Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Video taken on my trip to India

Check out this short video of India....

1st F1 Night Race EVER in Singapore

We went to dinner this past Sunday at Morton's :) :) YUMMY! However, here is the really COOL part....... when dinner was over, the 1st EVER F1 Night Race started and we were right next to one of the fastest parts of the track - it's loud, but turn up your speakers when you play this video anyway - it was simply amazing to see these cars going by @ 200+ MPH - talk about heart rates being sky high!!! (Be patient and TURN UP THE VOLUME - it's a 58 second video)

Gander's India Photos

Misc photos of India - Enjoy!

Out on the streets of Chennai and Mumbai (Bombay) --

In the comfort of the hotel --


("Fountain of Wealth" at Suntec Towers in Singapore)

I finally convinced my wife to give me 'rights' to the blog - boy, she's a risky cat to say the least!!! ANYWAYS, all that aside, I thought I'd toss in some contribution to her blog effort. The experience of living in Singapore and traveling (Australia, New Zealand, and India thus far - Thailand on Sunday and then Malaysia, Shanghai and Hong Kong) thus far has been absolutely more amazing than I could have ever imagined. Thank God for this awesome opportunity to live abroad and be challenged professionaly in ways that are REALLY streching me.... I am SO excited to see my wife and kids enjoying the adventure with me and I thank God everyday that my wife was willing to come on this ride - otherwise, I would not have come. THANK YOU SWEETIE :)

Now on to some fun stuff....Here are some photos of India - All I will say is that when you see poverty on the TV or read about it in the paper it has some meaning - but seeing it live in front of you is a whole other ballgame - We all have a LOT to be thankful for.....catcha guys luego...if my wife lets me blog again :) Enjoy the pics and video if it works...
(Inside the hotel)

(Outside the hotel)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

GG at school

Since my last three posts were so long-winded, I thought I'd throw in a post with some pictures. Enjoy the lack of words. (Not complete absence of words, though. Sorry - I just can't bring myself to be that quiet.)

A week or two ago I was at school for a meeting. GG's lunchtime was about the same time my meeting ended so I joined her in the "canteen." Can you believe the number of kids? And this isn't all of them. There are over 3,000 kids in this school. Needless to say, the girls have had to adjust (especially GG). Imagine going from homeschooling and a few classes with about 10 kids each to this. See if you can spot GG. In the last two photos, she is standing behind her teacher.

What I like about Singapore, Part 3

The public transportation.
Ok, so this is actually a mixed "like/dislike" because my liking the public transportation has come out of my not liking being car-less.

Yes. In case you didn't realize, we do not have a car. Not even one. We went from being a 2-car family that spent a good majority of our time in our cars to a 0-car family. Now Gander spends a good deal of time on airplanes, taxis, and buses and the girls and I spend a good deal of time in buses and a little time in taxis. We also have the option of going on the MRT (train) but it's about a 15+ minute walk to the station from our condo so that's why we usually opt for a bus, or a taxi if we're in a hurry, I have lots of groceries, or I'm feeling especially self-indulgent.

The public transportation is dependable, easy to use, and takes me almost anywhere I need to go. I don't usually have to walk more than 5-10 minutes to get to a bus stop. No, it's not as convenient or quick as a private car but it does the job.

Even more impressive is how clean the public transportation vehicles and MRT stations are. It really is amazing! I took the MRT yesterday and I was literally thinking that the train "sparkled." Yes, "sparkled" was the exact word for it. It was beyond clean. The buses don't quite sparkle but I have yet to see one that has graffiti or more than a tiny bit of litter.

On the topic of "easy to use" - we have these cards called EZ Link cards that we use to pay for bus/train trips. Much easier than dealing with money! And I can use my NETS card (basically what we call an ATM/bankcard) to "top up" the EZ Link cards with more money. Even cooler, I can use the EZ Link card to pay for McDonald's. Oh wait... I'm trying to avoid that place so I won't eat another apple pie.

