Friday, February 26, 2010

Hmmmm...

I can't quite pinpoint it... this feeling I have.  I guess I have so many emotions tumbling around that I can't quite figure out if I am happy, or sad, excited, or bummed.  

The house is sold.  The money (finally) got to us and we were able to close the deal yesterday, just as planned - only 3 hours later than even the attorney planned - which totally messed us up getting the camper set up at the lake, but it all worked out.   That story is for another day...

The really good feeling about it all is that it went to a young couple that were super excited to be getting the house.  It is nice to know it went to someone like that.  They have young children and hopefully will enjoy hundreds of BBQ's, many lazy evenings out under the swing and a content life living in the house.

One of the emotions I feel right now is exhausted.  Tired to the bone does not begin to cover it, but maybe tire to the bone marrow gets close...  lol... Between the travel over here, the move, the sale of the house, the paperwork, being sure the mail is all going where it needs to, the bills have been transferred, moving our camper, moving our 'leftover' stuff into the camper, unpacking, getting it organized, running errands like changing the bank information, canceling insurance, updating driver's licenses, appointment with our attorney, shopping for the return trip (you know the American stuffs we want in Sing), and getting one night of rest... now we get to start repacking to go back to Singapore, break down the camper, park it, store the vehicles, shop for a new computer and clothes... ok, so maybe tired to the platelets might cover it... lol...

Anyway, life is good.  Tiring but good.  Soon, we will be back in Singapore, enjoying the same life we have been for 20 months - it will be the same, but so much different.  Or will it?

The answer to the question we keep getting?  We are living in Singapore until further notice.  The money from the sale will be in savings until we decide it is time to buy property in some unknown location.  I guess we see what the company wants to do with us first.  Until then, Singapore is where we will be.  

Update on my side - MUCH better thankyouverymuch  :-)  Finally, very little pain - occasional twinges is all.  YAY!

We leave Sunday morning for Singapore.  We arrive in Singapore Tuesday morning.  If I don't get back on here until then, please be patient... haven't I been saying that a lot lately?   Gotta love me - otherwise you wouldn't be coming back  :-)

The New Swing :-)

Thanks to Todd, we have a new swing to leave to the new owners of our house.  Steve took the old swing off the rope and added the new one yesterday:



And now it waits for happy heinys  :-)



The old worn out swing next to the new one  :-)  Jer?  What do you think?  Will it work?


 I hope the children have as much fun with this one as our kids did with the old one.  Now, the big question is, what the heck do you do with that old hunk o' wood?


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Welcome Home

We made it back to Louisiana with a beautiful welcoming sunset.  I took this from the back seat of a bumpy ride - and where in Louisiana isn't bumpy?  Wasn't it a beautiful welcome home picture?


Coming over the bridge, yet another beautiful memory:



We had to have one last crawfish boil.  Crawfish season is still very early, but that made them oh-so-tender and they soaked up the spices.  They were easy to peel and a wonderful back to Louisiana meal.



Lucky for this 'little' guy that Todd found him in the crawfish before the boil.  Raelee was super excited to have him as a friend for a few minutes:


She reminds me so much of myself - I have always been a nature lover and used to chase my cousins around the yard with frogs, snakes and the likes - of course, they did their share of chasing me too  :-)


Still to this day, I love the critters on our sweet earth.

She finally agreed to let him go:



Todd took Raelee out to Mike's to ride her bike.  She is a careful rider and has a lot of fun doing it.  It was nice to sit out and watch her go 'round and 'round the trees.  I will miss our times together - I used to love going on the trails with the kids.  Those times are few and far between now.  I hope they come back again.


 

See?  Cautious and easy she goes  :-)


A silly picture, but here are my new glasses.  Surprised?  I bet you didn't even know I got any!  It happened on our last trip back, but they weren't ready before we left for Singapore.  They were here waiting when I got home though.  Thanks Jeff  :-)  

It is nice to have an eye glass salesman in the family.

 


Now here is something funny.  I have a couple of thermal glasses that I love to use.  Ever since Raelee was little, I have always had to fight that little one to drink from my glass. She sneaks up, drinks, giggles and drinks and giggles til I 'hear' her and then takes off running when I act like I am going to chase her, one eye cautiously watching me.  Here are a few pictures:




Well, I am here to tell you, I am still fighting for my cup!  And she is not cautiously looking anymore:


I think that is defiance in her eyes now  ;-)


And finally, the question everyone is wondering.  Did we take down the swing?

