Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Boobie stories

There was this classic scene in 金枝玉叶 where Anita Yuen said the following to Carina Lau('s boobs!):

我能摸摸看吗?我很想知道这么大是什么感觉⋯⋯

I was 14, and like her, flat and curious. And that scene stuck with me.

Finally, 我知道那是什么感觉了!Haha!

Well, not like I've not touched bigger boobs before. Na and I grabbed each other before - for fun! And I poked at boss's lactating boob (yes, just one side) - with permission of course!

But, my own? Well, it's something new!

Unfortunately, they don't feel like mine *.* They look unfamiliar to me too... And it's so strange showering a body with contours haha!

Anyway, the less fun boobie story is that last Monday during my first prenatal massage, the masseuse found a lump in my right breast. Went to the boob doctor today while waiting during my repeat glucose test - which turned out normal!! - and did an ultrasound. Was told it was a cyst right next to a swollen gland, the biggest swollen gland among many swollen glands. The swollen glands are normal for soon-to-lactate boobs. He told me to monitor the lump myself and return for a review in six months. I was so relieved!! Else it would be the second cancer scare in two years! Tmd.

Monday, 28 May 2012

No more body image issue!

Through my growing years, I was almost always the tallest girl. And I wasn't the skinny type of tall girl. And my closest girlfriends are all small and thin. In short, I have body image issues.

But now that I'm at my heaviest - a good 10kg over my usual weight, thanks to baby - I find that I'm loving my body very very much! In fact, I think I've never looked better!

Ok, maybe my wedding day. The makeup helped. The cut of the gown helped.

Anyway, I'm feeling very good about myself now. I was at first worried that I would balloon - I mean, I've seen Mother's pre-pregnancy photos... But I guess I must have inherited something good from my paternal grandmother after all - she's super skinny. No, I'm not skinny of course but the 10kg I've gained are mostly around my belly. My limbs are largely unaffected. My face is a little rounder but with makeup, I still look pretty! :)

And I love my belly. It's somewhat pointy from the side and round from the front. When I look down, it's mostly round but sometimes it can become forward pointy too! I've received compliments from even complete strangers about how pretty my belly is. I put it down to years of holding in my tummy to maintain a flat appearance - the muscles must be working to keep my pregnant belly tight and nice! I've taken to gazing at my belly when I massage it at night, wondering about the little life within :)

There are some recent setbacks though.. First, my pi zai. It got shallower since February. And suddenly it got flat in the past month or so. Now, there's now a mini bulge over my clothes *.* Will it pop? Will it not? We shall see...

The other setback is water retention. Now my legs are swollen from knee down. Given my size and height, the swollen calves are not very noticeable. But the feet! They are comically swollen, especially the left one. It hurts a little when I massage them at night. It hurts more when I'm out cos my slippers are too snug over the swollen foot, causing two nice blisters. I've been sleeping with my feet up but it doesn't help very much :( I guess I'll just have to live with it until mid July...

But oh well, who looks so carefully at my legs besides me?! Not even Sito haha! Oh, anyway, he has a swollen right foot so I'm accompanying him :) Reverse sympathy pain? :p

Despite feeling good about myself now, I've decided that I need to do certain things to ensure I shrink back after pregnancy.

I'm shopping around for postnatal jamu massage by trying out prenatal massages - chance to pamper my pregnant body :p Had my first prenatal massage last Monday. The lady spent time on my aches and pains. She even pushed baby up a bit - she thought I was carrying too low at 32 weeks - so that I could sit more comfortably after that. My pelvic pain also disappeared for four days after the massage. Tried another one today. I prefer her strength and structure of the massage, just that she doesn't touch the belly for prenatal. Both offer the same price for postnatal but the latter uses her own massage bed and towels! Probably going to use her - will decide by next week.

Also did a free trial pilates session this morning. During that hour, I got very, very sore. Why oh why did I have to punish myself like that?! But after the session, I felt so good! Love that feeling! So I bought 10 classes! I had a really cute instructor but I think I prefer to have a lady instructor. Strange hur, since my gynae is male... Anyway, prenatal pilates is to help with delivery. But this place offers postnatal pilates as well and my package can be used for that, which is good. I want to get back into shape of course but I also want to use pilates to correct my posture now and after giving birth; I think my posture is out of whack now with my belly sticking out in front!

