Thursday, February 25, 2016

temporary loss;

i'm back from singapore!
okay, i got back almost 2 weeks ago but i've been so busy at work that i haven't been able to sit down and really blog about singapore yet.
上个星期真的真的很残, 每天都加班.
而且我又刚刚回来所以完全不习惯, 忙到我差点崩溃哈哈.

it was a really good trip.
exactly the break that i needed after a crazy january of work.
this trip was a little different than previous trips i must admit.
i felt a certain sense of loss and unfamiliarity - something i've never ever felt previously.

first week i was there i had motion sickness and it was bad because all i wanted to do was lie down on my bed but that felt like such a waste of time and i had plans all booked out. 
i'm not even sure why i had such bad motion sickness cause i was fine on the plane and even the first day after i landed but then day two onward was bad.
i don't know if it's cause i'm too used to driving or what but when i was on the bus, it was almost unbearable and when i alighted from the bus, i always seriously thought i was going to throw up right then and there haha. 

i ended up going to the doctor on day four and it was hilarious because the doctor asked me what's wrong and i said i think it's motion sickness.
and so he asked me to explain my symptoms and i said, "it's usually pretty bad in the morning. my head usually hurts and i feel nauseous."
i immediately regretted the way i described it after because i knew what the doctor would ask next.
and he did, "could you be pregnant?"
and when i said no, he then went on to say, "maybe it's due to your lifestyle. alcohol perhaps."
and i was like, "no i don't drink."
wrong and wrong haha. 
and i wanted to just say, "okay, don't need to ask any more questions, it's motion sickness. please just prescribe me some pills thank you."
anyway, after his endless questions, he ended up just prescribing some motion sickness pills and i was out of there haha. 

i finally got over my "morning sickness" on day five and it actually made me really sad that it took me almost a week to get over it because it was almost like my body was rejecting my own home.
that made me extremely upset and i just wanted to shake my body and be like, "excuse me, this is your real home." haha
but really, i think it's nothing to be upset about and i'm just probably getting old and not as adaptable.
although i still never get jetlag so i'm pretty proud of myself for that haha. 

besides the "morning sickness," i've also never felt so lost in my own country before.
singapore has been building a lot of new subway lines over the years as well as many new attractions and each year, it gets a little less familiar.
this year, with the opening of the downtown line last year, i don't know why but i just felt so thrown off.
and then i couldn't remember the stops on the circle line and was also unsure of what was the fastest route to places, etc.
and i just felt SO lost.
it was so unlike me. 
i had never felt so lost before and in fact, even when i'm here in utah, my mother would always text me and ask me what's the fastest route to go somewhere and i could tell her exactly what subway lines to take and where to transfer. 
but it seems like not being there and using the subway everyday has made me lose touch. 

i've also started to forget where to get regular everyday items or how much things cost.
i've grown so used to the grocery stores here and the lack of asian things that i've forgotten how convenient it is to get things in singapore. 
i realized that i've also grown to adapt and don't need to bring over as many things from singapore each trip. 
oh how i miss being able to get different asian ingredients so easily and also, getting super fresh food and produce from the wet market. 

as my jc friends and i reminisced over how many years we've been friends, i realized that out of the 11 years we've been friends, i've been overseas for 9 of those years.
that is so crazy and as i get older, i guess i begin to lose my singapore touch. 
and you have no idea how sad and depressed that makes me feel.
that's like losing a big part of what makes me ME.
i guess just keeping up with singapore news and all that does not even come close to actually living there. 
i guess i just need to move back there.
i know a lot of people will ask, "why not just move back there now then?"
trust me, it has crossed my mind so many times and i've prayed long and hard about the matter and have come so close to packing my bags so many times.
but the answer i've been given is, "not now" and so i trust that my Heavenly Father has a plan for me and that i just need to put my trust in Him no matter how much it breaks my heart to be away. 
The Lord will provide. 

anyway, now that we're done with the depressing part, here are some of my favorite moments from my trip:
1) short but productive 2 hour meet ups with my friends - i've always struggled to find the balance between spending time with my family and with my friends because i seriously only get to see my family a couple of times a year so i want to be able to spend as much time as i can with them. but at the same time, i pretty much only get to see my friends once a year and so my family is always very understanding when i take time to go out with my friends. but i think i've nailed it down this time. 2 hour meet ups have proven to be just enough time to catch up and with 2 hour time slots, i can eat dinner with family, go to dessert with a friend and still be able to make it in time for a movie with my family after. it worked out so good and felt so productive. 
liz and i have known each other for 14 years now and it was so fun to catch up over dessert. we even had unique soft serve - pandan gula melaka (so singaporean hehe)!
ling and i seriously can never coordinate our schedules so this was us catching up at my place as usual while i packed haha. 
some of my all time favorite friends (missing wai) - the jc class clique at jo's super hip place where we ate super yummy home cooked food!

2) quality time with my older sister - my little sister and i both live in utah and we live in the same house and have the same friends so we basically see each other everyday and do everything together. my older sister, however, lives in singapore, far far away from us and so sometimes i feel left out for her because she's the only one in singapore. my older sister is in between jobs now and so we had lots of time to catch up and hang out with each other while i was back. she accompanied to the places i wanted to go eat at (roti prata, Big Mama, Brother Bird, bingsoo, etc.) and seriously, we even ventured to jalan besar to hunt down my favorite duck rice stall that moved from near our house. she also accompanied me to run my errands, etc. and there was one day we were so lazy we just stayed home and marathoned 치즈인더트랩 hahaha. it sounds like such a wasted day that i could have gone out and done stuff but it was seriously perfect and it was so fun to have someone to watch a drama with and talk about with while we watched it. 
enjoying our milo dinosaurs 
with the singapore skyline 
sweating it out in the hawker center haha
my sister is on a no carbs diet but she very kindly went along with all my food requests and omg, this was by far my favorite - mochi donut with speculoos soft serve. the donut was omg!

