Friday, November 28, 2008 ;
12:24 AM
Normally I don't comment on current issues but this piece of news just made me feel so bad.

For the parents, the mom especially...
For the sister of the boy, who is only 10 yrs old...
For the teacher in charge of Track and Field...
For the school, ACS (I)..
For his friends who received his text message and the one who went home together with him...

For the boy himself...

The article can be read here, or on Straits Times online, or any other website with Spore news.

As a mother, I cannot imagine how much pain I will have to live with for the rest of my life, if I were to see my son jump to his death right before my eyes.

The guilt and self-blame will be made worse by the fact that he had wanted a change in activity and I as the mother was trying to dissuade him.

The same goes for all the rest of the people. The father, the teacher.. they will keep asking themselves, what else could they have done to prevent his death.

When someone commits suicide, no matter what others say, and no matter that it is the truth that it was his own choice, those around him, especially those who saw him for the last few moments, will always live in guilt and always ask themselves if they could have prevented it.

When someone chooses to end his own life, the ones who love him most are always the ones most hurt.

[People whom I know have committed suicide before. Even if they weren't my close friend, I felt the loss badly. I do think back on the times I had talked to the person or interacted with him/her, and will always wonder if I could have done more for the person when he/she was alive. What more would someone near and dear to him/her feel?]

As a teacher, (although I could never see myself doing that, punishing a student with more of what he hates, and calling up the parents to advise them what to do) I wonder if I can continue teaching. There would be so much pain each day too. I feel for the teacher. I know he is just trying to do his best for his Track and Field team. He was tasked by the school to get more awards, he must be under a lot of pressure. It's easy for me to write now, what he should have done, so I can't do something so cruel.

I don't know if the sister is left in Spore while her parents went overseas to "forget everything" but if she is, I feel so bad for her too. To lose her brother in this manner, and now to "lose" her parents too. They must be so caught up in their pain and agony in losing one child that it is hard for her to ever enjoy the same kind of family life she was used to before.

For the school, I feel bad because of the bad press. So many forums are now slamming the school and the system of not allowing kids to change their activities. But they don't know that a lot of schools do the same thing.

Even here at the kids' school, who is not caught up in ranking or in the rat race for awards. They discourage kids from changing after school activities because they want to encourage children to have perseverance and not to give up on something easily.

For his friends... I know they must miss him a lot. The friend who accompanied him home was the last friend to have seen him. I believe he must be very affected by this. The friend whom he texted would be similarly affected.

For Tan Wen Yi himself, he had a bright future ahead of him. He's from a wealthy background (assumed, because of the Stevens Road condo he lived in), from a top school, talented in track and field (medal-winner), with strong interest in drama (which can well be cultivated further into great things), with friends who like his company and jokes, with a family who loves him, with a CCA teacher who sees a lot of potential in him....

I guess what we should learn is to always look on the bright side of things, even if life seems "meaningless" and bleak (as what he told his friend) and everything looks like it's the end. Whatever it is, God will provide a way through it all (1 Cor 10:13).

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

Monday, November 24, 2008 ;
11:33 PM
We took some family pics. The first family pics we took here in Tianjin.

Wanted to send some cards to our friends in USA, to wish them Happy Thanksgiving. ds1 helped with the "decorating" of the pics.

Both ds loved the "googify" effect, pulling our ears out, making our faces bloated, creating horns on our faces etc, but I didn't use those of course. You couldn't even tell it was us, after they were done "touching up" the pics.

Here are those we finally selected to send our friends some greetings.

We wore the matching batik clothes..

Pencil sketch effect. The batik pattern comes up so nicely. haha.

Our family has never had a studio photo taken. We haven't done any portraits or cover-looks or hired anyone professional to take pics of us. Everytime I see someone's family studio portrait, I would be tempted to go take one. Because I too, like to have some make-up done by an artist, like my hair to be done by a stylist, and have some professional photography done.