Finally, we bought the Move accessories for our PS3! :)

Friday, 25 May 2012

Review of to-do list

No, I didn't forget that I should do a review. But I might have forgot a few on the list :p

Write out family history for Sito and Grams
Done! Or done as well as I could. Still need to verify some characters from Clan Sito. And I need my cousins to fill in the blanks for Grams - at the next gathering! :)

Tidy up notes from my Kellogg classes
Done! I've even scanned Sito's notes since 2010. He now has to scan his notes for this last quarter...

Learn Spanish
Done, somewhat... I stopped when morning sickness got the better of me. It's such a fun language to learn but the unfortunate fact is that I won't have much use for it..

Improve Japanese
I guess so, with all the Jap dramas that I've watched! In Evanston, I didn't watch dramas from mid January onwards so I'm now catching up. I'm, um, proud to say that I'm into my second Jap drama since my return to Singapore :p

Clean and tidy the apartment more regularly
Oh yes, definitely. Although I must admit that the apartment got pretty gross during the height of morning sickness and when I was really busy with packing and socials towards the end..

Learn to cook better - join the JVs for the weekly cooking class
Did did did! Check out some stuff in my food blog - http://mf-eats.blogspot.com

Exercise regularly
Fail! Haha! I guess I just don't like exercising very much. I like aerobic classes but I was too cheap to pay and too lazy to get out of the building. Jogging or walking on the treadmill didn't hold much appeal to me although I went a few times for the sake of baby. But well, I have kept my shape pretty well anyway right? :)

Think about religion
Fail too! Um, nothing more to say *.*

Find a Montessori centre to request to observe
Fail! When we got pregnant, I was quite paranoid anyway so I wasn't keen to walk too far for stuff. I even got dizzy once when I got to the elementary school for tutoring.

Start a little online business
Well, I tried? Didn't follow up much on it :(

Learn how to grow our money
Fail! Finance is really not my thing. Nevermind that I'm a maths major..

Read more news
Yup, CNA almost every day. I even read a lot of WSJ and Economist during the first trimester cos I couldn't do more than lounging on the sofa with the iPad *.*

Go to the library
I'm afraid I didn't go even once in the second year :( And we lived right next to it!

Hang out more with friends
Oh yes, that I did :)

Watch more dramas :p
Um, of course! :p

Continue to blog! Especially about Oxford..
This must be the most consistent thing. And yes, I've finished my Oxford story in December last year!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Update 32w5d

Last night, I was going to go to the toilet when I stepped into a puddle of water under my chair. For a moment, I thought my water broke *.* But it was just rain water that came in through an opened window. What a scare!

Anyway, just had my first session with Dr Chan this morning. I finally felt heard and reassured in this pregnancy!

Baby first - he is slightly bigger than average, 60-odd percentile. Me next - luckily I'm not bigger than average, having gained 10kg with just under eight weeks to go. And since I don't eat too much these days, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I won't balloon between now and delivery...

Doc also asked me to repeat the glucose tolerance test next week as he didn't quite agree with my diabetic diagnosis. But as usual, he is a strong advocate of healthy eating - good carbs, more vege, less meat and fish.

mf: Less meat and fish? So what do I eat?
Doc: Tofu, mushrooms...
mf: Oh...

The nurse helped me book a maternity room and settled quite a bit of admin before sending me on my way to - she didn't know it of course - the Isetan private sale!

Got the cut-out coupons near the entrance with my card - didn't get them in the mail and my recce trip on Saturday told me that I needed a coupon for the Avent bottle steriliser!

So I spent some time looking at baby stuff. Eventually, I bought the steriliser, a baby gym, a bouncer, a set of floor mats, an electric kettle, a blender, a tea flask and some towels! So happy! :) But it took me a while to pay for them and arrange for delivery. I was fortunate to have met kind souls who helped me with the goods.

I was so hungry by then and headed for Wisma only to find that its Food Republic was undergoing renovation!! Only managed to grab some food at the Taka food court at 1.30 pm. Had a brief exchange with another single diner who told me about her 7-month-old daughter. Funny how a baby belly knocks down walls :) A promoter at Isetan also commented that my belly was beautiful :)

Anyway, after that quick lunch, I made a quick stop at Watson's to pick up a sunscreen and a bottle of cuticle oil before going back to Isetan for my Shu Uemura cleansing oil. Scored a $10 rebate voucher yay! Then I had to walk back to the hospital for a maternity tour.

Turned out that I was the only one in the tour! So my personal tour guide showed me the maternity rooms and wards on three floors, including the very expensive suite at the top - sorry, no money.. I'm now only considering single bed or double bed, depending on whether Sito wants to stay overnight.

My next appointment was dinner at home with Mum. Sat on the sofa for quite a while to recuperate from the day's walking. I was so tired!!! And my left foot is swollen - water retention. And yes, it's just the left foot...

