Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Air New Zealand Got Me to Watch a Safety Demonstration

Watch this video. Tell me if you think anything is off.

Did you notice anything odd?

It took me two whole minutes.

That's also the first safety video/demonstration for an airline that I've paid attention to the entire time. I'm a sad soul.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Coffee Beverages for Dummies

I found this picture today. I decided to post it just in case any of you have ever wondered what exactly is the difference between a latte and a cappuccino. I've been wondering this myself ever since I first walked into a Starbucks about ten years ago.
Since I didn't know the difference before today, I always just picked the one with chocolate. This is usually the Caffe Mocha. I see now, that it's the worst one for you according to the chart.

But at least I leave off the whipped cream.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Typical Saturday Conversations

Aaron: Oh! Awesome song. Brick (by Ben Folds Five) is the best song ever.

Megan: Uh, it's the most depressing song ever.

Aaron: What?! What makes you say that?

Megan: Do you even know what it's about?

Aaron: Uh, I don't know. Suicide or something.

Megan: Wrong. It's about a couple that accidentally gets pregnant and decides to get an abortion and the guy's girlfriend goes into a deep dark depression.

Aaron: Who told you that?!

Megan: Are you serious? Have you ever even listened to the lyrics?

Aaron: No. (He then proceeds to listen and sing along to the lyrics.) I don't think that's what it's about. I mean it's pretty vague. Unless the artist came out and said that that's what it's about you wouldn't really know. It's not like it comes out and says it.

At this point, I'm just going to throw my head into a wall.

I love my dear sweet husband that doesn't listen. :)

Here's a video of the song in case you live in a bubble and have never heard it.

Ben Folds Five - Brick (Official Music Video) - The best bloopers are here

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Monkeys Found Me This Time

After all that work at MacRitchie Resevoir and this is what I stumble upon two blocks from my flat.

He was getting a little territorial over his carrot bread. Here's another video of him in calmer and cuter times.

I still think I should have one.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Driving Like a Singaporean

Two months ago, this little road map meant diddly to me. I thought Singapore was too small to need a map to navigate it. Oh how silly I was.

Now, my very life depends on this bad boy several days a week.

I'm a very nervous driver when I am somewhere unknown. My best friend Melissa and I have gotten lost in some pretty sketchy places when we didn't know where we were going. Now that I'm older and wiser-ish, I check, re-check and triple check all roads and exits to all destinations unknown.

In Singapore though, good friggin' luck with that plan. The street names alone squash your intentions in an instant. For example, there is an Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1. There's also an Ang Mo Kio Avenue 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12. So essentially, there's 11 streets all with the same name, but with a different number. Then, to get you all the more confused, there's Ang Mo Kio Street 11, 12, 13, 21, 22, 23, 24, 31, 32, 41, 42, 43, 44, 51, 52, 53, 54, 61, 62, 63, 64 and 65. And we haven't even gotten to the highways yet.

For such a small island, you'd think there'd only be a couple major highways.

P-sha, right.

There are nine. Nine! And their names are great for getting lost too. They are: KPE, SLE, TPE, AYE, BKE, CTE, ECP, KJE and the PIE. Don't those sound like a fun way to give someone directions? Yeah, if you hate that person.

My first day of driving consisted of someone telling me "Ok, take the KPE tunnel towards the TPE. Then, you gotta go towards the SLE. When you get there, you exit on Yishun. Then you should be able to find it from there."

Right-o buddy. When I end up in the jungle, I'll give you a call.

The acronyms of the expressways actually stand for longer names (i.e. The TPE is the Tampines Expressway), but the signs on the road use the acronyms. Even better, the signs don't even tell you which direction you're going. They strictly adhere to the acronyms. They say TPE(SLE). I thought, is this secret code or something? Later I found out that it meant you're going onto the TPE in the direction of the SLE. Great sign for a girl who had no idea if the SLE was the direction she wanted to go. Can't we just say TPE North?

OH, and Singapore loves U-turns. In the States, when you turn onto a road, you get a choice. Right or Left. In Singapore, you do not choose. You go in the only direction you're allowed to go and if it's not the direction you want, you find a place to make a U-turn and pray that there's a sign that allows it.