Yes, between two dedicated guys, it is down.  Todd worked on several knots the other day, and yesterday Steve worked on the butt weight knot for a long time before he finally got it loose:




But not without supervision, begs to leave it and finally crocodile tears:


Todd cut out a new one to leave for the new owners.  I am sure Steve will put it up today - and thanks Todd for the new treasure to leave behind.

Doing little things like this tear at our heart strings, but overall, we are doing fine.  I am slowly giving away pieces of our lives that have been a part of us forever... plants, furniture, kids memories... stuff...  Steph said on her fb that she is watching her childhood home leave piece by piece.  I know the feeling... it hurts.  It is not easy for any of us.

It will all be over with in 2.5 days.  That day will be the most difficult of all - we give the new owners our their keys and we move on. 

Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers over the next few days - we will surely need them.  :-)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Gong Xi Fai Chai-iiiiiii!"

Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year everyone!  I am a tad late, but been sick and having computer problems.  As I am writing this, I need to be rushing around stuffing my suitcases as we will be leaving in just a few hours  :-)  However, I wanted to post about the Chinese New Year before leaving.

The entire city is decorated for the New Year:


Bright, cheery and colorful.  The Chinese New Year reminds me in some ways of the American Christmas celebrations... the entire city/country decorates and celebrates.  Everyone's spirits are frantic, lively and excited.  People clean out their homes in anticipation of the new year, they buy new clothes to start the new year and they visit amongst family members and friends chattering about the new year's celebrations.  It is a very exciting time in Singapore!

The malls are decorated to the hilt:






China Town is a frenzy of activity with musicians playing:


Stuff to buy:


Ooodles of candies to sell:



Other stuffs... ?

 


And... some really yummy...


Codfish Jerky Cubes?





Piles and bags of seeds:





Stacks and stacks of sweets:



Couldn't read most of the signs, but I should have bought 500 grams of this because the bags were cool  ;-)


Piles of hang pao packets are for sale - 8 to a bag, they are sold to put money in - usually in multiples of 4, and depending on how close you are to the person is how much you give...  Traditionally, you get these as long as you are single and until you start working...


They are also used for decorations:


Some things I just don't find as pleasant:





 

 

All of this is right out in the open, people pawing through it all, smelling it, tossing it back in the bins... frantically, excited and chattering... picking out the best of the best.


Some things are just fun to look at:


 


It is the year of the tiger now, folks!  I hope you have a great one  :-)


We are off to the states tonight - flying our first time through Moscow.  I am feeling much better - either the meds are helping or the gluten free diet - I have no idea which, but I am not complaining.  I may finally be on the road to recovery.  Now to get the computer fixed - or tossed.  We are considering buying a new one.  It is my lifeline to the outside world - and so frustrating to have it up and down so much.  We have finally figured out one last problem is hardware... it looks like my CPU is crashing  :-(

Oh well, another worry.

Not a worry for today though - I want to leave you with a tad bit of a popular American song with the upbeat Chinese music we listen to all over the island at this time of year:


Monday, February 15, 2010

Just A Quick Update :-)

Steve and I are hopping on a plane Friday to go back to the states to finish our final preparations on the sale of the house.  We have a few things to pack, utilities to shut down and a final good bye.  Steph has already requested a last crawfish boil in the ol' place.... lol... 

I have not posted in a few days due to a few things going on.  I have had problems with the computer shutting down over and over.  Jeremy looked at it and sent me a quick message that my CPU was overheating.  Steve finally took it apart yesterday and cleaned it - so far so good.  It has not shut down again.  It is extremely frustrating to have so much going wrong with it.  We have just about decided if I have to, I will ditch it and buy a new one.  I am not so much into doing that as getting this one running right... lol... I have seeing $$ bills floating away in my future.

Also, as you know, I have been feeling horrible, but we are working through a few things... someone suggested Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance.  Looking up my symptoms, it is scary how many I have.  I have been concentrating on going gluten free for a few days.  I really hope this is not the problem, but I am willing to try anything at all.  We shall see if it works.  The Dr put me on meds for the post-infectious IBS too - so hopefully one or the other will help. 