Other than being so worn, it's been a good day. I felt so pretty today too, wearing my new eye shadow I got while with Na at Changi City Point yesterday :) We had lunch at Ootoya - first time I had substantial green leafy vegetables at a Jap place!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The thing about not being back for so long...

The last time I was in Singapore was November and December 2010 - a year and a half ago. I've never been away for so long before. And now, I'm finding it daunting. Why?

1) The weather
I woke in the middle of last night - drenched in sweat. Tonight, I'm sleeping with aircon.

Just count the number of times I mentioned "sweat" and its conjugates in this post. But I think I should adjust to it pretty soon. Today, I perspired more indoors than outdoors. I was fine walking outside. Warm, yes, but bearable. But in the apartment without aircon and back in HV without aircon, I couldn't stop sweating!

2) Many new things
Circle Line, for example. I had to check the MRT map before I went out cos I had to make sure that changing at Paya Lebar would take me to Dhoby Ghaut! And when I got there, I felt a bit lost in the station. Took me a while to get my bearings.

And Changi City Point - see my post on Friday. And I know there are also NEX in Serangoon and JCube in Jurong - check them out later...

Oh, btw, I've had three persons giving up their seats on the MRT for me so far, although one woman was quite 冤枉 cos an auntie didn't realise it and took the seat instead! The buses were pretty empty so far so no problem at all. I'm thinking, maybe the non-peak hour crowd is kinder. I mean, honestly, I would feel more inclined to give up my seat when I'm out for leisure than when I'm on my way to or from work.

3) Forgetting where things are
I lost my way in Centrepoint yesterday *.* Couldn't find Ichiban Boshi! Had to call Kel to ask for directions. Crap.

And I thought my hair salon had closed down but I had only forgot which floor it was on! Anyway, my hair treatment package had expired :( But well, I've only got the free session left anyway.. My main purpose of going to Plaza Sing today is to buy some food and bras to tide me over the next two months. I could wear the same bra for more than a day in Evanston cos I seldom went out and it was cool. But here, I have to wash clothes every two days if I don't buy more cos only two bras fit me now and they soak through with sweat every time!

4) Staying in Kembangan
Kembangan leh! That's like Malaysia to me - totally foreign!

So, this morning, all gross, I went out after breakfast to take a walk around the neighbourhood, and I found a good mixed vegetable rice stall! So happy! I returned, sweaty again, to Skype with the husband for a while before I had to shower and wash my sweaty clothes from the past two days.

I didn't know what I did but it eventually got to lunch time and I got to try the rice! Very satisfied :) I had two vege, one egg and one meat with a bit of rice. The result? First normal blood glucose reading after lunch since I got back!! Phew!

I was so worried cos since my first meal on Asiana, my blood glucose kept going crazy! I put it down to a lack of vegetables cos I had earlier determined I could eat rice and pasta! And it must be good vegetables - had salad at Ichiban yesterday and that didn't help at all...

And dinner was with the in-laws at Beng Thin - Mum's birthday dinner! Ate a lot but there was a lot of vege too. So my blood glucose was normal even though I had a small piece of cake. Btw, it was the smallest piece of cake ever, like ever in my life! I mean, I've always had big pieces of cake, and second and higher-order helpings!

It's a little sad to be unable to eat all my favourite things, which happen to be carbs or carb-heavy. When I was at Plaza Sing, I was a little peckish. But everything was out of my reach. Except for the fruit stall. I had an apple - quite healthy and yummy too :)

Anyway, I intend to go exploring again tomorrow - I'll try to find the NTUC and Sheng Siong on the other side of the MRT tracks!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Back in Singapore, again!

O'Hare is easily one of the worst airports we've been to. It has grouchy immigration staff, long security queues, and even the trolleys for luggage aren't free! But we met a kind Asiana agent - she couldn't upgrade me cos my ticket was bought with miles so she helped prioritise my bags (nvm that they were overweight) and ordered a cart for me at Incheon cos it was a long walk between gates.

My first Asiana flight was pretty uneventful. But I had a surprise - the movie selection was really bad! I thought it would be like SQ! Only watched New Year's Eve and 杨门女将之军令如山 in those 13 hours. Thankfully, there were magazines and my book! Was served mostly by this rather grouchy flight attendant but had a pleasant encounter with another who asked about my belly and told me she had two herself and enviably, she looked like she never had children!

The cart at Incheon turned out to be a wheel-chair. Um, no thanks... I was fine walking anyway, once I found a small trolley cos the laptop bag was really heavy!