It's confusing. Although, with all that being said, I have NEVER gotten lost. Never. It's amazing. Seriously, 75 percent of the turns and merges I make in Singapore traffic are a guess. Somehow though, I've always guessed correctly. I've even driven through the crowded streets of downtown and through the shopping district. That even impresses Aaron. These streets look like a maze in Google Earth. It's a huge accomplishment for a self-proclaimed "non-driver".

Yet, ask me how I did it and I couldn't tell you. I think it's just good driving karma. And it's due to run out at any minute.

(Oh and I forgot to mention -- I'm driving on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Real Simple Life

Have you read this magazine yet? If you haven't I suggest you run to the store today and pick one up. It is the most useful magazine you will ever read. It's also the only magazine I've purchased a subscription to in the last five years.

Why is it so great? Because it makes life simple, just as the title implies. It really does uncomplicate life. It has tips to clear and organize clutter, hammer out quick recipes and how to make/use things in ways you didn't even think about. My absolute favorite section is "New Uses For Old Things". Every issue they take everyday items such as paper clips, lemons or even Ziploc bags and give you a list of new ways to use them. One tip from a past issue was to use a rubber band to help you open a difficult jar. Just wrap the band around the lid and use it to give some grip. It works like a charm.

Their web site is pretty sweet too. Here's the link to the online version of New Uses For Old Things. I get great tips from the site too.

Go ahead and check out the site. Play around on there. Then when you notice two hours have passed, it'll be almost time for you to go home from work.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Not Ice Cream I'd Scream For

I like ice cream. In fact, I like ice cream a little too much. I'm the girl that must eat every drop of ice cream in her cup and must do so before any of it melts. I'm not even exaggerating. In March, Aaron and I went to Cold Stone Creamery and each got a "Love it" sized Birthday Cake remix. I had mine completely gone before we even got to the car.

It was a two minute walk.

Sad, right?

So today at lunch when the topic turned to ice cream, I was pretty stoked. I've been craving some ice cream for the last two weeks but won't buy a gallon because of the previously mentioned problem.

This convo quickly squelched my craving.

The guys started talking about the odd ice cream flavors they'd run into in Japan. I was horrified by some of the options. Ox tongue? Eel? Cactus?! I was convinced they were lying to gross me out. Guys do that. Guys do that a lot.

Then, they sent me this link: 101 Frightening Ice Cream Flavors From Around the World

The list also had pictures just in case you're a skeptic like me.

Here's some highlights. This one is Tomato Ice Cream

and Char Grilled Seaweed Ice Cream

and Octopus Ice Cream.
Most of the flavors are from Japan. However, there's some from the US too. I saw Bacon Ice Cream on there. I'm pretty sure Americans are the only ones ballsy enough to try to pass off something like Bacon Ice Cream. We think bacon belongs on everything...and it does. Just not ice cream.

So after seeing this, I think I'm over my ice cream craving. My stomach is still doing flips over that Raw Horse Flesh flavor.

Monday, June 22, 2009

How One Accidentally Hikes Six Miles Through the Jungle

Awkward things like this seems to happen to me a lot. The sad thing is, I usually have an accomplice that is being forced along for the ride too. This time it was my poor husband Aaron.

It began innocently enough. I had been researching MacRitchie Resevoir after seeing two different people's videos of monkey swarms. Yes, I said swarms. These people had more than eight monkeys in a single video that was filmed at this particular nature reserve. This place is to monkeys what the mall is to teenage girls. I had to see it. No forgetting it. I had to go.

I have a monkey fascination if you couldn't tell. It began shortly after I saw the episodes of Friends with Marcel the Monkey and it only got worse when I held a trained monkey on our honeymoon. I love them to pieces. If I could have one as a pet, I so would. I've even asked Aaron if I could smuggle one into our house. He does not share my monkey-loving sentiments.

So if I can't bring a monkey home, I'll go to their home. And I made my husband promise to go with me.

Here's the first thing we saw as we hopped on the trail around the resevoir. Looks promising, doesn't it?

Then the paved part ended. Here I am trying to convince Aaron that it's going to be so much fun that he won't care how hot it is.

"Come on! It's an adventure! As soon as we see the monkeys, I swear we can go. It won't take long, I promise."

Fifteen minutes later...

The trail was getting a little nasty. We became very aware of our footwear at this point. Had I known we'd be trekking through the jungle to see these creatures, you'd better believe we would have worn very sturdy boots or at least tennis shoes. Definitely not flip flops that do nothing to protect against snake bites or rugged terrain.

