Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas - from the other OTHER side of the world!

On 27 November I began the 25 hours of air travel that would bring me home. From the moment the plane touched down in Buffalo, I was swooped into the embrace of friends and family. I feel so lucky. I'm in a really great place right now - thrilled to be home, thrilled to be returning to Singapore again in January. Until then, though, I've been enjoying lots of holiday cheer...

First things first: The tree was up and glistening when I arrived home, and we
decorated it  soon thereafter! Our family tree has an angel theme, celebrating angels of all types.

I enjoyed visiting with customers at my mom's Holiday Open House for her American Doll Boutique.
I've been going to craft shows with her since I was in a bassinet behind her display, so this was
a part of my life rhythm that I missed while away. Visits with shoppers was a fun way to reconnect.

Candles in the window: A traditional American custom that represents
love, welcome and appreciation of family, hearth and home.

An interesting adjustment was how early it gets dark here. At 3:30, twilight begins and by
4:30-5, it's dark. I loved seeing our doggie tracks in the snow.  Far right is Christy - straight
out and straight back as the crow flies. Skipper is in the middle. Straight out, but using the
sidewalk like a civilized creature. Then to the left is my Ginny. In circles, all around, like a
bumblebee.  She nearly made it!

The tree glistens in the window, the wood shed is well stocked, and while cardinals
and nuthatches snack on seed and suet, a couple of crows dine on discarded
cornbread scattered in the snow. 

Christmas cookies! Our family recipes for gingerbread and sugar cookies have been passed down
through the generations, and are still as temptingly yummy today as they were then!

Snow clouds are gathering... six inches (~15 cm) expected
by Wednesday! I'm getting a white Christmas!

And of course, I've enjoyed plenty of snuggles with Miss Ginny, who I've missed terribly! I'm heartened
to know that she has been spoiled ROTTEN by her Nana and Grandpa... in true grandpuppy fashion!
So, I bring this post to a close with warmest wishes for the merriest of Christmases, happiest of holidays, and most joyous of New Years. Enjoy every minute with your friends and loved ones. Tell them you love them. Cherish the time together and savor in the memories. I know that's what I've got planned for my winter break back home in Buffalo!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Community dinner at a Taoist temple

The temple: The building is transient; the people are constant
You may remember that a few weeks ago, I went to a wine and mooncake pairing event in Chinatown. While I was there, I met a number of people from the community, including a local public relations firm.  Two of the firm members, Cheah and Victor, extended an invitation for me to attend a community dinner in honor of a Taoist temple. Naturally, I accepted!

I know very little about Taoism, but was sure to read up on this ancient Eastern religion and philosophy before the event.  My hosts also explained many things to me during my stay. Here are my impressions.

Traditional alter awash in LED light
The first thing to strike me was a visual explosion of light and color. The temple itself is more of a term for a people with a belief system that renders them a community, rather than an actual building. Following this tradition of community dinners, the temple is constructed for one day. Followers flock from miles away - sometimes as far away as neighboring countries - to worship, dine and socialize together. There is a startling combination of ancient and modern, as this picture illustrates: the traditional alter is replete with offerings to the gods including rice, fruit and incense and it is bathed in the glow of blue LED lights. In the background, you can see the back of an enormous speaker and flat screen system, broadcasting music, dances and rituals including body piercing.

If colors could become animate, then the colors of this place were alive. Red was the most present of the colors, being one of the most religiously significant. Four enormous dragons seemed to float in the air above me, each one of a color and orientation to represent one of the four directions and corresponding elements.

The second thing to strike my senses was the density of the air. The air was thick with incense and candle smoke. Another aroma was on the air, though - that of food! I was about to learn exactly how important food was to the community. I was shown the kitchen area of the temple - a huge outdoor cooking station - and saw plates of food lined up for distribution to the tables. I was awed by the sheer quantity of food on these plates, to be served family-style to each table. Then, I learned that there were seven more courses in equal size, as eight is an auspicious number. Eight courses?! I was beginning to fill up after Course 2! 

