Sunday, September 20, 2015

First Hike in Singapore - November 2013 Divali Day Off!

Last Monday, 4th November, with a day off school for Divali, an Indian "Christmas" holiday, Elijah and I went on an amazing hike with his friend Adam and mama Mindy. Who needs a zoo when instead you can walk the Petai trail on the MacRitchie Reservoir?!  We enjoyed the many monkeys, turtles, lizards and butterflies all along our path and these little guys were the first to greet us!

Really, these guys we're Elijah's first inkling that this would be a pretty cool hike!
 The meticulousness of the cleaning was loving and so heartwarming...
 and so we're off...
Turtles, lizards...
 ...flora, fauna and
...really cool root systems!
 This was an interesting sight to come upon...after our initial intro to the monkeys, at first glance, we thought that these trees were full of more monkeys!  They were, in fact, huge dried leaves, apparently having fallen from above landing in the branches below.  
 They were pretty big.
 There were new sights at every turn...
 ...and height...
 This...was an awesomely cool tree!...who knew? chewing gum!
 ...and yet another monkey approaches...
 "don't let him see the whites of your teeth"
 Seriously, these guys are amazing!

 ...and we come to the end of the Petai trail.
...and make our way onto the Prunus trail back to the car.

  Last sightings of the lizard...
 The take-away gift
Call it...a manicured jungle!
 Very typical of rain gutters in Singapore
 Leaving the trail, we return to civilization.
Happy Divali!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

To begin again...

 So...if it's going to begin again, it's got to happen now!  Even as I make dinner for the family tonight, my mind is full of the journey we've been on in the 3 1/2 years since I last posted...and how to begin again.  A new friend recently posted on her blog the following quote from Frank Smith:

"Thoughts are created in the act of writing. It is a myth that you must have something to say in order to write. Reality: You often need to write in order to have anything to say."

This is the point from which I must begin again. I've learned that I'm an evolutionary being.  I don't progress necessarily by setting one goal and moving on to the next (future post: Why I Don't Do Diets)...I often take the back roads, the long and windy ones.  The scenic ones. The road won't necessarily be paved with all the tick marks of the 'list' but it will be 'lovely' and 'picturesque,' reminiscent of the comings and goings of living a life with all of the crazy and unpredictability that has been: Our Life In France.

Last I wrote, June 2010, we had been in France a year and a half.  We were relishing the joyous novelty of being in Paris, of living in the City of Lights, loving random things like the fact that in order to take our Mac Books to get fixed, the only place, at that point, was the Apple Store at the Louvre! Seriously, a bummer ride to take!  Seriously?...every time we had to drive in, turning left onto Rue Antoine de Saint Expèry, there in full view was - Le Tour Eiffel!  Each time, even up until our last trip to the ET, I kept thinking, and may this be ever our mantra to Living Life Overseas, may we never take this for granted.

At that point, we didn't know how long we would be in France.  At that point, we were still pushing rocks up hills trying to understand why our visas were taking so long to go through; why every time we put paperwork in hoping to advance the visa cause, we were told we had yet another form to file, waited weeks for that to be processed, only to be then told that something was yet still missing, during which time, we had to leave the country every 3 months to maintain our still-visitor visa status.  By the time our visas officially did come, we had to fly to San Francisco, last minute, to pick them up!  The insanity of this requirement, this obligation, will never cease to bewilder us or our pocket book!  Those last minute tickets wound up costing €10K! 'Insanity' became the special key-word we would use to capture pretty much anything we neither understood nor could tolerate but had no choice but to endure.

Three years have changed a lot. Our kids grew up. They struggled. They needed friends. They learned a new language. They struggled some more. They made friends. They went on holidays. We went on holidays.  Swiss holidays.  French holidays.  Oooh là là.  Daddy worked.  They struggled some more. We endured.  We treasured loving friendships.  We overcame.  We moved across town (other end of the village, 3 minutes). We installed a kitchen - in a rental. What?!  We had a garden.  We gardened.  We composted.  Lots of crazy.  Lots of amazing.  Lots of Daddy working.  Lotsa-lotsa things.  ...and then we moved to Singapore!

Aaahh, so happy to be here!  J'adore la france, mais, je suis contente d'être là.  We're in the right place. We are ready to live, love, work and play!  Singapore and SE Asia - we're ready for you! 


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Un But Nouveau (a new goal)

So I have a new goal:

One photo per day.  One story or thought to accompany it.  One month.  We'll go from there.

It's simple.  It's brief.  It's ambitious - for me.

We'll see how it goes.


Here goes:

Day 1

 Joshua took this.  It's on my facebook page.

I've been trying to encourage an interest in photography.

He's not biting.

But he did take this photo.

It's great, don't you think? 

Technically, I couldn't speak as to whether or not this is the case.

But my aesthetics tell me it's a good one.


Avante garde?  

Do I even know what that means?

Or just plain cool.

