Thanksgiving to Chinese New Year. and everything in between.

I’ve gone through many waves in my feelings toward our life here. From excited and amazed at everything new, to glum and missing my people back home, to pretty even-keeled and living our day to day life, then the month leading up to our visit home for the holidays I was homesick beyond belief. I hit a slump and entertained ideas of finishing our contract here and then packing it up and calling it good.

Our 3.5 week trip home was equal parts wonderful and awful. Jon underwent sinus surgery when we got back, which was so difficult for him, and Remy was sick literally the entire time, and was also really bad at adjusting to the time zone there. We had to get the kiddo a chest X-ray by the end of our stay to check for pneumonia, max woke up New Year’s Day with insane tooth pain and had to have a tooth pulled unexpectedly (not sure between him & I who was more traumatized by that ordeal)…I just have to admit that it wasn’t a very restful time overall.

Yet we spent such sweet time with my brothers & sister in law, and all of Jon’s family. Wonderful memories were made, and Remy fell in love with the family he hadn’t seen for so long. Though the cold was a shock to our senses at first, we adjusted pretty quickly, and it was sweet and comforting to spend Christmas by a fireplace and huddled up under blankets. My mother in law bought my old car from me when we moved, and then so graciously gave me the keys while we were back to use whenever I needed, so even in that sense it felt like I had never left. (I was nervous about driving after a: not having driven for a full year and b: having spent that year training my mind to operate on the left side of the road & sidewalk) Being back on the farm was a comfort in and of itself…overall, it just felt very surreal and as though the past year in Singapore hadn’t even happened.

That time went fast, as time always does, and now that we are back here I’m happy to realize how much at home I really do feel here. Singapore’s warmth welcomed us back like a big humid hug, and we happily jumped back into our routines. I really really love it here. It’s hard to articulate why, as the answer comes down to the little details of our life. Our home, the faces I’m used to seeing, the things max learns at school, the friends he has, the landscape here, our sweet helper Jocelyn who allows me so much breathing room to go work out or run errands, the holidays, the amazing food, the not owning a car and never missing it (almost never)…I’m thankful for life here.

So let me back up to November and dump a whole bunch of pictures on you…many of these you may have already seen on instagram or somewhere, but hey.  Double the fun.

It took a bit of effort to pull together a Thanksgiving dinner here.  It’s definitely not a nationally recognized holiday here (imagine if they recognized each country’s respective Thanksgiving day, haha!), so we waited until the Saturday after to celebrate it.  Our Danish family friends were kind enough to join us and bring food along, and it was a really sweet time to do something a little American, and share it with friends:
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Sunday morning taekwondo/bakery ritual, and another time when we went out for a giant Korean Bingsu, which is a glorified shaved ice bowl full of fruit & toppings & slathered in sweetened condensed milk.  Max’s face says it all.

We had half of a december here, and then began our nearly 24 hour journey home.  Singapore -> Taipei -> Seattle = tired munchkins and parents.

We made our way up the mountain a bit to play in the snow one day, with my sister-in-law’s family.  Always a hassle to round up snow gear and make a day like that happen, but I still say worth it for Remy to play in snow for the first time!  The little bub quite enjoyed sledding 🙂  It was fun to see the kids do something so different from our warm-weather activities.

Long overdue haircuts for both of the ragamuffins:

I was able to sneak away for TWO NIGHTS up to seattle to spend time with my girl, Katie, and then the rest of my troupe…Amy, Kelsie, Rachael, and Lindsey.  It was so amazing to be away with my people, and catch up on life, eat really yummy food, and just feel like we all picked up right where we left off.  Man, I miss you guys.  Where should we go next year?!  🙂  (sidenote: these girls & I have faithfully exchanged group texts EVERY wednesday for the past year, just filling everyone in on their current highs & lows…or any major events going on.  It started for fun, but actually stuck, so that when we all got back together…even though time and distance had kept us far apart, we all seemed to have a sense about how the others were doing.  I am so, so thankful for you guys!)

Katie and I let ourselves be kids again, and went to see the Little Mermaid musical, which was a surprisingly fantastic stage adaptation!  Man, I loved my time with you, Katie.

And after the rest of the girls joined us, much wine & laughter was shared:

Views from around the hotel we stayed at.  Miss my city.

I didnt do a great job of taking photos while I was home, to be honest.  There was a lot going on, and I wasn’t really focused on capturing much of it.  I did manage to sneak one during Max’s tooth extraction, however.

Let’s just say he now has the fear of God within him about brushing diligently…so as to hopefully never go through that again.

Also able to spend time with my girl Amy Lou!  She had a baby four days after we left America last year, and it’s been killing me ever since that I havent been able to meet her little bean.  Finally got to kiss sweet Vera and see how much Nola has grown:

And only now am I realizing the gaping holes of pictures I didnt take.  None of my in-laws, or my brother david & his sweet wife….I am the worst!!  Sorry guys 🙂  I so loved my time with all of you, and loved seeing my kids with you.  Sorry I have no shots to remember it by!  Here’s me & my baby brother, Josiah:
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My new year’s resolutions this year are kind of centered around fitness goals.  I’ve always had a tucked-away dream of running big races someday, but have never really had the capacity as a mom to focus on making those reality.  I’m really lucky now to be at a place in life where Max is in full-day school, and we have live-in help with the house and watching Remy, that I can actually focus on running.  I really started in September, and I didn’t expect to love it as much as I do, but it’s been really fun for me to make such measurable progress in my distance and times…so this year I’m signed up to run a 10K in March, and am determined to run a half marathon by the end of the year.  In order to get better and have some accountability, I joined a local running group that meets weekly.  It was pretty terrifying to just show up to that by myself one evening, but everyone there was so friendly and welcoming, and after three weeks I can see that I hit my best running times when I’m with them, so it’s so wonderful to have a group that pushes me to do better.  After the nighttime city run with them, we go to a local hawker center to chow down on any variety of local food…it’s really just awesome.  Last night my friend Suzanne came along with us, and she loved it too!  So, that’s fun to have a friend wanting to come along with that also.  Hopefully her & I will travel somewhere at the end of the year for a half marathon together.
Some shots of running with that group:

