Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Perhaps some conversation starters

I'm on this kick now where if something interesting happens, I take a picture. Here are some of my pictures from this week:

This is the little gecko that snuck into our flat the other evening. These little guys used to scare the bejesus out of me. However, after learning that these tiny lizards eat the bugs in our house, I think they are my friends and welcome them in. The only thing that sucks is that they poop all over our white walls. Effing sick.



I made fried rice the other night. I don't care that I used the wrong kind of rice and that I made entirely too much (there's a huge tub of plain cooked rice in our fridge). I hear it's really hard to make non-American processed rice without a rice cooker and I did it. I thought it tasted pretty good too.


Here's the entire dinner. Fried rice and steak. Yes, we're aware that it's an odd combo. We can only allow so much of Asia into our house at once. Maybe next week we can try stir fry and barbeque chicken or lo mein and cheeseburgers.


We bought this pineapple to try out our new pineapple corer/slicer. It's super cool. After you take the sliced pineapple out, you're left with a nifty pineapple cup. I feel a cocktail party idea coming on!



Our beloved doormat. It took a lot of "doin" to get this doormat to us. BB&B said it was discontinued, but I found a way to get around their lies. It's the perfect doormat to cause confusion in Singapore. It's mean and uninviting. We love it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ok....Fetch!

Thanks Grammy and Grandpa Heffley. I love my new toys. I already destroyed the ones that Grammy Spreer sent me. Her toys tasted really good.

Watch me fetch!

video

I'm already working on destroying this one.

video

Love,

Guinness

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A roti prata, mail run kind of morning

I went on the mail run with Aaron this morning. Do you know what a big deal that is? It's huge. Like, Michael Jackson growing back his blackness huge. The mail run is an early morning type of venture. I am not an early morning type of venturer. However, after asking me to go three times, I finally caved and said I'd go. Eh.
We left the house at 4:30 a.m. That's not a typo friends. That's what time crazy people think work should begin. For anyone who knows me, this is a major feat in itself. I am the worst morning person on the face of the earth (next to my sweet niece and lovely sis). My morning stories are even legendary.
My family nicknamed me "Agnes" because it was the ugliest name they could think of to match my ugly morning attitude. My friends in college would argue over whose turn it was to wake me up to go camp at Allen Fieldhouse for KU basketball games. My roommates didn't dare enter my room before I came out awake first. I do not like mornings -- or any other time I may be tired.
Somehow, Aaron got me to agree to this self-inflicted torture. I refused to speak to him until coffee and the presence of a stranger (Simon, the mail truck driver) forced me to be nice. Coffee came first.
This is coffee-in-a-bag. Kopi-O to be exact. Kopi is the Hokkien word for coffee. Kopi-O means coffee without milk. There are several ways to order Kopi, however all involve sugar, but the bag is only for "take-away" (Singaporean for "to-go"). There's a list of the different kinds of Kopi here on Wikipedia. I personally don't care for sugar in my coffee, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I drank as much as I could of my "liquid niceness".
We drove all the way to Changi Airport to pick up numerous boxes and bags of mail. It's a lot of lifting, recording and tossing. Boring as hell. Not one bit of fun to be had. Yay, 4 a.m.
After all of the mail had been loaded up, we wandered over to the airport cafeteria for some roti prata. Mmmmm!
Roti prata is delicious. Roti prata and I may become BFF. The word "roti" is Hindu for bread and the word "prata" which means flat. It tastes like a cross between a crepe and a pancake, but looks like a tortilla. It's made of dough that is tossed in the air to make it very thin and then cooked over a flat grill. It is filled with your choice of all different sorts of things: chocolate, cheese or even bananas. As a newbie, I went with egg.
This is the curry sauce that comes with your roti prata. Swimming in the middle there is what Simon described as "lady fingers". Um no. Lady fingers are a type of dessert. Those do not look like dessert. I steered clear of the finger-like appendages. Thanks, but no thanks kids. Other than that, the sauce was really good. It was like a really spicy enchilada sauce.
When the cook found out that this was my first roti prata experience, he had to show off his mad prata skills. He sent this out free of charge.
In an effort to be a little bold, I ordered a "rose drink". I was TOO bold. It was sick. It tasted like soap. Old lady soap, at that. I'm done with the boldness.
Then, on the way home, Simon gave us each a little candy to try. The package read "Creamy Corn". It looked like a Whether's Original so I gave it a shot. At first taste, it was deliciously salty and sweet. Then, once the corn flavor came through, I made Aaron throw it out the window when Simon wasn't looking. I still cannot view corn or red beans as dessert of any kind.
Watch out though, I'm sending this candy home for you all to try as soon as I find it. It's too awful to experience alone :)


