Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Chinatown Adventure

We spent an afternoon down in Chinatown last week. Our goal was to go to the Chinatown Heritage Centre and it turned into a really fun outing. 

It is a museum that is located in one of the shop houses in Chinatown. The three story museum illustrates the history of some of Singapore's earliest settlers. The different floors show what life was like for the people. We got to see a tailor shop, where the hawker worked, where the clog maker lived, and where a family of eight lived in a tiny eight by eight room. 

This place has been on my list since we arrived, and time is running out, so we went. It was one of those outing where I thought, "this is going to be really bad, or okay". Kids in museums is tricky. To my astonishment, literally I cannot believe, the kids loved the museum! We had the best outing there. I read as many of the plaques as I could out loud to them. We looked in the living quarters and read about the people who lived there. I really enjoyed the museum, but I am still not sure why the kids loved it. The did, so no complaining from me. My luck continued through the whole outing. 

I was feeling pretty great that we left the Heritage Centre with nothing broken, and everyone happy. I decided to test my luck and we walked down the street to the Sri Marimman Temple, Singapore's oldest Hindu temple. On the way there I told the kids that this temple was going to be really colorful, and to count all the different animal statues we would see. Cosette has some Hindu classmates and has been introduced to some Hindu culture, so this was something that was more meaningful for her. 
Once again, they loved it! The Hindu temples are just incredible. So colorful and completely different from anything where we come from. They liked that we had to take our shoes off and walk around in our bare feet. There was some parts where the ground was a little too hot, and we run to the shade. The older two made up a game where they would walk out into the sunny area as far as they could then once the ground was too hot they would quickly run back to the shade. It was really fun to watch them play. 

Since things were going so great, I pushed my luck farther. We visited the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It is pretty amazing. We had just made it inside when my luck started to wain. We quickly made our way through the temple, pointing out the highlights. We made it out with nothing happening. 

We walked one street over to Food Street for dinner. The kids requested chicken rice and noodles. We are going to miss the food here. We found both, ate till we were full and made it home without any tears. It was an outing miracle!

Not sure if he was allowed to sit on it (probably not), but he was so excited. And there was no sign saying not to. 
Chinatown moving picture screen. You would pay some money and watch a short film. 

Everyone's favorite part of the outing: taking photos in the photo booth at the Chinatown Heritage Centre. Wish we could have kept all of the takes. There were so many good ones. 

The best part was having fun with my kids. I have been wanting to show them some of the different temples and talk to them about it. Have mini "field trips" before we leave Singapore, and it happened. It was a success. I got to talk to my kids about different people, races, culture, history. They had learned about some of it in school and were genuinely interested, as much as a 5, 3, and 1 year old can be.  

We do a lot of outings, mostly using public transport. It is not smooth sailing all the time. Actually something is always going wrong. Someone is pinching someone else. People stare, sometimes yell at you, or your kids. Then someone is always hungry, or angry, or tired, all the usual kid stuff. It is a lot to handle. When outings are a success like this one, it is so much sweeter than normal. Outings like this are the days that I will never forget. I am really grateful we had this experience together before we leave.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Jurong Bird Park, You are Incredible

We made our last visit to the Jurong Bird Park this week. It was the best way we could have spent our last day there. We went with our friends which always makes outings more fun. Sad to say goodbye to them and the Bird Park.

We got there the earliest we have ever been there (before 10am), and made it in time to see the Kings of the Sky Show, which lets us get a up close and better understanding of birds of prey. The coolest part was when they let a flock of Brahminy Kites fly over the audience over and over again. They got so close that we had to duck our heads when it flew over us.

In between shows we went to the African Penguin feeding. After the keeper does their thing, they let the park visitors feed the penguins. The kids got three trays full of fish and got to feed the penguins. Henry was especially excited and told me the fish were dry and slimy. The penguins ate all the fish the kids threw in, which they were super thrilled about.

Next on the agenda was the High Fliers Show. This one is just amazing. Even though we see it every time we go, it still is incredible. Cosette finally got chosen to be a volunteer! She had a Cockatoo, named Sassy, land on her arm and eat out of her hand. Every time we go she tries to get chosen as the volunteer. It was so perfect that for our last visit she was chosen.

