Kuku Update

Here is an update from Brent on his time in Sinagpore. It was great to have him here visiting and helping. We greatly appreciate all of his help and we don’t know how we would have survived without him! I know he enjoyed spending time with his granddaughter and exploring in Asia. In this post, Brent will update you on his exciting adventures over the last week.

Wow! Where to begin. I have been having such a fantastic time with Taylor, Mary, and Addy since my last post. In addition, my other son, Ryan came to join us for several days. Many of the days we took Addy for a stroll, cuddled Addy, shopped and did daily chores. I decided Mary is a fun person to shop with. Usually I’m not much of a shopper but Mary has good ideas about what to buy. We always had good food too.

Here are some of the highlights of the past several weeks:
Ryan came to visit. We got together with a good family friend, Colin, who was born 1 day after Ryan. Colin lives in Singapore and he took us to the northern part of the island. He is a history teacher in Singapore so was able to provide lots of information about Singapore. We went to the cemetery honoring those that sacrificed their lives in World War II. It was very beautiful peaceful place. We then went to some of the wetlands in the northern part of Singapore and saw 5 foot monitor lizards. They were incredible. We were caught in a torrential downpour with thunder like I’ve never heard before. It was fun to have Colin join us all for dinner that night. It was when Taylor had off so he was able to join us for a great night. I took a great pictures of the cemetery and lizards but now can’t find them!
Ryan and I ventured out one evening. We went for satays with peanut sauce at the Lau Pau Sat market with cheap pitchers of beer. Vendors cook prawns, chicken, and beef/lamb kabobs on the street over charcoal. They are delicious. We then went to visit the Merlion, the symbol of Singapore. If you ever get to Singapore, go down to the waterfront at night. When the buildings are all lit up, it’s pretty incredible.Untitled9

One day, Ryan and I went to Pu Lau Ubin, a Singapore island north of the main island. You take these old bum boats for a 20 minute ride to Pu Lau Ubin. It is very rural and supposed to be like what Singapore was like before it became an urban environment. We rented bikes and explored the island. We saw wild pigs, monkeys, and I ran over a 6 foot snake on my bike by mistake. Lots of really cool vegetation. There are little Buddhist shrines around the island too.Untitled11 22

I have a very good friend, Rick, that lives and works in Thailand. Since it is only a 2 hour plane ride to Bangkok, I went to visit him over a long weekend. If you ever get a chance to visit Thailand, do it. It is a night and day contrast from Singapore.   While Singapore is a very modern, clean, organized, safe city, Thailand is a different experience. My first impression of Bangkok is a very chaotic, crazy place. Steam seems to rise from dark alleys brimming with people cooking at tin shack stalls along the street. A rat runs across the street. It’s almost like a scene out of one of the Batman movies of Gotham City! But amongst all of this is a gourmet French restaurant Rick takes me too. It is such a cool experience. Rick is a wonderful host and we had a great time. We stayed at the Sheraton with a wonderful view of the river that runs through Bangkok. The first day we stayed in Bangkok and visited a Buddhist temple with a huge reclining Buddha. We explored the river using the river taxis and shopped at the incredible Chatachuk open air market. They had everything imaginable to buy. We then drove two hours south to his house and had an incredible seafood dinner on the beach. The next day we woke up early and spent the day on a boat that took us off the coast among these beautiful deserted islands and went snorkeling. What a fun day with fish and sights that I’ll never forget.57 6338

Lots of fun times with my visit to Taylor, Mary, and Addy. Lots of great memories that I will never forget. One of the BEST memories is when I was kissing Addy good bye when I was leaving for the airport to return home. I told her I loved her and she looked into my eyes and gave me the biggest smile imaginable. What a memory that is!

How was the jet lag?  Is it as bad as its cracked up to be?  What’s the best way to deal with it?

Jet lag takes a while to get used to.  It’s not too bad as I was excited to see everybody.  Best way to deal with it, is try to stay up as long as you can until normal bed time.

 What climate in the USA would you most compare Singapore too?  Why?

I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced anything like Singapore to the USA.  People say Florida in the summer is similar – Hot sunshine and 500% humidity.

What’s the deal with driving on the wrong side of the road?  

I’ve almost been run over several times since being here when crossing the road.  You learn to look to your right when crossing the street – then the left – pretty quickly.

 What’s been the coolest thing you’ve seen in Singapore?  Most surprising?  That’s an easy answer.  Addy has been the coolest!  Addy has been the most surprising too.  You never know what she’s going to do.  She has really grown in this past month.  I’m sure I won’t recognize her when I see her next after I leave.  She is growing up so quickly.  You can stick your tongue out at her and she sticks it out back at you!  Very advanced Granddaughter!

 

 If you could change one thing about your Singapore experience so far, what would it be? 

Nothing.  I’ve had a great time.

 

 What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen/experienced so far? 