My third impression was of the incredibly open and friendly atmosphere. To be perfectly honest, I was not sure what to expect for a community dinner at a temple. I brought a shawl and sweater with me, with the expectation that I may be asked to cover my shoulders or head. However, everyone "came as they were," dressed from their days of work or study. The overall revelry was also of a very open nature. Beer flowed like water, smoking was openly permitted and as the night wore on, conversations and laughter became even more vivacious and merry than had already been! I felt overwhelmingly welcomed, with people I had only just met taking it upon themselves to explain to me, one of the only non-locals among hundreds of attendees, the significance of this dish, the meaning of that symbol, the importance of that rite ...or the reason that bag of rice just sold at auction for over $8,000?

Incense and offerings to deities, marked with red bands
to avoid confusion with the rest of the bounty of food.
For one of the main entertainments of the evening was an auction to benefit the temple. Gifts were given in exchange for items merely token in nature, like the aforementioned bag of rice. Some items were more significant, such as carved statues and paintings. These were loaned to temple members, who would keep them in their homes for a year. At the end of the year, they would return the items, along with a large sum of money that was their gift to the temple.

I finally left the event around 10:30pm, knowing that I had work to be done the next day. Cheah informed me that the dinner would go well into the evening, possibly not ending until midnight or later. This was a truly wonderful experience for me, and one I felt privileged to be invited to. Certainly one of my most memorable nights in Singapore!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Nozomi, Tetsuji and me at Il Cielo
This past week, my family friends from Japan visited me here in Singapore. I hadn't realized how much I was missing family until my "Japanese Mom (Nozomi) and Japanese Dad (Tetsuji)" spent time with me. After a fantastic lunch at their hotel, we went to SIM where they sat in on one of my classes.  Afterward, we enjoyed a terrific dinner together on Orchard Road.
250 km (155 miles) between my apartment in Singapore and Melaka

The following day was Nozomi's birthday! We went up to Melaka, Malaysia for the day. Melaka is an old city that was once a Portuguese settlement. It's an interesting blend of old and new, Portuguese and Malaysian, Buddhist and Muslim. We traveled about two and a half hours north of Singapore and visited a number of museums, churches, palaces and temples. It was a significant experience for me to experience the variance in culture and lifestyle that was no different in distance and border-crossing than it would be to drive from Buffalo to Toronto.

Malaysia is a developing country. It is richly infused in history and a culture that reflects the influence of many nations, religions and peoples. Some parts of Malaysia reminded me distinctly of the central Mexican towns and villages I've visited in my travels. Those towns too were strongly shaped by the indigenous societies within them, the conquering powers that had risen and fallen over time and the strong religious heritage and pride in preserving the past.

The next day, we fulfilled Tetsuji's hope to have breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo! I'm planning to make a return trip to this zoo, as there is SO much to see and do there! We took the MRT from there to Marina Bay Sands, where we dodged the rain by enjoying a wonderful brunch at TWG, complete with tea, scones, juice, entrĂ©e and dessert!

A height comparison created by yours truly to give some perspective
We took the River Cruise and ended the day with tea and mooncake at my apartment at Fraser Suites. 

On our final day together, we took a "spin" on the Singapore Flyer! Rising to a height of 541 feet, it is the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world! The views were fantastic and only once (right at the very tippy-top) did I feel a little tense. You might say this was a "high" point of the weekend! 

At the end of our four days together, we had seen amazing sights, traveled to wonderful destinations, and eaten some truly fantastic meals. But it was the companionship of loved ones that really "recharged my batteries" the most!

Coming up: More new experiences! Watch for these and other highlights:
  • Monsoon season
  • Macarons and other pastry-shop lovelies
  • A rare invitation to a anniversary celebration of a Taoist temple
  • Classroom life at SIM

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Tale of Two Weekends

Each one a story :: Lit from within and glowing :: Shining souls take flight
As if to show me how fast my time in Singapore is going, the weekend before last went by before I knew it. I had full intentions to update my blog on Monday... Then Tuesday... Wednesday... Thursday... Wait - what do you mean it's Monday again? 

Which brings us to Tuesday!  So here are the highlights of the last two weeks in Singapore.

A beautiful view of the old and new
Lazy River Friday ~ On Friday I decided to return to Marina Bay Sands to check out the River Cruise. So after a yummy lunch of falafel, (which I've missed, as a Buffalonian!) I purchased my ticket and enjoyed 40 minutes of beautiful river breeze and views of Singapore that I could get from no other perspective.

