tulips in the dark

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.  –Proverbs 19:21

I’m a planner. I like to plan everything. And sometimes, God is just like, NO. You just can’t plan everything out. Well, Petrina and I had our perfect plans set. 5:30pm, meet for dinner at the MBS mall. 6:30pm, meet at the gardens by the bay flower dome. Enjoy the flower dome before it closes at 9pm.

However, after a bunch of changes to our original plan, we ended up at the flower dome at 7:40pm. Yes, 7:40pm. When we went to buy our tickets, the lady at the register kindly informed us that it’s natural lighting inside and that we can’t ask for a refund after we go in because it’s too dark. So we still bought our $12 tickets and headed inside. The flower dome was pretty dark besides a few lighted areas. This was the first time I’ve been there after sunset. Many of the flowers we couldn’t really see too well. This was going to turn into quite an interesting photo outing. I found myself kneeling on the floor (in a dress) desperately trying to get a few good shots of the tulips.

In the end, we still had a good time, and ended up with a few decent shots. Now I can be the ultimate tourist and say I’ve been to the flower dome in the light and in the dark.

Here are some photos that I managed to salvage from the night! Tulipmania is a special exhibit at Gardens by the Bay and happening until May 10th! Make sure to check it out (preferably in the day)! :) 

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lessons from flying a kite for the first time

I held tightly to the string in one hand and panda kite in the other. I started to run furiously across the green lawn, desperately hoping for flight. As I let go of my precious panda in the dark ominous sky, I continued to run, hoping not to crash into the people enjoying a romantic picnic on the grass.

Luckily, the sun had already set, and people couldn’t identify me (I hope) as the lady running crazily on the grass. I’m pretty sure my friends were laughing at me, but I didn’t care. I knew that I looked like a fool, but I was sweaty and determined. I was going to get my panda to fly. I could imagine panda joining the other flashier kites (glow in the dark kite and kites with flashing lights). So what if my panda was much smaller and not as strong.

After multiple accounts of running up and down the marina barrage, panda would unfortunately not fly. With a bit of disappointment in my face and an attitude of defeat, I handed my panda to my friends. They handed me the string to their kite that was already high in the air as consolation. I held on to it and watched my friends with panda. Maybe they would have better luck.

Then, the kind uncle, who helped us a bit before untangling our string, came over to help us again. He was definitely the expert, and I’m sure he was laughing inside at our amateur attempts to fly panda. He looked at our broken and misshapen panda kite and attempted to help us fly it.  The uncle instructed us with how to best fly panda. After quite a few attempts and an improved kite flying technique (unsurprisingly, my kite flying method was completely wrong), they were really close to getting panda in the air. Yet, even with the best instructions, there was no hope for panda. He was beyond repair. It was probably from the combination of us dragging him in the grass, and quite a few rough falls leading to broken pieces, that led to panda’s inability to fly.

In the end, there was no Disney picture perfect ending, just me taking home the broken panda. However, I did learn a few key things. First, some broken things just need to be let go of. Second, having a mentor (person who actually knows how to fly a kite teaching you) is really helpful. And third, when you are so focused and determined to accomplish something that is important to you, the fear of failure does not enter into your mind.

Some pictures from the marina barrage. If you haven’t been there, you need to check it out! It is definitely one of my favorite places to go for it’s incredible views of the Singapore skyline.

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spring cleaning

When is it officially time for spring cleaning, when there are no distinct seasons in Singapore?       –my current musing

I finally decided to do some spring cleaning with my blog. It’s been almost 5 years since I started this blog and it was in desperate need of a new layout and theme. Over the years, just like the changing layouts of the blog, I’ve shifted from just blogging about my teaching (hence the title), to documenting about my travels(check out the travel tab above), living abroad, food adventures, and more. It has been fun to see this blog morph and grow through the years.

Now that I’ve somewhat cleaned up my blog, maybe I should try to de-clutter my apartment, especially my overflowing closets….

#sydneyeats

Before arriving in Sydney, I did what any normal foodie would do- searched Instagram Sydney food hashtags for recommendations on places to eat. After finding a few Sydney food based instagramers through #sydneyeats, I had a few places I wanted to try. We arrived on a Saturday morning, and right away we wanted to see things. Dave took us to Paddington market, where we grabbed lunch at a cute cafe (Crate bar & pizza). The cafe was pretty simple, but the sandwiches were amazing. Maybe we were just really hungry, but they were just so fresh and delicious. I instantly knew we would love the food there.