I have become pretty good at reading a bus schedule and figuring out how to get places, if I do say so myself. Gander, of course, would prefer to just take a taxi but, as for me, I enjoy the logic "puzzle" of trying to figure it all out. Shouldn't be surprising if you know Gander and me -- he likes to get things done quickly while I tend to drag things out; he doesn't mind spending more money to get there quickly while I am pleased with myself for getting a "bargain." And a "bargain" is just what the bus is! Depending on where I go, it can be less than $1 to get there, maybe a little more than a $1 if it's a longer trip.

What I like about Singapore, Part 2

Speaking of humidity (in my last post), that brings up the next thing I like about Singapore - McDonald's Apple Pie.

Huh?!?! What does that have to do with humidity, you may wonder.

Here's my line of thinking - with how much I sweat here (a good part of the time I'm outside and even much of the time I'm inside), I kept thinking "I really ought to be losing weight." (Yes, I know it would just be water weight, but still.) Until I realized, "It's the darn desserts everywhere I turn around." I can't avoid them. I can't go anywhere without seeing some sweet that tempts me. You have no idea how much time I spend walking past displays of sweets, telling myself "no" and coming up with reasons why I shouldn't get one to taste. (That would be, of course, besides the obvious reasons of it being bad for me and not helping my figure. Let's face it, those reasons aren't very effective with me.)

Anyways, I went for a good 2 weeks or so before finally breaking down and buying an apple pie at McDonald's last night. And, mmmmmm, it was as good as I remember from my childhood. These are the real apple pies, not the far inferior baked version that they sell at McDonald's back home.

So there. It may not be a noble reason to like Singapore but, hey, it's a reason!

Edited to add: I forgot to mention - sorry the photo is kind of blurry. Elly kept trying to get my apple pie while I was taking the picture so it made me move the camera. When I saw on the computer how blurry the photo actually was, I honestly considered going back to McD's today to buy another apple pie. I successfully managed to talk myself out of it, though, you'll be glad to know.

What I like about Singapore, Part 1

In an effort to focus on positives and minimize negatives, I wanted to share with you a few of the things I've found that I like about Singapore. So this post and a few more after it will be just that.

Of course, this isn't everything I like about Singapore. I don't want to sound like I don't like it here; I do. I just miss home and despite liking it here, I could spend way too much time thinking about what I miss. So instead... I'll think about what I have here that I didn't have at home. So here we go!

The rain.
Today is a beautiful, not too sunny, breezy day. It rained for about an hour or so this morning, reminding me how much I love the rain. I believe it really makes the weather here much nicer. I liked the rain before coming here but, being so close to the equator now, I realize how much of a blessing the rain it.

We walked outside to go to the school bus and it actually felt cool this morning. It wasn't like walking into a sauna. For about 5 days before this, there had been very little rain so it felt hotter and more humid than normal (or at least what I think is normal, given that I've only been here about a month and a half). The heat doesn't bother me so much as the humidity.

In any case, I love when it rains (which it does quite often).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Gander is home!

Gander arrived home late Wednesday night, very tired. He brought all three of us girls shirts. Isn't he thoughtful?

These are just some of the pictures he took while in Sydney, Australia.

The 2 pictures below were taken during his two days in Auckland, New Zealand. I guess he didn't have as much time for sightseeing in NZ.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Free to pee! Free to pee!"

If you haven't seen The Bridge to Terabithia movie, you have no idea what I'm ranting about: "Free to pee!" If you have, then you know it's the rally cry against a mean bully that charges the kids at her school to use the restroom (or "toilet" as it is so discreetly named here).

I really wish I had a picture to share with you but I just couldn't work up the boldness to take a picture. I even tried to sneak a shot using the camera function on my cell phone but I just knew the guy sitting behind the sign would see through what I was doing. I couldn't bare the thought of him thinking, "Look at that idiot taking a picture of my sign."

"WHAT SIGN?" I bet you're wondering. And "WHAT GUY?" And "WHAT does this all have to do with 'Free to Pee?'" I'm coming to that.