Open House at SIM ~ On Saturday I headed over to SIM for an Open House for prospective students and their parents. I was excited to have the opportunity to give a brief presentation on the Communication program and meet with the attendees  as it provided an interesting look at the program from their perspective.

My first impressions of Chinatown: One picture wouldn't suffice!
Dim Sum Sunday ~ The next day, I joined my friends for a trip to Chinatown for dim sum at Yum Cha! What an experience! Bamboo baskets of dumplings, pastries, noodles... food of every type imaginable. It would be hard to choose a favorite item... but if you really pushed me, I'd have to go with the coconut tarts! A repeat visit is GOING to happen.

Samy's Curry ~ On Wednesday we all went out for dinner at an Indian restaurant called Samy's Curry near Holland Village. While the food was spicier than I expected (my experience, turns out, has been mostly with northern-style Indian food, and southeast Indian food is a whole new world!) the ambiance and companionship - and garlic naan! - was terrific.

A wonderful evening!
More Adventures in Chinatown ~ On Friday, I returned to Chinatown with the sole aim of wandering. The Mid-Autumn Festival to me will forever be symbolized by the beautiful strings of bright lanterns of all sizes, shapes and colors. Also in abundance are mooncakes - sweet, confection-filled cakes imprinted with Chinese symbols for good fortune.

Mid-Autumn Festival ~ That evening, I returned to Fraser Suites to attend a Mid-Autumn Festival right here at the poolside. I was presented with a lit lantern and enjoyed delicious food while mingling with other guests.

Gracious hosts - and
check out that spread!
Wine & Mooncake ~ The next day, I headed back to Chinatown to attend a wine and mooncake pairing event. This unconventional idea was the brainstorm of the new Chinatown Visitor Centre to bridge traditional and contemporary customs. This delightful, casual event gave me a chance to meet new people, enjoy delicious wine AND indulge in sliver after sliver of mooncake!
Mooncake with traditional lotus
paste and salted egg yolk

Which brings me around to another week! My classes are going really well - in fact, I'll be giving students their midterm a week from today! It's hard to believe I'm already at the mid-point of the semester!  What new adventures wait around the corner? We shall see!

Monday, September 17, 2012

A visit to Hogwarts and a lesson in Herbology

A few months ago, my mother came to me with some news. News, that, according to her, would win her "the best mother of the year award." As if she wasn't winning already. Her news was that she had discovered that the ArtScience Museum at Singapore would be hosting a Harry Potter Exhibition, and that it would be there right at the time I'd be arriving in Singapore. Naturally, I was beyond excited.

Friday morning finally came. I took the complimentary shuttle offered by Fraser Suites to the Marina Bay Sands convention center. The map at the right should help illustrate the enormity and grandeur of this complex.  Marina Bay Sands is shown in the image below; it is three separate buildings (housing three hotels) that are topped by one cantilever structure which holds a Sky Bar.  

At the base of the Marina Bay Sands hotel are a number of other buildings. As I was dropped off at the convention center and had an hour to spare before the exhibit opened, I took the opportunity to stroll around.  

The convention center leads directly into a huge, glamorous mall, complete with not only the obligatory food court and posh designer boutiques, but also a canal complete with boats and floating restaurants. I also enjoyed the spectacular views of the Singapore skyline, both from indoors and outside. I made plans to return to enjoy the sky bar as well as the theaters on other occasions! 

I made my way over to the ArtScience museum, which was beautifully designed as a lotus blossom meant to welcome people to the city.   This unique building is surrounded by a pool of water on which float colorful water lilies. It was exciting just to be there in that moment seeing such beautiful places, let alone what I was there to see!

The Harry Potter Exhibition, for which Singapore was its first stop in Asia, is definitely something that fans of the books and movies should see. It contained costumes, complete sets (I sat in an oversized chair IN HAGRID'S HUT!) and props used in the movies. An audio tour enhanced the experience by providing interviews with various people who made the movie magic possible. All in all, it was a great experience, and topping it off with a visit to Au Chocolat, a French chocolatier for a decadent dessert just completed this perfect day!

The following day, I joined my friends Mary and Jes on our first trip to Singapore's Botanic Gardens. I had heard that this place was huge, but I wasn't exactly prepared for just HOW huge it was! We came armed with floppy hats, shade umbrellas and bottles of water, and felt well-armed against the heat as we strolled along. 