Had to get my boarding pass from a transfer desk. The Chicago side seemed to have taken away an extra copy of my excess baggage receipt so the Incheon agent took a while to sort it out. Couldn't get a bump-up cos business class was full. But she changed my seat to another row so that I could get the whole row to myself, which was nice. I was also asked for a doctor's letter and to sign off any liability about my pregnancy - I thought the wording of the form left an unpleasant taste.. Anyway, the SQ flight was as expected. Watched Albert Nobbs and A Separation. Couldn't finish Kirin No Tsubasa though...

The worst part of the day-long flights was not leg room, which was sufficient, but the lack of sleep. I woke at 7-ish on Tuesday and slept max four or five hours in the next 30 hours!

And baby :) He was awake for most of the time too, which made me freak out a bit when he went to sleep a couple of hours before we landed in Singapore - all the way until this morning! Very active again :) Poor boy, probably have to deal with jetlag too..?

I was disappointed with the porter service at Changi - I got the number vis email but no one picked up the phone! I know it was 1 am, but airport leh - shouldn't it be 24-hour? Anyway, got a kind angmoh to help put my bags on the trolley.

Mum and Dad came to fetch me to Kembangan Lodge. The apartment was nice but the aircon was leaking! I could only sleep on one side of the bed. And blur me didn't know that I had to push a switch for the water heater - ended up showering with cold water and not washing my hair.

Woke at 6 plus this morning and decided to just get back and unpack quite a bit. Managed to Skype with Sito! :) Poor husband - suffered a bad ankle sprain the moment I left :( Now he has been grounded - for the rest of his life! No trampoline or any "exciting" activity like that!!

Went for a quick lunch nearby - post picture later cos no wifi here - before moving into another apartment. Then I went out with Mum to Changi City Point. Quite a nice place! Had tea and did some grocery shopping at the nearby NTUC, where I applied for the loyalty card - very aunty :p - and where I was thought to be five months pregnant! I looked that small meh?

So now, I've had dinner - Mum's bee hoon - and I'm just waiting for nightfall before I go to bed. Really need to sleep - for the jetlag and for my nose which is very sad now. I'm also very sad for my nose but I'm glad that it didn't act up on the flight. That would have been really bad! Note to self - useful to wear a mask on long flights.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

百感交集

No other phrase to describe what I'm feeling now.

Can't believe I'm leaving tomorrow!

Went to the supermarket for the last time today. Ran an errand at the bank. Bought stuff at the convenience store. Washed bedsheets and clothes. Packed everything except my toothbrush. Met a few more people over dinner at Five Guys. And the day is almost over...

Going to turn in early tonight. Waking up early tomorrow to reach the airport early - trying to get bumped up!

Be writing from Singapore next...

Update 18 May 2012 in Singapore

Felt a pang of sadness when I unplugged the laptop from the wall after I wrote the above, when we chatted until I got sleepy in our king bed, when I walked around the apartment as I went about my morning routine, when I walked out of McManus for the last time, when I left Evanston...

Good morning, world!

As usual, I woke early again. It's 7.34 am and I've had my breakfast and Berocca to ward off what looks like a nasty cold and cough before my long flight tomorrow. I've even been on the throne - after a few days of pellet shit, I finally got some good ones! Ok, tmi.. But I'm really scared to be constipated during pregnancy cos I have no idea where I'm bearing down on when pushing shit. Ok, enough of tmi...

So, it's my last day in Evanston now. I've finished packing the check-in bags, which was very stressful btw! Had to dump so many stuff.. After doing laundry today, I'll pack my carry-on bags. Also considering exchanging a few light but bulky items in my carry-on with one item in my largest bag. Will think about that after laundry.

We also need to go to the bank. May need to change our account type to avoid monthly service fees now that our balance has gone below a certain amount. And the supermarket cos the milk is running low.

I scrubbed the kitchen clean on Sunday after cooking and freezing plenty of stuff to tide Sito over, and wiped up the rest of the apartment yesterday. We have already sold our hoover so the dark carpet still has some specks of white but well, that's less important than a clean kitchen and a clean toilet...

Sito has a lunch meeting today so I'll be having lunch on my own - with the last episode of Desperate Housewives on Hulu. This evening, we'll be having our last dinner together here at Five Guys. Must leave with the taste of a good burger in my mouth right :)

Just realised that I cooked for us for the last time in this kitchen last night - meatball spaghetti, the same as our first home-cooked meal here.

Hmmm, time really flies hur...