But we always decide against it in the end. First, it would be a waste of money. Our kids don't like taking photos. They can only do candid ones. They never stop to let someone take a pic. So unless the photographer specialises in sports photography, they can forget about taking our pics. Our kids are in constant motion.

Next, both my kids and Dh do not like to have any make-up on, or want to wear any costume or nice clothes for photography purposes. They don't even like their hair combed. Can you believe I have never combed their hair for the sake of going out since they were born? They don't ever comb their hair to go out or go to school. They like it au natural.

(They only let me comb their hair when we are playing pretend or when we are singing the "comb hair" song.)

Dh likes this effect (called "face focus"). He feels it highlights our actions, making the pic come alive.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

11:25 PM
12 Nov
Parent-teacher conferences

On Wed, I went to school. I was scheduled to have ds2's conference first in the Nursery classroom. It was from about 3-3.30pm. His 2 teachers talked to me at length regarding what he does in class, his strengths, weaknesses... How we can work together to help him reinforce his strengths, to achieve his fullest potential, and then how to improve on his weaknesses.

They also described several anecdotes and amusing situations involving him in class. We had a really good chat. I was able to better understand what goes on in class and how he behaves in class too, which can be sometimes totally different from at home. Yet some egs were so typical of him that I could just laugh.

eg. When they described him being at once very busy with something else whenever they signalled it was time to tidy up, it was exactly like how he is at home. It's just so funny to hear that.

Then the school admin arranged for ds1's conference to run right after ds2's so it was perfect. I strolled over to the Kindy class and the teacher was waiting for me already.

For Kindy, because it involved more work, like reading, writing, math etc so there was a lot more concrete evaluations the teacher showed me. For ds2, the teachers mainly told me about his social behaviour, art work, numeracy and literacy in general but they have no sit down work or writing etc so there was not much in that to show me.

For ds1, I was shown his reading level at the start of the school yr, and his current level, how they assess the kids, and I was also shown many pieces of his writing work, how they developed from Sept till now. Some were too precious, it was funny and so heartwarming at the same time.

I bought him some shoes, and he actually wrote a piece on the shoes. I didn't know the shoes meant so much to him. Stuff like that.

The teacher also said they tested him on his phonics and were surprised that he didn't know them. He didn't know the sounds to the letters, so they were surprised because his reading level is very advanced. I don't know what system of grading they used, but she told me his level is above 15 now, when most kindergarteners (here) start off at level 0 at the beginning of the year. He started at level 10.

I laughed and told her it was because I myself don't know phonics, and all that he learnt in reading was through me reading stories to him. So he remembers the words are pronounced that way but doesn't know how to break them up or sound them out. She told me I didn't have to worry cos they are teaching the kids phonics right now. Good!

We also talked about his social strengths, about Math (he's supposedly very strong in this area too), and his amazing knowledge about animals and such general knowledge.

She told me he has a habit of peeling his finger skin though and we both need to work on getting him off the habit.

I think ds1's conference was very detailed and I was very happy with both conferences. I knew exactly what to do when I got home also.

Their elementary school head has also called me up twice at home, just to discuss at length about my kids and asked my views about the school. I was quite impressed. I don't think my primary school principal had that much time. I don't remember her calling my mom up to ask her for her views.

I am getting to like this school community a lot, even if there are some things they may not organise well, and perhaps my kids are not doing as much work as the kids back home in Spore.

I also got the chance to talk to their Chinese teacher, and she is really good. I only wish they had more time for Chinese, just 2hrs a week for ds1 and half hour a week for ds2 is not enough. I have to do my part with them myself I think.

14 Nov
Assembly and awards

I wasn't there! I didn't know he was going to receive another award, because I thought every student will get one and ds1 had gotten his already.

So when N smsed me that "T got a cert and is smiling from ear to ear. Z took a video of him for you." I smsed her back "you must be kidding". Cos she had tried to trick Z this way the last assembly.

