Gold Medal for Olympic Blogging

I need to apologize to four people out there…four people that traveled all the way to our corner of this planet over three months ago, and I never popped on here to chronicle it, or share any pictures.  Brady, Jordan, Alex, and Anne….Here’s a proper THANK YOU for sharing life with us this past summer!!  It was so wonderful having you guys here, and love on my boys, and explore with us!  I’ll never forget it 🙂  Let me now take the time to photo-reminisce about our time with you….

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Jordan, Alex, and Brady..technically first cousins, once removed…are my [little] cousins that I either used to change diapers for (brady) or have as a flower girl in my wedding ten years ago (alex).  Jordan I didnt know super well before the trip, but I have fallen in love with them all.  This was the first time I’ve ever had real, concentrated time with any of them as young adults, and my heart just grew in love a hundred sizes for these family members of mine.  Sweetest kids on earth, right there.  Their bravery and tireless determination to explore put me to shame… they never stopped!  Well, they stopped a few times, if it meant laying out by the pool.  Max was in heaven with them here, and was constantly back in their room, jumping on their bed, eating their candy.  I tried to drag him out of there on numerous occasions to “give them some space!!” but they wouldn’t have it and always let him stay.  (Let me mention that their parents are the older cousins I always used to look up to as a kid.  We would constantly be hanging around their house, eating popsicles and playing their nintendo…and if we ever annoyed them, they never let us know.  Now they raised sweet kids who are the same way 🙂
I’m getting long-winded, sorry.  I was so proud of the way they mastered the subway system here, so they could go out and explore all the time, when the kids & I could so rarely keep up with them.

eating the local ice cream sandwich, which is ice cream between two slices of sandwich bread.  Haha.  Who cares what form ice cream comes in, really?  Still delicious.

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At the top of Marina Bay Sands, on a windy & ominous day.

One of their last afternoons here, we went to chinatown, because they wanted to try the fish spa I had told them about.  Seriously, I cannot believe how brave they were.  Basically, you stick your tired feet into a giant fish tank, and sit for 45 minutes while a thousand hungry, toothless fishies eat away your dead skin.  Did I just lose all my readership with that sentence?  No, I’m not kidding.  I WISH I had video footage of everyone’s eyes the moment we slid our feet in and took in that initial feeling.  Its…kind of like being tickled to literal death.  Brady almost didn’t make it, haha.  But we pulled through, with iron stomachs and softer feet to show for it.
Alex was the only one brave enough to try eating durian with me…and I feel like we have a soul connection now that few Americans will ever know.  You probably all saw that video, but let me find it anyway… (yes, we are wearing food service gloves.  If you don’t, you’ll smell like this for eternity.  One of my friends once described durian as “ice cream made out of garbage that has been frozen in a corpse.”  Accurate, I’d say.  People in Asia go crazy for this stuff.  I’ll talk more another time about Asia vs. the World when it comes to desserts.)

Oh, found this too…

Ten days went really fast with these guys.  They were willing participants to trying all sorts of new food, and were eager to get out every day and see something new.  Guys, our house always has our doors open to you… please come back!!

About a week later my dear friend, Anne, came to town for four or five days…it is so surreal having people from back in the states come share our lives here!  This girl is one of those people who says they are going to visit you, and then means it!!  She stayed with us years ago during one of our stays in Portland, and is probably the most adventurous person I know, without exaggeration.  It was wonderful having her here.

One day we packed for a day trip, and took a bumboat off this island, to a nearby island called Pulau Ubin…we rented some bikes with kids seats on the back, and took off on some dirt roads to see monkeys in the wild, and be eaten alive by mosquitos.  Haha.  It was fun memory, although a super hot day, with a baby who wasn’t too fond of the experience.

She likes to cook as much as or more than I do, so we were inspired to try our hand aphoto-jun-27-8-12-40-pmt homemade dumplings one day.  She helped me crank out a ton of these things so we could freeze them and have them for multiple meals the following months.  (She also did this with her famous cookies…we only recently finished them up.  Time for another visit, Anne!!)
Jon wanted in on the Anne-experience, and we got a sitter one evening so we could go out to the East Coast area for a chili crab dinner.  We had so much good food, while sipping Tiger beer and catching up…. we were missing our friends Brian & Michelle Howe SO MUCH at that moment.  How we wish you could have come too, guys 🙂  Dirty Turner, thank you so so so much for making Singapore a pit stop on your way back from Cambodia.  We loved having you here with us, and can’t wait to do it again next year 😉

So, thus ended our visitors for 2016 (although I should mention that there is still a solid 2.5 months left that any one of you could stop in!).  We have much to be excited about coming up…three weeks in Seattle for the holidays, my parents coming to visit in January, and Jon’s parents coming to visit in February!!  I have like three paper countdown chains in the works right now, but haven’t hung them up yet 😛

Yesterday marked 9 months ago that I left America…so weird and crazy how fast that time has gone.  I think I stopped blogging because new & exciting life just seemed to turn into real & everyday life.  Max wrapped up preschool, and is 100 percent a kindergartener now, who wont let me kiss him goodbye in case his friends see (Mom’s got no chill like that):

In front of his class collaborative art project, and then with the boys from his preschool class.  They were such a great group of kids, and it was sad to leave that preschool to move on to a bigger, international School.