What is curious to me is that I was driving when he took the photo.  He was sitting directly behind me as I handed him the camera and casually said, as we were approaching the Eiffel Tower, 
"hey, why don't you take some photos..."

I was hoping something inside him would spark.

He took this photo first.

Then I quickly glanced back and realized that he was shooting through the window...

Inside, I'm thinking: 

"This was not what I had in mind, dear son!" I suggested he put down the window.

And of course with my handy-dandy multi-window car controls,

I rolled down his window myself, after which he continued to take a few more photos: 

These were all taken in order and
you can decide for yourself...

They're nice
but I'd say his first shot was the best.


It's interesting.
It has character.

It captures light, 
the speed we were driving, 
it has a sense of magic to it.

Those last three?  
Standard. Lovely and still cool but 

I took from this a lesson.

My son had an inclination.

Granted, he took the photos because I asked him.
But HOW he took them was a decision he alone determined.

Until I inserted my opinion,
or rather, my expectation on how
he should do something,

(take photos 'out the window')

(I never said 'roll the window down-before you take them...')

which - 
was my own 

it -
was not his

Had I let him be,
had I just allowed him to 'have a go'

who knows how much more magic 

he may have created.

Ah, parenthood.

We live.
We learn.
We [must] let go.

And allow the magic that is within our children - 

To thrive.

This is the hope.
(Ça c'est l'espoir) 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I love my mother.

It's Mother's Day in the US today.  Here in France I send my mother, Vera, the very best Mother's Day wish I can muster from thousands of miles away and in front of a virtual audience.  

My mother is the best mother
Anyone could ever wish for.
I know this because
I've watched her make sacrifices for me,
All of my life.

First, most important but only the beginning, 
She gave me life.

She was a thoughtful mother...
Which is something I appreciate now as an adult mother...
Trying to be conscious myself.

She is a loving wife,
She is a loving soul.

She is a wonderful Nana
to her grandchildren. 

She is passionate.
She loves the earth.
She loves nature and hiking. 
She loves sustainability.
She loves Goodwill. 

She brought with her a heritage I am proud of 

Not only a fascinating history of Russian, Swiss and Welsh ancestry...

A heritage of 
goodness of heart
positivity and optimism.

My mother loves to be healthy.
She loves to eat well.

She is my friend,
She is guileless,
She wishes the best for everyone,
from the mailman
to her children.

My mother is the best mother.
I know this because
she loves me
she knows me
and she still loves me.

My mother trusts me.
 And I believe she always has.

My mother has faith in me.
And I believe she always will.

I am a blessed and lucky woman
To have the best mother ever.

Happy Mother's Day, Mum! 


I love you. 


from France.

oh, that would be Paris.


see you soon!  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"Spring is here," said the bumblebee

This month

Elijah turns 3! 

we took the week 
to play...

and there...


come play.

"Spring is here," said the Bumblebee
"How do you know?" said the Old Oak Tree
"I spy yellow daffodills [or crocuses, as the case may be]...
Dancing with the fairies on the windy hill." 
[said the Bumblebee]


we can go outside without a coat,
plant some crocuses without a chill,
take a bike ride
to Parc de Sceaux.

and so...

we did!

Leading up to his 3rd birthday,


have been his favorite toy of choice.

At first they went everywhere...
the store
the neighbors house
the park

and then it was...

to church

and eventually bed!

While on one hand he is

and a doer of
what all newly turned 3 year olds do:

picking up precious stones

from even stone buried-in-cement pathways

"...they MUST come out somehow!" begging for someone to kick the ball with him!

And so of course,

we do!

Who wouldn't?

...and then it's time for a rest,

but only on Mummy, of course.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It’s been snowing, raining and is just plain cold.  
Perhaps this is why the refrain  
‘Paris in the Springtime’ 
rings loudly in my mind 
as I watch the huge snow flakes and rain drops 
take turns falling out of the sky

…I’m just waiting…

with images of cherry blossoms 
at Parc de Sceaux waxing tauntingly in my mind.

it's certainly not happening in real life -

We took the bus to the store yesterday in the latter part of the afternoon, and like today, it was freezing cold!  

I took heart, however, as I realized that it was actually 
still light 
and by the time we returned home, 
darkness was only just starting to fall.  
Not so would this have been the case even the week before…
or maybe I just didn't pay attention? 
I could feel the beginnings of those blessed
extended days eeking it’s way 
back into lives.  
I can’t wait.

Elijah and I recently took in the woods up behind our house...

Note: this long stone wall is the wall to the school.


Cross the street and here we are! Horses on the left.

Climb the tree and looK - I'm high! 

Elijah took over photo duties for a while...

Then it was mama's turn again...

These are the horses who live on the trail as we enter the forest.  Midline to the left is a stone wall where lies 
the school. 

As I shoot this photo, Elijah sits in a tree...

Ah, such a good life.

Then we head back...and stop at the gate to the school 
on the way home...

Little brother is looking for big brother.

Sorry little guy...

Must wait...
a little longer.

It may be cold but it is fresh air!