Then I received an email from Y (the Japanese/ German mom friend) later that morning with 2 pics of ds1 receiving his cert! I was like, huh??!?

She said he got it for PE, and I was incredulous. I still didn't quite believe it. Then I was on the phone with Z, who told me all about it, and said she will pass me a copy of what she filmed.

Then I received another email from PC, who is the Msian mom whose hubby is with GSK, and she too emailed me a pic of ds1 receiving his award!

I was flabbergasted.
1st: I didn't know so many moms were there, even when it was not their child's class that was performing. I thought if ds1 is not performing then I wouldn't go.

2nd: I didn't know ds1 was getting an award. I wonder how he felt about my absence.

3rd: I didn't know the other moms were all so nice to me! They knew I wasn't there, saw my son getting an award and all helped to snap a piece of memory for me! Then they went straight into action, sending me the stuff right after assembly. They sure are some good friends. How blessed I am!

(later on the teacher emailed me another copy, because she said the specialist teachers are not familiar with the procedure of informing parents when they have selected a child for the award. they're sorry i wasn't aware.)

This is a class book that ds1 brought home. The class, together with the teachers and TAs will make class books periodically and each child gets to bring them home to share with their family then bring the books back.

There was one on UN Day that I liked. Another on the Teddy Bear's Picnic (I didn't know so many YouTube videos on Teddy Bear's picnic were available, was surfing the other day and enjoyed so many different instrumental renditions).

This one is on Animal Classification.

How to take action.

Can you see the pic in the center? That's me with ds1 sitting in the red sofa, reading a book together.

Finding out.. (Conclusions)

My mom, kids and me were taking a stroll through our estate's garden after picking ds1 up from the bus stop.

Our estate used to be a train station, so the train tracks and tank engine is still here. A lot of history, this place. The kids love to walk along the train tracks and pick up pebbles to toss.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

1:44 PM
7 Nov

Halloween celebration at school

I missed this because I was in Spore trying to get the medical check up and visa done.

But I had arranged for the kids' costumes and my mom would go to school to take pics for me.

So here's what happened. They filled me in over skype too. I think they had a great time.

Here are my beloved knight and king. They chose the characters themselves, and I got a tailor to sew it for them. Tailoring services are very cheap here, so I thought it made more sense to do that than go to a Expat Mall to buy a full set.

Also, the lady seamstress is so skilled that I just have to print the picture from the website out for her, and she came down to take the kids' measurements, then she had the costumes ready within a week. I have resolved to take up such sewing courses when the kids are grown. I want to be able to do that too! Then I can make costumes for my grandkids and friends' grandkids, hehe.

Another school mom passed me her contact. Then H kindly bought the props for me. She got them off a local Chinese auction site for a very good deal. Thanks to all these people.

Ahh, boys... Most other boys were in some kind of superhero get-up. This Ninja turtle was having a duel with ds1, in the playground.

In ds1's class. I was glad to see not all the girls in his class dressed as princesses. Last year, I had an overload of princesses. This year, it is much more interesting with witches and fairy godmothers and so on.

Then, in ds2's class, there was Snow White, a fairy, a bumblebee (?), more witches?

I like this girl's pink hair, so cool. She's in ds2's class.

In the cafeteria, there was a family pumpkin carving contest. Some were very pretty. You notice there are no huge pumpkins here? In the market, I only saw small ones too. Only in Utah did I see really enormous ones. So maybe this size is what the contestants had to contend with.

ds1's class playing some games. I like this Harry Potter too. There's a Superwoman in the background too.

Check the red and gold wizard costume out! My mom said quite a number of moms dressed up too. Some were really scary and some were very beautiful.

This is ds1's teacher. Is that a dracula costume?

The kids made their own trick or treat bags. This is ds1's. Front.

And back.

I don't have candy at home normally, and ds1's teacher told me how the rest of the kids were watching this Halloween movie while ds1 was more interested in the contents of his treat bag, and when he was given the permission to eat, he was devouring everything inside, from choc to candy to pretzels and cake.