3) conversations with church friends - i don't know if i've gotten so used to having spiritual conversations when i meet up with friends here since most of my friends here are members of the church but meeting up with cay & aiwen and just talking about spiritual things and faith in God really really uplifted me and just put the perspective and direction back into our conversations about life. it's hard to describe but i definitely felt the difference. 
we went to a place where they had a live band playing and so we had to kind of yell over the music but even then, we had some of the best conversations and it made me so happy to see the gospel guiding us in each of our lives. 

4) meals with my family - usually when i'm home, i tend to miss family dinners because dinnertime is the only time my friends can meet since they all work during the day but i specifically blocked out quite a few days this time so that i could have multiple meals with my family and it was always time well spent be it eating butter crab at seafood paradise and then eating ice cream at swensens after (best part of that day was when we walked past mcdonalds after dessert and my mother asked my sister and i if we wanted to eat fries and we were both like omg are you for real? my stomach is going to burst haha. this is why i grow fat when i go home!) or just eating my favorite char kway teow at the hawker center. our random conversations and my parents' humor just make it so fun!
my favorite hawker meal of all time - char kway teow is a must! and how can you go wrong with chicken wings, satay and iced cheng teng.
post dinner selfie - my dad is so funny. he's always like, "come let's take selfie." haha 
 selfie with the monkey decorations at the airport
every year when i go home i always insist on going to chinatown to feel the festive spirit of the chinese new year and this year we went on cny eve eve so it was so crowded and we were so sticky haha. but we got to squeeze with the crowds, eat yummy dim sum and get the best bak kwa haha.

5) spontaneity - the first day i was back in singapore, i had to go to the U.S. embassy in the morning and then we went to eat my favorite malay rice and then we ran a few errands since we were out. after we got my eyesight checked, we noticed that teo heng just opened at katong shopping center and so we decided to go sing karaoke for a few hours before meeting my dad for dinner. it was just me, my sister and my mother and we sang for 3 hours straight hahaha. best part of it all, it was only $18 total for all of us. i loved those random moments. we also randomly decided to watch a movie together one night (although we do usually watch a CNY movie each year) and it was fun. we watched long long ago and it covered a lot of singapore history and some of the scenes of the kampong village days really opened my eyes (esp. when my dad confirmed that that was indeed what it was like when he was younger). moments like these often slip by us when we let the busyness of life and the world get in our way of these precious bonding moments. 
random snack times while out shopping with the parents (spot the daddy behind haha)

6) exploring the new parts of singapore and at the same time, running errands at the usual heartland areas that brought back the same familiarity i grew up with - every year when i go home, i make it a point to visit at least one new thing that has been built since i was last home and it's always interesting to rediscover singapore that way. and at the same time, i always make sure to pay close attention to the things i remember as i walk through the heartland areas - walking pass Bata and remembering my old school days as i see the white school shoes, walking pass all the mom and pop shops and remembering when i would go to these small provision shops with my grandparents after school, taking 410 and seeing students in school uniforms get on the bus and remembering the days when i was in my uniform coming home from a long day of school/CCA, etc. those things stick with you and you don't forget no matter how singapore changes. the smells of the city also bring back familiar memories and it warms my heart. 
explored the recently opened national gallery with the best friend from secondary school and it was gorgeous! the architecture is just amazing and the natural light that comes through it just makes it so pretty! we also got a pretty view of the singapore skyline. we also enjoyed some local delights for lunch at the national kitchen by violet oon - kueh pie tie, ayam buah keluak and chap chye. it was a delightful and uniquely singapore meetup. 
it's free for singaporeans and i recommend you do the tour so you get to hear about the history of the buildings. 

i had been wanting to go to pinnacle at duxton for awhile now because i heard so much about the great views from the skybridge.
and sure enough, it did not disappoint.
it was a pretty view from above and it was not crowded at all.
we just chilled around and walked from one end to the other.
the fun thing about pinnacle at duxton is that it is a public housing estate built by the government but it looks so nice you would never have guessed it's not a condo.

7) and then of course you cannot leave out all the chinese new year festivities and getting to hang out with family. this year, everyone wished me marriage in this new year as they gave me my red packet hahaha. any takers? haha
reunion dinner 
cousins at reunion dinner 
we still miss her so dearly
maternal side family
skyping the little sister so she could participate virtually when we did lo hei
chen/ho/chua cousins plus one chan nephew haha 
paternal side family
day two family lunch 
day two paternal side family
chen/ho cousins 
we're always forcing the monkey to cooperate in photos hahaha
ward lo hei on sunday after church
angbao collection - not a whole lot of angbaos but they are all quality angbaos hahaha. this is the reason why i stay single hahaha. 

8) singapore food - cheap, good, convenient haha. 
i avoid all western food when i go home but i always have to have my duck pizza 
nyonya zhang! // kueh lapis - omg we bought really good kueh lapis this year and i think i ate half the box. it was bad for my figure but tasted so good!
my favorite kaya waffle // duck rice is one thing i really really miss! 
old chang kee curry puff! // homecooked meal by my dad complete with my fanta lychee drink 
hoy fatt road malay rice 
butter crab! 
zichar+lime juice w/ the jc class clique 
prata! one egg one kosong 
injeolmi bingsoo 
hokkien mee 
dim sum at yum cha

and many many more meals not pictured :)

can't deny that singapore still treats me the best and i'm grateful that i can take a trip home every year without fail.
nothing beats sleeping in your own bed/falling asleep in the massage chair everyday hahaha.
till next year, singapore, stay the same.


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