Thursday, September 27, 2007

My new Macbook

Ok so I've gone over to the dark side.

My fingers are still getting used to the placement of the keys on this new 13" macbook, but it's a little tougher to get rid of the right clicking. Thank God I still can use the right-click mouse on this!

What I loved was the packaging, the thought put even into the design of the styrofoam and box the macbook is sold in.

My new macbook

And here's Dylan asleep two days ago. Another one of those random mommy-moments when I just had to take a pic of him. Sorry. He had just turned a whole 9 months old!


Ushering in Fall

It's been an incredibly warm first week of the New England autumn.

Temperature soared to close to 30 degrees midday, so much so I welcomed the cool of the air-conditioned library and classroom. Just like I would back home.

On Sunday evening, near dusk, people gathered at the foot of Week's Bridge along Charles' River. And ushered in Autumn with song and dance, complete with huge green waving giant puppets (named Oshun and Popeidon) and a New Orleans-style brass band. The event was called RiverSing.

Pretty festive.

Here's ah-ma wheeling baby along the river. IMG_1861.JPG

Smile for the camera!IMG_1863.JPG

Amid festivity

Scary big green waving giant from the top of the bridge (bad pic, so kept it small)

Dylan taking it all in (including a bite of the brochure!)


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Settling In

School started this week and I already need to turn in 2 assignments. Yikes.

For mom and Dylan, it means more and longer hours of mommy being away, and ah-ma having to look for all kinds of ways to distract the little one for hours on end. He's getting better with her though. Although he still pines for me, he's got a great playground to go to, and here at the complex they've got great infant playing areas that are both indoors and outdoors.

Here, you see Dylan on one of his first forays into the magical experience of being on a swing. One hardly finds playgrounds like these in Singapore any more.

Some pictures -

In front of our apartment block 28 (the little bubba's wondering what he has on his head)

"Get this walker (which mommy got off craigslist for $25!) away from me!"

"The tomatoes here are huge - just look at the one I'm holding! Totally organic."

"I like it here. Oh yeah."

"Check out my new friend from the joint."


Wednesday, September 12, 2007


KP and JH popped over today - the childcare facility they were looking at happened to be nearby.

So little Dylan found a playmate in 6-month-old Ryan, albeit a little reluctantly in the beginning. But the look on their faces as they interacted is simply precious. Wonderful.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Now we're in business!

Okay, so we were off to a rough start.

Some of you think that I still got the shorter end of the stick with the "remorseful" reply from Global Travels, and I should be demanding compensation of some kind. In ordinary circumstances, I might have, but right now I guess there are just too many things I need to prioritize...

Anyway, to continue the story.

On Day 2, totally jet lagged, we persevered on and Uncle Gerry took us around the huge malls in Framingham to start shopping for the home. I bought a futon sofa from Target for $150, and a car-seat that we'll use as Dylan's high chair for about $40. Not bad, so far.

We put up at Uncle Gerald's the first night, but moved into a totally spartan apartment and spent the second night there.

Me, my mom and dylan squeezing into a queen-sized mattress plonked in the middle of the living room, amid our barang. It felt like it was just a super single.

I dreamt we were refugees, cast-aways making do and surviving.

It's now almost exactly one week since we've arrived. Looking back on just the past few days, I'm just completely amazed, relieved, and grateful at just how far we've come!

Here's a look at just the living room and the open concept kitchen. It's a small cosy 2-bedder here, round about 600 sq ft.

The real steal by far is $15 rug you see. I got it at the Harvard Habitat for Humanity yard sale. So it's used, but it's still very new compared to the other rugs I saw, no hairs entangled in the rug fibres, very little dust.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

In Cambridge, MA 02138

Dear friends who've been praying for me and baby,

Here's an update of how we've been. The travel on QF/BA was a nightmare because my travel agent did not arrange for the infant bassinet. For the full story, you can read my email complaint and their reply below. To protect the innocent, I've blanked out the names:

Dear Ms Chen

I am truly sorry for the inconvenience that we have caused you and your family due to our mistake. It was a human error on our part and we offer no excuses for it. XX is full of remorse and hope you will give us a chance to atone for the mistake.

We are currently talking to the airline to ensure that the bassinet for the return trip is arranged. We will write to you again when we have the bassinet confirmed in writing.

I will be travelling from 8 to 16 September and will not have access to email. If you need further assistance, please contact either XX or XXX during my absence.

I hope you will not think less of us when you plan your next trip.

Thank you
General Manager, Operations
Global Travel Pte Ltd

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Yours truly
Date: Sep 6, 2007 11:45 AM

Dear XXX,

Imagine my HORROR, when we arrived at Terminal 1 on Tuesday night to find that my travel agent had NOT arranged the airline to provide infant travel facilities. The flight was overbooked, and the counter said that they could not give me a baby bassinet, and I could not even sit with my mother because the travel agent had given no instructions.

Why did this happen? XXX, I thought I specifically said to please ensure that I'm travelling with baby bassinet and baby food, and that my mother gets to sit with me. On both legs of the flight, from Sing-London and then London-Boston, we had to plead for the airline to change their passenger seating to accommodate my baby and mother, when all this should have been done by you.