It was then August 2010. All too soon, we have reached May 2012. Almost two years just like that.. All the ups and downs associated with business school, all the ups and downs associated with baby making. And I was commenting to Na last night that it seemed yesterday when I was puking, with no idea when the nausea would go away. And now, we're nine weeks away from meeting baby!

He must be keen to meet us too. When he's awake, he's kind of responsive when I press my belly. Or when I blow my nose. Or when I do my Kegels, somehow... He seems to be a light sleeper too, waking shortly after I wake each morning, which spells more sleeplessness but well, we sign up voluntarily and eagerly for this!

So, a lot of excitement in the days ahead. But I'm also sad.

Had a couple of farewells with my friends already. The housewives of Evanston have spent so much good memories in the past two years! Now, with most of us heading for different cities, it will be some time before we meet again. I'll probably see a couple here and there. But the group, maybe in five years' time, if we return for reunion weekend in Kellogg.

Also, we're leaving Sito behind! Poor baby won't feel papa's hands on him for a month. Have to make sure he hears him albeit via Skype. I always ask Sito to say something to baby. It's usually "hello", but the other day, Sito started practising a speech for a class with his hand on my belly! Quite funny, and baby was kicking about too :)

I foresee my mood to follow a cosine curve in the next month. The initial high from returning to Singapore and the adrenalin from having to unpack and settle logistics regarding baby, followed by a low from SWS - Sito withdrawal symptoms - which will coincide with no less than our third anniversary *.* But after that, I can look forward to an upturn - his return! Stay positive, mf....

Monday, 14 May 2012

Balancing work against all others

This unreal life of mine is coming to an end.. No work, not much responsibility. I can do anything I like, I can just stare out of the windows looking at people walk by, I can have long afternoon teas, I have so much time!

But I still have a sense of what real life means... For some strange reason, I'm thinking of a lot of things in these last days in Evanston, and one of these things is work.

In the last year of my full-time job, I was studying for a part-time diploma. With my boss’s blessings, I could leave office at 5.45 pm two days a week for my 6.30 pm class.

The first time I did that, I had a surprise.

Wow, all these people at the Tanjong Pagar MRT at 5.45 pm – are they taking part-time studies too??

But of course most of them were leaving work for home or dinner somewhere!

I immediately felt very unbalanced. Especially when I thought of the work I left behind, waiting for me to carry on when I got home after a three-hour class. And on days when I had no class, I usually had dinner at my desk.

The thing is, there are people who can leave work on time. There are people who can go home to make dinner for their family, have dinner with their family. There are people whose life doesn’t revolve around work.

Frankly speaking, my hours weren't too bad outside of certain periods. Maybe 50 hours weekly? Compared to Sito's 60-70 hours during his internship. He didn't need to work on Saturday and Sunday during his internship but that may change when he starts work in another firm and (more importantly) in Singapore.

That's the thing. Work in Singapore has no respect for life outside work. More than the hours, what I really didn't like was that work had no clear boundary with other parts of life.

I had a desktop in the office, a laptop at home and a PDA on the go. I could also be contacted via my personal mobile. There were times when work interrupted or disrupted my after-work / weekend plans. I was always frustrated because of this. Now on retrospect, I wonder if it wasn't work; I wonder if it was me who had allowed work to cross over to, and eat into, other aspects of my life.

I watched this TED talk by Nigel Marsh some time ago. He made four main points:

1) Some industries just don’t allow balance – think banking...
2) Government and employers won’t solve this for us; it’s up to us
3) There’s a timeframe for balance – “a day is too short, after retirement is too long”
4) Approach balance in a balanced way – the small things matter; no need big upheavals in life

These are things I need to remind myself when I go back to work, especially points 1 and 2. And also, I need to read and review this. It's up to me to live a balanced life! :)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Macs and Starbucks and burgers

I had a revelation during one of my recent trips - I always feel right at home in Macs or Starbucks wherever I am in the world!

I don't go to Macs or Starbucks all the time but it's always reassuring to know where the nearest one is in case I need a quick fix :)

Anyway, this idea came to me a while ago - when I go back to Singapore, which is soon, I'll go try out the burgers in Macs, BK and Wendy's on consecutive days to compare which has the best beef patties! Somehow fell in love with burgers during the past couple of years.. I blame it on Five Guys :p

Friday, 11 May 2012

Pregnancy brain - it's real!

I've heard about pregnancy brain from pregnant and mum friends. When it didn't happen to me earlier on, I dismissed it - maybe it doesn't happen to everyone?

WRONG! It started happening to me a few weeks ago, with small things..

