Saturday, March 31, 2012

Back in Singapore

Today is a strange one. It's like a summer day at the cottage. It is surprisingly not hot, maybe 72',  and very windy. It rained all night  (I know because I was awake- I am having a terrible time adjusting back to Singapore time. I wake up at 2 a.m. and am done for the night. By 2 p.m. I am dogged. I've been luckier with my other trips)
Thunder and lightning all night. Yesterday was unbelievable. The wind. Our balcony furniture was whipped around the deck. They looked like little electric cars scooting around. Some of our plants blew over. I fear having something blow off the deck, but some balconies are filled with furniture and very very mature plants, so I take from that, that things do not actually blow off. I hope I am right. (In the last few days, in fact, we have been finding little plastic toys on our balcony. I think a little person from above is dropping them over.)
I am waiting for Tim to get home from work. He must be flying, or I should say landing in this wind. I should watch the planes outside and imagine that I see him come in.
I just had a reflexology in our complex. A reflexology/back and shoulder massage, manicure/pedicure place opened up this morning. I was their first customer. A young woman 24, is starting her own business. It was lovely to support her. I couldn't help but think of our Elizabeth starting her own business last week in Toronto. And me so sad I am not there to support her, and help her in the kitchen, and buy her sandwiches. So it was lovely to be the first customer for this young woman. And how wonderful to have another treatment salon here on our grounds. Also a new restaurant is opening soon. Japanese. Wow.
My trip back was interesting. I have flown 767, 747, 330, 340, 380. The 380 is amazingly quiet.
I am flying too much. No movies that I have not seen. It seems the tv I watch is on flights! Downton Abbey. Fabulous.
The flight Toronto/Tokyo does a big arc over Canada and Alaska, down Russia. Over NWT near Yellowknife, the land was marked off in big quadrants. I would like to know why. They certainly are not logging there, it is above the tree line. Is it surface mining?
Russia is covered in pristine white snow as far as you can see. It is gorgeous. And then Japan, so close to sea level, all this inland water. And cherry blossoms, cherry trees like little puffy white clouds.
Oops, there goes a chair across the balcony.
I came back to a freshly painted apartment. Actually we just had them do the LR DR and hall. The bedrooms were not so bad. We lightened the colour and it looks much fresher and cared for. Off to Ikea next week to get some sofas. I bought a tv bench yesterday. We have a little store downstairs with a bulletin board. Someone had bought an Ikea tv bench, put it together and realized it would not work. Within an hour of seeing the ad we had out tv on it. Very efficient. I hope we will be as lucky when we go to sell out stuff when we leave.
I was to write a theory test for my drivers licence. I have been driving for 50 years, but in Singapore, to get a dr lic I have to write a theory test. How many kinds of  licences does Singapore issue? HA 9!. Do I care. No but they do. In order to get my Ontario licence over to this address I have to study a BOOK of information. The marking on the roads, police arm signals, times of parking with different street marking, meaning of signage. There is NO bloody logic to the police hand signals. It is memory work. Oy. So I was trying to study on the plane during the 20, yes 20 hours I was flying. Retention was very poor. And I didn't sleep the night I got back, so I cancelled my test. This dr lic change of address is a big head ache. I have no intention of driving here, right hand drive on the left (wrong) side of the road. But I need to memorize the police hand signals.
I have my first yoga class tomorrow. I am so excited, like a kid the first day of school. To get back to yoga! The studio is a 10 minute walk from my apartment. She says it is yoga for normal people. "Calm and Bendy". She is an Aussie, and I met her when I went in to inquire. She has fibromyalgia, so is right on about my issues and will watch me carefully. I will attend a "Yin" class, then move up to "Restorative" then to "Beginners". I am very impressed. Seeing as I have been doing yoga, on and off, for 40 years, I have a long way to go to get back. But slow is good. Careful is good.
I have our superintendent coming in to hang drapes on Monday. This place will start to warm up. I was showing pictures of the apartment to my sister when I was home. And I showed her the dining room. She laughed. That might have been because it has a rug, and that is it. No table, no chairs. YET! They have Expat Auctions here. Where those leaving send their furniture, and those having just arrived, go to buy. Rod and Nancy have bought some great stuff for their place. But they plan to ship it home to a house in Florida they have bought and need to furnish. We, on the other hand want to take nothing home. We packed up so much for storage, we don't want anything more. I went to the auction this morning. It's fun to go, and some of the furniture is beautiful. Lots of Rahjistan furniture. What is that, you say. It is antique looking, rough wood, fainted paint, so very rustic. All pieces look like they have a great story to go with them. But I think we are Ikea style for this chapter.
So I work away on making this a nest. It is very interesting because being home (to TO home) made me realize how much family and friends mean to me. And also the last few years in Muskoka having meant I have not been as connected as I wish. So I suffer from attachment issues. But Tim is here, so I am here. And Singapore is truly beautiful. The architecture is dramatic, but it is the trees and landscaping. Beautiful canopy trees everywhere, lush because of the damn humidity and rain, and blossoms everywhere. The expressways are lined with bouganvilia in full bloom.
I did hear that we are entering the monsoon season. Does that mean more rain? If it means wind, it is here. But more rain? Oh my golly. Does it get hotter? I have heard it does in the summer. Hotter?
Off now, to watch the skating chairs on my balcony.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

