 bus all the way down to our local Salvation Army to search for cheap/interesting goods. We both have never been big bargain bin hunters at home, but this country does that to you. It's sooooo expensive here. A small, uncomfortable couch will cost you no less than $1000. Thus, we resort to bargain hunting.

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.


I had to restrain myself from buying the hat. I did however, find some good reading. I got 8 books for S$10 (about 8 bucks U.S.) and some of them are even ones I've been wanting to read for a while.

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

When I was a kid...

...I didn't walk five miles in the snow to the school building like my dad claims he did, but I sure as hell roughed it a bit more than these chumps.

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

Why we can't have a jack-o-lantern in Singapore

Um, are you seeing how much a pumpkin costs over here? Aaron and I almost crapped our pants when we saw those prices. Apparently the one on the left is an award winning pumpkin. I don't know what kind of award constitutes a hundred dollar price tag for a large vegetable. These people are friggin' nuts.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Makin' Dad proud

Anybody who knows my family knows that we're the bowling family. My Dad has ran a bowling alley---er, center (sorry Dad) for years. We, as a family, have lived and breathed bowling since we were babies. I'm not kidding. As an infant, I was put down for naps in the back office while my mom ran the Seniors' league. All 5 of us kids bowled in the Saturday morning kids league and traveled to bowling competitions all over the state of Kansas. My Dad has bowled in more leagues than I'm sure he can even count and in many competitions all over the United States. Yeah, we're pretty hardcore. That is, except me. I quit bowling in leagues when I was about 13. What can I say? I was a rebellious teenager.

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

A web site to cure my homesickness

This an awesome web site for a girl who can't get all of the comforts of home. It's perfect timing cuz this has been a rough week.
It's got the recipe for my sister and my beloved Jamocha Shake from Arby's and Panera Bread's French Onion Soup. They have most of the favorite dishes in the popular restaurants on there, right down to McDonald's french fries. The only bad part is that some of them are only available to paying customers. I haven't quite figured out just how much it is, but I'm thinking it can't be much. There are a lot of freebies too.
There's so many to choose from though. I have no idea what to make first.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A numbers game

157: the number of days since I've driven a car

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

I do not like Singaporean workers today

I was awoken this morning by the sound of jackhammering directly outside my window. (The picture above was taken from my window to show you how close.) I think its the most alarming sound to wake up to. It's a good thing no one was around cuz things might have been thrown around the room.

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

...and I can see Russia from my house.



I'm sorry to put political stuff on the blog, but this is just ridiculous. Tina Fey should step in as the VP candidate right about now.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Marriage Retreat Weekend

The Chaplain's office held the first Marriage Enrichment Retreat this weekend and Aaron and I were lucky enough to be one of the first twelve couples to call them to get on the list. It was a free trip to Bintan Lagoon Resort and featured several classes with a marriage counselor to learn how to be a better spouse. It was a really great weekend. We even learned some stuff we didn't know we needed to know. Whoda thunk it?

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.)




This is the pool that we never made it to.
On Saturday night, the couples were each given a golf cart to drive to dinner. We had no idea where we were going or what to expect. Below, Aaron and I are on the way over there. We quickly discovered that the golf cart had only one speed: bat out of hell fast. Look close in the picture, I'm holding on for dear life.
We arrived at a tee box at the top of a cliff over-looking the ocean. It was gorgeous. They had set up a dance floor and a table for two for each couple. It was really sweet.
The only bad part? The "Love Ballads of Broadway" CD that they had blaring for ambiance kept skipping. Indonesia's CD selection is limited, I'm sure.
Isn't it pretty? We loved loved loved it. The food was delish as well.
We left after the sun went down and giant beetles started attacking the lights around us.
The next day, we ate lunch at the golf course restaurant...and my husband is incapable of taking a nice picture. Sorry.

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.