One day, our pasta lunch lacked its usual favour - I had totally forgot to add herbs and pepper. I usually leave the cabinet door open to make it more convenient to reach those stuff but that day, the door just didn't remind me!

Some days later, I stepped out of a shower and saw swabs of cotton pads inked with pink blusher next to the wash basin. Then I realised I forgot to wash my face in the shower. It's usual for me to forget about removing make-up but washing my face? No!

When Sito asked me to help him wash his water bottle while he was doing some work, I said ok. And sat down at my desk. The next thing I knew, a while later, the bottle was washed and on the drying rack - I felt so bad :(

And this happened more than a couple of times - I poured all the water remaining in the kettle into our bottles so that I could boil more. But after pouring out the water, I left the kettle sitting on the countertop. And I wouldn't realise it until either of us found no water when we needed it *.*

A couple of days ago, I prepared some sliced onions for some fried noodles. And when the noodles were done, I found the sliced onions still sitting happily in the fridge and my noodles lacking in favour :(

The ultimate? This morning, I was supposed to pee into a cup at the clinic. I knocked over a loose roll of toilet paper just before I pulled down my pants. After picking up the roll, I proceeded to pee all I had into the toilet bowl. Then I saw the cup. On the shelf. Empty. D'oh!!! I was empty too!!! Took me another five minutes to give - what? - 10 drops of pee *.* Thank goodness the nurse said that was sufficient!

Anyway.. Today was my last visit to the clinic yay! The reception told me I had to wait a week for my medical records because the person-in-charge would only be there on Thursdays, which was bullshit cos I already told them on Monday that I needed them, and if they let me in behind the counter, I could also copy my file myself right there! But my doc remembered, phew! She gave me the stack of stuff, albeit arranged in some haphazard order. Spent some time organising them and scanning them into soft copies back home. Also got the letter certifying fitness for travel. For some reason, the doc wrote that I was moving to Japan.. Luckily I checked before I left the clinic.

Oh, and she put me on oral medication for the gestational diabetes. I'll go get it but I probably won't start on it until I get back to Singapore. In any case, I checked with M about her glucose levels - turned out that she had similar readings but her doc who was a specialist said those were good enough!

I lost a little weight since Monday. But that's fine, I guess, cos on Monday, I gained too much since the previous week, when I lost a bit from the earlier week... Hmmm, well, it's like 0.5kg to 1.5kg - could very well be due to different combinations of water and the clothes on me!

Well, it's about time to go to bed. I like this time of the day. Baby tends to move a lot when I'm sitting here at the laptop. Last night, he was kicking my left side so much it hurt. At one point, I was sure I felt a heel :) I fell asleep with music by the belly, and when I woke an hour later, he was still moving about!

Tonight, in fact, today, he didn't move as much, probably cos I was on the move a lot. But when I first sat at the laptop just now, he decided to kick my right side. He knows when I'm resting :)

This evening, he suddenly moved a little halfway through our nice dinner at The Stained Glass - he must have liked the food too! We were wondering if he would be a very active baby - that would be quite a handful! But fun, I suppose, and he would keep mummy in shape just by making me chase him around!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Final babymoon - booked!

We've decided to stay one night at MBS, woohoo!

But there was a problem with the online reservation* - so I called them instead. Settled everything within 12 minutes. And the confirmation email has come in too.

Sito and I had a little exchange after the call that went something like this:

Sito: Was it a Singaporean voice?
mf: Yup, very familiar accent..
Sito: Well, then it's true they are hiring Singaporeans in the IRs!

And this afternoon, when Sito and I made two calls to Citibank in Singapore about his annual fee - no, the wife couldn't call on the husband's behalf - we both got a Singaporean voice.

I have taken it for granted that when I call Singapore, I'll hear a Singaporean voice. Even when I called SQ's US number to redeem my miles, it was always a Singaporean voice; when I called Asiana, it was a Korean voice; when I called Cathay (argh!), it was a HK voice. So I never really thought much about it.

Now that I'm thinking about it, it seems that reservation roles remain locally sourced as they need someone in the location itself to do it. Calls for technical support, on the other hand, are more likely to be outsourced to call centres. After all, the call centre just need a handy guide to provide support. Can't remember specific incidents in Sg but I had a very memorable one at this hotel in NYC when I couldn't get the broadband to work - was on the phone with the technician for 40min before he realised the silly solution!

Anyway, this was supposed to be about our babymoon... So, happy! :) I used my Sg credit card for the flights of our earlier trips to get cash rebates. This time, it's his turn to earn rebates - and he can continue to earn rebates on his credit spending all the way to December :p What? I'm not working yet what... Haha!