I took a long weekend and flew to Bangkok.  The difference between Thailand and Singapore is like night and day.   Singapore is like being in the USA.  Thailand is like being in a completely different culture.

 

  What’s been the best “Asian” eating experience that you have had? 

I do like the Hawker centers.  Taylor and Mary think I am crazy – but I did find these pan fried dumplings at a Hawker Center in Chinatown.  I’m going back there today to have them one last time.  Another favorite has been the Tiong Bahru bakery.  They have the most amazing chocolate croissants.  Not really “Asian” – but I got them in Asia!

Final thoughts: 

It will be sad to leave.  I’ve had so much fun with Taylor, Mary, and Addy.  In addition my other son, Ryan, came over, as well as seeing several good family friends.  Met a lot of wonderful people too.

 

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Guest Post: Katie and Andrew

We have a guest post from our visitors, Katie and Andrew! Today will be an introduction, but later their visit they will share some of there experiences in Asia. If you have any questions for them, leave it in the comments box below.photo (13)

How do you know Mary and Taylor? Why did you decide to visit them?

Katie : Mary is my cousin (don’t ask us how we are related) and is more like a sister. I met Taylor in college, while visiting Purdue one weekend.

Andrew: I know Mary and Taylor through Katie.

Where are you traveling from?

We are traveling from Carmel, IN.

How long are you staying in Singapore?

We are staying in Asia for 2 weeks. We are staying with Mary, Taylor and Addy for about 8 days.

Do you plan to travel anywhere else while visiting?

We do have a side trip planned to Khao Lak, Thailand. Andrew has a cousin that lives there, so we are going to try and visit him at his restaurant, The World Famous Rusty Pelican. We are staying at a resort on the coastline and hope to go snorkeling, enjoy the beach and soak up some sunshine while taking in a great Thai massage.

How was your flight?

Our flight was good. We flew IND-LAX-HKG-SIN. Lesson learned, if you are flying international through LAX remember you have to change/walk to an entirely different airport. Luckily while we were in line for security, we were pulled aside and rushed through the line to then run to our gate and be one of the last few to board.

What are your first impressions of Singapore?

Climate is very tropical, it feels nice to get away from the snow in Indiana!  Flying over the bay was incredible to see all the boats queued for offloading.  After we arrived, we walked Orchard Road – it was incredible to see the sheer number of malls and stores, especially the high end fashion. Shopping and eating out seem to be the two most popular activities in Singapore. There is also a lot of construction going on – high rises everywhere and more being built.

What are you looking forward to while visiting?

We are looking forward to experiencing the culture – from food to architecture to people. Of course, we were also looking forward to meeting Addy.

Be Our Guest: Uncle Ryan

We have had a visitor this past week that we’ve neglected to introduce you to. We have been so busy that we are just getting to relax a bit. Unfortunately, this is also going to be a good bye post as he has headed back to the States already. Taylor’s brother, Ryan, flew over to spend a few days with us. He had lots of cuddles with Addy and experienced Singapore with his dad. Brent was excited to play tour guide all week with Ryan. It was so great to see Ryan and we are so happy that he could visit.

Here’s some quick brief pictures from his trip over. Brent will update you more later in the week of what they did together!

FamilyIMG_0946CuddlesIMG_0943IMG_0897An Outing to the Botanic GardensIMG_0924IMG_0911IMG_0909

Guest Post: Brent’s 1st Week in Singapore

**Here’s an update about Brent’s first week here in Singapore. At the end of the post you’ll find a brief Addy update!**

Gosh, I have been here over a week! How time flies when you are having fun.

Besides having fun with Addy and helping out around the house, I have been having fun in Singapore.

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Food is an addiction of mine and I have been enjoying what Singapore has to offer. While Taylor and Mary have had their fill of the hawker centers, I have not. Hawker centers have been set up by the Singapore government to provide inexpensive local food by Mom and Pop kind of shops. There are sometimes hundreds of shops to choose from in the hawker centers. And I love the food. So far I have had char siu over rice (slices of roasted pork in a sauce over rice); laksa ( a savory coconut soup with I don’t know what in it); char kway teow ( a noodle dish that is incredible – don’t know what is in it and don’t want to know); white carrot cake (not the carrot cake you’re thinking of – this is an egg, garlic, radish dish with seasonings fried to a crispy deliciousness); murtabak (an incredible lamb and onion filled thin pancake layers with a wonderful dipping sauce); and chinese barbecue filled steamed buns that were delicious. I still have a list of other hawker stalls to go to!2014-10-26 11.05.38 2014-10-26 11.05.28 2014-10-30 12.59.02

In addition, Mary has taken me out to eat. We went to a great swiss buffet kind of restaurant. We also went to a Chinese dumpling restaurant that was great.

