70 days. Still alive.

Okay, we are more than just alive.  We are doing well, and although it’s no secret to many of you that I’ve been in an emotional rut the past month, I feel like this week has been a tiny turning point for me.  Or at least a breath of fresh air.  Hopefully a turning point, but I will definitely take a simple breath of fresh air (and I don’t mean literal air, because the actual air here is going down in quality by the week).  But I’ve caught a glimpse of maybe being able to have friends here.  And I successfully gave someone directions the other day.  I’m recognizing more of my surroundings, and getting a small handle on groceries & our schedule, and oh-my-gosh-can-i-say-how-liberating-it-is-to-have-a-house-cleaner?!!!
I’m really quite scared I’ll never want to be without one again.

Jon and I will have been married ten years this fall.  Count it.  That’s ten years of me as a merry little housewife (not true.  I was a career woman there before kids), but of being the primary cleaner of the home, scrubber of the toilet, and mopper of the floors.  And by that I mean that I rarely ever cleaned the house, scrubbed the toilet even less, and I think I got my first mop like two years ago.  We didn’t live in squalor, and I tried to keep clutter at bay as best as I could….but I’m not sure I’ve ever lived in a truly 100% clean house since I moved out on my own.  Like, maybe the kitchen would get cleaned, but I’d definitely be too tired to see to the bathrooms after that.  Or, maybe I’d get a wild hair to actually use bleach on the bathrooms, but then I’d award myself a hall pass on deep cleaning for the next month.  Anyone else feel me on that?  To have my house all clean at once is bringing me (and Jon too) so much peace of mind.  We maybe should have invested in this a long time ago.
* My vanity is making me say that I wash dishes for at least an hour every day, and the size of our washing machine + hanging our clothes to dry means I’m spending time every day doing laundry as well.  I’m still busy around here.  Why am I still talking about cleaning?

The boys are growing at ligunnamed (5)htning speed.  Max has become a total fish since we moved here, and even more so since he started swimming lessons.  He took a lesson or two back in Seattle and screamed bloody murder when the instructor tried to lay him on his back with her full support beneath his little body.  He trusted no one to make sure water didn’t so much as touch his face.
But it’s so cute to see him working so hard at something!  He’s determined to learn how to swim well, and it shows in how when we take him down to the pool, he isn’t simply sticking to the shallow end or the things he finds safe.  Tonight he busted out all these new swimming skills for Jon, and we couldn’t be prouder.

Other things he’s showing more interest in lately are spelling & drawing.  What a super fun age to finally hit!

unnamed (9)Our little grasshopper looks forward to tae kwon do every single week, and he wants to level up on his belt so badly, but doesn’t seem to have the attention span to achieve it quite yet.  It’s an interesting dynamic at play.  He sees this prize he wants so badly, and he goes hoping to get it every weekend.  Then him & dad come home, not having gotten it, because he can’t pay as good of attention as he needs to.  Normally this would discourage or frustrate him from even trying, but he loves the class so much that he keeps at it.  Hopefully one of these weeks he’ll get it!

Remy…well, Remy is just enjoying this whole ride.  He’s such a good-natured baby, we really adore him so much.  You can just see in his eyes how much he wishes he could be like big brother, riding on a scooter, and getting on a school bus.  When we’re walking somewhere and Max gets far enough ahead on his scooter, Remy will just start shouting “Maaa!!  Maaaa!!!!”  Like, “Come on, dude, you know I’m chained in this stroller!”  We had to chaperone Max’s field trip to the science center a few weeks ago (and by chaperone, I mean burn two hours OUTSIDE of the science center right in the middle of remy’s nap time).  I was dreading pushing Remy clear thru his nap, and trying to find stuff to do in the blazing sun, but after a while, this kid just dozed off in his stroller and left me 25 unadulterated minutes to read a book.

Thankfully he enjoys the water too…

unnamed (16)And we are totally unsure what to do with this child’s hair.  We don’t have the heart to cut it, and wouldn’t know who to trust with it anyway…so in the meantime we do this to him all the time:
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I know you all heard me fangirling about getting to meet Top Chef winner Kristen Kish a few weeks ago…but I have to give a nod to her here as well.  I was so stoked when she announced on her instagram that she was coming to singapore to host an event, and share some of her recipes…Jon & I have been loyal fans of the show since the beginning, and were huge fans of her’s during the Seattle season, so we got tickets almost immediately.   I was pretty much a huge nerd here for all the days leading up to it, which culminated in me being entirely uncool that whole evening.  Like, foot in mouth trying to be her friend cool.  Major thanks to my husband who never pretended he wasn’t with me, and major appreciation to Miss Kish, who may be the nicest person ever.  She was good-natured about my celebrity crush advances, and she almost let me hang out with her and her entourage the next day at some hawker centers.  She actually texted me to apologize for it not working out!  Like instead of a restraining order, she wrote me an apology, ha!