Ahh, that boy. Fortunately it is just for one day.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

1:30 PM
Some snapshots of our trip back to Spore.

The airport at Xiamen is very pleasant. We've always had to transit there. This is the kid's area of the female toilet. They took pains to decorate the mirror. Xiamen is pretty clean. I've toured the area in 2000, and it's clean and green.

Waiting for my sis to get some stuff from her flat before heading to Vivocity on Tues. She left her precious dd with us. Hehe, see what I did to my niece. She was happy "driving" the car, so I managed to do this to her. 3 blobs of red shiny lip gloss on her forehead, and both cheeks. I would have painted more, if not for my sis coming down to the car so soon. Wasted opportunity.

Dh feigned ignorance when my sister shrieked at me. No allegiance, that fellow.

Then I bought her her 1st bday present. A pair of leather shoes that is so cute. One shoe has the flower, and the other shoe the stalk and stem. I think it's from New Zealand. ds1 had the same type of shoes last time and it lasted a long while and took all the abuse of a toddler walking away. I bought Ravel the same type too, only his is a soccer design. Bought them at Robinsons, Raffles City.

We went to Chinatown because it was right beside SGH, where we had our medical check-up. This is along Temple Street, where Linda bought the SIA costume for me, and we bought the matching boys' and men's shirts. Very cheap, much cheaper than what some sellers were offering on eBay.

I can't remember that Chinatown was so beautiful. And interesting, so I took some pics.

The old Majestic theatre that so many people were nostalgic about.

And then just before my parents-in-law were leaving for their China tour, I took a pic for them with Dh. I bought that bouquet of lilies for my mil, from Cold Storage. Lovely and at a fraction of the cost what most florists would charge.

Finally, about my feelings regarding this trip. Although we were very busy rushing here and there, at night was when I missed the kids the most.

We had never spent a night without them before. Especially for ds2. He's the clingy leech.

I kept wondering what they were doing, at all times of the day. It was good that we were kept so busy, otherwise it would hurt to miss them so much.

It helped that I knew they were in good hands, and that my mom was so confident and at ease when I left her. If she had any doubt about handling them alone, in a new place, then I'd be constantly worried. I did arrange for my ayi, my neighbors, and the teachers at school to give more support to my mom and the kids. I am so glad for them, especially H, who ferried my mom around and bought things for her when she needed them. N, also, let her chauffeur ferry my mom back home from school.

I definitely missed them a lot more than they missed me! They had school to distract them, and my mom read them stories, made goodies for them to eat, so they were ok. Over skype the first few days, they looked very happy to me, and did not miss me much.

It was only on Wed, that ds1 cried very badly on skype, and it was heart wrenching to see. He cried to come to Spore and said he didn't want to live in Tianjin anymore. We had to explain to him many times and then distracted him by some Ben 1o talk. Dh is good at that. So ds1 stopped crying and discussed which Ben 10 alien is better in whatever situation.

My mom said ds2 will wake up in the middle of the night and needed to be sleeping beside my mom at all times. Otherwise he will not be able to fall back to sleep. Ahhh, my poor mom. She couldn't sleep well for sure.

The SGH experience was very good. The service staff were extremely friendly, understanding and efficient. We were so happy and comfortable that I didn't mind all the blood the nurse took out of me for the tests. Normally, I hate blood tests.

We needed to do a physical exam, urine test, X-ray as well. Everything was very quick. There were others also in queue, but every station went smoothly. The environment was so comfortable too, many magazines to browse, Nescafe and Milo machine for us to help ourselves to beverages, all free... Comfy sofas, very quiet and peaceful, with many plants and beautiful paintings.

Nurses and doctors all smiled constantly and engaged us in meaningful conversations. They were also accomodating when we asked to get the results by Wed afternoon so that we can apply for visa on Thursday morning. Initially they said most results take 5-6 days. But after hearing our story, they expedited our results, and we got what we wanted. No need to bribe, no need to beg. No need to pull connections. No need to pay extra.

