Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Trust No One

I have been interviewing for new job. But I am frightened. The Partner is telling me that they have a wonderful work culture and great work/life balance. There is a part of me that wants to believe him.

There is a part of me that is terrified of this

I want to be offered this job. Not really because I am convinced that I will take it up. But because I hate rejection, and would rather be the one turning them down. Dang I am shallow.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The root of all evil

Today I wanted to buy Dawkin's The God Delusion because I had speed-read a borrowed copy some time before and had really liked it. ButI realised the darn thing cost so much in hardback that I decided to be miserly and wait till the soft cover comes out, or get it second hand.

I have just been spending so much money lately. New year season and all. Feel bad because the Sole Breadwinner of our little nuclear family is currently freezing and working his butt of in Chang Chun that I feel slightly guitly if I overindulge my book-shopping sprees. Plus I don't know how to cart everything back to China by myself and the monster.

How much money does one need to be happy? Can I afford not to go back to work? I was talking with some of my friends about this last week (you know who you are) so I started reflecting about money and values.

Fabien was telling me about the people in Mexico that he met who were so poor that they slept on dirt floors but would nevertheless invite him into their home and share their last bowl of beans with him when he was a grungy backpacker. My husband and I used to be idealistic students with hippy streaks and Fab's idea of a good holiday generally involved slums, sewers and getting by on 3 USD a day.

Then we started working on reasonably good jobs, so (as you do!) went through a Engels curve phase of free-spending fun and then I stopped working and although we don't live badly, I am still aware that we stopped being a double income household a long time ago.

But going back to the Mexican example, I think the day I will feel poor is the day that I feel like I cannot afford to be generous. What totally blew me in Turin was how much people were willing to give without expecting anything in return. And the mean calculating devil of a Singaporean in me was humbled and shamed and I try always to remember that Money is not the root of all evil. The love of money is. You cannot love money more than your friends, your family or even that stranger on the street. Because the day you do, then you are poor indeed.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

It takes a village

It has been wonderful staying with Darcie and Joel. I am sooo happy that I know them. At the risk of sounding all warm and fuzzy I am just awed by how open and friendly my friends are. It makes me miss Fabien a bit though.

Anyway Ella (their daughter) is so amused by Sophie, and she's given me the beautiful experience of reading stories on a rocker with a sweet little toddler on my lap. If you are having a bad day, I completely recommend this activity.

In between Darcie has been helping to watch Sophie whilst I do admin (I never knew how difficult it was to get Singapore citizenship for a kid born overseas, if anyone wants to know email me), and I am now convinced that the ideal ratio is 2 children to 3 adults. If Fab wants more kids he will have to find a mistress to take home!

We have also been seeing lots of my relatives on my Dad's side. I feel slightly guilty because I have been promising Sophie (since forever) that we would go swimming in Singapore, but we still have not done it yet (for various reasons).

Anyway, I shall preservere!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Call me!!

We are in Singapore. I forgot how hot and humid it is! We are hiding indoors untill Sophie adjusts(and Sharon too). So unless we are seeing my family or doing administrative nonsense, we will be at home in Siglap most of the time. I am staying with my friends because they have a little girl 9 months older than Sophie, and it is just so convenient to use all their stuff that their baby has outgrown.

Sophie gets very tired in the heat so we spend lots of time at home whilst she sleeps. But I am happy to meet people, so please come over for coffee - my friends Darcie and Joel are totally cool with it.

Call me or mail me and I will tell you where exactly are we.

My number is: 94275436

Friday, February 16, 2007

Her first few steps

Sophie is slowly learning to walk. She grabs any available surface, pulls herself up, and takes little steps by hanging on to the furniture for dear life.

