Saturday, December 20, 2008 ;
2:24 PM
We have a really cool week ahead, with a range of temperatures all below 0 deg C. Our warm clothing are mostly in the boxes that have yet to arrive, so we won't be going out a lot.

Some pics of our life at home now:

ds2 fell asleep on his brother's violin case. He was carrying his brother's Xmas gift from school, a furry tiger pencil case. He likes all his brother's stuff more than his own. When ds1 returns from school, he is the first one to rush to him and unpack his bag.

When his brother has homework, he keeps bugging me for homework too. Nursery kids don't have homework, I say. But he insists, so I have to sit him down and pretend the activity books are homework. So now he calls the mazes and join-the-dots activities "homework".

And he was the one who opened all of ds1's Xmas gifts from school. He got so many cards and gifts that I felt guilty. Am I supposed to let him bring gifts for his friends too? I thought people in China won't celebrate it much, but they seem to embrace it with more fervour, even though there is no religious attachment for it.

They like to put up Xmas trees, have parties and exchange gifts too.

I had a lot of cooking fun too. Ayi taught me more stuff. This particular day, she showed me how to make Korean Beef Bulgogi. I've been learning how to pronounce the words properly too. I used to just pronounce "bulgogi" the English way. Now I learn to speak through my nose a little more. At least, it sounds like it needs more nasal effect to get it right, hehe. I'm sure I still sound really funny though, cos she always makes me repeat it again when I attempt any word.

I think I'm hopeless in Korean. She's shown me how to read all the food labels once already but when she leaves, I forget them all, and have to ask her again the next time. I better scribble it down in English next time. All the characters look so foreign, and so different from Chinese. She says she can decipher Japanese too, since a lot of Korean and Japanese words are similar. My!

That's her. Very petite and gentle lady.

The Bank of China branch at our place had a grand opening ceremony for their extension, a special block for their VVIP customers. Very very posh and grand lounge and service areas. Just like Din Tai Fung and many other services here, they cater specially to big clients because people here like to have special treatment and have grand entrances.

These are all the firecracker remnants. By the way, unlike in Utah, where firecrackers can be lit on certain fixed days in the year (eg 4th of July), China doesn't have such laws. So when our neighbor's child has a birthday or someone has a wedding, they just light them up. So very often, and at all times of the day, we hear firecrackers.

We get to hear them almost every week. And I heard from friends that for CNY, we'll hear it all 15 days and even in the middle of the night.

It's getting a little lonely around here since most of the moms I know have left for home or some vacation destination.

Those whose homes are nearby (eg Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan) have all returned home since there is a 3 week hol. Those whose homes are further take the chance to vacation nearby. A lot of Americans are going to HK or Japan Disneyland.

The Europeans chose various destinations. The French mom I often talk with using "sign language" is going to Singapore! But she's already gone and will stay only 4 days, so I won't be there when she is. After Singapore, they're flying to Sydney till Jan and then fly back to Tianjin.

For them, they go home only in summer when it is long enough. 3 weeks is too short to go through jet lag and all the packing. They'd rather explore the area here. I'd do that too. For a lot of them, Asia has a lot of exotic appeal.

We're counting down to next Sat when we get back. My sister's been telling me about the new Jurong Point extension and the SAFRA club that's opening just at our doorstep. It boasts the largest indoor playground for kids in Singapore, so I am excited about that. Hope it's good.

My sis say we need not step into Orchard Rd anymore since every shop seems to have moved to Jurong Point. Even stores like Aussino which I used to have to travel to West Mall for, is at JP now. It also has so many bank branches there, so convenient. The bookstores, gift shops, restaurants... wow, lovely. Din Tai Fung is there too. I haven't tried it yet, can do so now.

So glad to have bought that flat 5 yrs ago. Did not expect so many things to spring up in these 5 yrs. I guess I won't sell it in a hurry. Furthermore my financial analyst friend says the recession will last and things will continue to go downhill within 5 yrs.

Although we are affected by it in that we are stuck here with not a great pay (since USD is down now vs RMB), we are thankful not to have debts or loans to pay. If things fail here, we'll return home and live in our humble abode. At least we won't be homeless and can still survive. No stress there.

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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