what a day!!!

Part of my three weeks back in Canada was to go to a family party in Bala. My Mom lived in Bala, and usually we would do a skating party early December and that would be our family Christmas gathering. Because Mom died October 29, and we were all together for early November, we made our skating party at the end of March. So today we had our party. It was 10' outside, about 30 of us (there are 50 if we are all present!) went to the Bala Arena to skate, and back to Mom's for pizza and ice-cream bars. It was gorgeous on the deck, the kids could play outside all day, and it was divine. I saw my siblings (3 of 4) and saw their kids, and it was wonderful.
The photos kind of tell the story of the day. My son Alex and his bride Heidi, bundled up skating, and then sitting in the sun on the deck after. And my nephew Gord catching some shut-eye in the midst of the commotion of the party. It was a marvellous day.
Since Regina, and St Pat's....
Got back to Toronto for the launch party of my daughter Elizabeth's new business "Lilly's Lunches" (delivery on her bicycle of homemade lunch to your office in downtown Toronto). It was a fabulous party in a tiny restaurant/bar in Kensington Market in Toronto. It was a superb evening, sunny warm, 25', a great crowd of young people, and I got to see all my kids' friends. I had a ball.
I have seen my chiropractor in Toronto. She is a magician. I am feeling so much better. A long way to go, but definitely better. Still not exactly clear what it is, but on December 16, the day the house deal closed, my nervous system became inflamed. So it is dying down. I was told if I had not got on to it when I did I could have had permanent damage. Yikes! I am one lucky person.
I have a few more days here, and off to Tokyo/Singapore next Tuesday.
Be in touch when I am back HOME with Tim in Singapore.

I have seen friends. I went to my book club meeting. I have seen my kids. I have seen my sisters and family. It has really restored me! I feel like I was home to set the reset button on this adventure. It was a tough start me feeling so miserable, Tim going through his hoops. Now things are on track. I am excited to head back to Singapore, fix up the apartment as our home, and restart my adventure.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'M BACK!!!!!!

