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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Not that kind of mummy - A day at the zoo

The note came home. Aiden's class was going on an excursion to the Zoo. The Singapore Zoo. This is the place that everyone asks if we have been to yet. No we haven't. We have been trying to get our life in order, you know after moving countries? There hasn't been time to play tourist so when the note came home and parents could also come on the excursion, I thought "I'm in!" I filled out that permission form, filled out an annual leave form at work and dug some money out to pay for our entry. Aiden and I were going to the Zoo. The Singapore Zoo.

Last Friday dawned with much excitement. Aiden because we were going on a "coach" and me because we were going to the Zoo. The Singapore Zoo. We donned our hats, our suncreen and our packed lunches and boarded the coach. On the way I got the skinny from one of the other mums on season passes for the zoo and Universal Studios. Sweet.
Ready to see the animals
We arrived at the Zoo and while waiting for the tickets to be sorted we all had snacks and at this point I realised that neither Aiden or I had insect repellant on. Luckily there was a good mummy close by who offered some of hers. Phew! Dengue fever be gone. While still sporting my smug "you mozzies won't be get me" look, another mum inquired who I was looking after. Huh? I'm just here to see the animals with Aiden. What do you mean I have to look after some of the kids? Luckily said mommy (notice the American spelling) had taken a photo with her phone of the chart allocating children to parents and could tell me who I was looking after. Great. I ended up with Myra who could probably be mistaken for a 8 year old because she is so smart and so conscientious. She so lucked out with me.

After the shock of having to be a responsible mummy I am then handed a clipboard and a pencil. WHAT THE HELL IS THIS (I think while trying to keep a serene responsible and willing to contribute look on my face). I have to work?!!! I have just taken an annual leave day!!! What is wrong with these teachers? Really? I am supposed to write down what the kids noticed about the animal enclosures and what the children are curious about. Give. Me. Strength.

So after the shock of having to be responsible for another kid AND having to work we finally get entry to the Zoo. Note that it's 10.30am and we haven't seen an animal yet. One of the Zoo workers join our group to take us on a tour. En route we see a lizard. In the garden. We make our way "behind the scenes" to this utterly stupid static display of dusty photos and stuff of animals to learn how many animals the Zoo has. Over 9000 apparently, not including the lizards in the garden.  We then learn about parasites and darts while all the kids are saying "I can't seeeeeee....I can't seeeee....." My kid can't see either (because he can't see) and I am running the risk of coming across as a pushy mum by trying to get Aiden to the front of the crowd. Ugh!

It's now after 11am and we haven't seen any animals except for the lizard in the garden. We head to the animal hospital. This could be good. We tip-toe through an operating room where some sort of monkey is "under" and being operated on. COOL! I stop to take an action shot of the surgery with my fancy pants camera and completely get in trouble with one of the fun police Singapore Zoo workers. After a 2 second glimpse of an actual animal we are whisked into the X-ray room where everything is painted cream.

We then head to the animal kitchen where they prepare the food for the animals. How exciting. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO SEE ACTUAL ANIMALS?! Not in the kitchen apparently unless the animals are dead and about to be fed to other animals. While spending an indeterminable amount of time in the kitchen Aiden get's a nose bleed. I furiously dig into my bag knowing full well that there is nothing in their to mop up blood except his sun hat, which he needs to wear in the sun. Luckily there are organised  mummies close by who provide little packages of tissues and antibacterial wipes. Then Aiden, probably overwhelmed with the crapness of the Zoo so far and the fact that his nose is bleeding a lot, starts crying. So I join him. It's hot, it's a rubbish excursion, he can't see (though apparently most of the class also can't see) and I have turned into a pushy mummy. I decide it's ok to wear my sunglasses for the rest of the excursion.

It's now after midday and we still haven't seen any animals except for the lizard and dead chicken pieces  but we are heading to the polar bear enclosure for lunch. It's an awesome enclosure - big aquarium style piece of glass where you could watch the polar bears swim under the water or play on dry land. Kids and adults alike are excited. There are no bears. None. I eat my dead chicken sandwich.

The "behind the scenes tour" with no animals took so long that after the no-polar-bear lunch we head back to the bus. We went via the Orangutangs where Myra wanted me to write stuff on the clipboard and Aiden was more interested in the Zoo Tram. We then saw some other sort of Monkey and Myra again wanted me to write stuff down. Seriously, what is wrong with this kid? I told her I lost the pencil so she proceeded to search my bag for it.  It may have worked out better if Myra had looked after Aiden and I. I bet she had tissues and antibacterial wipes in her bag!

An elusive animal
On the way out I ask Aiden's teacher what she thought of the day. She tells me it was much better than last year. I may have attended my last excursion.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Secret homes of Glebe, sorry Singapore!

So. That was a big week. Mostly. And this is my first blog post from steamy, hot Singapore!