30 minutes later, things were not looking up. The trail looked like this...
"Megan! OH HELL NO. That's just scary. Come on, this is ridiculous."

"Come on Aaron, it'll be fine. We've already come all this way. Here I'll lead. I bet we're almost there." (In my quest for monkeys, I'd somehow forgotten how much I hate the outdoors. Monkey chasing does crazy things to an indoor girl.)

Two hours later, my husband looked like this...
The poor guy was soaked in sweat from Singapore heat and humidity. We'd been walking through the rain forest for way longer than we signed up for (more so him than me). But, I noticed that the more exhausted he got, the less he was mad at me for making him come along. He wasn't happy, but he wasn't mad. A very interesting development. So we continued on.

Two hours and 30 minutes later...
I'm still trying to convince Aaron that this is fun. This part of the jungle trek was the most terrifying to be honest. The wooden trail pictured above is there because the vegetation and animal life is so thick that you can't walk through it. I didn't even want to know what was slithering beneath our flip flopped feet. We walked very fast. And even faster when we heard something rustling beside us.

Fifteen minutes after that, I was done pretending this was fun. I had gone nearly three hours of hiking through this mess of dirt, bugs and scary things to only see one monkey from really far away. I was not happy. Actually, I was pissed. To top that off, the part of the trail that was supposed to have the most monkey activity closed one hour before we got there. I was not a happy hiker.

We continued to walk, but at this point, our only wish was to reach the end of the journey. I was so over monkey searching at this point. I wanted food and I wanted a chair. I was over it.

We reached what we thought led to the park exit and were not pleasantly surprised to find it only took us back into the depths of the jungle. We were both not happy at this point.

And then it happened.

We just somehow stumbled into a monkey haven. There were about 20 of them feasting on a rambutan tree all around us.

It was the single most exciting thing I've ever witnessed. Aaron will tell you that it was the single most terrifying thing he's ever witnessed. (Aaron has this silly suspicion that monkeys attack people. Apparently, he's never met my monkeys. My monkeys are always nice. Yes, I'm claiming these ones.)

So I was too excited to hold still to take pictures and video. Aaron was too scared to stand still to do it either. Then to top it off, the monkeys started throwing their rambutan shells at us. (Isn't that funny? Silly adorable monkeys.) So the pictures we got are very blah and the videos are very amateur and all over the place. However, it was one of the greatest days ever. I might even go so far as to say that all of the effort was worth it.


Don't read me wrong. I'm still an indoor girl. The next monkeys I will be seeking out will be ones in a zoo.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I. Found. Monkeys.

I finally found monkeys in Singapore. The video is very amateur and not so great because of two reasons: 1. We filmed it with our regular camera at sunset and 2. The monkeys were throwing things at us. I think it was the shells of the fruit they were eating.

Silly mischievous, adorable monkeys.

Aaron was sure they were on their way down from the tree tops to attack us and search our bag for more food. I knew they were sweet little monkeys and wanted to stay there for hours and take pictures. I could take being pelted with small fruit for a long time.

By the way, these are monkeys in their natural habitat. They are completely unrestrained. It was pretty friggin' exciting.

I really want one.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What a Horrible and Sweet Surprise

The Girls Scouts of America sent the military men and women of my husband's command free cookies today. Isn't that cute? Yeah, in a Chucky from Child's Play sort of way.

It is a delightful, yet terrifying sight to see your husband bring 14 boxes of cookies through your door, free of charge. Delightful in that, I absolutely love Samoa cookies and remember them fondly from my own days as a scout. However, in that delight lies the terrifying truth that if I actually eat 14 boxes of cookies, I will not be wearing anything without a drawstring and lots of elastic.

Are the Girl Scouts sponsored by cotton farmers? or sweat pant manufacturers?

The outlook of the size of my butt does not look good.

Oh and thanks, by the way, you lovely Girl Scouts.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our "Roommate" Switched Rooms

Apparently he was bored with the pantry. Now he lives in Aaron's shower.

Aaron is thrilled.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Your Money is Prettier Than Mine

These are bills of Singapore currency. Pictured are the most commonly used bills. There's the 10, 5 and 2. For the coins from top to bottom we have the one dollar coin, the 50 cent, 20 cent, 10 cent and 5 cent. Not pictured: the 50 dollar bill. Sorry, I was broke today.