My mom & dad are in town!  Or, sort of.  They flew in a couple of weeks ago and stayed with us for a week.  Max & Remy are crazy about them… they really are doting grandparents, and I’m so thankful they made the trip out this way.  I’ve had fun showing them around this country, and they’ve been so agreeable for any outing, and to try any food:

Then they jetted off last friday for a cruise around southeast asia…I’m really excited to hear about their adventures in Thailand and Vietnam.  There is never a shortage of goofy stories with these two 🙂  Their ship gets back tomorrow morning, and then we’ll have them here for the Chinese new year!!  It’s really special to share this time of the year with them, and for them to see our lives & Max’s school, and meet our friends.  Thankful thankful for these two.
Max has gotten the full Chinese New Year experience this year so far, and it’s only getting started, really.  All the kids at school were encouraged to wear traditional clothes, so I hunted down an outfit that had a big dragon on the front, so that I’d have to do less convincing of him to wear it.  His best buddy in our condo now goes to the same school as him, so they are a flurry of excitement every morning at the bus stop together:

They had a few CNY programs at school, one of them being the exciting lion & dragon dances.  The kids were all maniacally excited to watch the lions dancing and jumping on each other’s shoulders:

Max and his best friend at school, Meijing.  These two are so equally matched for energy & imagination.  They are hilarious to watch together:

I took the kids out for some sidewalk-chalking around the building recently…we enjoyed doodling on the sidewalk out front, and thought it would be a friendly welcome to people coming home:

The management here apparently didn’t like the artwork, as they had completely scrubbed it away about an hour later.  I had a brief moment of panic, when I considered the thought that they might call me out on vandalism.  Yes, singapore is that cray about order & tidiness, and following the rules.  Kid’s happiness be damned…they run a tight ship around here!

Some shots of things around our building.  These little orange trees are a common sight around CNY, as oranges are a symbol of luck & wealth, and are given frequently in pairs of two as gifts.
We have a tree that drops white flowers into the fountain below.  Max has a habit of trying to fish me out the prettiest flower he can find, with no brown spots.  They smell really sweet, but mostly I just love that he chooses flowers for me:

Max is still obsessed with minecraft.  His greatest joy is to get me to join in his game from my phone, so he can walk me around his virtual world and show me everything he’s built.  If I actually take the time to slow down and do him this small (yet seems so annoying at the time) favor, I’m always amazed to see what he’s been working on.  This boy has a serious talent for designing and building, and engineering.  It’s really impressive, and I’m excited to see where his interests will take him in the future.  He is counting down the years until he’s old enough in school to use the science lab…I dont know where he’s even heard about science labs or what they do in there, but he is excited nonetheless.
Here’s a minecraft jail he made.  He crafted it so well that I actually got locked inside, and he had to come rescue me:
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Every cafe or bakery around here sells “rainbow cake” which I’ve resisted buying for a year now, but was finally suckered into tasting the other day in a moment of weakness.  It’s a shame when things so pretty taste so terribly.  It tasted like drywall + food coloring.  10/10 would not recommend.
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We celebrated our helper, Jocelyn’s, birthday this past week.  I took the kiddos out for a photoshoot to give her a nice, framed picture of them.  I did some really low-key decorating, and wrote her a note of thankfulness, gave her cake & gifts…and she cried when she woke up in the morning and saw the banner, because no one had done that for her before.  Made me want to smile & cry!!  She is everything to me here, keeping our house so clean, cooking, and helping me out with the kids whenever I need.

The kids are growing like weeds, and I feel like I can’t ever find shoes that fit them anymore.  We’ll be celebrating Remy’s 2nd birthday in no time at all, which is unbelievable to me.
Jon’s parents are coming out for a visit in 3 weeks from today, and we are super excited to have them here as well.  Jon’s mom will celebrate her birthday here with us, and we are excited to take them away on a trip to a secret location 😉 They are bringing along my sewing machine from home, and I am beyond excited to have that back (and kicking myself that I didn’t choose to ship it from the beginning!)  I’m excited to get back into sewing.
And that’s about all from us for now.   The weather has been unexpectedly cool lately, which I should probably soak up before the hot season hits with a vengeance…but I do miss hanging out by the pool this week!  Tough life, right? 🙂

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. jomandaman says:

    Favorite part was Max’s Minecraft username! Haha glad my pic made the post too. Love you!

    Like

    1. punchykara says:

      Haha. Max is a crackup to play minecraft with. If you can ever figure out how to join in a game of his, you should do it.

      Like

  2. Kelsie says:

    Love, love, love this! Also, your post struck me this morning after a conversation with someone last night who is deep in the throes of motherhood with an infant and totally overwhelmed by absolutely everything. I recognize there are so many factors involved but I am so grateful that you have Jocelyn and wish our culture would recognize the immense need for support like that for us to stay human and feed our souls and nurture ourselves so we can have something to give back to our people. Love you! Also, I love that you love Asia but please don’t love it too too much! I want you to come back to me. 😉

    Like

  3. David Grohl says:

    Thanks for the shout out despite not having pictures. That picture of Max with cotton in his mouth after the dentist is so funny, cute, and sad all at the same time, haha. Also think it’s hilarious that he is excited about “science labs.” Miss you Kara, thanks for sharing!

    Like

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