It was gruelling enough to travel for more than 24 hours with a baby, I REALLY DID NOT NEED the additional stress caused by this very unpleasant experience.

I'm not at all confident now that in my return flight, the same would be arranged. It seems I can't take for granted a BASIC service that I should be able to trust my travel agent with.

I am copying XXXY on this email because with the string of mistakes throughout the entire ticket-booking experience has really made a very BAD impression, and I've lost faith in using Global Travels now, even though I have to still contact you for the return legs of the tickets for me, my mom, husband and father.

Although I know Global Travels is a big player in the field, and has to handle the government account which is HUGE, it is NO EXCUSE to be so NEGLIGENT in ensuring basic travel facilities are provided.

Please provide an explanation of why the QF/BA flights did not accommodate my requests. Please also tell me whether or not I have to personally make this request on my return leg to Singapore, or can I count on you to do it for me.





It's been a tough few days. Dylan was especially cranky the last 2 hours and making scene in the aircraft. I had to sit next to a Swiss-American called Jonah, who was very gracious about it all, thank God.

It's been very tiring for mom and me so far, brining in furniture and setting up the apartment, all the time while looking after Dylan. The baby is also not very used to Mom, and would cry quite badly when I'm gone from the apartment for too long. Poor mom has to cook and clean, and make sure baby is comfortable, so please pray for her.

I'm also coming down with a scratchy throat from the dry air, although the weather has been hot the past two days, so actually quite pleasant.

Thankfully, Uncle Gerry (a friend and contemporary's of my dad's) has been a great help, he even went to buy some pillows, bathroom and kitchen mats, and shower curtains for us last night! We're more or less settled in, and should be feeling more comfortable by the end of the week.

I just need to learn to let go and trust and God will take care of Mom and baby, because come Monday I'll be away from the apartment for longer stretches of time. Please pray for us.

Meantime, some photos of us on Day 2:

Me, Jet Lagged? No way!

Look at the camera!

At TJ Max

Getting a little chilly

Monday, September 03, 2007

Final Day, or before Day One

So this is my final morning in Singapore, before the big fly-over.

We went to the frankel corner coffeeshop for breakfast, and got the auntie there to give us her mailing address again cos E. lost it when she gave it to us on Sunday.

Found out her name is Koh Kim Wah, and stays in Circuit Road. She leaves home at 5.30am every morning to catch the bus to the coffeeshop, and opens the stall by 6.15am.

It's amazing how much you can get to know someone you see every Sunday morning, and order "2 teh-pengs, 2 soft buns" from but know so little about. Just because she takes an interest in your little bubba.


Dreamt last night that the plane we were on was hijacked, and the terrorists were going to slit my throat in front of my horrified mom and baby.

I know, I know! Vivid imagination, especially when it comes to dreaming up worst case scenarios.


I suppose a lot of this springs from a general sense of unease that I've been harbouring over this journey we're about to embark on - literally and figuratively.

Even though friends and colleagues are excited, and are keeping us in prayer, I've been having trouble shaking off the anxiety and fears. E. says what's making it worse is the fact that I don't sit down and write down exactly what are the things I need to get done when I'm over in Boston.

He's probably right.

Ok so here's the deal:

1) We fly tonight. Reach Heathrow in 13 hours and rest for 5 hours. Hopefully, Dylan will be sleeping through most of this. Another 7 hours to fly into Logan Airport.

2) We reach Boston past noon East Coast time, 5 Sep. Catch a ride from Uncle Gerry to the apartment. Collect keys and settle in. Try to contact Esther, at whose apartment some of the furniture is now at. Set up internet connection at the apartment.

3) Day 2: Get a bank account and a pre-paid phone. Not sure how to shop around for the best deal on short notice. Hopefully can get some good advice on this from Uncle Gerry. Find the nearest and cheapest groceries store and shop shop shop!

4) Day 3&4: Find out how to get a zipcar, and how to drive to the Science Centre lawn, where the Harvard Habitat for Humanity is putting up a "Stuff Sale" - hopefully we can get some good pieces of furniture there - am looking at sofa set/bed, dining table set, maybe a TV console.

5) Day 5 onwards - Orientation starts. Will think about that more when that comes.


Meantime, covet your prayers for a safe, hassle-free flight.

Please also keep Dylan's grandpa (E's dad)in your prayers. He went in for a check-up yesterday. Doctor said they "found something" on his x-ray, somewhere near the top of his right lung.

He took another x-ray.

The good news is that it's not TB.

The possible bad news, which he of course didn't say at all when he came back home yesterday - is that it might be a relapse of his cancer 15 years ago.

We pray that that's not the case, of course.

I guess we both know that both grandpa and grandma will miss Dylan terribly, so I'm consciously letting them spend more time with the little one. He's getting cuter and cuter by the day - more expressive, and more receptive now that he is starting to understand our language.

Here are the more recent photos of our 8-month old:

"Let me help pack your DHL box mommy!"
Helping to pack the DHL box

"My first merry-go-round - Woohoo, giddy-up, horsie!"
First Merry-go-round

At Lawry's with cousin Sara
With baby Sara

Me in my hoodie at Rice Table
At Rice Table

Me in Grandpa's Laundry Basket
In the Laundry Basket 2