Archive for the ‘Travel’ category

Lisbon

November 4, 2014

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This was probably one of our best family holidays. Every element of the holiday turned out to be perfect, which really was quite a feat! Weather (most important variable which can make or break a holiday!), was absolutely stunning. We arrived just in time (at the end of October) when the city was experiencing an unusual heatwave. It was 26C everyday with sunny blue skies. At night, we turned on the fans to cool us in bed. What bliss. Because it was no longer tourist season, we had the wonderful summery weather without the crazy crowds! At many tourist attractions we visited, there were less than 20 people. We stayed at a very gorgeous AirBnb apartment on a street dotted with convenience shops and affordable restaurants. Eating out was cheap and food was always good. We had fresh seafood every day. The boy was very well-behaved throughout the 5 days and really was a pleasure to be with. He’s at an age where he is able to appreciate the surroundings and enjoy different sights and attractions. It also helps that Lisbon is so staggeringly attractive. Everywhere you turn there is a photo opportunity. The place has a real rustic charm. There was nothing pretentious, and ways of life are still quite traditional and old-school, which I find really appealing. My husband asked me last night, “So, do you want to go back to Portugal?” And my answer was loud enough for my whole street to hear. “YES!!!!”

Macau

November 17, 2013

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My mother loves Macau and she kept on about wanting us to experience the city with her. And so we did, before we left for the UK. She loves the Venetian Hotel but to be honest I found it rather tasteless and tacky. The food was also extremely expensive. Yes the rooms were HUGE and extremely luxurious but the hotel just has ‘FAKE’ written all over it. We spent most of the time just hanging out in our room (since we don’t gamble) or at the pool and playground (completely deserted although the hotel has 3,000 rooms, guess where’s everyone?). I found the city centre of Macau with its colonial buildings and old streets and shops most enticing. We spent one day on our own in Hong Kong, where we dined at the Peak for lunch at a restaurant with amazing views. For a non-gambler I find the city has very little to offer for me, but at least the family got to holiday together.

Hello, Su!

October 18, 2013

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Have mixed feelings about Macau (more on that in a separate post) but perhaps the highlight of our 5-day family holiday would be our day trip to Hong Kong, where we reunited with our ex-helper, Su, where she now works. We last saw her in 2007 but recently got into contact with her again and arranged to take this rare opportunity to catch up over coffee and cake. It was a hurried meeting but nonetheless it was great to reminisce about old times and marvel at how far we have come. Fluent in Cantonese (what a feat!), Su is now a mum of a five-year-old boy who lives in Indonesia with her husband and we hope she will one day return to our household.

Second honeymoon!

October 11, 2013

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We were able to get away for 5 days in August on our own, to Da Nang and Hoi An in Vietnam. I consider it one of our best holidays ever. The places were charming and magical, the setting was beautiful and everything was just perfect (ok, apart from me falling into a rice paddy due to a biking accident). It was most definitely our second honeymoon and we are very lucky to have had the opportunity to enjoy such a gorgeous destination. Words just cannot describe how special Hoi An is, you have to visit this UNESCO heritage site at least once in your lifetime to get inspired.

Noodles at 4am

March 30, 2013

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4am. Sharing pot noodles with an energetic toddler while the rest of Singapore sleeps. Someone asked me to explain what jet-lag feels like today. The easiest way to understand is – it’s just like when you have to go to start a day’s work at your bedtime hour.

6am. The traffic noise gets louder as the city wakes. The birds start to sing. The skies lighten. People are waking up and getting ready for school and work. But that’s time I want to hit the sack!

8am. The sun is up, the heat and humidity infiltrates the house. It is insanely bright and hot, it feels wrong to go to bed, but sorry I am just too tired.

The first 7-10 days is horrible as we adjust to the new timezone. Jet-lag is unfortunately not something you get better at even if you have had lots of practice. They reckon it takes 1 day per time zone to get adjusted to local time, so with 8 hours’ time difference between UK and Singapore, it will take at least 8 days.

Well all I can say is, I’m glad at least we don’t have to do this flying again anytime soon. We are here to stay for a bit, taking a sabbatical from our British routines and work to spend more time with the family.

It hasn’t been an easy decision or process, but we thought we should give life in Singapore a shot when the little one is still little and not in full-time education. He is mobile in that sense, and adapts easily. My grandmother is also getting very weak and confused, so being with the family helps at this time. I am extremely thankful that my husband is so understanding and supportive.

Just like when I arrived in the UK in 2008 with an open heart, in 2013, I return to the land which bred me with an open mind and no pre-construed expectations.

Just go with the flow is I think what they say.

I heart Taipei

October 22, 2012

We spent our third wedding anniversary in Taipei. It was a destination where we had not been before as a couple and we loved the city instantly!

First of all, we had chosen a good time of the year to visit. It was early autumn, but very sunny and warm everyday. The temperature was about 25C in the day and 20C at night. We stayed in an above average hotel; it was very clean, spacious and comfortable.

On the first day we were so tired about the flight, we slept the whole afternoon. Then we got up at dusk and headed to ShihLin Night Market to check out all the interesting food. We spent an amazing time just nibbling on all the delicious local snacks and soaking up the wonderful atmosphere.

Over the next 2 days, we visited a number of local sights and attractions, including the beautiful port of Danshui, the Beitou Hot Springs and Taipei 101. An especially memorable part of the trip was riding in a glass bottom cable car cabin to Maokong Mountain and descending at sunset, where we were treated to a spectacular view.

It was wonderful to be able to spend some days in each other’s company, explore new places and experience new things, remembering what it’s like to be ‘us’…

Sorry sorry sorry …

August 19, 2012

I can’t two weeks have just flown by like this without me having time to put up a single post!

I guess that tells you a little about my crazy life as a working mum. We got the exterior walls of our house repainted at the end of July, as the paint was old and flaking off. Then I’ve been busy at work with a week-long festival and then going straight into delivering days of training.

I am so desperate for a break that I ended up sobbing on the sofa one afternoon. I just feel completely drained and burnt out, having not taken any time off since February.

We were supposed to have spent 2 weeks in Singapore in June, but my UK permanent residency visa was not processed in time for me to leave the country and so we ended up cancelling our trip and losing money. Hence, there was this post.

It has been quite a roller-coaster ride from June till now. The whole visa/passport thing was serious mental torture but I still had to go to work and get on with life like normal. We ended up not being able to celebrate Lucien’s second birthday in Singapore at a chalet with our family as planned. We had to cancel our Bangkok getaway. R could not cancel his annual leave so he spent 2 weeks sitting at home. Then we didn’t know when we could both find suitable time to re-book a holiday to Singapore, as it’s not easy for R to apply for leave. And when we finally found a possible slot which worked for us both, we discovered prices of air tickets to be sky high. I was really missing home and my family.

It wasn’t until a day or two ago that we chanced upon a Singapore Airlines sale, and got our plane tickets at a decent price. And since then I just feel as if a big rock has been lifted off my chest and I can once again breathe. My mood has improved and I am starting to feel like myself again. There was something for me to look forward to.

I had spent the most part of this year planning, worrying and dealing with this visa and its complications. That aside, being a working mum with no help has really drained the life out of me, although it is a deeply satisfying process. I’m just really looking forward to taking a break, having the opportunity to do the things I love, and feeling inspired again.