I wanted to show you this to prove just how much it looks like Monopoly money. In fact, even after living here for over a year, I still spend this as if it is Monopoly money because it still doesn't feel like real money to me. You want 10 Sing dollars for one Coke? Sure, here ya go! A 50 Sing dollar cab ride? Why not?! However, give me a US $20 and I'll put the death grip on it and not spend a dime. I'm just ridiculous like that.

One of the Singaporeans at work is going to the States soon for a visit. Yesterday, she expressed to me her concern over the difficulty in telling American money apart.

Singaporean: "It all look the same lah! How can tell it apart?"

Me: "Uh, you just read it, silly."

Singaporean: "I know lah, but Singapore money so easy. All bills are different size and color. And your coins are very confusing. Like your 10 cents smaller than the five cents."

Me: "Ha ha. I have no idea why that is. You got me there."

I then went on to explain to her that it's even confusing for Americans at first. We are taught how to recognize our coins in school. I still remember my coin flash cards from the first or second grade. Even then I wondered why the heck the dime was smaller than the nickel.

So now I really wanna know: Why the heck is our money all the same color? It does make it really easy to confuse the different bills (in comparison to my Singapore Monopoly money anyway.) Here, I can take one look at my wallet and without taking the bills out, I know exactly what I have just by looking at the color and size of the bills. It's so convenient.

why the heck is the dime smaller than the nickel?

Tsk tsk US Mint. Singapore is one-upping us in our money design situation.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No Coffee Jelly Frappuccino For Me, Thanks

I heard on the radio today that Starbucks Singapore is about to start carrying this concoction. Notice the black blob on the bottom of the cup? It's coffee jelly (yes, I said jelly). Then it's topped with the usual cream, flavoring and whipped cream as if the coffee jelly never happened. It's all the rage in Japan.

Chewy drinks (that's not the official name, but that's what I call them) is not a new notion to Singapore.

Singaporeans often put chewy substances in their beverages. They have a lot of what we would call "Bubble Tea" places here. Bubble tea was all the rage my freshman year at KU. In case you don't know what Bubble Tea is, it's flavored tea that has huge tapioca balls in it. You have to use a monster-sized straw to drink it. So anyways, I went to the one Bubble Tea place in Kansas to try some and was not impressed. It makes me think I'm four-years-old again and drinking floaties that my little brother left in my drink. Not at all refreshing. (Sorry Bubby.)

Back to Singapore--- They put a lot of solid food stuff in their drinks. A big one here is aloe chunks. We put the stuff on our skin to soothe a sun burn. They put it in their drinks to chew between sips. I guess they make it into a hard gel, cut it into square chunks and then plop them in.

They sneak it into a lot of innocent looking drinks too. I made the mistake of buying a can of something called "Mango drink" one morning and found these things floating in it. So I did what any American would do and poured it down the sink in the bathroom. Problem. I guess I misjudged the size of the chunks because the sink clogged. And hot water wouldn't melt them. So what did I do?

I left and pretended I had no idea who did it.

I'm that girl.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Grandma's Gonna Be Pissed to Hear This One

The Singaporeans at work told me today (and last Wednesday and the Monday before that) that American food is extremely boring.

I stood there dumbfounded (the first time). I felt as if someone had just kicked my grandmother. Who says such things?!

All of the girls in my office have made this comment. They are all in agreement. So technically, all of them kicked my grandma. I decided to do some probing before some bitches went down.

Me: Why do you think it's boring?

Singaporean: Because every American restaurant you go to, it's the same menu lah. Always the same ting (Singlish for "thing").

Then she listed the menu items she always saw in American restaurants.

The most common offender:

I can't say they're wrong here. I'm pretty sure EVERY restaurant that isn't Italian, Mexican or Chinese in the States has a cheeseburger/hamburger on their menu.

Crap. They got me there.

So I loaded my guns and was ready to make liars out of them all.

Me: Ok fine. That's true, but at least what they do serve tastes good.

Singaporean: No lah. It's so bland. Everything just tastes like nothing.

Me: That's so not true!

I stopped right here and went through a list of American foods in my head to unload on them. This is what popped up.

Holy God. Everything is white and the main taste is salt.

I so lost this one.