First day of school, and after a long day of school.  That’s him in his PE uniform.
Somewhere in between schools he turned five years old, and acts every bit like a little man.

We celebrated with a minecraft birthday party, and then literally the next day him & Jon were on a plane back to Seattle so Jon could go to his sweet Oma’s funeral.  I encouraged him to take Max along since he was going through some rough homesickness, and so they spent a week back there.  Jealous doesn’t describe how it felt knowing Max was hugging all my friends and loved ones!  One of my best friends moved away from Seattle since we moved here, but she actually drove the 2+ hours with her two kids just so Max and Benji could get some quality BFF time together.  My heart is so full with people like this in my life.

And Max just soaked up every moment out on the farm with Poppy and his cousins.  Jon says he ate blueberries until they were actually physically concerned for him (and you can’t blame him…blueberries here will run you $5-6 for the tiniest clamshell of mediocre berries imported from who knows where.  He needed to eat his quota for the entire year in five days time!)  Meanwhile back here, I mourned the fact that I was missing the first berry season since we put the plants in the earth…I felt left out, and I did not like it!

I was strategic in how I played things, before Max and Jon had to say goodbye to Washington, knowing Max would have a hard time leaving again.  Back here I took videos of his friends jumping in the pool and having a good old time.  I recorded his friend Mathias saying, “Hi Max!  I miss you!  Come home soon!!” and had Jon show him the day before they left.  It feels a little shady to confuse his little heart.  He was in fields of green and the land of North Face fleeces, LOVING being back on the farm, but missing his new home on the other side of the world where he gets to swim with his friends every night until dark, and spend the night at his friend’s house downstairs, and never wear pants…when he was there he said he didn’t want to come back to Singapore.  When he’s here he says he wants to live here forever.  I can’t make sense of it for you, little buddy.  This is a life divided…loving the experiences Singapore offers us, but nearly our entire heart being on another continent.  I can barely hold all the feelings sometimes…it’s a really big thing for a little dude to try to contain it all.

So they came back.  Back into the arms of his little rack pack of friends here.  They really are the motley crew.  Elias & Nikolas from Germany, Mathias from Denmark, and Max from the U.S.  The four of them daring each other to jump off ledges into the pool, comparing various feats of strength, jumping on the giant trampoline, and minecrafting together.  Oh, and eating us out of house & home.  It’s always time to go grocery shopping after I’ve had them hanging out at my house, ha!  Here’s three of them…we’ll be heading to a carnival tomorrow night together.  Should be fun 🙂

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Mathias is Max’s best friend here…they do so much together, and their family has really become our “people.”  His mom, Agata, is one of my closest friends here also, so we always enjoy hanging out and taking the boys out for special things.  We took them to a light show at the supertree forest a few weeks ago, which was fun for them:
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My day-to-day life is pretty boring and full of mom activities, but on occasion I get out on a random evening.  I went with some friends to an outdoor movie at Fort Canning Park, tried my hand at karaoke again with some other people (hilarious), Agata & I found our new favorite movie theater with reclining leather seats, blankets, call buttons for wine, bottomless bowl of popcorn…we do plan to become regulars there…and Sunday my British friend Salma is going to take us somewhere for a proper English Tea.  I don’t even know what that fully entails, but I am really stoked to try clotted cream & scones.

Oh yeah, I won tickets to go walk thru pit lane at the Formula 1 race, the night before the race started.  You guys.  I’m talking to you, Americans.  Did you happephoto-sep-15-9-40-37-pmn to know that Formula 1 is HUGELY followed by everyone else in the world?  I showed up to the racetrack without even a shred of basic knowledge….someone famous walked by us and caused a cluster of excitement and selfie sticks, and we had NO idea who we were looking at.  Give me a full day of American football and nachos, and I am a happy girl.  But Formula 1…it has this smell of sophistication.  Like a gentleman’s nascar.  I want to know more.
Jon got the opportunity to see some of the races the next night, and I had friends who are fanatical about it and went all weekend and saw Queen + Adam Lambert perform, and yeah.  A part of me is jealous and vows to go next year.
Here’s Jon looking at the garage of a distant relative (his mom’s maiden name is Haas):

The kids are growing like weeds.  We sadly said goodbye to Remy’s beautiful baby curls.  I withstood a LOT of people asking if he was a girl, but after a while even I felt bad that his sweaty hair kept getting stuck in his eyes.