Lunch at Din Tia Fung2014-10-29 13.00.54

I’ve also had fun being tourist. If anyone gets over here, they should definitely go to the Singapore Zoo. I went today. It is rated one of the best zoos in the world and I can see why. The landscaping is exquisite. You hardly feel like the animals are in enclosures the way they have it set up. And you can get so close to the animals. I was one foot away from a baby baboon with the mother watching me. It was amazing.2014-11-04 11.28.28 2014-11-04 13.10.41 2014-11-04 09.49.13 2014-11-04 13.12.00

I’ve also enjoyed just walking around. I went to Little India on Sunday. Taylor and Mary said “Don’t –it’s too crazy”. But I like crazy, so I went. It was a blast. EVERYBODY was there! Lots of families all dressed up in their Indian attire –especially the women and children. I imagined this is what India must be like. People everywhere. The smells, the Bollywood music, the bartering, all the hustle and bustle, the food available as well as almost anything else you can imagine. It was so much fun!2014-11-02 12.44.07 2014-11-02 13.05.32

The one nice thing about Singapore is there is NO crime. You feel so safe. Criminals are handled VERY harshly by the government. Mary and I took Addy out last night for a stroll. We were in some dark corners of the Singapore River, but we were never concerned about our safety. You don’t need to be. It is a wonderful feeling.

Of course the highlight of the trip has been Addy! When she gets a little kranky, I can hold her like a football and start singing to her and she LOVES it. Stops crying and just looks at me. If any of you have heard me sing, you would tell Addy she is crazy – I am the worst singer in the world! But she loves it and that makes this grandfather happy! She’s an amazing little girl and I love her!IMG_0837-2 IMG_0849

Addy Update-

Addy5WeekToday marks 5 weeks with Addy! We’ve had a relaxing week around home with a few outings. We are having more success with our outings, especially when we can use a baby carrier. Addy has been taking a bottle of breast milk every few days and seems to be doing well with it. She loves bath time! Taylor snapped some great shots during one of our recent baths. Bath Time-6 Bath Time-7 Bath Time-11 Bath Time-15 Bath Time-17 Bath Time-20

Be Our Guest: Kuku

Today we have a guest post from our visitor, Kuku (Aka, Brent)! Today will be an introduction, but he will  share some his Singapore experiences in the coming weeks.  If you have any questions for him, leave it in the comments box below. We hope you enjoy his posts!

How do you know Mary, Taylor and Addy? Why did you decide to visit them?  Well, Taylor is my son so I remember him when he was Addy’s age, Mary is my wonderful daughter-in-law, and Addy is my new (first time) grandchild.  I decided to visit them because we got what sounded like a desperate email for help.  While we’re all excited about the birth of Addy, it could not have come at a worst time. Taylor has been working on a project at work.  Up until the birth of Addy, the project was mostly conceptual and planning.  Right when Addy was born, the project went into its implementation mode which meant Taylor needed to start working 14 hour days without any days off.   He just works, eats, and sleeps pretty much.  Mary was alone most of the time.  And that’s not good, especially in Singapore, where you pretty much need to walk or take mass transit to get groceries and the necessities of life.  By me coming, I hope I can provide some relief and make life a little more manageable for all three until Taylor’s work settles down to a reasonable level.  Since I’m retired, that’s one of the benefits.  You can go at a moments notice.  Unfortunately my wife, Becki, hurt herself exercising and could not make the trip.  I know missing out on seeing her granddaughter is killing her.  At least we have Facetime.

Tell us about the name Kuku.

Both my wife and I lived in Hawaii for several years when we first got married.  Family is very important to the Hawaiians.  Grandmother in Hawaiian is Tutu; Grandpa is Kuku.  Growing up, Taylor and my other son, Ryan, knew my mother as “Tutu”.  I liked the tradition, so I decided I would like to be called “Kuku”.

Where are you traveling from?

I live in Lafayette, Indiana and flew from Indianapolis to Singapore.

How long are you staying in Singapore?  

I will be here almost a month until November 20th.

Are you doing any other traveling while visiting?

Yes!  I love to go exploring so I’ll be exploring parts of Singapore that I didn’t see when I was here last March.  I have a good friend that lives in Thailand too, so I will be visiting him and Bangkok over a long weekend in November.

How was your flight?

It could have been better, but the end result (my granddaughter) was worth it.  My United flight from Chicago was delayed 3 hours so I missed my connection in Tokyo.  But they put me on a Singapore Air flight from Tokyo that got me to Singapore two hours late.  Singapore Air and United are like night and day.  I felt like I was almost in first class on Singapore Air compared to United.  United is getting pretty bad.

What are you looking forward to while visiting?

I’m glad I can be of help to Taylor, Mary, and Addy.   Addy is my newest source of enjoyment and it’s exciting to think I have several weeks more to see her grow!  There’s a possibility my other son, Ryan, may come over to visit.  If so, it will be fun to take him out and show him some of the highlights of Singapore.

Kuku, Addy and Taylor

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