Looking back, giving thanks

We often hear people saying, "don't look back", "let go of the past", "look forward", "let the past be past"....but I say, it is good to look back and give thanks for it is our past that shapes our future.

2009 has been a very trying time for the family. We moved from the States back to Singapore and from Singapore to Shanghai. It was changes, changes and more changes. I looked back and saw what I wrote in my blog..."Our life is such, a little of everything, put together, placed under the intense heat of trials and testings, we emerged a better person! If you ask me is 2009 going to be tough, I said 'yes', can we managed? I said 'Yes and YES!' "

And believe it, it has been one very tough year for all of us...BUT God has been good, very gracious indeed. His Grace has always been sufficient for us whatever that come our way. I know God will never take away the challenges, He will never take away difficulties and trials, that has never been His promise to us. His promise to us is that "My Grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor 12:9

One of the greatest challenges living in Shanghai is feeding my family. There are so many food scare that every food item I buy, I have learned to read the really small prints. I have learned to read the ingredients, I have learned to look out for the right labels but really, that is so much I can do. The rest I can only depend on God and trust Him to feed us the right food. I have learned not just to say my grace before meal times, I have also learned to pray when buying food items. Call me a paranoid...it's a mother thing, to feed her family only with the good and healthy stuff.

2009 also saw God being faithful to a friend who gave birth to a baby boy at her 26th week of pregnancy but every child of God is precious, the baby is now 3.1 kg and is home with his parents. God is also faithful as He blessed a very good friend of ours with a pair of twin girls. However, there were also friends who were facing tough times in their life and we continue to wonder why and we continue to pray and trust. We just received news that one pastor back home has just discovered he has lung cancer...such is the reality of life. Don't you think you ought to live life to the fullest, live your life as if it's your last day on earth.

2010 will continue to be a challenging time but God will also continue to be there for us. Bill Crowder said, "we find encouragement and power to persevere in life's darkest hours - power rooted in God, who is compassionate and merciful. Even when life is painful and hard, we can persevere because God is there, His mercy endures forever (Ps 136).

First visit to Mdm Tussauds museum

The Chinese does not have a Christmas break that means kids and adults are all in school and at work. We made use of the opportunity to visit the Shanghai Mdm Tassauds museum. It was fun, apart from the wax figures, there were also games to play. Most of all, the place was almost empty.

Just before entering...

So, that was how she looked?

Pretty ladies...

Let's be friends, Mr Gates

The future is ours

The first two I am sure you know who they are. The last one is the first Chinese sprinter to win an Olympics gold medal

Kung fu fighter or a basket ball player?

The old and the new

Will I be a musician....

will I be a gymnast?

The princess and the people

The princess and the prince

DH and I both agreed that this figure is most well made

With that, our Christmas break came to an end. A new year awaits us.

Around Osaka in six days!

Travelling from Shanghai to Japan takes only two hours. We decided to head there for our Christmas.

We arrived at Kansai airport just under two hours of flight. Japan is a beautiful place but one thing that is really trying is making use of their subway and train system. It is so complex and the station is all huge. Getting out from the wrong exit will laand you at the wrong place and that was exactly what happened to us. From the station to the hotel was only a seven minute walk but it ended up a one hour walk because we came out from the wrong exit...so after dinner, we went to bed.

Notice the special lamp post? And guess who followed us to Osaka...

In the heart of Osaka

Buying the real stuff...takoyaki from Japan!

Universal Studio, here we come...

That was Ann's first visit to a Universal Studio and yes, she had the time of her life. Actually, whether you are an adult or a child, theme parks, somehow, always lift up your spirits.

All the sight and sound of the Universal Studio

My love - The Peanuts Gang!

...and I thought I could have some peace...

Kobe, NOT an ancient city

One of the most enlightening moment was discovering that Kobe was actually a very modern place.

All along, in my mind, I have always thought that Kobe is an ancient city. I was expecting alot of old castles and houses but I was pleasantly surprised...

Kobe subway station

The Oriental Hotel, Kobe. Beautiful isn't it?

Can you spot someone?

Pokemon is a popular cartoon in Japan

This metal slide reminded me of those which I used slide down when I was younger...ions ago

In Japan, there are many ferries-wheel. We realised that almost in each city, there will be at least one of them

We also found the Peanuts gang at Kobe

This was like de-ja-vu, a see-through church building, something I saw in my dream

Streets of Kobe

The Kobe harbour

Kobe harbour at night

Night scene of Kobe

One of the taller Christmas trees I have ever seen. Awesome!

A Christmas carriage and a special escalator, it actually bumped you up and down.

Great service, blankets provided to keep us warm while we have our chocolate

Shinsaibashi Shopping Belt

This was really an interesting stretch at Osaka...

Interesting, never-ending streets of shops, restaurants and many, many more. We even found a Turkish ice-ream man

Do you remember the Glico man?

Japan has lots of game arcades. Not very healthy, I think

Eating ice-cream at Baskin Robins

Guess what we saw? WENDY'S!

Beautiful sculptures can be found on the streets of Osaka

Pokemon Center

Yes, Pokemon is popular in Japan. They even have a Pokemon center.

All kinds of Pokemon knick·knacks for adults and kids

Glorious food of Osaka

In case you thought I have completely forgotten all about the food in Osaka...no, I thought I should put them all under one heading...glorious food!

This was one of the best sugar-paste works I have ever come across. They are all edible

Takoyaki - a class of its own.

What were these people doing behind the curtains?...............................eating ramen

A little of everything, our Christmas Day lunch

Okonomiyaki aka Japanese pizza and of course, ramen

Something special, mochi, greenbean paste with ice-cream. Yummy!

Simple toast and chocolate milk breakfast but they were really great

Walking through a Japan market (in fact, any market) is something which dh and I always enjoy doing. When we were in the US, we always enjoyed going to the farmers' markets...

Fresh tuna and salmon

The famous Japanese puffer fish. No, we didn't try it

Octopus and oysters. They were really big

more seafood

Dessert of various kinds

The best place for sushi and sashimi. Of course, none other than Japan itself. We found this small sushi cafe and tasted one of the best and most reasonably priced sushi and sashimi...


My two beloved getting ready to....eat. We were given "bib" before we started our bbq food

Our bbq dinner

Pastries galore! Now, that's a real quiche

The difference between the ordinary and the extra-ordinary

A Kobe beef lunch

Now, who said only Singaporeans like Q-ing up. We see this almost everyday. Long Q outside a supermarket. People buying their pastries.