After living here, I could totally see how this is boring food. The people here eat very, very spicy dishes and a lot of dishes with sweet sauces. Also, black pepper here is not a seasoning. It's a main ingredient in several sauces. They have Black Pepper Beef and Black Pepper Chicken. The sauce is black with how much black pepper they put into it. It takes a minute to realize that it's an intentional flavor and someone didn't just accidentally knock a whole pepper shaker into your food. Once you get past that, it's quite delicious. Except when you bite down on a peppercorn. That is not awesome.

Then there's the chilli pepper. It is the mother of all ingredients in Singapore cuisine. If it's not in the food, it's a condiment on the side just waiting to jump in. It's a kick in the mouth. This would kill an average American's taste buds as if they'd poured acid into their food. Most people I know can't even eat a jalapeno or a jar of spicy salsa without chasing it with at least three Dr. Peppers.

We like salt. We like cheese. If we're feeling crazy, we like ketchup AND mustard. We live on the edge....the edge of the kiddie pool.

Now I know I can't speak for all Americans. I'm making a huge generalization here.

But I don't know the rest of you. You have to fend for yourselves.

(On a side note, I know that in the US we have Cajun/Creole food, Tex-Mex, BBQ, etc. However, those are not foods that are made in every state. Therefore, every state cannot claim them as their own. I have to go with what every state can do and use single items as a representation of the entire 50 state contribution. I hope you understand.)

(Also, in the effort to not offend the girls in the office. They are not bitches. They are very sweet. They mean no harm in their hatred of American cuisine.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Facing Fears, Head On

Since I had put the horrible images of the fish incident behind me, I decided that I was not going to be defeated by ocean creatures with heads. I really want to be able to make lots of seafood dishes and use the fresh ingredients. So I returned to the scene of the crime. This time though, I by-passed the fish.

Instead, I got a bag of shrimp. They call them prawns here. I think they have an aversion to the word "shrimp". Ha ha ha.

This is how they package the fresh shrimp after you pick them out, one by one from the ice trough.
And inside, it looks kind of creepy. See that lone black eye ball staring right at you? I can't look at those. I pretend they're just a birthmark that the shrimp has.
One thing that I experienced in Singapore that I didn't in Kansas is witnessing shrimp with heads. I'd never seen a shrimp head in my life. I found it fascinating just how big they are in comparison to its body.
They also have long tail things attached to their faces. That would suck.

I de-headed all of the shrimp before I cooked them. I know you technically don't have to do that, but I'm pretty sure we all know how I feel about heads by now.
For my first attempt at cooking fresh shrimp, I think I did pretty awesome. The shrimp turned a beautiful pink and cooked up so fast. Then I put them on ice and we had peel-and-eat shrimp cocktail with salads for dinner. How healthy are we? Plus, I think I did well with my "head attached to my food" phobia.
Then Aaron told me he wished they were peeled, deveined and put into a pasta of some sort.

Buttface. So much for appreciating my healthy dinner --and my mental breakthrough.

You can't win 'em all.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Ants Go On Marching

After dinner tonight, I went into the kitchen to get Aaron a cookie. (Not me, Aaron. Aren't I nice?) When I arrived, I discovered a carnival of ants congregating on the greasy spoon we used to serve our pot roast. Effing gross.

These suckers descended and conquered in 30 minutes. And for the first time on my blog, that is not an exaggeration. I've never witnessed an ant swarm occur that fast.

So we sprayed the whole two feet of counter top space we own and calmed ourselves down.

Then I went to take a bath. As I was about to turn on the water, I notice a 15 foot long ant march. They were coming in from the light fixture on my bathroom ceiling and travelling all the way down the wall and into a crack just below the lip of my bathtub. I have no idea what they were after, but they were determined. We had to spray the whole bathroom immediately. So that canceled bath time. Breathing in that room now is not possible.

Aaron then went on an ant terminator mission through the rest of the house and found them also in his bathroom and in the living room. All of them are entering our house through the wire mold that runs electricity through our entire house. It's basically serving as an ant superhighway straight from outside.


This is ridiculous.

Upon this realization, I got really scared for my pantry --the site of the last ant attack two weeks ago. So I tip toed in there and gently turned on the light. I bent down to peer into the first shelf.

Then out of nowhere a ginormous gecko with huge black, beady eyes jumped out. I screamed louder than I've ever screamed in my life. (I was actually impressed with my lung capacity.)

After Aaron came running, I just started laughing. "Oh, it's just a gecko! Woopsie."

