Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sentosa Island

We went over to Sentosa Island for the Sentosa Festival of Flowers 2009. The island is very small, and there were lots and lots of people to negotiate through. We followed the signs round in circles till we found the "beach". We'll never take Oreti Beach in Invercargill for granted again! The kids had a welcome swim and we had a nice meal at the cafe...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tools of the Trade

These are the tools of the 'Maid's Trade' (that's me). The slow cooker, rice cooker, wok and fry pan... usually all going at the same time! We have gas cooker, oven and microwave - though many apartments wouldn't have all three because a lot of people would eat out more.

I have added quite a few entries today, so please remember that when you get to the bottom of the screen, click on the 'Older Posts' tab and you will see all previous photos.

Nice to be getting 'Skype' under way with some of you. Our Skype address is 'stevemarkelleward'.


The locals tell us that summer is about to hit! Just when we thought we were acclimatising quite well, we are warned that the worst is yet to come and that the next 3 months will get very very hot. Seems Alexandra has been basking in some hot temperatures too. Our (Parc Palais') pool is looking more inviting all the time!
We have worked out why not many people use the pool. Many Asians don't want their skin to get darker. Also, the weather has apparently been 'cooler' by local standards so swimming is a bit cold! Phew....
There are 4 aquariums. Adam loves looking at the fish. As well as all the gorgeous fish, there is this "eel" thing... it is ghastly. It only comes out of its rock-cave at night. I would love to know how long it is!

China Town

The older girls headed off for a Saturday evening's look around the shops and festivities at Chinatown. Didn't seem to phase them!

Sunday Outing

Another Sunday outing for the Wards. Getting good at buses, trains and elevators with a buggy!

Tossing Yusheng

For more prosperity in the coming year, try your hand at the uniqely Singaporean custom of tossing yusheng (raw fish salad) with your friends and family. The higher you toss, the more prosperity you will enjoy!

The Chinese Gardens

The Chinese Gardens. 
A highlight was the family photo with the statue of Confucius. Confucius say... "Better a diamond with a flaw than a diamond without". He also say..."and remember no matter where you go, there you are". Steve Ward say... "Don't leave food out on the bench or ants will come, so there you are!"

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Jess and Nadine have joined the school netball team. It is a punishing training schedule: every morning at 6.45 am, and twice a week for over 3 hours at a time. Despite aching muscles they are managing to keep up the pace. There is no weekly competition like New Zealand, just the "nationals" coming up in April. Everything is full on until then.
The photo is of the netball team having some rare "down-time" when our girls invited them to our place for a pizza lunch.
Monday is a public holiday for Chinese New Year so they very much deserve a day off!

Wishing area

These "wishing" areas are set aside for weeks leading up to Chinese New Year. You see them in the malls, metro stations etc. The idea is that you stand in front of the candle and statues and make a wish. They are surrounded by beautiful flowers.

Chinese New Year decorations

The whole of Singapore is busy with Chinese New Year, no doubt the whole of China is too!

Chinese New Year

We have been learning about the traditions that take place during Chinese New Year. Over a two-week period from the 26th January till the 15th of February many celebrations are held. This Sunday is New Year's Eve so on that day all families congregate for a special meal, usually at the home of the grandparents. Pork ribs on the barbecue and pineapple tarts are some examples of the food shared. Wish cards are given to single family members with money in them, but only in "even figures", ie. $2, $4 etc.... not odd numbers.
It is customary to buy oneself a new clothes outfit for New Year. I asked if it was to wear to anything special and the answer was 'No.. just to have!' 

Exchanging oranges

Exchanging oranges is an important custom during Chinese New Year. As you give oranges to someone, you bow and bestow a wish or prayer upon them for good luck.  Everyone got to do this as part of celebrations at their school.

A day in school

The high school is where Steve, Jess, Nadine and Rhian will be spending a lot of time so here are some photos to capture what it looks like.

Weird and wonderful foods

If you are wondering why we are having so much trouble identifying food at times, see here for yourself..... 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Orientation week

The photo is of Steve at the Botannical Gardens the week before school started... he has had to dress a lot more formally since then!

It is nice to be getting some comments back on the blog. Some of you have obviously worked it out better than I have! Remember that when the screen runs out you can click on 'older posts' to see previous photos, particularly if you have come on for the first time.
The National Junior College team have had their first big week - Orientation! Dancing, games, meals out.. all sorts of stuff and they seem quite happy. Steve has taught all week and says his students are very very quiet, especially if asked a question. His delegated co-curricular activity is hockey, though slightly different hockey to what we know. Unfortunately it seems the students may have to choose only one co-curricular activity (CCA) and stick with it for the whole year, which limits activities a bit. The girls are going to do netball and I think Rhian will do basketball. They will be lucky to fit in anything given the pending homework schedule! Mealtimes are now 8 pm, when there are lots of stories to tell about the day's events... especially the fun we are having trying to understand and learn people's names.

Adam's toastie

Yesterday Adam has his first taste of something other than a spoon of baby rice. It was a hard-baked toastie. He looks pretty eager about it huh?

Parc Palais

This is the view of Parc Palais from the front, on Hume Avenue.

Celia's school-bus pick-up

From now on Celia will be picked up by the Greenridge Primary School bus at 11.15 am. She has quite a long ride as she is the furthest away. She gets dropped home again at 7.30 pm, by which time it is dark. It is a long day for her, but she is enjoying school. She is the only Caucasian student in a school of over 2000 pupils (yes two thousand!)


Every Wednesday morning around 9.3o this is what you see when you look out our window because of "fogging". They spray chemicals everywhere throughout the complex to protect against mosquitos. You have to close windows, bring in washing, and try not to breathe!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jess, Deanie and Rhian all started school at National Junior College on Monday, the 12th January. They are all up with Steve at 5.30 am, and out the door by 6.30 am, so it will be very long days for them. It was a whirlwind weekend getting the various uniform items from all over Singapore, but here they are looking quite swish....

After earlier thoughts of home-schooling Celia, things changed suddenly for her on Friday. She is now a pupil at Greenridge Primary School, and her hours are 1 pm till 6.30 pm!! She has her uniform as you can see from the photo, and she has loads of books. Celia gets to have food at the canteen every day during recess - the dining hall is in the background. We will have to get her to and from school by taxi until we can arrange a school pick-up bus. The second photo is of the guard-gate which all schools have.