The Lori Loft is my favorite. It never gets old having the loris land on you and eat from your hand. Raphael fed the loris for his first time. Henry, who was so nervous at first, went up and fed them without a champ. Makes me so happy to see him conquer his fear. 

Wishing so bad that this was his red wagon. 

With Sunny, the Jurong Bird Park mascot.

His little troll hair. So many heart eyes. 

Cute story: Henry was hanging around and ice cream freezer, and the worker gave him that ice cream for free! Lucky, lucky boy. 

Jurong Bird Park, we love you so much. You have given us so many wonderful opportunities to learn about our feathery friends. We appreciate birds so much more than before.The kids have already been asking when we will go again, and my heart hurts a little bit knowing we will not go for a long long time. I'm just glad we got to go so many times. 

Link to video we made about the bird park here

Monday, 5 June 2017

School Time: Last Day of School in Singapore

Out of all the experiences we have had here in Singapore, the kid's school has been the best by far. They have learned and grown so much academically. I could have never imagined how amazing school here would be for them. I want to cry writing this, because I love their school so much. I am so sad that it is over. Their teachers and principal have been so wonderful. The sweetest and kindest women I could have ever asked to help my children develop a love for learning. 

Both kids have had the same teachers and for the most part the same class mates for the 18 months they have been in school here. These people have become kind of like a second family. Their teachers care immensely about them. Their class mates have become so dear to my heart. I love all those kids so much. The school has been so wonderful to allow me to participate so much in the classroom this year. It has been really wonderful for me to be part of their learning experience. I am going to miss hearing all those kids call me "Aunty Christine". They are the best.

Their last day was so bitter sweet, for me. Not for the kids, haha. We celebrated both of their birthdays early with their classes. Birthdays are kind of a big deal at school. The kids get to wear whatever they want, have cake with their class, an activity put on by the parents, and goody bags. I did not want them to miss out on celebrating their birthdays here. Especially since Cosette has been talking about her cake since January.

When Rapha came for the party, this is what happened. 

The kings of K2!
Cosette and Ms. Sui Hoy. Her teacher the whole time we have been here. I could not have asked for a better teacher. She is amazing!

The kid's Chinese teacher. I feel awful, but I cannot spell her name. I know how to say  it, but not spell it. She has done an amazing job at teaching the kids Chinese. Lots of Mandarin songs sung in our home now. 

School principal, Ms. Tan. She is amazing. She was Henry's primary teacher last year, while his teacher was on maternity leave. We have gotten to know her very well. She does an incredible job at running the school. 

Ms. Yiu and Henry.  She's the teacher's aid in his class in N2. 
Madame Tan and Henry. She was the aid in his class last year and we just love her. 

Ms. Clara and Henry. She has been his teacher this year and last year. She is wonderful and loves her students so much. Going to miss her.

The kids colored pictures for their teachers, and gave all the teachers that worked with them a little present. I hugged all of them, and had to keep myself from crying. It is going to be so hard to say goodbye to them. We are planning on visiting with some of them before we leave to say our final goodbye.

When I deleted their school schedule from my calendar for good it really struck me that it is over. And I did cry a little bit. Words cannot express how grateful I am for our time here, and our time attending the school. It has brought so much joy to our family. The kids have developed a love of learning and desire to continue learning outside the classroom. Lots of parents talk about how it is hard watching their kids grow up, and it is. Watching them develop into these amazing humans is not hard. It is the best. Henry learning how to spell his letters, and finding the letter "h" marked on everything. Seeing Cosette reading to her brothers, or getting paper out to write letters to her friends. That makes my me so happy. And that is why I love the school so much. It has been a safe wonderful place devoted to making learning fun. I have said I love their school so much it is becoming redundant, but I do. I love PCF Sparkle Tots Preschool!

We are happy little kids having lots of fun, happy little kids at school. That is the first couple lines of their school song. I have it memorized, and I will never forget it.  A million times thank you to all their teachers, classmates, parents, who made our school experience here the absolute best. Anyone or anything that is as good to my children as the school and people in it have been will forever hold a place of love in my heart. I love you all. This is not goodbye, but see you later. I hope all our paths cross again, so very soon.

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