Monday, August 27, 2018

Singapore in Seven: College Green

Our last year in Singapore, we moved to a little attached house with some yard around it. It was a dream come true for me, as I always wanted to have a least my own front door. We just lived there a year until God called us away to live in Turkey, but it was perfect timing. I had three very little girls and was home all day with them while CC worked at the school. Having that little house was so good for that time.

We wanted to visit the places we lived, so we went first for breakfast at our old hawker center. By that last year there when I had children who were 3, 2, and 1, CC had suggested that I just focus on the house and kids and that we could eat local food for dinner. It was cheap and just a short walk away. I have so many memories of these little stalls and wheeling in my three little girls (all piled in a double stroller). I remember Firstborn learning how to ask, by herself, for extra sugar. I remember Twinkle Toes, at just 2 years old, chowing down on the spicy Indian curries. (That should have been an indication that she will always order the spicy dishes!) I remember my baby Miss Middler, happily gnawing on some Indian prata in her stroller. So many good memories of that place.

It all looked exactly the same, down to the "Fruit Lady" who was not supposed to solicit customers, but would always walk by and say, "You want fruit?" Then the other fruit lady would get angry. According to our friends, there was an article about a big fight that occurred between two fruit ladies at this very hawker center. We would always finish off our dinner with a big plate of cut fruit for $2.

And here was our house, on the left side where you see the tiny red mailbox.

The back yard was a common area, but my little girls played out there every day.

This was the back of our house (right). We had a grating up on the window in the babies' room to keep them from getting out of the window. Little Twinkle Toes used to climb it like a monkey when she was supposed to be sleeping.

I took a couple of pictures looking in the window. My kitchen and dining room....

....and the den. Where Miss Middler broke the stair gate free and rode it down the stairs like a sled.

I am thankful for so many good memories at 22 College Green.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Singapore in Seven: Black Pepper Crab and the East Coast Parkway

The only "expensive" meal out that we had there, which we knew we wanted to do, was Black Pepper Crab. We drove with our friends out to the East Coast Parkway and ate at Jumbo Seafood.

It was just as delicious as we remembered!

They serve Black Pepper Crab and Chili Crab. Black Pepper is by far my favorite!

We ended with an ice kachang.

The pink in there is rose flavored!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Singapore in Seven: Snapshots

My time there was so limited. My first 6 years of marriage were spent on this beautiful island. And I had 7 days to take it all in again after so many years. I snapped many pictures as the week progressed. Here are a few with some captions....

I loved seeing the historical evidence of the British influence and colonization of Singapore. A few of the old bungalows remain.

It was pouring the day we first drove by what used to be "our first school." We stepped off the bus that first morning and saw the campus. It was a public school building built decades ago, which one housed prisoners of war from WWII. Many ghost stories floated around. We grew to love that little campus, where CC first became a teacher and I learned how to live far away from home. That land was so valuable, and the government took it back (before we left Singapore), tore down the old concrete school buildings, and built a condo there just behind these trees.

This building symbolizes answered prayer. Once we found out the land was reverting back to the government, my husband and brother (working there with us at the time) scoured the city for months and months. Just prior to being forced to announce the close of our school due to the inability to find a suitable campus, God provided this building. The guys had even seen that campus, but had been told it wasn't for rent. In one of those "Just In Time" moments, God provided. I will never forget painting it, organizing a short term team to come and move our campus, trimming the trees, moving in. I had 3 little girls with me in those days.

After a short drive through memory lane, we went downtown to see old Chinatown.

Some things just haven't changed at all, like the beautiful store fronts with AC units hiding in the back.

And the national flower which grows so well....orchids!

Believe it or not, this interesting, massive building is public housing!

A beautiful country, what a gift for me to see it again!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Singapore in Seven: Hawker Centre

The next morning in Singapore, we hit a hawker centre for breakfast. It was fitting, as I was hitting hawker centres pretty soon upon arrival in Turkey 21 years ago! This place, bustling with life, color, sounds, and smells became MY life when I lived here.

Many nights after teaching all day, we would go to our local hawker centre for a hot meal prepared by locals. It was cheap, fast, and delicious!

There were many foods I remembered from my years there and planned to try during my short visit. But upon arrival, I realized how many foods I had forgotten. I can't begin to tell you how the smells and sounds of the hawker centre took me back to being a young bride with my first overseas experience. Very little had changed in this cultural experience.

My buddy LC convinced me to get a coconut ice dessert. Not worms. Gummies.

Every Saturday morning so long ago, I would put on my shorts and loose shirt (it was SO hot) and my flip flops and head over to the hawker centre. There I would buy our fresh fruits and vegetables for the week. CC always wanted me to get tomatoes, lemons, green onions, and cilantro. We ate salsa every week on every thing. There was no such thing as a blog back then. I would have blogged all of this.

On every corner was a temple. This hawker centre was no exception.

As time went on, I tried more and more things at the hawker centre. I made friends there. I felt comfortable there. I enjoyed watching the faces of guests when I took them there.

I bought more and more there, but not everything....

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