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Travels

Now that Benji is sleeping through the night again (Praise the Lord!!), I have more time and energy to do stuff for me!! The blog was left quite unattended for a few months, and now it’s time to do a quick round-up of what we’ve been up to the last few months. I’ve decided to write more down whenever possible, to keep the memories alive and eventually publish a journal for Benj for his 18th or 21st birthday.

November

We celebrated Benji’s first birthday! The Koreans do a big celebration for their kids’ 1st birthdays, a tradition called Dol. Typically, the kid and parents wear the traditional Korean outfit, a Hanbok. Other rituals include prayers, giving of Korean cakes to friends and relatives, song and dance, as well as a fortune telling ritual of predicting a child’s future career by getting him/her to pick an object from a few placed in their reach. But because Benji is only half-Korean (technically, half Korean-American), and his dad (the Korean) does not really care for traditions, we only incorporated the hanbok and fortune telling ritual for fun. 🙂 We laid out a pair of sunglasses, a spatula, a stethoscope, a pen, and a book.

You must be dying to know what he picked: a pair of sunglasses! Which was meant to be a symbol for superstar. The next Psy, perhaps? The weather was quite warm that day, but we still had a great time celebrating it with a lovely barbecue at a nearby park.

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Oh, I also made my first cake. The cake recipe was taken from here (allergy-free recipe) (I’ve also made cupcakes from it for my coworkers, who have since demanded I share the recipe with them and made them a few times for their family/friends!!). And the actual cake idea was taken from this website. Overall, the exercise was a bit stressful since it was my first attempt at a cake, but thankfully everything went okay and the cake turned out yummy and almost like how it was supposed to look!

Two days later, Benji started walking on his own…and since then, it’s been mayhem!!

December

We were extremely busy with Christmas and hanging out at various parks with friends. We even made it to the beach once!

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January

Singapore!! Benji’s dad had to attend a conference in the States, and because peak season travel tickets to the US was ridiculously exorbitant, I decided to go to Singapore instead so the fam and friends could hang out with Benji (and me). It was a fantastic trip. I had a bit more freedom this trip than last because I’m no longer breastfeeding and my kind parents were more than happy to babysit him in the day and night while I went off shopping and meeting friends for coffees/late dinners. (Thank you, mom n dad!!!)

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After we returned from overseas, Benji, Bry, and I went for a short overnight trip to the Mornington Peninsula. We also went to the aquarium with some friends!

We’re really having fun with Benji these days, especially at the parks and playgrounds (and the beach!).20130131-134612.jpg

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This has been our best Melbourne summer yet.

Me and my good friend, Sonya with our little dudes, in Seoul.

Was just looking through photos from our trip through Asia and smiled when I saw this. It’s one of my favorites. It captured so well how we were feeling then: simply joyous to have gotten the rare chance to catch up with each other and finally meet the other’s kid.

Ah, fond memories.

It is Singapore’s National (Independence) Day tomorrow, August 9. This post is dedicated to Singapore. Taken from a popular and beautifully written song, “Home,” written for Singapore’s National Day a few years ago: “This is home surely, as my senses tell me/This is where I won’t be alone, for this is where I know it’s home.” 

Happy Birthday, Singapore. I am glad to have grown up in such a wonderful country, and proud to call myself a Singaporean.

Here are some photos from our recent trip there, always surrounded by the warmth and love of our family and friends.

Marina Bay Sands

Singapore Flyer

Gardens by the bay

Family

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friends

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Garlic is heavily consumed in Seoul, probably second to or on par with Italy. In case you needed evidence, here it is!

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Koreans love to pickle their food. It is said they did it because of lack of refrigeration before its invention, and the surrounding weather conditions (extremely cold most of the year) are ideal for pickling. It is typical to be served a variety of these side dishes along with the main meal in any Korean restaurant these days.

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Chili peppers are also heavily consumed in Korea. They love spicy food which worked out well for me because I do, too!

Street food in Seoul. This is a common sight in many of the Seoul street markets.

Silkworms for lunch, anybody? Saw a few stands selling them. I’ve never tried them and was not game enough on this trip.

Koreans love their canned food, too. Here canned food are super neatly displayed at a grocery store.

Shaved ice with green tea ice cream and red beans. I broke my dairy free diet for a couple days to have this. It was good. Thank goodness the weather was just hot and humid enough to keep Benji’s eczema from flaring up badly. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Revisiting some old photos in my iPhone and thought I’d share this one taken on one of my many walks around Kitsilano where we lived in Vancouver. Miss Kits, it’s easily my favorite neighborhood ever; one I’d move to in a heartbeat. That, and Pasadena. 🙂

We’ve been back in Melbourne a week now. I have such mixed feelings being here. It’s our home but I have never completely felt at ease here. And I still don’t. I miss Vancouver a lot, and needless to say, miss our families, both Bry’s and mine.

It’s now winter in the Southern Hemisphere and in just a short week, Benji’s eczema got markedly worse (his skin was wonderfully glowing in Asia, especially in humid Singapore). Lots of other new Benji developments have taken place in this short span: he caught his first cold and had a temperature two nights ago. He seemed better today, though is still slightly congested (only really obvious when he’s feeding). He is showing huge signs of separation anxiety, which is manifested mostly in the night. He now wakes up once every two hours and can only be settled back to sleep by me.

On the plus side, he’s sitting up really well and making fervent attempts at crawling. 🙂

When we first arrived back in Melbourne, my milk supply decreased quite a bit. It was a rather stressful first few days, from saying goodbye to my family and suddenly being by ourselves again, to having to unpack boxes from our storage and “move” back into our place…But thanks to the kind moms who responded to my “plea” – I did try oatmeal, and also ate a lot more food during mealtimes, kept hydrated, and have been going to bed at around 10pm every night. Two days ago, my milk supply seemed to have return – whew.

Apologies if this post sounds negative – I am still feeling somewhat overwhelmed. In the next week, we are starting Benji at a daycare, and I am returning to work one day a week. We might also start him on formula as I’m thinking of weaning him off the breast. Huge milestones, and honestly, I don’t know if they can be achieved without us going out of our minds given how unsettled Benji has become in the last week.

Other “to do”s in the next week: attend a playgroup with Benji – our first in Melbourne, and look out for activities around town to do with him. Basically, we are starting our “mom and baby” life from scratch: will it be just as awesome as our experience in Vancouver?

So I have to confess: I had a pretty big cry on Bry’s shoulder this evening after putting Benji to bed from all the things we’ve had to deal with so far and potential problems to come. I felt better after that meltdown…but yeah, it’s not looking peachy.

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Tool Benji to a “baby spa,” a place that essentially introduces babies to swimming. Being nearly 7months at that time, he was quite aware of being in a completely new environment and doing a new activity. He was so tense at first, whining and crying and needed lots of cajoling and assurance. But after about twenty minutes or so, he was able to graduate to a bigger tub and by the end of the session, kick his legs a little in the water, a sign that he was relaxing and enjoying it. I was glad too that my family: mom, dad, brother and sister were also there and got to witness this momentous occasion. At one point there were seven cameras/camera phones snapping away-kinda ridiculous but given the limited time everyone gets to spend with Benji, it’s understandable. 🙂
We are still having so much fun here. Benji just turned seven months yesterday. I sound so cliche but I can’t help saying that time is flying by too quickly.