Let’s see….I’m all out of order, but just sort of going thru whatever pictures I have saved on my phone.
Oh here’s one.  Texts from Jon that are not totally unexpected here in singapore:
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We hung out with some new friends last week!!!  I can not overstate how human and normal that makes me feel.  A couple of brothers, and their cool momma came over to play in the pool with us.  Here’s a shot of the dudes throwing back some juice boxes:

Max and these kids are pretty evenly matched for energy level and interests, and I really enjoy their mom’s company, so I hope we can continue to hang out with them!

I also spent time with two other ladies this past week, both of whom I liked a lot! It’s fun to hear everyone’s stories, about how they ended up here, how long they’ve stayed, how long they INTENDED TO STAY (hearing lots of stories about how a two year commitment turned into 18!!) And according to a couple of Singapore veterans (18 and 12 years on the red dot), the past week has been some of the hottest weather they’ve ever experienced. And to that I say, thank God!!!! Because if what has been happening as of late is normal all of the time, I’m not sure I’ll ever adjust!!

There was a morning last week where it was sooooo humid and hot outside, that it fogged up our windows like a reverse greenhouse bc of our AC on inside. It’s so incredibly hard to take the kids anywhere in that kind of heat, and we sit home a lot on days like that.

We have a fruit man.  If you take the subway one stop and then walk three minutes, you’ll find yourself at the Bukit Timah plaza….a hive of vendors selling fruit, vegetables, fish, random tchotchkes…and then upstairs is an even busier hive of a hawker center, which is the term for open air markets here, that house a hundred stalls of varying local cuisine.  It’s a sight to behold.  But our old fruit man is downstairs, and we try to pay him a visit about once a week, since we crank thru fruit in our house like crazy.  I’m 99% sure he rips me off every time (there are no price tags, and I have no doubt he makes his mind up about cost on the spot), so it’s my goal to befriend him until one day, he’ll see me coming and have all our favorites already picked out, and he’ll give me the friends & family discount.  And we’ll even spend some holidays with his family, sampling the recipes that have been passed down thru his ancestors.  I like to dream big.
So far, I know his name is “Yo.” (Any asian friends of mine know the correct way to spell that?)  And he does throw in an extra banana & orange for Max each time for free, but I’m sure it’s to assuage his guilt for taking advantage of the white woman.

I’m almost always too proud to bring my granny trolley, the canvas grocery cart that I pull behind me on wheels.  It’s clackety and embarassing, so I try to look a little cooler with my favorite uwajimaya bag from back home.
You can imagine how cool I look holding back my tears by the time we get home, after hauling all of this on my shoulder in 97 degree heat, haha (just ignore the baseball sized divet in the watermelon.  It suffered a casualty):
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Jon is flying out early early early tomorrow morning to head back home to Seattle, and Max & I are more than a little jealous.  We miss everyone back there fiercely.  But Jon’s company has their annual conference for a week, so Jon will be gone for 8 whole days (read: an eternity).  I’ve been trying to emotionally ramp up for this for weeks, so that me & the boys can not just survive, but have a good time.  I’ve got some fun stuff on the books, and even a couple of babysitters lined up for my own sanity.  I can do this!

And probably the most exciting news I have is that we have THREE confirmed visits planned from family & friends back home!!!!
My dear friend Rachel will be heading our way after she finishes up her stint on Mercy Ships, at the end of May.  SO SO excited to have her here for a week.  Rachel, I’m working on securing a floating tabletop so that we can play bananagrams WHILE lounging in the pool.  This will happen.

Then a week later three of my younger cousins from the midwest will fly out to spend a week with us also!  Brady & I were laughing that most time we’ve ever spent together ever is maybe when I used to babysit him when he was still in diapers, and I was in high school.  My little cousin Alex was one of the flower girls in our wedding, ha.  I’m finding it hard to believe they’re young adults now and capable of making an intercontinental flight all by themselves!  I’m really excited for my kiddos to get to know some more of my family, and have the company of cousins doting on my kids 🙂

And then six days later Dirty Anne Turner (it’s a loving nickname, I promise) will fly in from Cambodia to spend five days with us!!!  Anne is such fun & adventurous girl, I’m just excited to see the things we find to do while she’s here.

I know flying to the other side of the world is no small (or cheap) thing, and I’m so excited and honored you guys want to spend your vacation with us.  Know how much we are looking forward to it!

So, that’s about it for my mini novel of an update.  We’ve enjoyed good health for a stretch now, and I’m so thankful for it.  We love getting to facetime with friends and family back home, so if you’d ever like to, let me know!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kelsie says:

    I LOVED this update! But don’t you dare turn your two year commitment into 18!!! 😭

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amy says:

    Thanks for this update, Kara! We miss you fiercely here. Thankful that you are making friends and getting more settled there. Still praying you through this transition. But yes, I agree with Kelsie, we are hoping that you will come home in a few years and not fall too in love with Singapore. Unless that is, Trump gets elected, and then I’m coming to live with you for the next 4-8.


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