You cannot imagine how relieved we were. We are so thankful.

At the China embassy, the queue was very very long, but it was orderly, and it moved quickly. The officers checked everything and we asked for express service, for which we had to pay S$60 for each applicant, which made it S$240 for our family. No choice, we have to pay. So we were given Friday as the collection date. Phew.

Thank God that everything went so smoothly.

When we arrived back in Tianjin, we saw a welcome back note on the front gate, and the 2 kids screamed and shouted when they saw us come in. ds2 was jumping up and down the sofa. ds1 played us a welcome song on the piano. We got big hugs from them.

Ahhh, it was so good to be home, wherever it is, as long as our loved ones are there.

I fell sick the very next day though. The change of climate was too great. Hot to cold, humid to very dry. It was very polluted too. Got a cold, which worsened to sinusitis. But I'm ok now, finally.

A bit scared and wary of the next trip back to Spore end of Dec, because our whole family will be back for a week again. One week is not good because the body has no time to cope with the sudden changes in climate, then we are shocked yet again when we arrive back here in the midst of winter. It's really cold here now, and the winds are relentless.

My ayi told me, where she came from (Heilongjiang area), whenever they talked, their hair/ bangs/ fringe at the forehead will freeze up. Cos water vapour from the breath condenses on the hair and immediately freezes. She said it is common to have frozen hair which can't move. That amuses me. I remember Brian Kaiser (from Minnesota) saying something like that too. haha.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

1:14 PM
31 Oct - 8 Nov
Back to Spore again

Dh is not here with a large MNC, hence we are not as taken care of, and we are left to stumble across many hurdles on our own. We've had to run around in circles, listen to different officials and personnel from different departments say different things, read info on the web, and make our way through.

Our kids' classmates' moms tell me a different story. Their hubby's companies have designated staff solely in charge of relocating expats, so everything from their visas, to the kids' schooling, their transport and bill payments are taken care of by the agents. They just move here and carry on with a peaceful life. Even their boxes arrive right on time, unlike ours.

Anyway, so we were told we have to return to Spore or go to Shanghai for a medical check up, so we chose Singapore. Also, we needed to apply for the Z visa in our home country. Previously we were on L visas. So, we have to return yet again. Taxing on the pocket, on our time and energy, but no choice. If we are to make it in China, we have to follow all the rules properly.

We had one week in Spore, to rush our medical check up with the Spore General Hospital, get the results and rush with the results to the embassy and get express visa service. We had to get the visa by Friday, so we can fly back to Tianjin on Sat. We were on a challenging mission.

My mom, who was in Tianjin with us, took this rapid and sudden change in news very well. In fact, she bravely agreed to taking care of our kids while we flew back. There were many reasons why we should not bring the kids back to Spore with us.

1. It's a huge climate change. We don't want the kids to be sick.
2. They were upset to learn they had to skip school again, and miss Halloween.
3. The kids were not needed for the medical check up (only applicants 16 yrs and above) and we can apply for Z visas for them on their behalf.
4. The cost of air tickets were weighing heavily on our budget already, we just could not spare money for 2 more tickets for them.
5. My in laws were coincidentally going to leave for a vacation in southern China during this period. If I brought my kids back, my mom is not in Spore, my in laws not there too, there'd be no one to care for the kids while we queue at both the SGH and embassy.

Of these, the 2nd reason seemed most impt to them. For us, finances and them getting sick were a greater concern.

So off to Spore we flew. Just the 2 of us. ds1's teacher wished me a happy 2nd honeymoon with Dh when I informed her of my absence. I wasn't in the mood then, I was very worried to leave the kids behind, had never done so, and I was worried we couldn't get our documents done in time with the short time frame.