On day 3 of the trip, we were headed to Bondi beach, to do the coastal walk and spend time at the beach. We were getting breakfast at a cafe on the way. In the car, I showed Jenni a picture of these delicious hotcakes I saw on IG. Dave was taking us to a cafe that one of his friend’s works at as a graphic designer. We asked Dave what the name of the cafe was. He said, Grounds of Alexandria. That’s when I flipped out. That was the same cafe that I had just shown Jenni a picture of. Little did I know what it would be like when I arrived. It was amazing. Outdoor seating places, along with a few different shops, stands, and delicious food. I was surprised at how crowded it was on a Monday morning. Along with the lovely decor, the food was amazing.

After breakfast, we made Dave stop at Bourke Street Bakery which we passed along the way to breakfast. A second breakfast- why not? We saved the baked goods for the coastal walk. I could go on and on about our food adventures, but you get the idea. Nevertheless, Sydney, your food is impressive. I’m definitely coming back. 

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from coogee to bondi

If there’s one thing you need to do in Sydney, it’s the coastal walk from Coogee beach to Bondi beach. The weather couldn’t have been any sunnier, and armed with sunblock, a towel, and water, we walked. Within the first few minutes of our walk, Jenni and I were taking out our cameras and iphones rapidly taking photos. After another 10 minute walk, we stopped to take more photos. Our friend and amazing Australian tour guide, Dave, joked that this walk might take a few more hours at this rate.

Along the walk, we passed numerous beaches that were equally breathtaking, all leading up to the infamous Bondi beach. A few hours later(we obviously made a lot of pit stops to take photos, breathe in the scenery, and swim), we finally saw the glorious blue hues of Bondi beach, filled with camera carrying tourists, endless surfers in the ocean, and just beautiful people.  We were here. We awed at the pools that edged along the ocean creating the illusion that it’s in the ocean. Apparently most of the beaches have these saltwater pools right next to the ocean and Bondi is one of the few pools where you have to pay to swim in it. The other ocean pools are free.

After a few hours enjoying the waves, sun and scenery at Bondi, Dave took us to a nearby look out point to enjoy the sunset. Not only are the beaches beautiful, but the sunsets were incredibly beautiful as well. Admiring the Sydney skyline with the Harbour bridge in the distance, I couldn’t help but be filled with awe and gratitude.

Stay tuned for more photos to come from #jandjsydney trip.  Can’t wait to share about all the glorious food and more amazingly scenic adventures.

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a leap of faith

slice of life 2014

“Please jump in with us Ms. Kim, ” the two girls from my class asked me. As the sun in Indonesia was getting hotter, I knew that getting into the water was unavoidable. From the dock, it didn’t look like it was too high up. The students were jumping from the low-dock into the water. We had cleared a mini-run way on the dock for them. In groups of 2 to 3 they were jumping off into the salty ocean water. The fearless students did 360s, back flops (by accident), splits in the air, and some held their nose.

I got onto the line with my two students next to me. It was finally our turn, and I stood in the middle, sandwiched with my fifth grade girls next to me. The teacher cued us to get ready and I started to run. As I quickly approached the edge of the dock, I looked down. My first mistake. The water looked way further down then the view from the side. As I felt an unexpected moment of panic my two students jumped in without hesitation. They were already in the water, and then I jumped right after. I felt like the coyote that chases after the roadrunner and then realizes mid air that it’s a long way down. As I hit the water, the fear increased as I felt the impact and went straight down and took in a good amount of water. I quickly pushed my way up to the surface and realized my jelly sandals I wore had both slipped off my feet.

“My sandals are gone!!!” I yelled out loud. My principal, who was wading in the water, supervising and swimming, came over quickly.

“Did you loose one of them?” He asked.

“I lost both of them. They slipped off. They are orange and only five dollars. It’s ok.” I replied. Then, he dove underneath the water and came up with 1 orange jelly. Then he dove back in and found the second one.  Emergency avoided. I now had both slippers in my hand as I waded in the water. My nose and throat stinging from the salty ocean water I consumed from my jump, I pulled my wet and heavier body up onto the ladders at the side of the dock.

“That was so much fun! Let’s jump again Ms. Kim, ” my students urged afterwards. I hesitantly got on line again, this time, a bit smarter and left my water shoes on the dock.