We arrived Monday night absolutely pooped! We left our temporary accommodation in Bondi at 6am on Monday morning to catch our flight at 9.30am. All was going well. A visit to the first class Qantas lounge on arrival  (I'm sure the other guests appreciated Mr can'tstoptalkingabouttrains and Mr cuteasabuttonbutIliketogrizzle) was followed by some quick duty free shopping and then onto the plane, where we waited for 2 hours for some part of the right hand engine to be fixed. Ugh!

Boys were angels on the plane, except for Aiden wanting to talk to me every 15 minutes right at the moment I was dropping off for an afternoon nap. Arran and Charlie both had a lovely afternoon nap. Typical. I was thinking that Aiden would be sitting next to Arran on the flight back, but then realised we weren't coming back, well at least in the short term.

Over a hour in a mini van to the apartments we are staying in and we were here!

Highlights of the week!
  • Getting a car, that Arran and I were both too chicken to drive, until I had to drive to go to work on Thursday. Thank goodness Singaporeans drive on the same side of the road as Australians and thank goodness a GPS was included with the car!
  • Finding a place to live. We spent many hours getting in and out of an air conditioned car on Wednesday looking at apartments. We were hot and bothered and fed up at the end of that day. We went for a swim and had pizza by the pool. But we found an apartment close to Aiden's school with a pool that is clean and modern and hopefully big enough for all our stuff. It costs a lot.
  • Charlie having a poo explosion on Wednesday morning. Yep. That was a 2 person clean up job. It was on the toys, the carpet....
  • Took Arran and the boys to Jumbo for their famous chilli crab. Was awesome. Boys ate fried rice and sweet buns.
  • Spent 2 days in office and actually feel like I have caught up a little bit
  • Aiden and Charlie got to go on the MRT (Massive Rail Transit). A TRAIN!!!
  • Sunday night we cooked a meal. So good.
  • Charlie got sick. Croup. I got sick with something similar.
  • Arran bought "old chinese man thong/slide things". Yep.
  • Love all the tropical plants and trees.
  • We have already seen some amazing paintings that we probably won't have the room to hang.
Observations of the week!
  • Asian women seem to like skirts on their swimsuits. A bit like tennis skirts. Modesty wins over fashion.
  • I have already seen a better range of swimwear here than in Australia. Sweet!
  • Supermarkets are small.
  • Driving and parking is pretty easy
  • Singaporeans like to give lots of advice to new people in Singapore. Some Most not that helpful
  • A form is always required, often accompanied by a cheque. Who uses cheques anymore?
  • Traffic back from work (on the very west side of the island) is awful
  • Food is expensive. Apart for the $3.50 duck and noodles I had at a food court on Friday with my new work colleagues. Even supermarket food is expensive. 
  •  Wine is even more expensive. 
  • The shops don't open until 10. With Singapore 2 hours behind Sydney we have been waking up early with not much to do.
  • I like getting outside into the heat. 
  • I'm tired and need a holiday.
  • Can't wait to get our of the serviced accommodation we are in, and in to our place with our own things.
Lisa xx

Friday, 18 July 2014

Leaving, on a jet plane......



What do you do when you write a blog about living in Glebe, when you are not going to live there anymore? Or at least for the next few years. What do you do?

I don't really know. I have made so many decisions recently. Many small. Lots small. And some big. Moving to Singapore was big. But not a hard decision. At all. I have always wanted to live and work overseas. Same for Arran. We have talked about this a lot. Why is it that the small decisions are harder? It's like Arran and I have things upside down. Buy a stupid expensive house on a whim? Sure! Order Thai or Indian takeaway on Friday night? Can't decide. Pack up our whole life including 2 small boys and move to Asia? No problem! Should we take a BBQ? No idea!

This is the theme of our life.

Small decisions have been about:
  • Do I take the outdoor furniture? Will there be room? Will it be too hot to sit outside?
  • How many beds do I take (when I have no idea about the size of apartments)?
  • What clothes will we need? I'm guessing track pants and ugh boots are out?
  • Will there be a hairdresser who can do pink? Just wondering....
  • What do I do with a blog called "Secret homes of Glebe?" when I no longer live in Glebe?
  • Should I get my rings cleaned 3 days before leaving Sydney?
  • Should I have a massage because my head might explode if I don't?
  • Should I get some new bras because the chances are that getting big boob bras are small in Singapore? Hah!
  • Where do we stay between selling our house, having our house packed up and leaving on a jumbo jet (it's really an A330 but the boys are excited about it)? Arran was quite stressed about this aspect.
Stuff like that.

Overall though we are excited. Small boys are excited about pools and trains and new schools and going on Jumbo jets. I'm excited about new cultures, being part of a new team and learning about a new culture and doing new things in my job. Arran is excited about riding his bike. No news there. Overall though, on the Friday night before we leave, we are exhausted.

While we contemplate our future in some (very nice and cheap) temporary accommodation (Bondi Eco Garden Retreat), we don't really know where we are heading and where we will end up. But that's cool and that's ok.

I think I will rename the blog "Secret Homes of Singapore". What do you think? The housing and lifestyle will be so different to Sydney. Our lives will be different, and interesting and fun and do you want to hear about it?

Lisa xx