We all decided that a wise strategy for the Botanic Gardens is to plan on making several trips in which we would see parts of it for about an hour or so, rather than trying to do the whole thing in one day. A map below shows both the vast size of the gardens and all the incredible variety there is to see there. We even saw people picnicking and jogging through the Gardens; it was less of the tourist attraction I had previously perceived it to be, and more of an everyday park - but on a mammoth scale!  Aside from seeing gorgeous flowering trees of all kinds, we also saw swans, koi, catfish, turtles and lizards.  So the Botanic Gardens isn't just about the flora - there's plenty of fauna, too, if one keeps an eye open!

It was a "magical" weekend full of adventures of all kind! And this week is my fourth week of teaching at SIM! Other projects that keep me busy include writing a paper, grading students' work, creating three exams and designing a new course I'll be teaching next semester! I've been enjoying each and every day in Singapore - and I can't wait to see what this week and the upcoming weekend hold!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Life at SIM

Block A Atrium
Today my third week of teaching at SIM begins. SIM, called "S-I-M" by Singaporeans and "Sim" by us UB folk, is a management school with a full series of Bachelor of Arts programs created and awarded by UB offered among its other academic tracks. I was hired to teach COM101, the introductory communication course.

These koi clearly know a food
source when they see one.
The campus itself is beautiful, with two huge atriums. One is enclosed and features a massive, glass roof and the other is open to the air and contains, to my glee, a series of koi ponds. When my friend Morgan and I went to explore the campus the Sunday before we started teaching, we were amused that although prolific signs advised people not to feed the koi, the fish actually swam in groups toward us and opened their mouths - literally opened their mouths - above the surface of the water. Don't believe me? Check out the picture.

"Hello Panda"
chocolate cookies
The classrooms are well equipped with technology, wifi internet and speakers, so I can play music as I do when I teach in the States.  My classes range in size from just about 30 to just over 75. The students are wonderful, actively engaged, funny, observant and kind. One of my students brought me these yummy chocolate-filled cookies. It may have ranked among my best days ever.

Amanda, Mary, Mark, Morgan,
Kris, Jes, Chris, Daniel, Dinesh
The campus is alive with activities, both social and academic. One day after lunch, one of my colleagues mentioned that the Management school was having a contest for ice cream marketing campaigns. Naturally, we were all game to go check it out. The students' marketing ideas - ranging from a ball throwing contest whereby hitting a target meant the marketer himself would be doused with water, to a free cotton candy with every ice cream purchase - were inventive and entertaining. We all enjoyed it tremendously - AND there was ice cream!

View from the open-air balcony
outside one of my classrooms
An interesting fact that I did not really take in until I was here is that SIM is more or less plopped right in the middle of jungle terrain.  Birds and crickets fill the air with sound, and the morning bus ride goes past huge trees, vines, palms and other beautiful flora.  This map shows the proximity of SIM to a nature reserve and several large reservoirs. It gives this place a unique environment all of its own.

I am thrilled to have a beautiful office space located on a polytechnic campus right across the road from SIM.  As time goes on, I plan to post about other things I enjoy about day-to-day life at SIM. For now, I'll close this post, as I'm about to leave the office to teach my next session of COM101!

Monday, September 3, 2012

What a weekend!

As I enjoy my quiet Monday morning (I don't start until noon!) I reflect on how after one full week in Singapore, it's already starting to feel more comfortable - and like a home-away-from-home.  I'm excited about Week 2 of teaching - and I'm armed and ready with my camera today so that I can post about it soon - and I'm also excited about how much more of Singapore I'll get to see week-by-week.  Take just this weekend, for example.

Lau Pa Sat: Satay Street
On Friday, I let myself completely indulge in the need for rest.  I slept in, watched one of my favorite movies, and was just generally lazy.  That night, I met my new friends - colleagues in the UB-SIM program - for satay at the Lau Pa Sat Festival Market!  I've included a video so you can get an idea of the surroundings - all the hustle-and-bustle of an old-world food market surrounded by glossy, glassy sky scrapers near the heart of the financial district of Singapore.  There, we enjoyed one another's company and some truly wonderful satay.