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Our new Home Sweet Home and all of its flaws

We're officially in our new place. Yay! We cleaned, buffed and scrubbed our old residence last night and it passed inspection this morning. That means that we're not "in limbo" between the two places and the new one is officially "home". No more stinky nasty furniture-infested bachelor housing. Now we have pretty, shiny, no furniture-infested family housing. :)

The kitchen is the only thing that's completely unpacked. We're so excited about our new stuff that we've used nearly everything in it in only 3 days. However, all is not sunshine and roses. Our very small dishwasher broke last night and now I'm waiting for DS2 (the repairmen on base) to come and fix it. They've already been to our house twice since we've moved in. Yeah, they're going to LOVE us.

Then there's the bathroom. I love love love the big counter tops and the storage closet that it has. Yet, there is no stinkin' electrical outlet ANYWHERE in the dang thing! What the hell is that about? So now Aaron has to pick up a bunch of extension cords, plug it into the outlet across the room and string it around the walls to reach the bathroom. Can we say "ghetto fabulous"? I have a feeling that there's going to be a lot of ghetto fabulousness in our Singaporean house. The bedroom only has TWO electrical outlets and it's not like in America where each outlet has double plug-ins. No no, my friends. Each outlet is a single. This establishes that there's gonna be a lot of cords and transformers in this room. So if there's ever a fire in Sembawang, there's a good chance it'll originate in our bedroom.

So other than those two big things and a night on the phone with upper management at Target (that's a whole other blog), things are going well. We are currently on the hunt for a couch...and a console table...and mirrors...and a kitchen cart...and a vanity...and the list will keep going, I'm sure.

Someday, Megan. Someday.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dark Knight in a comfy recliner



Last night, Aaron and I went to see The Dark Knight at Vivo City's Gold Class theatre. The dinky picture above shows what the theatre looks like. Pretty schnazzy! Those seats recline to a full 180 degrees and each set of two get their own table, wine chiller, full dinner/drink menu and a blanket. It should be the way every movie theatre is --- minus the $25 a head charge.

The movie was fantastic and Heath Ledger was seriously phenomenal. We both really liked it. I liked it way better than Batman Begins. Aaron didn't. We both agree that Christian Bale and Heath Ledger make a much better Batman and Joker than Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. My only complaint was the dang thing was sooo long, I had to leave during a climatic moment to use the restroom. I hate doing that. I always miss something so important that the end totally doesn't make sense. They should allow a bathroom intermission for movies that long. Seriously, anything over two hours deserves a pee break. This movie was 2 1/2 hours. The beer during the movie didn't help either, I'm sure.

It was our one event of "moving weekend". Now, we're up to our noses in packing, unpacking, going up several flights of stairs and going down several flights. I can't wait to get our stuff on Monday though. I've even forgotten most of what's in the big crates from home. It'll be Christmas in July! Ha.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's finally here

Moving day is in sight. Today, Aaron called me while I was Skype-ing with my parents and said that we have keys to our new place. This came as a bit of a shock as I was unaware that we officially had "a place".

They'd been trying to get us into the apartment across the way for a couple weeks, but we hadn't agreed to anything yet. We'd been reluctant to accept the apartment style house that the Navy was offering (ahem, telling us to move into) because 1) It was on the third freakin' floor, 2) It had 3 bedrooms and we're only 2 people that share ONE room and 3) We REALLY wanted a place to ourselves, away from other (noisy) families of 5.

Since we're the "youngins" on base, our efforts to rationalize our preference fell on deaf ears. So Aaron snagged the keys in order to look at the place before we signed on the dotted line.

Here are some pics. Minus our original complaints, the place is pretty nice...and freakin' huge.


This is the view of the dining room from the living room. I really like the columns and ledges. I already have several ideas of how to decorate these.



Here's as much of the living room as I can fit into one picture. It is massive. I have no idea what to do with it. We'll never have enough furniture to actually fill the space. Singaporean furniture tends to be on the rather small side...shocking, I know.



I hope you all can see that beautiful stove right there. I say "beautiful" because there are no celsius readings on the oven knob and the oven is normal-sized. IT'S AN AMERICAN STOVE PEOPLE. I'm so happy!



