Tuesday, August 6, 2013

And summer passes at the speed of light...

It's been such a busy summer session here in my home-away-from-home. My time has been spent largely between my apartment at Fusionopolis and the Singapore Institute of Management, teaching a 400-level public relations course to 100 undergraduate students. Teaching 15 weeks worth of material in 5 weeks was quite a feat, but in the end, a very enjoyable, action-packed time!

Though time was tight, I did get some great experiences in! My friend Cheah invited two friends and me to an opening of a restaurant, Carnivore at Marina Square Mall. Having never been to a restaurant opening, here OR in the States, it was a great experience! Lion Dances, an opening show by Kumar, and lots... and LOTS... of great food made it a memorable evening. This Brazilian barbecue featured a wide array of buffet items, from fresh-carved meat to seafood, fresh veggies and fruit. I'm definitely planning a return trip!

One weekend I went to Marina Bay Sands with new friend and colleague Allison, where we quite accidentally stumbled upon one of the rehearsals for Singapore's National Day. What a sight! What patriotism! What a lucky right-time-right-place experience! Even though I'll be missing National Day, I felt fortunate that I got to see the rehearsal!

And of course, every day I had the joy of getting to know the students of UB-SIM. This semester, I felt lucky to have several returning students from past classes as well as newcomers. 

From new games to new food, every day is a joy. To the left is a student, Hui Ying, who surprised me in my office with traditional char siew (barbecue pork) and wanton noodles for lunch from her family's food stall. What a treat! To the right, I've just played my first round of a traditional Chinese card game called "Four Colors", or Si Se Pai 四色牌" with students Isaiah, Charissa and Vivienne. The game has similar elements to Rummy, and I'm afraid I had a bit of beginner's luck!

"Majulah Singapura" is Singapore's national anthem and means "Onward, Singapore" in Malay. I saw this scene this morning and it epitomizes, to me, the culture of this nation - always building, always growing; as cranes reach skyward in the early morning light, so the country marches on, reaching ever upward. Happy early National Day to my Singaporean friends (I'll be flying out on Thursday) - I'm looking forward to another year of memories together!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


I really can't believe how fast this semester went. However, I have news: I have signed another one-year contract with SIM-UB, so I will be here for another year! My intent is to be a lot more regular with my blog posts. This semester was positively a whirl-wind. Let me catch you up, loyal readers, on the happenings of my life on this side of the planet.

Immediately after regaining my voice, we had Chinese New Year week off from classes. My mom and dad flew from Buffalo to Japan so that we could all spend time with our friends, my "Japanese Parents" for eight wonderful days. I co-wrote a series of blog posts with my "Japanese mother," Nozomi, in her travel blog. She wanted to capture the sight-seeing we all did together around her country, so she collected hers and her husband's photos, my photos, and my mom's photos, and compiled them into a great series of posts. Then she sent them to me and asked me to add my commentary. Click on the captions below the collages to read about my adventures in Japan.

"Amanda's Family Visit to Japan"

"Japanese House"


"Tokyo and Yokohama"




"Golden Pavilion"

"Kiyomizu Temple"

"Sagano & Arashiyama"

"Uzumasa Movie Village"

It's impossible to sum up this trip with words or photos. We had so many breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and we enjoyed one another's company for all of these moments, which was the greatest gift of all. I hope to return to Japan next year, and Nozomi, Tetsuji and my mom and dad and I also hope to travel in the future again together as we made a great group of travel companions!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Back to Singapore!

The view from my new apartment.
After a restful and joyous winter holiday, I find myself back in Singapore after a lovely day-and-a-half stopover in San Francisco. This really broke up the trip and allowed me to be far more rested upon arriving here. 

San Francisco highlights in a day-and-a-half:
More on the return trip to Buffalo in April!
During my time in San Francisco, I was sure to ride the cable cars to and from Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf (a few times!). I enjoyed lobster bisque at Nick's Lighthouse with the company of a few seagulls, hot chocolate at Ghirardelli Square, foggy views of the Golden Gate Bridge and some shopping time at the Ferry Building Marketplace. I topped my relaxing time off with dinner at Castagnola's with a view of the docks at night. Then I hopped aboard Singapore Airlines and had a delightful flight back to my "home-away-from-home." It felt good to be back!

Unfortunately, as luck would have it, after one week back I was sick by the weekend (monsoon season over here means everyone is fighting off SOMETHING) and was better but hoarse by Monday... then I foolishly pushed through a double-lecture on Tuesday. By Wednesday, I had completely lost my voice to laryngitis. 

No talking? No problem! My trusty
legal pad and I have PLENTY to say.
But not to worry (or rejoice too quickly, if you're in my classroom) - I am delivering lessons anyway via much student participation. As the students here are, as I've said before, a particularly witty and enthusiastic lot, this has not been a challenge at all. In fact, I feel they've risen to the occasion spectacularly.

The bigger challenge has been getting around a new country unaided by speech. Fortunately, I am a quick writer, and have substituted speaking with a legal pad and a Sharpie. After a five-day "Vow of Silence," my doctor tells me I can begin talking again - but keep my words to a minimum. My dad tells me I'm now the perfect daughter.

Loud pops of yellow, red and teal make a sunny place even brighter!
I've moved to Fusionopolis to try a new part of Singapore (and to benefit from a drastically reduced commute time to SIM). While Fusionopolis lacks some of the "coziness" that Fraser Suites offered, living in a chic urban loft apartment is a fantastic experience all its own. I brought - and was sent - a few items from home that added an extra dose of "sunshine", and I've come to love this quiet, scenic haven.

So watch for new posts to come of my day-to-day experiences: the little things that make life interesting, the big wow-moments that make it memorable and the joys in between that make it, well, a heck of an adventure!

How many visits?