However, once we got the medical check up at SGH done, what's to stop us from enjoying ourselves while waiting for the results? We could not rush the lab technicians or the doctor, so we had a BBQ, with a lot of encouragement from our friends.

We were living at our in laws' place but they were not in Spore, so we decided to have a very very small BBQ. Just Mary, Angeling, Linda and my sis' families (all church friends).

So we didn't need too much food. Just some Swiss butchery meats, and all the rest brought something. Angeling brought a lot of food for the kids and very nicely marinated chicken wings. Mary brought mushroom and pepper kebabs (yummy). Linda brought marshmallows. My sis made a mean salad.

The BBQ trays were from Angeling/ Mary, though Angeling was the one who bought it. Drinks and a Lana choc cake were on us too, beside the meats.

We all had a great time. My bro in law (sis), Vijay, worked at Gombak SAF, so he was here early, and had a go on the pogo stick. I think the pogo stick was left behind by my other bil (Dh's sis' hubby) before they emigrated to Perth. It has provided for countless hours of fun for ds1 and us after they left, and our neighbor's daughter often popped over to borrow it too. Now it served to entertain all our guests, since we had nothing else left in the house there.

The hardworking men who BBQed everything, using just 3 small Aluminium trays. Well-done!

We women-folk laid out the plates to keep food for the latecomers and the men hard at work, who did not eat as they BBQed. We wanted to make sure everyone had some of everything, especially since we bought a little of everything. There were 3 types of sausages, lamb, beef, pork and chicken, and all marinated differently.

The womenfolk and kids got to kick back, relax, watch a couple of movies and just eat. haha. The kids watched Wall-e first, then Ratatouille. The adults got to watch bits of some rented DVDs from VideoEzy. We had plenty of time to catch up and chat too.

Baby Lucas, barely 1+ month old, was there too. His first BBQ in his life! I am not in any of the pics, I realised, cos I was snapping them the whole time.

I felt quite free actually, despite running around making sure everyone is happy. That's cos my kids weren't there. I had the time to fully enjoy and talk to all the other kids though, which is so rare.

Mx and Charlene roasting their own marshmallows.

Then we got the Lana cake out and helped to celebrate Ravel's and Eva's 1st birthday. Linda is laughing over Ravel's attempt to cut the cake.

Singing the birthday song.

It was such an enjoyable evening. It was a long long time since we had such a BBQ, glad we did it!

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

Friday, November 21, 2008 ;
11:05 AM
27 Oct

School celebrates UN Day

The actual UN Day was the previous week but the school was hosting a international school volleyball meet, so it was celebrated on this day instead.

Just as well, because my mom flew in just in time to bring me the SIA uniform and the kids' Malay costumes to wear.

We had to wear costumes from our home country. After giving some thought to it, I find that it would not be meaningful for me to wear a qipao. All the local Chinese moms will wear qipaos. I am Sporean, how best to show the Sporean flavor?

I recalled the late President Ong Teng Cheong and the series of orchid-motif batik clothes line he introduced long long ago. I skyped my sis back in Spore a few weeks before UN Day to ask if such clothes were available. Negative reply.

Spore is made up of so many ethnic groups. If I wore an Indian sari to represent the Indians in Spore, then it would not be meaningful too, because the other moms in the school who are from India would stop me and ask, "hey why are you wearing our national costume? you're not Indian?"

So I settled on the SIA uniform. It is uniquely Spore. Now, the kids. They also sell the same batik-patterned shirts but they are all short-sleeved and the temperature at this time was about 10deg already, too cold for short-sleeves. They don't have thermals to wear inside too, all our thermals are in the boxes. So my mom bought them some Malay costumes.

We have to stress that we are not representing the Muslim faith, but the Malays of Spore. The natives of Spore are the Malays, and so, it is meaningful to wear the Malay costume. The SIA uniform is also a variation of the Malay kebaya, am I right?

This is ds2's class getting ready for the welcome song (start of the day).