Here is our brand new American fridge. They also threw in a deep freezer that's located around the corner. On the other side of the fridge is a walk-in pantry. God Bless Family Housing.



This is the master bedroom. It has a bathroom and a storage room leading off of the other side.


This is Aaron's bathroom. We each get our own (which put huge smiles on BOTH of our faces). He gets the one with the stand-up shower and I get the one with the tub. I'm a bubble bath kind of girl.

There's many more pictures on Facebook. We're going to start moving our stuff from Bachelor Housing in over the weekend. Our packout stuff from home will be delivered Monday afternoon.

The man in charge of housing said that in August, more duplexes may open up and we might be able to move into one at that time. I dunno though, we may like this place better. We shall see.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Updates on several things

I've been asked a few questions by several people lately so I thought I'd blog to broadcast the Spreer family status in Singapore.

Guinness: He's finally cured. We took him to the vet last Tuesday and after only a day of meds, he was back to normal. The culprit of his illness? We've narrowed it down to the fact that he may have accidentally eaten some rubber bands. Actually, we know he did. I saw them "exit" on more than one occasion. However, he's taken one dose of worming medicine and is prescribed to seven days of anti-inflammatory pills for his inflamed large intestine. He's handling it very well and his "mom" is very good at sneaking his pills into dog food.

Moving status: It seems that we may be forced into the apartment-style place even though it is not economical for two people who don't desire to have Singaporean babies. Nothing is official yet and we're still pulling for a duplex. The Navy is not being so cooperative with our hopes and dreams. Shocker.

Our stuff: It's been here since June 23rd. No one bothered to tell us it was here. Thanks Navy. However, we still don't get it until we're officially moved into family housing anyway.

What are we doing to entertain ourselves: I spend my days watching Gossip Girl even though I vowed that I would never like it. (I'm now hooked. Loves it.) We went and saw Hancock on Thursday and really want to see The Dark Night this week. Once you get past the Chinese subtitles and the talkative locals, the movies are like an escape from Singapore.

Yesterday, we had lunch with a couple from Colorado: Jeni and John. We had a great time and were so excited to hang out with people from home. We had lunch at Brewerkz (a restaurant/brewery) and walked around Clarke Quay. They were a fun couple and Jeni has already seen and done twice as much as I have in her two weeks. I really should get out more.

That's all I got for now.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

NKOTB

So I'm pretty excited that New Kids on the Block are back together and releasing albums. I'm sure that ALL of you are too. MTV China just played their new video "Summertime" and I'm happy to report that it was actually kinda good. (That could be the boredom talking).

My sis was responsible for getting me into the whole New Kids obsession. She gave me a copy of her tape when I was pretty young. I listened to it for hours. Joey was my favorite. It fits because he was the youngest and I was four, maybe five. When I learned to read, I bought a book about the group and Joey said that he wished he had a white limousine with a car phone. My, how times have changed since the days of innocent "Step by Step" and "Hangin' Tough". Nowadays, we've already endured NSYNC (whom I never had a thing for until Justin went solo) and are now subjected to the Jonas brothers, which I'm sorry, are NOT cute...at all.

Back in the day, I had a NKOTB hat, book, every tape (including the Christmas one) and a pretty sweet t-shirt. My sister had me beat as she was older and a bigger fan at the time. Although, her favorite was Donnie. I'm sorry Sis, but out of all of the New Kids, he's the only one that looks middle-aged and balding now.

Can you imagine our matching Joey and Donnie posters now? I remember having an argument with you over who was cuter. I guess I win now. :) Although, Jonathan seems to be the one to age the best. Eh.

I can't wait to see who Ava's first celebrity crush is.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Just say no

...to babies.


Apparently, they deliver here.



Making condoms appear as cartoon characters make them much less intimidating I guess.

Mrs. Manners

Remember all of those things our parents told us as children regarding how to act at the dinner table? There were many nights in the young Heffley house where Ryan was in tears for being criticized on how he holds his fork and I would be annoyed because I was in trouble for my napkin not being in my lap. Our parents made damn sure that we didn't behave like animals at the dinner table in any situation. I thought this was good stuff to know as I became an adult. Did you know that KU even holds a seminar on dinner ettiquette? So it's pretty important to know this stuff.

That is, until you come to Singapore.

Then you can throw most of those rules out the window.