I'm ok with the lizard living in our pantry. I know he's taking care of the ants for us in there.

I wonder if it's a sign that I've lived in the jungle too long when I'm ok with a lizard living in my kitchen.

**DISCLAIMER** We are not dirty people. In Singapore, you are not required to have a dirty house to attract ants. I'm convinced they come in to tour our air-conditioned abodes. It is pretty hot out there.

They Have Heads and Everything!

The following story happened about a month ago. The reason that I have not written about it until now is because I had to let a lot of emotional wounds heal before I could speak about such a traumatic event. I think I'm ready to share now.

Here's how it went down.

One of the other Navy wives told me in Japan that the closest Singapore grocery store to our house sells fresh fish that they fillet for you. Meaning that no dirty work is involved. You remember how I've told you they sell fish here right? They just slap the things on ice, right out of the ocean. Heads and scales fully intact. It's a frightening scene. So anyways, I was excited because I've heard that the fish here is so so good since we're pretty friggin' close to the ocean and whatnot. (A Kansas girl rarely, if ever, experiences authentic fresh seafood.)

So I decided to check it out. I went to the store and stood in front of the hundreds of eyes laying on top of a crushed ice display.

Ignoring their accusing stares, I read the signs to see what I recognized. Cream snapper fish? No. The word cream and fish should not mix. So not that one. Bocourti fillet? I couldn't even begin to tell you what that one is. So that's a no go too. Then I saw Red Tilapia. Aha! I know what that is! I've even eaten that one. Yes! Game time.

Then I point to the fish, without looking at their faces, and say to the Indian woman behind the counter, "Could you fillet two of these please?". She looked at me and nodded, picking up the two fish I chose. Then she took them to the cleaning area and starting doing things I couldn't see. She came back 30 seconds later and asked, "Do you want them cleaned?" in a heavy accent. Confused, I said "Yes, please." How on Earth do you fillet a fish without cleaning it, I wondered.

That should have raised several red flags right there. But because I'm me, I just ignored it.

The lady came back two minutes later and handed me a double-bagged bag with a bar code sticker on it. I took the bag, finished my shopping and went on my merry way.

Which wasn't merry for long.

I got home to cook my fresh, delicious fish and found a horrifying scene. There were two COMPLETELY whole fish sitting in that bag.

I said several expletives and ran from the kitchen. I thought my stomach had inverted itself into my throat. I mean seriously, what the hell?! Did I not speak English to the lady? Oh wait, I know I did because IT'S THE ONLY LANGUAGE I KNOW...and one that she spoke back to me. So yeah, I was beyond pissed. I did not order eye balls.

On the other hand, I'd worked up my taste buds for this fish and I wasn't going down without a fight. I was having fish for dinner, damn it.

After I downed a rum and coke, I gave myself a pep talk. I was ready-ish. I had read how to fillet a fish on the internet and it looked easy enough. I was gonna do this.

(Oh and by the way, Aaron wasn't home. Otherwise he sooooo would've been forced to do this for me.)

So I took the fish out of the bag and made sure to not look at their faces and not touch their tails because -- ew. Then I took the fillet knife and made my first cut. It was not near as easy as they made it look online. I sawed and sawed on that damn thing. I had to really hold down the fish as I made my way only half-way through. Just as I was making some progress and doing what I thought was a pretty good job, something horrible happened. I guess I pushed too hard on the fish's gut area and black fish poop came oozing out all over the cutting board.

I lost it.

I immediately started bawling and going into hysterics. Just my luck, Aaron decided to call right about then. Our conversation can be summed up as such:

Aaron: What are you doing?

Megan: Bah. (Unintelligible dialog) Ahhhhhh. *sniffle* Bahhhhhhh.

Aaron: What is wrong?! Are you ok?!

Megan: I am filleting fish from the store and -- and it's so gross. The stupid lady at the counter said she'd fillet my fish and -- and they're not. Aaron, they have heads and everything! Wahhhhhhhh.

Aaron: Megan Nicole. You are so ridiculous. Put the fish down and I'll just do it when I get home.

Megan: NO! I already started it and I promised myself that I'd get through it. I'm already half done now.

Aaron: I don't know why you get so upset Megan.

Megan: You're not helping.


So it wasn't the sweetest conversation between a married couple, but damn it, he wasn't helping the situation. Helping would have been cursing the woman at the grocery store with me.

