Monday, November 24, 2008 ;
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