Goodbye baby Remy.  Hello opinionated toddler!
This little bean gave us a hell of a scare the other night.  He was wrestling with yet another fever (does it ever end with kids?!) on Tuesday night when he suddenly had a seizure that lasted three or four minutes.  There’s no cute or witty way to spin this story…time stood still and I was terrified to my very core.  I’m not familiar with febrile seizures, that it’s not uncommon for babies to go thru this, and that they aren’t dangerous.  In that moment, we didn’t know any of that.  I just held my child who was full-body convulsing in my arms, foam coming out of his mouth, and tried [unsuccessfully] not to freak out.  We got to ride in an ambulance that night, and spend most of the night in the ER while they monitored him.
::  quick note about ambulances in singapore ::
Once, a few weeks ago I was waiting at a bus stop when I noticed an ambulance with its lights flashing, patiently waiting at a red light with the rest of the world.  Not waiting for cars to stop crossing…JUST WAITING FOR THE LIGHT TO TURN GREEN.  No siren, no rush, no problem.  I remember thinking, “Whoa.  I really hope there isn’t somebody dying in there.”
Fast foward to Tuesday night while WE got to ride in the ambulance.  Jon was in the front seat, so I didn’tphoto-sep-28-12-29-53-am get to witness any of this, but the same thing happened where they followed every single rule of the road, and kindly waited behind slow drivers, and at all green lights.  No lie.  Jon very nearly flipped his shit, knowing his baby was in the back, seeming extremely unresponsive to everything around him.  Next time we know to take an
Uber and put the fear of God in them to get us there as soon as they can.  I think we’ll have more luck going that route.

At the end of the night, Remy was fine.  Anyone who has experienced this will know exactly how scary it is, and exactly how non-life-threatening it is, and probably how scared I am for Remy to have another fever in the future.  His odds of this happening again are about 1 in 3, but we are prepared with meds and knowledge for what to do.  Blah.

I would like to take this moment to thank my dear friend Agata, who we called in sheer panic to ask her to come stay at our house with Max while we went to the hospital.  She didn’t hesitate to run over and push us out the door.  Community living, guys.  We are so set on having our own giant houses back in America, but we’ve traded that in to live in a giant complex with a thousand other people.  What we have here is a community of friends all around us who share meals, life stories, advice, HELP, childcare, wine, and anything else you can think of.  I love it.  I feel like we were designed for this.
Thank you, Agata.  I appreciate you a million times over!

This is what happens when I don’t blog for four months.  It becomes a short story and no one has time for that!  Lets see…

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One random day our condo installed a frozen yogurt machine downstairs.  Like, we pass by it ten times a day.  They change the flavor every week, and you can pay by holding your transit card up to it.  Could they be any meaner?  I mean, honestly…shut up and take my money.

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We get weather here in singapore, folks!  Someone around here took this shot just off the coast of singapore about a month ago.  I think waterspouts are harmless, but it sure looks freaky.  I’ve stopped griping about the heat situation here, not because it’s improved, but because I think I’ve grown accustomed to it.  Yesterday we had a heat index of 106 degrees, and I kid you not, I wore my skinny jeans all day long.  Out and about on a walk with max, without a single complaint.  Now, I wont lie and say I wasn’t a sweaty slob, but I didn’t mind it 🙂  Two weeks ago, we got a wave of thunderstorms that rolled in at 3 in the morning for four nights in a row, that woke max up screaming.  Jon and I were dying for a full night of sleep.  But now it hasn’t stormed since.

I left my sewing machine back in Seattle when we moved…the voltage is different here, and I was scared about blowing up my machine.  That sewing machine was like my friend.  I am so lame, but now you know how I really feel.
I thought I would give up sewing for a little while we are here, and pursue other hobbies perhaps.  I took up reading with a vigor and have read 18 books since February, and found myself baking quite a bit more (do you KNOW how amazing bread rises here in this heat and humidity?  It’s remarkable!), and have gotten really into running also.  All good pursuits.

But I really miss sewing.  And I just discovered that while everything else in this country is expensive, fabric is surprisingly not so.  I found a mall down the street that sells basic colors and some generic prints for $2 A YARD.  So I found a lady selling her machine on the cheap, and I hope to pick it up this weekend!!  I’m excited about it.  It’s the little things.

Okay, Happy Friday to us, Happy Thursday to most of you.  If you made it to the end of this post, I will send you a postcard.  Try me.  Private message me your address, and just see if it happens.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Annie Zimmerman says:

    I just really enjoy reading all about your adventures. They’re all so beautifully written and most contain a large amount of humor.

    I’m happy to hear Remy is ok and I hope it doesn’t happen again!! I can’t believe the part about the ambulances, I would most likely end up in prison because I commandeered the thing and drove like a crazy person with sirens blaring and lights flashing…. running through every light on the way….. scary stuff right there!

    Looking forward to your next blog entry!

    Like

  2. fuzzy569 says:

    Kara…Hi! I am Sarah & Mandy’s Mom & Ive been enjoying your blog from the beginning. Love hearing your stories from the other side of the world!! Love your writing style also!! This weekend, I’m moving from Oak Lawn Illinois to Ripon, Wisconsin. I’ll be living right down the street from Mandy!! I’m going to try going to Terrace Shores for church. We’ll see if it fits for me. I used to love going there when the girls were at Camp Grow. I just wanted to tell you I’m reading & always look forward to your blog entries! God bless you & the family as well as your whole larger community!! I did get to visit Sarah & Les in Japan while they were there & to meet my grandson, Moses. I do get vivid images when you describe your life & explorations in Singapore. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us back in the US.

    Like

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