You know how shopping centers almost always have a public restroom? Well, today Elly had to go so badly that I had no choice but to take her to the public restroom in a shopping center, a place that I, generally, do my best to avoid. Lest you think this shopping center is like those that I posted photos of back in August, it is not. This place is far below the caliber of those shopping centers; in other words, the stores are nothing like Louis Vuitton, Prada, etc.

Back to the story... We walk up to the restroom to find a man sitting behind a counter/desk outside the entries to both male and female restrooms. On the front of his desk is a professional-looking sign that said something like:

20 Cents Per Toilet Entry
Present a toilet pass or
kindly pay 20 cents to use the toilet.

So I paid the guy 40 cents (since GG decided she needed to go, too) and he let us in. I guess I should be happy I got a "buy 2 get 1 free" deal but there is something about paying to use a not-very-clean restroom that just doesn't make me happy. Hmmm... wonder why.

And just to make the story even better, Elly refused to use the toilet because it was not up to her standards of cleanliness. I can't really blame her but I still tried to convince her as I loudly proclaimed, "I just paid 40 cents for you to go to the bathroom so you had better go now!" She didn't. Oh well. Live and learn. I am at least thankful that it was only 40 cents.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Hmm... which pool shall we go in today?" ask GG and Elly

If only the question of which pool to swim in was really that dignified and calm. Unfortunately, the (now daily) dilemma of deciding on a venue for swimming has become an ugly, whine-filled, no-way-to-make-everyone-happy occasion. Actually, it's turned into a lesson in taking turns. Since Elly and GG can't agree, I had to step in and lay down the law. Thursday was GG's turn to choose, Friday was Elly's turn, today was GG's turn, and so on.

As wonderful as the pools and outside area are at this condominium development, it has become a source of intense disagreement and more than a few tears. To put it simply, GG and Elly are spoiled by too many choices. Even after I turned it into an alternating schedule, there is still crying and begging and accusations of injustice (of course, not in that terminology). I suppose if the bad attitudes don't clear up soon, the next step would be to suspend swimming privileges for a while. I don't want to have to do that, though, so hopefully things will improve.

They really have no idea how fortunate they are.

In an attempt to try to lighten the negative tone of this post, here are some pictures of the "happy times." (Sorry. Just trying to share the joy [snicker] of this adventure with you all.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Gander has flown South

Sunday morning Gander left for his first trip which will last a total of 10 days. He is now in Australia and he'll go to New Zealand for awhile before coming home. He'll be home for 3 days before leaving for India.

If this is the last blog post you see for a long time, you can be sure it's because they had to take me away to the looney bin.

Please pray for my sanity!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Inside our home (BEFORE the ocean container arrived)

I hope all these photos don't make it take too long for the webpage to load. My apologies if it does slow things down.

This is the main living area, what you see when you first walk in the front door.

Looking back toward the front door, this is what you see -- our dining area. The window is just for air. There is a wall outside the window, about 7 feet away.

On your left, while facing the dining area is a hallway to the bedrooms and bathrooms and there is also a door to the kitchen. What you see in the first kitchen photo is almost the entire kitchen. The only thing you can't see in that picture is what is shown in the third kitchen photo: the refrigerator and some more storage cabinets and drawers. The size of the kitchen and the bathrooms is going to take some major adjustment.

The door that you see on the right side of the first kitchen photo leads to the laundry area, garbage chute, and "domestic help quarters," which includes a tiny bathroom and "bedroom." We are using this space for storage. The "bedroom" is about 5 feet by 4 feet, if even that big. I don't think a twin size bed could even fit in it.

This is the master bedroom; one shot looking in and the other looking back toward the doorway. Actually, the door that you see in that second shot goes into the master bath. You can't see the bedroom door in these photos.

The photos below are the master bathroom. I didn't show a photo of the common bathroom because it looks pretty much like the master bath, just minus the tub and reverse direction.

The two regular bedrooms look the same. One is just slightly larger than the other. The larger room is GG and Elly's room. The other will be our "office." For anyone that was ever allowed to see our "office" at home in CA, you will know that this is code for storage/junk room. Honestly, I DO (and will) try my hardest to make it neat and organized and presentable but, if the past is any indicator, the "office" will continue to be an eyesore in our home.