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Singapore

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.

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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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.

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It feels glorious to be home. Singapore has changed so much since I last visited just 13 months ago. Here is the city skyline that warms my heart and fills me with pride everyone I see it. Even though I had no part to play in Singapore’s current first world status and wealth, I couldn’t be more proud to be Singaporean.
Sometimes I feel somewhat sad that I won’t get to raise Benji – who currently is of Australian citizenship – in my home country because in all likelihood we won’t be settling down here. But I will share with him as much as possible about this great city state to help him understand and appreciate one part of his family’s history and roots.
It has been an amazing past week hanging out with my family and friends. Everyone loves a baby, and I’m lucky that three of my grandparents are still alive to get to see Benji. It’s really cool to get to see the different generations hang out. One of my grandmas teared when she met him; I know they were of joy coz I’m the daughter of her favorite son and to be able see the offsprings from his line is especially precious to her. Sigh.

I realize this is a rather disjointed post. So many thoughts are swirling in my mind; it’s hard to concisely and properly sum it all up in a short post.

Another 8 more days before we leave for Australia. Time, please slow down!

The longer I stay away from Singapore, the more I yearn to be back there. No matter where I live and how comfortable I am, I know I will never feel as connected to any other place than Singapore. Every time I land at the Singapore Changi Airport and feel the humidity envelope me, hear the broken English spoken, see the orderly streets, skyscrapers, tall buildings, big malls, and city lights, I get goose bumps for I know I’m home. Home to a place where I’m safe, where I grew up in, where my family and friends are, where familiarity reeks in every corner. I know that I can put down all barriers and just be. I know people get me and I get them.

I miss you, my Singapore, the one place I know I can truly call home. Anytime.

Happy National Day. May God continue to bless this little city-state-country.