Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
We’re making progress. I slept from 8:30pm to 5:55am. Only once have I made it into the 4am hour without waking up. My typical night I’m up between 1am and 2am either on my own or usually because one of the kids is up. Tonight they are all resting soundly and it’s after 6:30. It will be good for all of us to be finally and totally on Singapore time. Everyone will be much more pleasant, including mommy and daddy. While they sleep I have the rare chance to blog with a clear head and not being pulled to fix a toy or get a snack for anyone.
We met Kathi and Kurt for dinner at McDonalds last night and let the kids run wild. We really shouldn’t have, but I just needed to not care. They have no play place. The McDonalds is in the mall and we had a table by the corridor which has those coin operated ride things. They ran and ran and ran and ran around and around and climbed all over them despite my hard stance that I will not pay $1 for a ride. I’m sure they were obnoxious to everyone that passed but Brian kept a loose eye on them so no one got hurt. On a typical day I keep my children close in line and out of others way. I bend over backwards not to be a hassle or annoyance to anyone anywhere, so much so that I can be oppressive to my sweet children and I know sometimes it makes Brian nuts that I’m so anal. It’s just one difference in our deeply rooted personalities and comes out in our parenting, but we’ve managed to find our tolerance level for each other.
So last night, they ran. And I talked and talked and talked. Likely I was a rotten dinner companion being so self-absorbed, but it’s okay. I haven’t had a real grown up conversation in almost two weeks and I am a social being that needs, no craves, social connection. Kathi has always and I mean always been there for me to talk with. She helped me through the hard times of having my first child and mourning the loss of my job and the person I was and encouraged me to find my new identity. It was a very dark time in life for me making that adjustment and I had only a few places to find support (you are one of them too Laura and I’m glad we’re still connected).
One of my favorite days was when Kathi had a day off of work and Ben was all of two or three months old. Kids were in school, normal people were working and I had nothing in my life to do but sit and nurse a baby. That defined depression for me, feeling I had no purpose. She suggested it and we drove down to Galveston Island and spent the entire day sitting on the beach watching the waves and floating in the water with Ben. I don’t know if I had ever felt so irresponsible. This from the girl who used to be teased by an old boyfriend about praying to have a good and “productive” day. It was the perfect thing for me to do that day and will always be at the top of my book of good days in my life.
Kathi is the perfect friend and knowing she would be here to support me, but more to just love me as I am here in Singapore has made the anticipation of our arrival more bearable. We met for ice cream on Thursday afternoon then walked back to our apartment so the kids could play while we talked. It was so good to connect again and hear about what is going on in her life and where her kids are (I taught her youngest, Bryce, in Sunday School in Houston now he’s married and they are expecting their first baby this summer). Jacob is in love with Kathi. I say her name and he gets the worlds cutest smile from ear to ear and says “Cat-e?” She watched Ben do a magic show in our living room and cheered him on making him feel amazing inside, I could tell by his smile. She even said she’ll hang out with me and my kids when we move out of the city after our household good arrive. She has an angel heart and I’m grateful she’s my friend. We love her. All five of us.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
This morning I commented to Brian in total amazement that this is the best thing we’ve ever done if moving across the world means that Maddie Mae will continue to be this nice, patient, kind and helpful. From the time we boarded the flight leaving LAX she’s been a joy. This is not the same girl we left with and we don’t know what happened. She has often asked what she can do to help out, what chores need to be done, if there is any laundry to fold or floor to sweep. She has mostly obeyed and been generally more pleasant than she has been in the last two years. I’m a realist, this won’t last, but it’s been such a blessing to have her so calm and happy during this stressful time. Ben overheard our conversation and decided to change Maddie’s name to Help-apore since she is a helper when we live in Singapore.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Pedestrian traffic tends to pass on the other side from the US custom.
You must “top up” things instead of “upgrade” your rental car or “add more funds” to your accounts.
If you have a question about something you must “query Mr. X” for more information rather than ask him.
“On the stove” is to turn the stove on.
Want to quickly jump in the shower to clean up and run out? Well give yourself an extra 15 minutes if you want it to be a warm shower. Same thing for washing the dishes. You must flip a switch to warm your water so planning ahead is key. It’s all about saving energy and money.
Special K cereal, a staple in our home, is available at about $10/box but they definitely use a different formula to make it. The strawberries are more grey than red but softer than back home.
Food portions at the store are half the size and twice the price, even after the currency conversion.
The fridge here leaves much to be desired. It’s small and I mean really small. I’m a Costco girl at heart and require a deep freeze to be truly content.
Tampons must be a novelty item. 7-11 didn’t have any at all, the grocery had a huge section of maxi pads but only one box of tampons for sale.
Nightlights are not required. There is enough ambient light from living in the city that unless I want to read a book, I can see just fine with all the lights off.
Using a grocery cart is like at Aldi in Virginia. You must insert a coin to use it and get it back upon return.