Mutton, pork and chicken satay
Satay is marinated meat cooked on a skewer over an open fire and seasoned with a blend of spices.  It originated back many generations ago when the proportion of men to women in Singapore was roughly 10:1.  These poor, helpless bachelors had no one to cook dinner for them when they emerged from their workdays, tired and hungry, so the street vendor found his niche.  (I mean really, barbecued meat on a stick - it's the quintessential guys' food, right?)  It was absolutely a wonderful experience, one I plan to repeat again and again while in Singapore.  Equally enjoyable was the companionship of my colleagues - individuals from departments ranging from my own (communication) to history, economics, sociology and others.

Mary with some cheery
decorations for the office
Then the next day, I met my friend Mary for a journey to IKEA - my first time ever in one of these stores!  The day proved to be quite an adventure, filled with bus trips, MRT rides, shuttles, and a good deal of walking - but we made it!

Me, lost forever in the
IKEA was like nothing I've ever experienced - a bit like Target on steroids.  I found myself flitting from bin to bin, room to room, shelf to shelf, and by the time Mary and I left, we each had giant IKEA sacks full of awesome new things.  We also took the time to indulge in Swedish meatballs, lox, marzipan cake, chocolate mousse, and lingonberry juice!

Among the items I procured at IKEA were a small pot and stick-free pan for cooking individual sized meals, storage containers for leftovers or for packing a lunch as well as a soft woven throw blanket for my sofa - yes, I'm wrapping up in a blanket in Singapore!  The air conditioning, while absolutely indispensable, can also get a bit chilly at times!

My first view of the National Museum through the trees
The next day, I took a shuttle provided by Fraser Suites to a shopping center for my newly-traditional weekend breakfast of kaya toast and coffee (called "kopi" in these shops) and then took a bus to a stop where I could walk to the National Museum of Singapore.  This gorgeous, classical building was full of exhibits that gave me a deeper understanding of the Singaporean people - where they had come from, the important events in history that shaped their world.  I spent the day taking in the creative, interactive history exhibit, as well as enjoying others on food, photography, fashion and even a visiting exhibit on wedding dresses from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  A brief walk around during lunchtime took me down Armenian Street, where I discovered the Peranakan Museum and the National Museum of Art.  Looks like my next two Sundays are already in the works!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Doesn't it all just really come down to finding your new comfort food?

My first two days of teaching have gone by in a blur!  I'm planning to write a post specifically about this in a few days, once I have some pictures to do the descriptions of the SIM campus justice.  For now, let me just say that teaching at SIM is going to be a lot of fun!

But while that post is in the works, I thought I'd tell you about my newly acquired habit: Kaya toast.  I had this treat on my first morning in Singapore, when I enjoyed breakfast at Killeny Kopitiam, a local breakfast chain (which, being a dyed-in-the-wool Buffalonian, I refer to unapologetically as "Killeny's").  Since then, I've been sampling this delicacy in order to scope out the best places to have it.  

Today, my bus route ended at a shopping mall on Orchard Road, where I found myself with a half hour to kill while I waited for a shuttle to take me the rest of the way to the apartment building.  Following my nose to the source of a delicious baked-bread aroma led me to the Toast Box.  It happened to be right next to the taxi stand I'd be waiting at, so I figured this was kismet, and placed my order.

Kaya toast is made by toasting a very light and airy bread and spreading it with kaya and a slab (yes, a slab) of salted butter.  Kaya is a jam made from egg yolk and sweetened coconut.  It's one of those things that sounds strange but tastes unbelievably delicious.  The coffee is served with a traditional dollop of sweetened condensed milk.  The coffee looks black when you get it, but once you stir the spoon around to blend the condensed milk into it, it turns the exact color of a melted Hershey's bar, and quite honestly, tastes just as rich and wonderful.

So that is how I spent my time waiting for the shuttle that would take me from there to Fraser Suites.  More on the buses in a later post, as well - they deserve a highlight of their own!

Friday, August 24, 2012

If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step...

Bon Voyage!  My vim and vigor after 25 hours of air travel
was slightly diminished from what you see in this photo...
...Then I should expect a journey of 9383 miles to take a few steps in order to get into the swing of things!

I cannot tell you how much the well-wishes I've received have meant to me! This is a huge leap, and having support from friends makes it exciting rather than scary. And exciting it has been! Let me fill you in with some highlights.

Tuesday: Left Buffalo, NY at noon for a quick flight to Chicago. Grabbed a neck pillow and some munchies for the next leg. This turned out to be a wise investment.