* Why oh why again?! Btw, Sito's flight is still not confirmed! They couldn't charge his credit card here so I called to use another card and after two days, the card still hasn't been charged and the ticket not issued of course. Crap.

Update 11 May 2012

I was going to call Cathay Pacific again but the e-ticket finally came in this morning, phew! So we're all set for home!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

What do you do with a BA in maths?

One day, we were talking about what I could do for a living when the first song in Avenue Q - "What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?" - came on.

So, what do I do with a BA in mathematics??

Certainly not taking it further to become a mathematician - I was that for three years in Oxford cos that's how we address those who take maths - or teaching the subject or trying to follow in his big footsteps!

Actually, mathematicians can be very employable outside academia and education. I just don't know what I really want to do... Apart from being Sito's personal assistant :)

I'm kind of looking forward to going back to work.. Strange, I know.. But having no income and slacking my days away for an extended period of time don't exactly suit me... Not to say that I'm slacking away my days these days - I'm very busy with relocation stuff, so busy I haven't watched Jap dramas since January!

Anyway, I just remembered that my HR was supposed to email me something but didn't. Oh well, I'll be back next week. Will probably head to office for a chat with some people. And catch up with the aunties in the Amoy hawker centre - through food! :p

Monday, 7 May 2012

So cute!

I was reading random stuff when I suddenly felt baby pushing my belly. I touched that spot and felt a little protrusion! A foot? :)

Anyway, went for what I thought was my last check-up here today. Handed in my request form for my prenatal records upon registration. When I met the doctor, she told me to return on Friday to check on my glucose level in case I had to be put on medication :( And she would only write me the letter for my flights then.

When I went to the counter to check out, the same lady who took my request letter gave me a blank look when I asked about it. Tmd! So I waited another 30 minutes before she waved me over and told me she couldn't give me the records today cos the doctor wanted to include my final check this Friday. TMD!!!! I don't mind if the doctor wanted to be thorough but it took 30 minutes to tell me that, seriously?!

Ok, vented...

I've gained weight in the past week, totalling 10.5kg now. I had imagined myself to be bigger at this point so I'm kind of glad - flying shouldn't be a lot more uncomfortable compared to my previous trips.

Hee, still feeling a bit of baby in that spot, just underneath my belly :)

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Quotable quotes but not from mf :)

Was sorting out stuff and came across some nice quotes in a corporate book I got from a class here: "ISMs in Action!" by Quicken Loans. The quotes by Dan Gilbert are in bold and my thoughts in normal font.

Some people will never "get it". Get them out of your team, club, house, life, etc... and both of you will be happier. So, I shan't waste my precious time arguing or explaining things to these people.

Nothing great and long-lasting is built overnight, but you must take the first step now. Lots of people only know how to talk and/or complain etc. Sometimes, some action is required. For example, I should quit worrying about what that chocolate cupcake is doing to my blood glucose and go for a walk after posting this!

People who are constantly negative, pessimistic and cynical are not spewing their venom towards you or your ideas. They are talking about themselves. Never forget. I'm afraid such people can get me down sometimes. So I shall read this and then read the first quote again.

Winning on the hard stuff does not make the easy stuff easy. Exactly! I don't understand why some people want to win everything all the time, including the "my life sucks" anti-award. Um, no, thank you..

Now, time for the walk...

Saturday, 5 May 2012

What I'll miss when we go back to Sg

As my departure date draws nearer, I don't know what I feel more - excitement or sadness... There are so many things to look forward to but there are so many I'll miss too...

1) Cheap skincare and cosmetics - Shu Uemura cleansing oil costs US$81; I remember buying the same in Singapore for S$150 back in 2009. And there are lots of brands here too. Now that we have Sephora in Sg, we have a lot more brands to choose from as well but at an inflated price... The only consolation is we get more Asian lines in Sg which are more suited to our skin.

2) Pretty coats - Ok, this is super frivolous! I don't like the cold except for the excuse to wear pretty coats! Thing is I didn't get to wear my pretty coat much in the Chicago winter. Which sucks. So there, maybe I don't really miss this..

3) Cheap and good steak - A good dinner at Morton's here costs about half to two-thirds of the same in the Sg branch. But well, we're consoled by the sheer variety of foods in Sg.

4) Online shopping - Think Amazon and its free super saver shipping! There are other websites with free shipping over a certain spending amount. So many things are just a few clicks away.. Body wash, shampoo, cleanser, kitchen stuff, books, hoover, and even pregnancy test strips! Some of these are bulky to buy from stores since we don't drive. But mostly, it can be cheaper buying online. This is inconsolable..