At that point, I made another stiff drink. Chugged it. Then finished butchering innocent living things so that I wouldn't have to look at it anymore.

Then you know what happened? I cook those friggin' things and all I got was enough fish for one person. All that work and tears for one friggin' portion. I'm done with fish in Singapore. I'm back to frozen fish from Kansas.

To top it all off. I took pictures of this massacre through every step of the way. Then, in my traumatized state, I deleted them before I saved them on the computer.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

H1N1, Masks, and a Fit of Giggles

(Photo by Joyce Fang of The Straits Times - A Singapore Newspaper)

Singaporeans hate being sick just about as much as Americans hate waiting in line. They will go to great lengths to avoid an illness. As you see in the picture above, they will wear surgical masks if they are feeling the slightest bit unwell. It always makes me giggle a bit when I see people wearing them on the street. It's like seeing a bunch of Asian surgeons running around Singapore in between their surgeries.

Then came H1N1. Now this place is starting to look like one big hospital. They are freaking the hell out. They wear the masks all the time as if these are magic masks that will prevent the spread of swine flu.

There was even a confirmed case of H1N1 in our little area and all of the Singaporeans left work early so that they wouldn't catch it. (They didn't have their handy dandy masks with them.)

It all came to a head last week when one of the sweet Singaporean girls came into my cube.

Singaporean: Megan, could you see if they sell N95 masks close to where you live?

Me: Uh. I have no idea what that is.

Singaporean: You know lah. The masks that you put over your face to not get sick. I'm going to the States for a visit soon and I need masks to take with me on plane.

Me: (unsuccessfully holding back giggles) That's just silly. No, they don't sell those. Americans don't wear those unless they're a doctor, nurse or cleaning some really stank bathrooms.

Singaporean: NO! I'm sure they ask me to have it on plane lah. I must find more masks. I am out lah.

Me: (really unsuccessfully holding back giggles now) I highly doubt it. Sorry. I think you're on your own on this one.

My father once told me that "tact" isn't my strong suit. I think I see what he means.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Box Cake

The following conversation took place today at work and I have to ask all of you not to tell my grandmother what it was about. Oh, and Martha Stewart. I'm fairly sure both would be very very disappointed in me.

Singaporean lady: Did you know that American lady used to work here only eat box cake? She no try any other cake. Only box cake.

Me: What's box cake?

Singaporean lady: You know lah! The cake that come in box and you just mix it and bake it lah. She never try anything but box cake.

Me: Wait, you mean cake mix. I've never made a cake from scratch. I don't think I've ever even eaten a cake that wasn't made from a box mix.

(Singaporean lady is now joined by two more Singaporean ladies and their faces are covered in a look of shock and disappointment.)

All of them at once: WHAT?! You never try any cake but box cake?!

Me: Well, my mom never made any from scratch and I've never made any from scratch. It's just easier to get a box and make it. To me, that seems like enough work.

Singaporean lady: Oh my gosh! Now I have to make you a cake. Oh my gosh. I never use box cake. It is not as good.

I hung my head in shame and walked back to my little cubicle. I've never felt so betrayed by Duncan Hines, Sara Lee and Betty Crocker.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Five Favorite Things About Summer

I was tagged by fellow blogger Kristen to name my five favorite things about Summer. This was a hard one for me. I haven't experienced an actual Summer in about two years. The last summer I had was pre-marriage, pre-real job and pre-living in a perpetual state of Summer. I used to love Summer and looked forward to it with as much anticipation as Christmas. I crammed as much as I could into one Summer and would cry when it ended.

Times have changed. I'd kill for a Fall or even a Spring right about now. Living in constant heat makes you miss things like cute jackets, pretty knitted scarfs and hot chocolate.

So I dug through all of my old Facebook photos to find things that reminded me of why I love Summer deep down under all of this Singapore bitterness. And I found some good ones.

My list goes as such:

#5. Cookouts

I know technically we could have a cookout in Singapore, but then that would require a grill, one that we didn't bring with us to Singapore because we are just that smart.

(The pic is of my sister, my niece and me at my KU graduation cookout. I miss them so much.)

#4 Vacations with the Girls
Before we started graduating, getting jobs and getting married, the girls and I took a yearly trip. We had some of the best times of our lives and I love love love just having a gals' trip.

#3 T-Bones baseball
T-Bones baseball games are so much fun. They are way more entertaining (and cheaper!) than a Royals game. Plus, at a T-Bones game, you might actually see a win.

