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)
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:

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 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.

"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!)