Thursday, May 24, 2007 ;
7:44 AM
(Continued 23 May)

We drove south towards Palo Alto, where Stanford University is. Was very excited cos I haven't seen Sun sun for a long time. The last time was in hc itself, and that was in 2005. Was also excited cos I haven't met any Singaporean at all since I arrived in Utah. :-)

As we entered into University Avenue, the university village was very enchanting. The buildings all look very quaint, warm and friendly. It was a long slow drive through that avenue, there were so many students and vehicles, very congested. Kids started to wake from nap and were kind of cranky, so I didn't manage to take any pics at that moment.

When we entered the main University, there was a grand entrance and road lined all the way with palms. Palms are very elegant and grand-looking trees. That road was aptly named Palm Drive. Beautiful. There was a huge lawn there, where students were playing baseball or some similar ball game. We also went there later for the kids to run ard.

Right now, we tried to find our way to Sun sun's house. She had already told me how interesting the apartment concept there is. For those graduate students without young kids, they had high-rise apartments. For those with kids, they were given apartments that all opened up to a huge backyard/ courtyard. Inside that courtyard, there were so many toys, vehicles, climbing equipment and so on!

Sun sun says they all pay a small sum each month to contribute to maintenance or something, and the person in charge actually buys a lot of outdoor toys for the kids. Many families also left their bicycles and etc equipment there, so everyone can share and play together. It is a very communal and "togetherness" spirit. Very nice.

Below: my kids and her son Keane playing in the house and in the courtyard.

We chatted in Sun sun's place, had a tour ard her 2 storey apartment. It was great catching up, and conversing in English and Mandarin. :-) She just completed her thesis and will be returning to Singapore to start her stint as VP of JJC. Exciting.

Then she brought us ard the Uni. There was a lot of walking, so she even borrowed a stroller for me.

Below: the places we went to, incl Hoover Tower, Memorial church, Education Block. We also saw the Science block. And the huge lawn. The kids enjoyed themselves so much running ard! And I find it so sweet when they often sit together or do "kungfu" actions together, so I took several pics of that. Keane is very photogenic, and always has some action or expression for me to capture. :-)

Above left: the architecture of the buildings had a lot of arches, which brought me and dh back to our old NIE days at Bt Timah. Lots of fond memories. Sun sun and dh were discussing the professional devt of teachers I think. :-) Dh seemed very interested in her thesis topic because he was from MOE and they were talking about something related... Very animated and engrossed. :-) Sun sun's thesis had a lot of fresh and great ideas.

Above right: ds1 and Keane posing in front of the Piston Cup.

Above left: we were mimicking some statues.

Above right: students playing and shrieking in the fountain, which reminds us of our carefree student days too. :-)

The highlight of the day was the dinner!

We followed their car to this Shiok! Singapore Kitchen somewhere near Embarcadero Rd (can't rem exactly where). But ooh! the food was so yummy. That's one thing, it is the closest we tasted so far, that most resembled Singapore cuisine! hooray!

we loved it so much that although we were so stuffed after the dinner, we still "da bao" nasi lemak back to the motel to eat later!

We ordered lots of dishes, Kangkong, roti prata, BBQ fish and spicy duck are shown below. Then there's claypot chicken rice, coconut rice, nasi lemak, laksa as well. Heavenly. Look at the greedy and contented expression on dh's face! He was drooling all over the duck!

Kids loved the roti prata and coconut rice. The coconut rice is like nasi lemak rice, very fragrant.

The lady boss came out to talk to us and get feedback also. She came over just to open this restaurant and business is good, not only because there is a high concentration of Singaporeans at Stanford, but also because her food is good. That night, we also saw many Americans there, tucking in.

Sun sun said there were so many of our ex hc-students there too, she even organised a get-together party recently. So I guess the business can be very good.

Now, even the boss' children, their families, and her nephews all help out in the restaurant. They all reside in Palo Alto now.

Soon it was time to leave. It was already 9pm and Keane still had school the next day. My kids were tired too. We had actually wanted to visit Silicon Valley (Santa Clara and San Jose area) too, cos there is this Intel Museum that has free admission. We also can gain free admission into some of the Science Tech museums there for kids because of our Discovery Center Membership (in Salt Lake City). Our time in SF is too short, so we can't do everything.

haha, in fact, we can never get enough of vacations. On hindsight, our time in all the places was too short! We need maybe 2 weeks for Yosemite alone! :-)

The kids will miss each other. ds1 is still talking about Keane now! They exchanged cards they drew, and may continue to keep in touch via email. :-) Keane is very good with kids younger than him. He kept a look out for them all the time, and always tried to engage them in some interesting conversation or activity. Below: shows the card Keane made for ds1. I didn't picture the one ds1 drew for him.

Kevin (Sun sun's hubby) was also a super nice person who helped us a lot, from directions to parking in Stanford, and he insisted on treating us to this wonderful meal. It was certainly not cheap. Thanks! And he definitely is a great dad and hubby, he took no pay leave to come here and support his wife plus care for Keane.

He also led us, using his car, all the way to the highway so that we could travel home without getting lost within Palo Alto... It was very dark then, without street lamps!

Great family, great time, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

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