Sunday, February 22, 2009

New taste sensations

The most adventurous eaters when we go out and about are Steve, Jess and Rhian. They will give things a try despite not necessarily identifying it!
The photo is of a platter called '5-fortuna' which brings good fortune. Despite an explanation by the waitress I would still have trouble explaining what's in it. Many foods have a 'gelatine' consistency and the dessert versions are definitely delicious.

Little India

Off we went on Sunday to explore Little India. It was fun!

Rainy season?

After 2 months of quite dry weather we are now getting a bit of the 'monsoon' season, with the occasional heavy rain and lots of thunder and lightning. The first time we heard the loud cracks of lightning was very frightening. With this comes increasing humidity, and every days feels hotter and hotter. Most days are very sunny and bright, and it just clouds over temporarily for bouts of rain. By all accounts the weather has been very unseasonable - one taxi driver told me that usually January gets 200 mm rain on average, this year it was only 30 mm. He said there had been a lot more wind than usual (light breeze by Letts Gully standards), and to expect the really hot weather now until July!
The photo is of the 'rain drains' which fill up extremely fast in the rain and are therefore very deep. Most of the time they are bone dry.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Nadine is the latest casualty of the local education system. She has withdrawn from the College after it became apparent that her relentless 'maths and science' schedule was not likely to improve at all over time. She made the decision herself. It wasn't that she 'couldn't do it' but more 'why would you do it?!' and I guess that it easy to understand.
Again, we are very very grateful for the opportunity Nadine has had to experience a state school, and though it has only been a month for her, she has learned a huge amount. The school and her teachers have been really wonderful.

Nadine will 'home-school' with Celia, Adam and I. We will try and model her work more closely on Dunstan's Year 10 curriculum - so any worksheets and project tasks from Year 10 students/teachers would be great!

One bonus is that Nadine gets to continue as part of the school netball team, for which we are also really grateful. The photo is of the gymnasium where the girls' slept last night as part of their team 'camp'... hmmmm.. floor doesn't look too comfortable huh?

Night Safari

We took in the Night Safari at Singapore Zoo last weekend. Celia loved all the animals. We couldn't take photos because it was dark and there were restrictions, so got a photo of the fire-fighting boys instead!
Wouldn't recommend too many touristy outings... they definitely charge touristy prices.

The neighbourhood

Some of the sights from the bus-ride to the nearest Metro station (West Mall).

Adam's teething grin

This is Adam's latest grin. It goes with having 2 new teeth, which are giving him plenty of grief. Cute though!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Quote of the day

Had to write this down while it is fresh in my mind.
After having a 'moment' during her home schooling this morning, Celia announced: "that's not how real teachers do it Mum. I know how real teachers do it, because I had lots of them in my other life". 
Hmmmm... another day tomorrow eh?!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Not this meal thanks

Couldn't resist a photo of this one!

Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson paid us a visit on his way back to New Zealand from his friend's wedding in Canada. It was neat having him here for a meal. He and Steve found time for a few songs on the piano as well. The photo shows Mark giving Adam a cuddle just before he left.


Rhian has found that his talents are being sought from all corners! Many of his schoolmates think he looks like Fernando Torez, the English soccer player, so that gets him lots of points. They also think his break-dancing is pretty cool. Now they realise he plays a few instruments, so he has just landed the job of playing drums in the band for a talent quest this Friday night.
He is giving everything a go and enjoying his time at school.

Maths and Science

In Singapore, the students do Maths and Science at a level 2 full year's ahead of New Zealand. What this of course means for Jess, Nadine and Rhian... is that it is very very hard.
Because Jess is older, she has been allowed to avoid maths and science altogether, and is doing Art, History, English and KI (Knowledge and Inquiry), and Project Work.
Rhian is young enough that the gap is not yet too significant, and so far he is managing to pick up the science and maths okay.
Nadine is caught in the middle. There is a 2-year gap between the maths and science she knows, and what she is being taught. But the school felt she was still young enough to catch up. So for her she has a timetable filled with 2 kinds of maths ( 2 x each a week) and 3 kinds of science ( 2-3 x each a week). This is quite overwhelming, for obvious reasons. Her other subjects are English, Humanities, Philosophy, Leadership/Guidance.

Moray Eel

Remember in an earlier post I mentioned the eel that is in one of the aquariums here at Parc Palais? Well we learned that it is a Moray Eel, much like the one in this picture. We look out for him every night now... he only makes an appearance after dark and never comes fully out of his cave. He is actually very cool! Our one's eyes are not yellow like the picture, and it is a darker brown colour. It is 5-6 feet long.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Home School

After 3 weeks at school and seemingly coping so well, Celia announced that she didn't want to go any more! Over the Chinese New Year long weekend there was lots of talking and cajoling... but in the end she had made up her mind and her final word was "It's not St. Gerard's Mum".
It was a difficult decision but we withdrew her from formal school. The long days and hour long bus ride to and from school were too much. She was also finding it really difficult to communicate with her peers, and said they couldn't understand her. The schools here don't let the parents inside the grounds during the day at all, so I hadn't even seen her classroom much less been able to visit her. And Celia had one and a half hour's a day of Chinese class - she found this boring because she was too far behind the others and had to just fill in the time doing her own thing. 
The school is supportive of our decision which is a relief, and it certainly seems to be the best thing for Celia. She is happy with her teacher so far (that's me!) and it is a bonus to have all the books we purchased at the school to work with.
Multi-tasking at home has moved to a new level, I can't imagine getting my maid's duties done now but the chores will just have to wait. Adam is already getting quite addicted to having Celia's cheery face around.
We are hoping to get the contact details for a couple of the friends she had made in class so we can meet up with them again. And we are very grateful for the experience .... we learnt so much about primary schooling in Singapore in a short time.