A Home Away from Home

It was so good to be able to catch up with our friends in Singapore again, even if it was for a fleetingly short moment. Jeff even had a bunch of friends fly in from Taiwan and Malaysia.

We hosted a small dinner for 43 friends at one of my favorite restaurants in the city, Asia Grand. The food was good – although I only have a glancing memory of it. Heh. Glad too that afterwards, we had additional short opportunities to further catch up with them!

Those were the days when we had all the time in the world for sleepovers, camps, and travel abroad together. I just hope we manage to continue to stay in touch, regardless the distance.

My parents and aunt were tireless this trip – they’ve had to essentially make airport runs to pick up/drop off the family every day since we flew in last Saturday night: our flight in from Chicago on early Sunday morning, our flight out to Bali Monday morning, my cousin’s flight in from Australia Wednesday evening, our flight from Bali Thursday afternoon, Jeff’s parents’ flight from New York early Saturday morning, his sister’s flight from New York early Sunday morning, my cousin’s flight back to Australia Sunday evening, my aunt’s flight back to DC late Monday evening, and our flight back to Chicago Tuesday morning. Jeff’s parents fly onto Hong Kong Wednesday evening, and then my dad has to make one more run early Thursday morning to pick up some of his employees coming in from China. Whew!

Through all this, my mum has been battling a bad bout of flu picked up from her trip to China two weeks before as well. They’ve managed to get maybe 6 hours of sleep each night and still have had to play your guides to us and Jeff’s family.

And then there was the dinner my dad hosted. I was quite adamant that I didn’t want a traditional wedding dinner with the hundreds of distant relatives and friends and I can only say that y parents were most accommodating. Between them, they could have easily filled up a ballroom with 300 people, but they only arranged for 7 tables of the closest relatives, and managers from my dad’s company. They also organized a surprise entertainment troupe! We had a small Chinese orchestra, a Chinese dancer who performed magic tricks with umbrellas, a Chinese face changer, and even a couple of belly dancers! It was, I have to say, the most cheena but also the most entertaining wedding dinner I had ever been to! We owe them a large debt of gratitude.

Jeff’s family happily made it to Singapore to visit – but it was a most arduous journey, thanks to Sandy. First, they had to evacuate their place in lower Manhattan, and then they rode out the brunt of the hurricane on the phone, making endless telephone calls to airlines to make new travel arrangements since their original flights out on Wednesday was shot to the winds by the flooding of the airports. After much frustration and a pretty penny later, Jeff’s brother and parents managed to snag flights to arrive in time for the dinner my dad hosted. His sister and brother-in-law eventually made it out the following day, but not before another flight cancellation because the pilot had been unable to get to the airport!

This was definitely a short and packed visit back – but I learnt that I have much, much, much to be thankful for, and that I should try to make more frequent visits back.


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