5) Hulu - Cos cannot watch Hulu in Sg! Inconsolable.

6) Cheap ice cream - I think we have eaten through five years' quota of ice cream while in Evanston. But this makes us fat so, ok, we can do without it!

7) Friends - We've made some friends in the past year odd. Many are leaving the US after graduation. It's sad to be parting. The truth is we all know that these two years are pretty unreal. Even if we were to remain in the US, we would probably be in different cities. This is inconsolable too..

8) Time, aka my ability to be 24 孝 wife (and later mother). Here, I have so much free time that I'm stress-free and happy all the time. And I have time to totally pamper my dear husband and spoil him rotten. I even feed him fruits after dinner when he's working at his laptop! In Sg, it will be, "fruits are in the fridge, help yourself" while I'm busy with various work. Actually, there probably won't be fruits at all *.* But well, it's home :)

And the worst? For the first month in Sg, I'll missing Sito :((((

Friday, 4 May 2012

没有车,没有房

Sito stumbled upon this sweet song:



Which links to the less sweet all-female version:



Reading the interesting reflection piece under the Baidu page on 没有车,没有房, my first thought was, since when has something as unquantifiable as love become dependent on material possessions?

It took me a second to answer myself: Since forever!

Seriously, look at 梁祝 - he couldn't marry her cos he was poor. Granted, that wasn't her fault; it was her family's. But the underlying rational remains that he was too poor for her.

(Ok, it's a story but you get the drift...)

Now, I think people generally want to look for equals as partners. I have nothing against that - say, you want someone as educated as yourself to have more common conversation topics. But some people want more than that. A single Korean guy here told Sito he thought it amazing that we went without a car cos Korean girls generally would expect their men to have a car!

I still remember watching matchmaking variety shows when I was a kid. The hosts always asked the contestants for their criteria for a partner. I often heard 安全感 and 幽默感 but I don't remember hearing materialistic replies - or maybe people were shy on TV, or everything is embedded in 安全感? :p But apparently in a matchmaking show in China in recent years, the girls gave such materialistic replies that the authorities had to cancel the show!

Anyway, in reality, I don't think people end up with spouses who fulfil all or even most of their pre-dating/marriage criteria. I think such criteria that people pull out of their imagination kind of fly out of the window when they meet the right person. Remember what Carina Lau said in Infernal Affairs II: 只要男人对我好,要我做什么都行 - ok, a bit extreme but I read it as 男人没有车没有房也没关系 :)

My Sito certainly isn't as tall, dark and handsome as the Disney princes I coveted as a kid/teenager/young adult lost in fairy tales - oops, but yup, that was me.. And no, he doesn't have a car. But together, we have a flat. And soon, a bigger family. I think we're good together :)

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Complaining of our choice?

It's May! And only 16 days to my flight home! :)

I'm very busy with packing - and groaning inwardly and repacking and throwing stuff - and meeting up with friends these days. I'm also very excited at the prospects of going home. Although I'm not exactly going back to a home cos I'm leaving my husband here for a month :(

It's always like this. When I'm busy, when I'm at some crossroad or transition point, I have thoughts I need written down.

Just the other day, I was wondering whether we would become like some of our friends who have chosen to go back to Singapore but who have since been complaining about their life in Singapore. One even exclaimed that "life really sucks to the ultimate core!" On the other hand, another friend who didn't choose to go back had been trying to make the best of her circumstance. When she heard about our plans, she simply shared that she felt Singapore had changed since she left three years ago and advised us on what to stock up from the US.

Well, I certainly hope we don't become like the first group. After all, we made a conscious choice to go back to Singapore instead of staying on in Chicago.

Sure, certain things are more expensive in Singapore but there are also super cheap stuff. And people keep talking about overcrowding and stressful environment - I don't care about the first and the second is really up to the individual. What we care about are the immeasurable intangibles like family, friends, the sense of home and belonging.. Fluffy? Maybe, but it's what matters most to us.

Anyway, there are always, ALWAYS, things to complain about. Like the weather - oh yes, Sito will complain about the heat and so will I at some point, but I'll always remember the cold cold wintry days in Evanston that I never want to return to! And it's one thing complaining with friends - group commiserating is always comforting and fun. But to complain until others wonder if it's really hard to live or adjust back to living in Singapore - seriously?

The thing is, I believe in standing by our choice, warts and all. And I don't believe in making life more difficult by unproductive complaining. Weather aside :)
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