As I will be traveling to the states on Friday, and trying to close out everything on the house before hand, blogging will again take a back seat.  I will try, but it will likely be a couple of weeks before I am up and running again regularly.  If I did not send you my new e-mail address and you need it, please let me know. This moving is so much work!

Wish me luck  :-)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Malacca/Melaka Malaysia

Yep, you read it right - finally I am posting pictures on Malacca or Melaka - however, you want to spell it.  Apparently, it is spelled several different ways.

Melaka was founded by a fleeing prince from Sumatra in 14th century and it developed into a major trading port for ships from India and China. As the Melaka flourished, the Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511. Later the Dutch took over in 1641 until much later the British empire ruled Melaka. The state finally obtained independence with the then "Malaya states" in 1957. Today, Melaka has 13 states and you will find many remnants of the glorious past dated back more than 500 years ago.

On top of St. Paul's Hill is the St Paul's Church once the prayer house of the Portuguese Catholics, then turned into burial ground for their noble dead by the Dutch. These tombstones have Latin and Portuguese inscriptions on them. St. Francis Xavier was buried here in 1553 before his body was moved to Goa in India.  Sadly, I was not able to climb the steps to the church, but I will be going back to see it.  

After the Portuguese captured Melaka, they built a fortress to defend themselves. The fortress, called A'Famosa suffered severe destruction during the Dutch invasion. What's left today is just the entrance walls, still well preserved till today.


If you look to the right of the fortress, you will see the stairs I needed to climb to get to the church.  Most days it would have been easy for me - I usually climb 10 flights a day, but lately, I haven't been able to  :-(


  The Stadthuys (1650) was the official residence of the Dutch Governor, now the Historic Museum and Ethnography Museum which has many traditional bridal costumes and relics on display.  

Next to it on the right, is the Christ Church built in 1753, a fine example of the Dutch architecture.


 The Kampung Keling Mosque is one of the oldest in the country (17th century). It's a blend of Sumatran and Western architecture with a 3 tier pyramid roof, a touch of Hindu influence perhaps. The carved wooden ceiling is supported by elegant Corinthian-styled columns. 



The contrast from ancient to modern intrigued me.

Another well preserved building, the Cheng Hoon Teng temple was constructed in 1645 and is believed to be the oldest Chinese temple in the country. The eaves of the temple are decorated with Mythological figures and animation made from broken glass and porcelain - stunning to look at.


The wood carvings and lacquer work are almost breath-taking.



And the needlework did actually take my breath away.

Here I am standing near a beautiful carving. 
 

Ooops!  Another historical moment I just happened to catch  :-)



Jonker's Street, once the rich man's street is now a living proof of Malacca's rich baba-nyonya heritage. 

The street is also famous for its antique shops - and unfortunately for its pick pockets as well.  Again the contrast of old and new was amazing.




I found this picture that I was dying to buy - but not so much I wanted to carry it around all day:


This kind of work in Malaysia is known as Batik - mostly done on fabrics for clothes, but also done on artwork.

The items that we buy in the states are not likely done in huge factories.  As seen here, this man is squatting making something.  We have found in our travels that many items sold to the states are made in tiny rooms with just a few people making them.  They diligently work on dozens of pieces and stack them in professional packing to ship out - and I always just assumed that things were made in huge factories.  After school, the children are also involved in the work. 

More on that later, but here is a family 'factory' and assembly line:


It makes me appreciate what I get so much more than I ever did before.

Melaka has a river running through it - I stood for the longest time enjoying the view.


But I wouldn't swim in it - as I looked down I saw the water monitor had beaten me to it:


Finally, walking on the streets, I was taking pictures of the weird things I always seem to take pictures of...

 

And our guide showed us that above the doors there were square peep holes for the occupants to see who was at the door, this so they could make the decision to open for the guest or not. 


Melaka was a wonderful day trip.  We booked our trip through RMG Tours , left at 8:30 am and returned about 9 pm.  The travel time was around 4 hours each way - but a bit over an hour of that each way is purely clearing Singapore and Malaysia customs.

I love history - and this is definitely worth a trip back for more exploration.  

More later - but this is a good  historical part of our trip  :-)  
I knew you were waiting... 

Singapore Memory Project