#2 Concerts at Sandstone
Ok, I know it's not technically called Sandstone anymore, but I refuse to call it whatever ridiculous name they change it to every year. It will always be Sandstone to me.

#1 The Lake
Seriously, I don't think I've ever had a bad time at the lake. It can be any lake for that matter. I don't discriminate. I'd go to Lake Perry, Lake of the Ozarks and where ever else you'd want to go. And I'd want to stay there for the rest of my life (or at least till the end of summer.) There's just nothing more relaxing than sitting on a boat with a cold beverage in your hand.

(Please excuse the ridiculously old photo. It's from the summer of 2005 and I look like a baby. At least you can't see my baby --ahem, *cough* beer fat.)

I think at this point, I'm supposed to tag more people to do this topic. However, I can't narrow it down to just five more people. So consider this an open invitation to blog your five favorite things about summer. When you do, let me know because I know I missed something good on my list.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sanford the Snail

Yesterday morning as I was walking to the bus stop in the wee hours, I came across an interesting find. Then, I was 15 minutes late to work so that I could run back to my house and up three stories to get my camera. You gotta make sacrifices sometimes.

This is the biggest snail I've ever seen in my life. Lets call him Sanford.Doesn't Sanford have a very pretty "house"? The snails in the US are pretty small in comparison and their "houses" aren't nearly as big and swirly.

But seriously, he was the size of my fist. Not even joking.
To prove that Sanford was monster-sized, I stuck my foot out next to him to show the size comparison. Keep in mind that I have big feet. I wear a size 9 US.

Even though I didn't want to, I let Sanford continue living in his natural habitat. I decided that cleaning slime trails in my house didn't sound like too much fun.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Annoying American

I realize I post a lot of blogs that point out all of the things about Singapore that annoy, frustrate or baffle me. I've been feeling like perhaps I should step outside of that mind set for a quick minute. So today I turned the tables on myself and asked my Singaporean coworkers to tell me three things about Americans that annoy them.

Yes, I put on my thick skin before asking the question and promised them I would not be offended (to their face.)

Their responses weren't that surprising, but they made me do some thinking.

First response: American arrogance. We are constantly talking about how everything in the States is better than anywhere else. We claim to have the best athletes, the best music and the best movies. We also have the best houses, best food, best stores and so on. In my mind I was thinking, "But we do. How do they not realize this?" Then I stopped myself and realized that I am such the American that they speak of. Dang it!

Second response: Boastfulness about material things/Complaining about the lack thereof. In this response, the Singaporeans said that Americans are very quick to brag about anything expensive, nice or new that they own in order to show everyone else how above them they are. On the flip side, if things are not up to our perfect standards, we are the first to pitch a fit about it. I attribute this response to the fact that they work with mostly middle-aged men who were previously military members. 'Nuff said.

Although I guess I do a lot of bitching about things...interesting...

Third response: Loudness. This one made me laugh out loud. (Ha. Hence the problem.) Anyway, it made me laugh because Aaron and I think that the Singaporeans are unnecessarily loud. I told the girls at work this and they just started cracking up. Then we all composed ourselves and decided that every culture must think that the others are loud.

After our little chat, I realized that I am the epitome of the "Annoying American". Well crap.

So now I'm on a mission to be a little more accepting and a little more open-minded. Also, I'm going to stop trying to make Singapore into my own "little America". I'm going to appreciate it for what it is and not dwell on what it's not. We'll have all the time in the world to enjoy our American pleasures when we live in America again. I'm going to be a good pseudo-Singaporean citizen from now on.

That is, right after we go out to eat at the new Chili's. :)

I know, I'm a frustrating work in progress.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Aaron and His Helmet

Aaron: Check out the helmet that the guys from the Post Office got me for my birthday. Isn't it sweet? They ordered it a long time ago and it just now got here.

Me: Wow. That was really nice of them.

Aaron: Yeah. I really like it. I kinda just wanna wear it around the base.

Me: I bet ya do, Special Kid.

Now we enter the modeling portion of the blog:

Riding his bike in the laundry room, with his helmet

Yeah, he's not even moving in this one. Like I said "he's special".My special boy doesn't ride the short bus.

...he has his bike.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Crack is Coming Back

I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! And I still have to wait until November (technically December for Singapore).