Tuesday/Wednesday: Chicago to Hong Kong... What a journey! In the future, I'll definitely plan to take a route from San Francisco or some other west-coast destination that would allow me to spend a day in between the US flights and the trans-Pacific one. This was a 15-hour flight and was entirely different from my 2007 experience going from London to NYC (in which the shades were only drawn part of the time, and we were served food every time I turned around). On this flight with United, we were served a hot meal within the first hour, and then the lights were turned off and the shades drawn until Hour #14. As I slept part of the time and woke up mentally telling myself it was morning (in order to acclimate myself to Singapore time, which is 12 hours ahead of Buffalo), the constant darkness is actually what I found a bit unnerving. Thankfully, my tablet was well-stocked with light and fun movies as well as the Hunger Games trilogy, out of which I happily devoured most of Book 1.

Wednesday: Spent a three hour layover in Hong Kong making new friends - an American girl about my age who was travelling to Singapore to visit her boyfriend and a Singaporean man travelling home for a visit after living in the States for several years. We created a "technology camp" around a single outlet on the floor where we all sat and took turns charging our various devices and sharing stories. 

Now imagine it from the air...

Flying into Hong Kong was a beautiful sight - islands rose out of the water in such a way that evoked images in my mind of Chinese art. I couldn't take pictures as everything was stowed at that point, but in all reality it truly looked like artwork, such as that shown to the left.

Wednesday/Thursday early AM: Hong Kong to Singapore! Given that I expected I would be loopy with exhaustion at this point, I opted to book a room at a hotel right within the airport in Singapore so I could immediately get a few solid hours of sleep prior to going through immigration and customs (for which I might just want to have my full faculties about me - or at least most of them). 
Yes, this picture is real.  It's really that
huge - and there was REALLY no line!

The Changi Airport is HUGE. It's beautiful and warrants spending a little time in for two reasons: 1.) It's beautiful and full of cool stuff to see, like shops, restaurants, museums and a KOI POND. Yes, a koi pond.  2.) You can get a lot of useful stuff accomplished right within the airport, such as setting up your cell phone with a Singapore SIM card to make and receive calls.

Thursday: So I started my day off with a traditional Singaporean breakfast of kaya toast and coffee. This was definitely a great way to start off - I won't say more now, because I'd rather feature this delicacy as a post of its own with pictures! I then got my phone taken care of and got some directions on other tasks I needed to accomplish once outside of the airport. I 
A total of 85lbs of possessions
for one year in Singapore!
had lunch, browsed in some shops, pondered the koi, and then right around 1, I went through immigration (see photo above), claimed my luggage, went through customs ("Anything to declare?" "Nope." "Okay, please go on through." "Um... so... we're done?" "Yes. Welcome to Singapore.") and hailed a cab. I timed it all out so that I would arrive at my apartment building just at check in time: 2:00PM. Given that the airport was fun and large and I was meandering about in a jet-lag induced fog, having the extra time made this a nice morning.

I walked outside for the first time to find a cab and my first impression of Singapore was that it was akin to walking into the bathroom after someone has taken a very long, hot shower. No, not after. During. It is hot and humid like nowhere I've ever been, although not in a unpleasant way.  It feels rather like a sauna. I like saunas... With highs in the eighties and nineties every day of the year, the weather had been something I was concerned about.  But Singapore climate is so far so good. The only time I really felt it was when I was in the direct sun when I walked to a 7-11 to buy a bus pass, which was a five minute walk, during which time I felt exactly like an ant must feel when it's under a nasty little kid's magnifying glass. So, as long as you stay in the shade, it's not bad.

Fraser Suites, my home-away from home, is absolutely beautiful. It is luxury in a compact setting. Everyone is tremendously friendly and helpful. 

I spent yesterday unpacking and resting, and today I ventured out to explore the shopping mall within the building (mall! within building!) and bought some odds and ends I had left home without. I had groceries delivered and getting food into the kitchen really made the place feel more like home. I cooked my first meal tonight, and somehow the act of preparing food, cooking, eating at the table and washing the dishes after just made me feel like I had really settled in. While jet lag has given me a few ups and downs physically, emotionally and mentally, I definitely feel like things are falling into place.

Tomorrow: Orientation at the Singapore Institute of Management! And many more adventures to come!

How many visits?