Singaporeans have their own list of table manners, many of which are pretty offensive to Americans. It's still hard for Aaron and I to get used to and people often stare at us for our "odd" eating techniques. Let me explain:

1) Singaporeans ALWAYS have two utensils in their hands. If they're using western silverware, they usually have a fork in the right hand and a knife or a spoon in the left. When they eat, they use both pieces. The spoon or knife will be used to push food onto the fork.

If they are using chopsticks, the sticks will be in the right hand and an asian soup spoon will be in the left. They will use the chopsticks to pick up food and place it in the spoon in their left hand. Then they eat out of the spoon. It seems like an unecessary, extra step to me, but whatever.

2) The above rule only applies to those eating non-Indian food. People from India don't use silverware. They use their hands ---er, hand. (They only eat with their right hand because they use their left hand in lieu of toilet paper, not even kidding. I can't make this stuff up.) Anyways, the Indians eat a lot of curry and cous cous, rice and so on. It's a pretty revolting thing to see all over their hand and face. It's messy. It's slobbery. It's just plain gross. Which brings me to the next issue...

3) They don't use napkins! In fact, they don't even have them at hawker stalls or food courts. The only place they have napkins are restaurants and even then, don't expect a surplus. I have to carry around kleenexes and a Tide pen for us when we eat out. I'm not sure why the Singaporeans don't value cleanliness. They eat lots of soups, sauces and other things that could end up on the front of your t-shirt. So why wouldn't they want napkins around?

4) Speaking of the soups, here's another thing they do. They slurp soup. I remember my mom specifically telling me not to slurp my chicken noodle because it's obnoxious. The Singaporean moms forget to tell their children. All of them slurp their soup. They use the Asian spoons and the Western ones and place their mouths on the edge and suck in the liquid. They don't ever put a whole utensil in their mouth. It's merely a vehicle to get the soup to a suckable distance. Super annoying.

5) Ah, then there's the children in restaurants. As a server, I hated when small children were at my table because that meant two things: 1. A crappy tip because they have to buy diapers and 2. A huge mess to clean up and the loss of more tips while I take 20 minutes to do so. However, American children in restaurants is NOTHING compared to Singaporean children in restaurants. Parents in Singapore are very passive. They let their children run wild and scream as much as they'd like. We were eating at a restaurant in Clarke Quay last February and actually saw two children getting shooed away by their parents because they didn't want to deal with them being wild. Um, what? Your children are playing tag between the tables and yelling amongst other diners and you'd rather the rest of us put up with them than you?! I didn't decide to give birth to your bratty little monsters. I wanted to slap their mother. The fear of being caned stopped me.

I'd really like to hear exactly what the Singaporean mothers tell their children in regards to manners and dining ettiquette.

"Eat your soup louder!" "Use both hands so you don't miss a bite!" "Run around and work off some of your dinner before you finish!"

I can only imagine.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

TGI Fourth of July

This Fourth of July, Aaron and I celebrated by finally finding the TGIFridays in Malaysia. It was just as exciting as finding 100 dollars. Aaron and I love TGIFridays and went there a lot when we were dating. We'd seen online that there was one in Malaysia, but everytime we asked someone, they looked at us like we'd asked for directions to the moon. It took us 3 trips to Malaysia to finally find it. We finally did. Thank you Google Earth.
What was even more exciting was the fact that Asia hadn't infiltrated it yet. The food tasted the exact same! We've never been to an American restaurant in Asia that didn't try to at least sneak one oriental dish in there. Apparently, this TGIFridays imports everything from the US and Australia to make it authentic and just like home. THANK GOODNESS! I always say...you can't fix something that isn't broke. Thank you Asia for not messing up our favorite restaurant.
This is a picture of the paper promo menu that was on the table. The prices are in Malaysian Ringgit. One US dollar is equal to 3.27 in Malaysian Ringgit. So the prices were pretty similar to what we pay back home, but compared to Singapore, it's super cheap. Singaporeans are very "proud" of everything they sell. Someone should tell them that it's not that great and they should lower their prices. We were once charged 50 bucks for two drinks in Clarke Quay. Can we say ridiculous?

Anywho, the menu was nearly the same minus a few things. Aaron was sad for a split second that they did not have his favorite green bean fries, but he got over it when he ate his steak. It was a good time. We ended up making friends with two servers and both managers. We got a free dessert and they hailed a cab for us so we wouldn't get mugged. Good to know that foreigners aren't encouraged to be in the country after dark. Ha.

(Sis, you'll be proud to know that I wrote an email to their corporate headquarters to tell them what a great job they're doing. Since you have no time to write letters, I'll pick up where you left off.)