A lot of the European boys did not have their national costume available here, so most of them wore sports jerseys with the large name of their country printed in front, like "Italia" for M, my neighbor's son, and "Denmark" and so on.

But the most prettily dressed were the Koreans and Japanese. First, their costumes are easily obtained here in Tianjin because there are many Korean and Japanese stores. Next, their national costume, in nature, is very elegant and bright and elaborate.

Especially the Japanese kimono. Is there another country's national costume that takes so much effort to put it on right? The material of the costumes are so luxurious too. Lovely.

After a parade (all students from Nursery up to Grade 12) in the field (and lots of photo taking, which I missed, cos I was busy preparing the satay), the kids had some class activities then gathered in the school gym for the UN Day concert.

The concert and lunch were organised by the PFO (Parent Faculty Org).

This item is presented by the Chinese staff in the school. All the local Chinese. They sang the Olympics song "Welcome to China, Welcome to Beijing" and the lyrics are something to the effect that every nationality must come together to be friends.

This is the high school choir. A lot of Korean girls. I was drooling at their beautiful costumes. Wonder if I can get my hands on a cheap but pretty one. :-) I was observing all the details of their dresses that I forgot what songs they sang. I think Auld Lang Syne was one of them. Anyway, the theme has to revolve around world peace and multiculturalism.

Then the PFO members themselves organised parent and student groups who volunteered to present items to create more awareness of each culture they represent.

This moms and kids group from India sang a very catchy Bollywood song. The moms even danced to it. Very hip moms.

Japanese Taiko Drum performance.

A mixed group of elementary and high school students, I think. They sang songs of different languages. Both ds had come home singing this "hello" song since last month too.

It goes something like "hello, bonjour, buenos dias, ni hao," then some incomprehensible singing from the 2 boys. I think they remember the tune more than the words of different languages, so they make up the rest of the song.

The teachers also sent home a note asking us moms how to say "goodbye friends" in our home language, so that they can get the kids to say farewell to each other at the end of each schoolday, using different languages.

I had the strong urge to write in the space "Goodbye, friends". That's my home language. Then I switched back to non-prankster mode, and wrote "朋友们, 再见!". Although I half wanted to write in 4 languages, in Malay and Tamil too.

My mom was seated between me and this lady, who was very friendly and chatty. Turns out she's from the PFO. haha. She's American I think, but her ancestors were from Tibet, she said, so she's wearing the costume of one of the tribes from Tibet. It was so attractive that I asked her if I could take a picture of her. My mom's in a kebaya she borrowed from a Peranakan lady in church.

After the concert, we went to the Nursery to serve out the portion of the food we prepared for Nursery. The PFO circular had said to prepare food from your home country, provide recipe and divide into 2 portions, one for elementary school lunch, one for high school, and if you have kids in Nursery, then another 3rd portion for Nursery.

So Sat night, me and mom were toiling in the kitchen marinating all the meat.
Sun early morning, I woke up to grill the meat in the oven and to fry the peanut sauce.

Then mom helped me to skewer the meat chunks with toothpicks (we did mini-satay sticks, so have to reverse the order since I think toothpicks may not do well in the oven) while I pack the cucumber cubes and sauce.

A lot of work, not sure if it's worth it, after I saw what other moms brought. Some just bought cakes.

Anyway, my mom helped serve fruits in the Nursery to all the other kids.

I saw some girls in the Nursery play with the baby dolls and they set the 2 dolls up at the table to have tea together. It was so cute, I had to take a pic.

This is one of ds2's teachers. She's from Germany, so she wore a tee with a German word.

This girl was wearing a Chinese costume and her mom was wearing a qipao too, although her mom is obviously Caucasian. Maybe her dad is Chinese. Both mom and daughter are so beautiful.

This is ds1's friend, Pete, who was at N's BTS party (blogged previously). He had such a stylish trench coat on. But underneath it, you can see the traditional Korean boy costume. He's so adorable.

ds1 was running around the playground when me and mom arrived to say hi to him. He was such a darling grandson. He at once shouted to his friends, "Hey that's my grandma, she's here to visit me!"