We'll I really am back. Back in Canada.
I was coming to Canada March 6. I didn't dare blog while here, because I was surprising my friend Patty Dixon, by coming to her St Patrick Day party in Regina March 14, and I didn't want to let the cat out of the bag. I already had once in a Skype call with her, where I said something about when I was back in Canada. She hooked on to that and said "too bad you can't tack on St Patty's. Oh, I said, I have to get right back, I hadn't even thought of that. Oh I can't. Too bad.) HA. It went off her radar and the surprise worked.
Her girlfriend Kathleen picked me up at the Regina airport yesterday. Thank you Kathleen.
I walked in on her last night, so other than screaming like she was seeing a ghost, she was surprised to see me, and now I can write. (I don't think she reads my blog anyway!)
I came to Vancouver March 6 and took a hotel room at the airport (having no idea how I would feel when I got to BC).
I travel stand by, and it is wonderful, but it is a bit hairy too. I flew Singapore/Tokyo, on All Nippon Air, but I got the last seat on the plane. It is always a little unsettling. Then in Tokyo, it was very close, but I got the LAST seat in AC business class, Tokyo/Vancouver so I was very lucky. It is wonderful to be able to fly stand by, but it is edgy, too. The back of the mind becomes very busy with -will I get on? will I have to get a hotel room and try tomorrow?  where in Tokyo? How much? yikes! But you know, all I need is one seat, and I mostly am very lucky.
Booked in to a hotel at 2 p.m. at the Vancouver airport, and slept deeply for 3 hours. That is a miracle for me. I am lucky if I sleep deeply any time! Got up at 5 p.m. and went to visit a dear dear friend, Margot, 95, who has just moved in to a long term care. It took me 1 1/2 hours to get there, but I had a lovely visit, 1 1/2 back and a good sleep that night. So really very good crossover from the other side of the world.
To Kelowna the next day and stayed with friends Heinz and Sylvie, for an overnight. Then we went to a fund raiser at Sparkling Hill, near Vernon. Google Sparkling Hill Vernon BC. It is amazing!
This is a lovely tale. My friend in Vernon, Sylvie, emailed me in Singapore that she was putting on a fund raiser for a young girl. Colleen Venables, 15, from Armstrong BC. Colleen is a finalist at the Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition in Beijing, this April. (One of 20 out of 228 entrants) The fund raiser was to help the family with travel costs to get there. Sylvie asked me to talk it up to my ski buddies at Silver Star. So I forwarded her promo email to the group list. 70 buddies. 40 of them came to the concert!!!! 20% of the audience!!! I was so touched. Teary eyed as I saw all my dear friends that I miss soooo much, that they had come, that this young girl was being helped, that we were at gorgeous Sparkling Hill. Within an hour of getting the request from Sylvie, she had requests from the ski buddies. The wonder of the the computer. My buddies loved that I am letting them know what is going on in little Vernon, while I am living in Singapore!!
In Vernon I stayed with my dear friends Rae and Brian Jensen for the Vernon visit.
I had a wonderful time seeing my extended family group in Vernon. Our friends in Vernon are such an amazing groups of active, enthusiastic, healthy, social, loving, curious, adventurous people. I am so happy to be a part of the group, and so missing this wonderful family away from home. My soul was fed. I was bowled over that they remember me, read this blog, enjoy it. I am just bursting with joy. Thank you, ALL! (And I will continue to update you on the arm thing)
While in Vernon, I stayed with dear Rae and Brian Jensen. So weird to be near our condo but not in it! Ron and Jean live there now for 2 years. I was 2 units down at the Jensen's. Such dear friends. Saw neighbours, visited with Rae. Never seem to have enough time, but it was great.
Rae booked me in with a fantastic physiotherapist. I saw her twice, and she worked wonders. AND she said the physio I have in Singapore is right on. Thank goodness. She will be sending diagnosis and exercises via email, so I have a continuity of treatment. As good as can be. ( I see a person in TO next week- twice- for 2 hours- no pressure but for 2X$300- I did say I expect to be cured!) And maybe I will. I am so much better.
It turns out it is an injury in my shoulder. All therapists have asked if I have had an injury to my right shoulder. (the only injury I have had was 23 years ago skiing, which caused my shoulder saga, my quitting the orchestra, blah, blah, blah. Just how much memory does a body have?)
Something has caused, because of the stress of the last few years, the nerves from wrist to neck and down to ankles to become inflamed. So I am not dealing with joints, or muscles, but nerves. I can tell you the path of these nerves, up and down my body, because they are all inflamed and sore. Anyway, enough. I will just say, that I know now, I can stretch in to the pain, in fact I have to. The Vernon physio, Jen, said I am lucky I got started on treatment when I did, or I could have had permanent damage. So enough of the medical, for now!
I am in Regina, visiting with my dear friend, with a good ceilidh coming Saturday night, and Sunday, I fly to TO to stay with my sister Marnie, see my dear children Elizabeth and Alex and Heidi, and visit with family.
It is interesting how things unfold. I really needed this visit for my soul. It has been so wonderful to see friends and see that the world has not closed around me, and forgotten me! I felt that way in Singapore. Because I was so sad, and in such pain, and felt so alone, and had no idea how to make things better.
So now I go back to Singapore feeling so much better about the whole adventure. I will make our nest, start to exercise, and sight see!
So here is a pic of my dear friend Patty. I know I know, I am not going to look for a job in Singapore as a photographer!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Oh yes about Tim

