Monday, November 24, 2008 ;
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

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