Today is Ben’s birthday, he’s now 11! The day was supposed to be spent at either Universal Studios on Sentosa or at the Aquarium but we decided to postpone this as mr Dougberg has come down with a severe case of man-flu. So, whilst he and the kids chilled I walked to the Post Office in Tiong Bahru to send a letter to the DVLA I had forgotten in my bag..(sorry Janice!!)
I love walking around here, the mix of skyscrapers, tropical plants, trees and older houses is so cool and my eyes are not used to seeing anything yet, everywhere I look is interesting and unexpected.
Many of the Singaporeans live in government subsidised apartments built by the Housing Development Board, everyone just calls them HDB’s. They are massive estates with the house numbers clearly written at the top of the buildings. They have their own shops, playgrounds, clinics, schools, wet markets where you buy fruit and veg etc. Basically everything you need.
Our relocation agent, Violet, told us it’s great to find a condo next to a HDB as you can go there and do a lot of you shopping as it’s so convenient and cheap. Sounds good to me!
The kids and I spent the afternoon by the pool. They’ve made a couple of friends here, a sister and brother from Canada with heritage from HongKong and Brunei. So lovely to see them play and have fun and make friends so easily. I was equally pleased as I got to chat with the mother, Christine. She knows so much about Singapore and also introduced me to her cousin, Stella, who lives here. Now I know a lot more about Durian fruits, there is a sweet variety and a bitter one, they prefer the one with the bitter aftertaste. They also advised me to drink water with salt after eating Durian, to balance the hot and cold. This is a Chinese thing, some things are considered hot and others cold. Too much of one thing is no good so then you have to counteract that by taking some of the other. Mangosteen is cold…but also bad to eat too much of if you are a woman “for your womb” Stella told me. No doubt I will be hearing more about this, Chinese medicine really fascinates me and I love how people are so willing to share their knowledge with me.
When Ben came back after playing with his friend he brought a big cake they gave him, a Pandan cake! Did I mention these people are absolutely lovely!!?
Pandan cake is also known as Pandan Chiffon Cake, it’s a light fluffy sponge cake that gets the flavour and taste from a perennial grass known as Pandan leaf. It was a BIG hit with the kids and I must say, it went down rather well with a cup of tea. Here’s a recipe if anyone is curious to try it. I’m definitely growing Pandan leaf on my balcony!
At dinner time I got mr Dougberg on the Nurofen and forced him to come out for a stroll and a bite to eat. On our way to Great World mall we passed the most amazing trees:
Naturally, I had to Google it as soon as I got back- “tree with big balls” and found out it’s called a Cannonball tree, known for its spectacular fruit and beautiful flowers. Just incredible!
We ended up at a Chinese Dumpling restaurant and I’m actually not too sure what we ate but it was all very delicious and even picky Bea enjoyed her meal and tried lots of things. I enjoyed being served by people that looked like they belonged in an operating theatre, complete with face masks and gloves!
Walking back along the river we met a dog in Mickey Mouse dungarees! Henry would not have approved!! However, she was very sweet and the owner gave the kids treats to give her.
Now, y’all might think I’m not doing anything but lie by the pool, look at plants and eat but I have actually also been doing boring important stuff. Like, filling in numerous forms for our shipping company’s agent here in Singapore (promising we have not filled our container with alcohol and pornography), getting set up for the kids’ school; they have an orientation day on Monday and you have to register on their Parent Portal and download an app. We are also progressing with our Visas and have an appointment tomorrow afternoon to get fingerprinted, photographed and have our proper passes issued. We are also sorting out bank accounts and dealing with the real estate agent to secure our dream apartment. Oh, and I’ve got a new local phone number so if you get a strange WhatsApp message it might be me. Or not.