Tim is almost there. He has jumped all the hoops (he thinks) and is today doing a "fam" flight. Familiarization flight- in the jump seat of a flight to Bangkok. They do a few fam flights.  Fam flights let them get to see a few airports, learn the names of some. So not everything is new. Singapore is Changi. Often airports are named other than the name of the city they service. So it makes it easier to find them on his charts if he knows where they are!
He has a few days of fam flights, 2 courses that Tiger has yet to give and in a week or so , he should be on the line.
He did "touch and goes" the other day in Indonesia. Touch and goes are where they take an empty airplane and you actually show them you can land and take off a real airplane. Up to then everything is in the simulator. He was so excited to be actually flying again. He really loves flying. He's a lucky man. (I say he likes to be boss somewhere. In the cockpit he is boss!)
So in a week or so, I will report that he is "on the line"!

our Saturday night date

We went to the Zoo. Singapore is famous for it's Zoo, and the Night Safari. We did both, but just a little of both. It is strange here. The zoo is open until 6 p.m. and the Night Safari opens at 7. What to do for an hour. Wait around in the unbelievable heat, eat the concession food, and line up with everybody else for 7 p.m. entry.
But it was well worth it.
At the zoo, we took a tram. Because we only had an hour, that was the best way to see it all. And because of the heat, it was the only way! The exhibits are wonderful. The animals are healthy and active. They are very close to the people in a tram or walking. No barricade, usually a moat, but very natural and fabulous, and CLOSE. At the end of the tram ride, we walked over to the white tigers, and watched them wander around, gruff at each other, and watched the female swim, yes swim, in the water.  No doubt cooling off. They are amazing. They are huge!
We saw cheetah, zebra, giraffe, monkeys, mandarins, chimps, elephants and many more. It was wonderful. It was hot.
We then had a Ben and Jerry's ice cream, and waited for the Night Safari.
People wait in long line ups, very orderly. So we did! Got on a tram, waited for sunset, about 7:30, and we went off.
We saw lots of mountain goat type animals, some from the , we saw hyenas, Indian wolves,lions, spotted leopard, a HUGE black sloth bear, hippos, Malayan tapirs, river hogs, rhinoceros, many varieties of deer,  cattle.
The tropical rain forest is so loud with crickets. And yet you always hear in the background the miked voices at the entrance to the Safari. A contrast of sounds for sure.
The heat was enough for us, so we headed home after the tram ride, but when I go again, I will skip the zoo, and go about 8 p.m. It does cool a little by then.
Did I mention that it was very commercial. Hence the "giraffes".

The cab ride out is 30 minutes. But it is S$22. Imagine travelling by taxi for 30 minutes, for C$18!!
I will attach some photos.
I am going to try to do photos every time. I might get better with my iPhone camera. It is difficult with this uncooperative wrist, which is getting better. Slowly, slowly.
Oops how did they end up, up there. Oh well.