Observations about things so far…
Apparently this is a push not pull country when it comes to entering buildings. All doors go opposite from what we are used to doing. Three days in and I’m starting to get it right at least some of the time. On Monday the kids couldn’t get into the play place here at the hotel. Ben pulled with all his strength but couldn’t make that stubborn door budge. It was kind of funny actually as I stood on the playground motioning for him to push and giggling to myself. Funny that even a six year old has that written in his subconscious brain already.
Same thing about the light switches. Down is no longer off. Up is off. This one could drive me batty. I’m a little neurotic when it comes to having all the light switches lined up in my home (see this story if you don’t believe me).
Our driver picked us up from the airport and took us to the van/bus thing. He said to leave the luggage at the back and come sit down while he loaded it up. He went around to the driver side and we herded the kids to the passenger side to load them in. Only there was no door. Oh yeah. We looked at each other. It won’t be the last time we make that mistake. The driver had gone to the passenger side to open our door for us. Lucky for us, slow moving kids masked our mistake and I don’t think he noticed our flub up.
Driving home from the airport began thinking about how we sure had been on a lot of expressways or divided/one way roads. Then I finally realized there were no cars on the other side of the road, because they drive on the other side of the road. Turning my head to the other side I found all the other traffic.
We walk to the grocery store for everything. It’s not a bad walk, but we have to carry everything we buy plus our kids. The stroller didn’t fit in the air freight box so I just gave it away before we moved. Probably should have kept it and checked it on the airplane. In the moment though it was one more thing to carry and I was trying to minimize. By the time our other stroller arrives in sea freight we’ll live in the suburbs and won’t need it quite so badly. I knew. I just didn’t think. Oh well.
My frustration level is really high right now. Don’t really want to talk to anyone and certainly not about “how do you feel about” this and that. The answer is crappy and like I want to cry all the time. It’s better to just leave it be for now. I need a few weeks to normalize to my new life. And even then, in about six weeks, right when I start to figure out my life, we will move again and start all over. We knew exactly what we were getting into when we agreed to this assignment and in the long run it’s going to be amazing and something I will never regret doing. It’s the here and now that is hard.
Monday, January 24, 2011
It's 4:30am in Singapore. Flights went well. Kids did AMAZING. So grateful for that! goal for yesterday was to keep the kids awake. We tried so hard. Alas, even Brian and I couldn't pry our eyelids open anymore after 3pm. We all crashed.
I flipped over on the couch around 6:30pm and noticed the time on the clock. I realized we had to make them wake up or we'd be up all night long thinking it was daytime. Yeah. That did NOT go well. By 7pm we called it a night, Ben and Maddie haven't eaten basically anything for over 24 hours.
All three kids got up at 12:30am. Successfully got them all back to sleep after a drink of water. I think everyone will be up soon and be starved to death. But, while they are sleeping again, I think I'll try to catch a tiny bit more shut eye. Today is all on me because Brian has to go to work already. Let real life begin! I really do think we're going to love this.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
only a month past two years old so i'm not pushing it any time soon.
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Monday, January 3, 2011
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Amanda, You didn't leave an email, so maybe you'll check back and see that your photo was deleted. I was genuine in saying you have a cute family. So sorry for posting and I hope you aren't too upset. Having the email address I do I get flooded with junk from other people that I assume use me as a dummy address. I got two messages just yesterday from Ron Zufelt and someone else Zufelt that think I am in their family. I have asked four times for them to remove me from their family distribution list as they send 10 MB of pictures every few weeks of people I've never met. Their response? "Your email address is just too close to my daughter-in-laws" so they can't promise it won't happen again. Sorry I get frusterated by it all. I totally understand your feelings. Many people prefer not to be public online. The photo has been removed. As a kindness in return, please be careful not to use my email in the future. Thanks. No hard feelings.
***Picture deleted at request of the real Amanda.***
Aren't we cute?? So I've been meaning to tell everyone. I changed my name to Amanda Zufelt and then went blonde. Oh yeah. And got a new husband and two kids instead of three. Here's what happens when people type in the wrong email address.
I'm sure it was an accident since the account actually does exist and it wasn't a scam email. Costco sent me the note today saying my online account would be deleted in January 8 due to inactivity. Interesting. First, my name is not Amanda. Second, I'm becoming more and more a believer that everyone is out to get me (via email). Just for kicks, I decided it might be fun to see if I could get into the Costco account. Sure enough they sent me a new password to the email address she signed up (mine) and I got to check out sweet Amanda's family pics. Love them by the way. Cute family.
One more thing. Big shout out to Alene Zufelt from your buddy Duane Domagalski (you know, the service manager at Andrew Toyota in Wisconsin). He just wrote to say Happy Birthday on the 24th of this month. He sends me notes for you from time to time. He also informed me that you are over due for an oil change a few months ago. Sorry for not delivering the message sooner. Peter Klein sent a coupon to you. Let me know if you want to use it.
My mother-in-law sometimes teases me about me always stealing the login/screen name "azufelt." She says I'm always too fast (her name is Anne). Hopefully this makes her feel just a little bit better. Having an email so generic is beginning to cause problems afterall.