So I took a pic of my mom with ds1 and his friends. The one in black traditional Japanese boy costume is R, and the one behind is M, who is wearing the Italia jersey. His dad is Italian, his mom half Japanese, half German.

I took this pic because I found it so amusing that kids are just kids. Even decked out in their glorious shiny costumes, they still sit and roll in the sand. I don't know if their moms will be horrified, but I saw the girls in their elaborate dresses just plonking themselves down on the sand to play.

I think we'll just let kids be kids. What they're wearing never gets in the way of what they want to do.

Then my mom took a pic of me and ds1, but I was actually in the midst of taking off his jacket to show off his costume fully. Too late.

Later that day, ds2 and I were playing on the steps of the bleachers in the school gym, waiting to collect my empty containers after people finished the food.

Mom took a pic for me. Can't remember what game I was playing with ds2, that our bodies should be twisted in that manner.

That's T and her son Gab. Colombian attire. So cool and flashy. Her ruffles and her son's ones match! I like the flowers in her hair too.

The crowd in the gym during the high school lunch time. Everyone was queuing to try the cuisines from all over the world. Since it was organised by the PFO, they had already instructed us parents to eat last. Students and teachers eat first. Only after they are done with lunch and back to classes, then parents can eat. A lot of parents couldn't wait till 2pm to eat, they were too hungry, so a lot of them, like me, brought our own food, or ate at the school cafeteria. Some thick-skinned ones, or maybe they didn't read the PFO's instructions, went ahead to eat, even before the students.

In Spore, I wonder if they would have been told off, since parents kind of lord over the teachers and school heads so much. But the parents who ate first were told by the PFO heads to wait. Of course, they told them off nicely, so they were not too embarrassed.

Still a long long queue. If Dh were here, he would start giving suggestions on how the tables of food should have been placed so that the queues would move faster and not cause a bottleneck in one area...

Maybe because he is always full of ideas and is very vocal about them, that's why he couldn't take it any longer where he was previously, and quit to do bowmaking.

But I must say most times, his ideas do sound logical.

The food table. There was only one long line of the food table, so students had only one choice, to start the queue from the head of the table. For 500+ students and teachers, I think that is really going to take long.

Sporean table. Sporean moms. My satay is one of the items there. There were samosas, gado gado, fried shrimp and other finger food. I didn't eat any, at all. Except for the gado gado, which a mom packed for me to bring home.

USA table. The mom in the cowboy hat is very friendly.

Korean table. The Korean moms are so united, they even brought Korean stuff to decorate the table.

Japanese table.

European food.

And a European mom! Her hubby's Chinese. And she can speak fluent Mandarin.

ds2 at home, mimicking one of the Korean teen student's performance. He sang a very upbeat Korean pop song, dancing and doing actions on stage. Very lively item which captured ds2's attention. The repeated hand action at the eye caught on with ds2.

Then he began using his fist as a pretend microphone to announce the next item. Very funny. Especially his posture, like he was standing really straight to make announcements. VIP, is it?

Forgot to mention that, at the same time, Dh's boss and a violin specialist are in town too, and Dh invited them over to our house for dinner the same night of the 27th. It was quite a day, cos the moment I reached home, I was in the kitchen preparing dinner.

Fortunately they liked the dishes. I prepared Korean and Chinese food.

I know Americans love dessert, but I think I failed them that night. I had nothing! No cake, no cookies, no pie and no icecream. Man!

So Dh cut lots of fruits, and I set out a platter of assorted chocolates. I think ds1 took most of the chocolates though. Grrrrr.

Then we took a group pic cos his boss and the violin trainer were leaving the next day for Utah.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

about us ;
-{dear-hubby}- dh
-{dear-son}-ds1 T
-{dear-son}-ds2 J
-{dear-daughter}-dd E
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