Another great bake

Yes, another successful bake. *Smile*

Banana cranberry loaf

A round one for my helper

I love sharing my bakes and my cookings but I must also learn to respect others' choice. I know that a couple of times, when I share, people don't like it but just accept them out of courtesy. But you know, there is this phrase which one can use "no, thank you." Now, I just share with people who appreciate my "art." *Wink*
Another great entry

Remember I shared with you about the little boy who blogs amazing thoughts. Another entry which I enjoyed. I love what he wrote "If there is no reason to be sad, then be happy." So true isn't it? Why live life with sadness when you can live with happiness. It should go into Readers Digest "Quotable Quotes".

I have always been happy(Though my classmates think I am negative because I disagree with a lot of people, but they are just joking). So, why should we be happy? If you do not have friends, then you will not be happy, because you do not have friends to spread their happiness to you. You will also have nothing to do. So if you are happy, then you will spread happiness to other people, and they will become your friends. And if your personality is not the same as the people in your surroundings, then you will not have friends. But if you do not have friends and you are happy, then you will know how to satisfy yourself. If there is no reason to be sad, then be happy. In other words, being happy, in this case, means that you are satisfied. This is not something temporary, but something lasting for long periods of time. If you do not know how to do this, then smile at anything normal or good. At bad times, think of the half empty-half full saying, meaning that you think of what you already have instead of what you do not.
Heavy bag…

The spouse is away in US for the whole of this week. He smsed back to say that he has checked-in his luggage and it weighted 60kg. (Yikes!) Thankfully, for long flight, he is put on the business class so no extra charge. You know what are in there. 14 books all for the children. When you have kids with such huge appetite for books, can't complain too much.
Conversations – between mum and daughter, daughter and son

During dinner time…
Ann : Mama, which is your favourite restaurant?
Me : Where? Here or Singapore?
Ann : Both
Me : Here, none. Singapore, too many to name
Ann : I like mama restaurant
Me : (Puzzled) Got such restaurant meh?
Ann : Yes, pointing to the dinning table
So sweet.

Went on to talk to her brother…
Ann : Koko, which is your favourite mama food?
Kai : Country captain, beef curry…(went on to list a few)
Ann : Thank God for a good mama to cook for us hor.
Kai : Ya, not like some who throw their kids to childcare centers

Truly, the desires of children are really very simple. Their wants and their needs are really very basic. Financially, if you can afford to raise your own kids, please do so.  Listen to them, all they really want and need is a mum's presence. 

Flash back…2009 July. "Gosh, three years to go…" Fast forward…2012. "Gosh, three more months to go…"

Yes, that's how fast time has rocketed by. These three years have been one amazing journey. It was not a least bit easy. Honestly, no. I wonder why families, especially those from the west, are willing to trade fresh air, clear blue skies, safe food for a living which is completely unpredictable. If you are a swinging single, travelling round the world with your backpack, I can understand. Those with families? It blows my mind away just trying to think what they are thinking. I have heard of many families who couldn't make it, they pack up and head home after a few months. Someone close whom I know, did just that. It was suppose to be a three year stay but ended up just staying one year.

Precisely because it wasn't easy, it made the journey very fulfilling as it comes to almost an end. Unlike living in the US, we didn't do any road trips here. Actually, just once. The car wasn't at our disposal. It was the company's rule that we should never drive but always be driven. It was a safety measure. The company has great concern for the safety of their employees. I think I need not elaborate on the reason. When holidays were here, we took off to nearby countries. Much needed to clear the mind and above all, remain sane. This brings me to the next point.

During our three years here, we have met up with various friends, most paid us a visit while on business trip. The question they often asked was "what have you gained." Gained? My reply was often, "I think I have become more 'evil'". When we first arrived, we treated people politely, kindly. We then learned that our kindness was a weakness in their eyes. Oh yes, for the first year, we got bullied…even by the company's driver. Slowly, we learned - just don't be mean. Give due respect to all but always remain formal. One friend said. "It is not 'evil' but wise." "你聪明了!" Perhaps. I am definitely much more streetwise. It is no longer just wise to handle the daily life but wise to survive.

Over here, I have to speak in a loud, assertive, commanding tone. I have learned that it is not rude or being bad. It is the way things are done here. All about understanding one's culture. Sometimes, I put away my true self and put on another self to make sure things get done. Trust me, things do get done.

I have learned to quit pleasing others. As the expat community is pretty large here. These expat wives gather quite often for tea, coffee, lunches etc… I have been to a couple during the first year here (trying to make friends). It turned out out to be downright torture. You know what I mean. It is so pretentious. I decided to quit going. Better to be kind to myself.

The other thing which amazed me was that I have learned to send messages in Chinese, emailed in Chinese and even blog in Chinese. On many occasions, I have even become the unofficial translator.

Being away from home has also cultivated a great sense of independence. I do as much as I can on my own.  I do not need my helper to come in every single day. Just twice a week to help lighten my load. I have attended many cooking and baking classes and that has sharpened my culinary skills. Because of the many food scare, I have learned to feed my family with clean healthy home-cooked meals. I can see that it has paid off a great deal. The family doesn't fall sick easily and even if down with the occasional virus, they are up and going in quick time.

These three years have also seen me serving in the Sunday School ministry. Even as God has blessed us richly, I want to give back. The family has also been involved in a handful of voluntary work. They were great exposure for the kids too. A time for them to learn that when all's well with them, there are still other kids out there in great need, even of the basic necessities.

There is one thing which I will miss most. The school. The school is small. Just about less than 300 students. The small size make it more like home than a school. The kids love going to school. Teachers are like friends to them. They are free to be themselves. Parents and teachers are in touch with each other often. Teachers there serve with a passion.

It is time once again to pack up and move. This time, it is a move back to my homeland. What awaits me, I do not know. I just know…
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6

I give myself a pat on the shoulder, a road well travelled.


Final countdown begins. A pat on my shoulder. A job well done.

So much feelings, so much emotions…I just want to put them all down.

Be patient…so much to do, so much to write.