Archive

Vacation

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.

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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.

 

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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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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!

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Thanks to Benji, my in laws decided to take a family vacation together in Seoul to see this town and, visit the extended family most of whom live here, while also getting to spend time with Benji. My sister in law and her husband flew in from Hawaii where they live, my parents in law came from Los Angeles, and us, flew in from Canada via Japan. It has been a pretty crazy trip so far, getting chauffeured around this town in a van: all 8 of us (baby included and the driver, Bry’s uncle who kindly volunteered to do this) to see as many tourist sights as possible plus squeeze in engagements with the extended family who my in laws don’t get to see very much.
It is interesting traveling with so many people from different generations. I must admit there were some trying moments but for the most part I’m really enjoying the trip.
Above is a photo taken at one of the family lunches. Typical Korean meal with tons of little dishes. And having the meal seated on the floor.
More updates later.

We’re now in Seoul, South Korea, and *finally* had a day to rest up today after nearly a full month of continuous activities. Bry’s been putting up hundreds of photos on our Flickr account for family and friends around the world to keep up with our travels (and Benji), and here’s a crazy one I just saw, of the baby food section at one of the inner suburban grocery stores where we got Benji’s jar food. What a spread!

On the surface Japan, like most Asian countries, is a highly conservative country. With that knowledge, I was slightly worried about how I would go about nursing Benji outside our hotel room. My single and childless friends in Japan aren’t plugged into the whole motherhood scene neither are my relatives, so I didn’t have insider information or advice there.
As expected, mothers in Tokyo do not nurse their babies in public. Not even with a nursing apron. When I suggested that to Bry’s Japanese cousin who we were visiting, she seemed to think it was not at all kosher.
So how do moms nurse?! I was lucky enough to wander into the kids department in a giant mall the day after we arrived in Tokyo because Bry’s relatives wanted to get Benji a present, and decided to check out their baby changing facilities. I popped into what I thought was a just a baby changing room only to be pleasantly surprised that there were not only about eight baby changing tables with proper mattresses, but also individual cubicles for moms to nurse their babies in complete privacy.
Whoah!
There were also diaper bags available, hot water dispensers for moms who bottle feed, an infant weighing station, and high chairs for feeding babies/toddlers solids. It was such a wonderful facility!
Since then, I have gone to various other department stores to use their nursing rooms and they never disappoint. All the rooms I’ve been to have been clean and extremely well maintained. While sometimes I wish I could just have the freedom to nurse wherever I want, I also see the benefits of these brilliant nursing facilities.
Tomorrow we go to Seoul to visit other family. I wonder what their nursing culture is like. A good friend of mine who is Korean, has a one year old kid and who lives there mentioned that while it is not too common, there are women who nurse discreetly in public…but it wouldn’t be a big deal not to do it in public if they, too have such awesome facilities like the Japanese. <;;strong20120604-214607.jpg

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