So we figured she should get a walking toy and I was saving it till Fabien could come back to use it with her. She did get a kick out of all the praises and attention from her first couple of steps. Then I remembered to record a video for posterity, but then she kinda decided to take a break... So if you are going to watch this (and you have to be quite a grandparent to really be bothered to), then try forwarding it to near the end before you get to see any walking action.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Weekend on Tuesday

Surprise! Fab snuck back from Chang Chun yesterday. He took a day off whilst explosions were going on in his office so that he could spend some time with Sophie and me before we disappeared to Singapore for Chinese New Year.

It was blissful. A weekend on Tuesday. Not a single parent anymore. Sophie had Grandma, Mama and Papa lining up to pick her up and play with her - boy, is our kid a princess!

We hung out with Sophie all day, let her skip naps (my bad, but this is a really special ocassion). My mum offered to babysit and husband and I went out for dinner at Souk (a cute little North African place near our home) despite gale force winds. Sophie took her first steps supported by her Papa dearest, she obviously still recognised him and was so excited to see him again.

His 20 stolen hours passed too quickly. And Fab had to go back to Chang Chun after his 20 hour "weekend", and I have to be back to my bloody looming project deadline.

And of course we miss him like mad. But I am glad I have to rush this piece of work, somehow that takes the sting out of it a little.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Am busy and we miss Fab lots.

Trying to settle into our new home, but at least we are going back to Singapore for Chinese New Year. Fabien is trying to meet us for lunch on the day we go back.

Yup you heard right. He is going to try to fly to the airport, meet us for lunch, and then after we get on the plane for Singapore, he is going to go back to Chang Chun.

It's a mad life for my poor husband and a pretty busy single parenting adventure for me. At least my mom is here to help.

Sophie turned 9 months

Sophie turned 9 months on 10 Feb.

Where did all that time go?!! Slipping by like water in a sieve.

Wanted to do a small photo montage of her 9 months. But oh well. Just too damn occupied.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mum arrives today!

My mom arrives today. Boy will I be glad that somebody is coming to give me a hand with the furniture and stuff. It is not a moment too soon because (apparently) our delayed shipment is coming in this week. We shall see...

Fabien's really worried that he's not going to see Sophie's first steps and has asked me to tie her up untill he gets back to Beijing!

Everytime I complain to him that I am a "single parent", he reminds me that it could worse. If I was really a single parent, I would have to do all the things I am doing now and still bring home the bacon. That's a sobering thought. But hang on, if I were really a single parent, I wouldn't be in China, and I wouldn't have to worry about the many petty little annoyances that moving house entails. And I am actually working, although the household finances run fine without any of my freelance projects.

Anyway, someone to give me a general hand here is great. Thank you Mum!

Oh yes - whilst I am thanking people, Thanks to all my friends for offering Excel support! I am gritting my teeth and telling myself that it is painful on the learning curve but hey - I gave birth to Sophie without an epidural, I can handle a little pain...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Baby-Proofing 101

You know, I wonder how come we are still alive. When I was a baby, I don't remember my parents ever baby-proofing the house. When we were kids, we climbed trees, rode bikes without helmets and never used car-seats.

I was discussing this with Fab the other day- by today's child-safety standards, we should both by now have been fried by electricty, crashed in cars, and bonked our heads into mental deficiency (so that is why i cannot use Excel!). But according to conventional wisdom in child-rearing today, we have to baby-proof our home so that our kid can explore safely. You can buy all kinds of stuff from anti-topple devices for your cupboards to rounded plastic protectors for all the corners on your furniture.

I started with the simplest ones - putting plastic edges to round out all the sharp wood corners in our house, and covering all the electrical power points with these tres chic plastic covers.

But then ran into difficulties...

In the IKEA store in China, they sell those plastic protectors for 3-pin sockets. But all the power points in our house also have 2-pin power points. I temporarily solved that problem by plugging in an appliance (see photo), in this case the humidifier... but what happens to all the other power points around? I don't want to end up with 10 humidifiers!!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Weekend madness

Whichever part of the world you go to, you will find that all its inhabitants go to IKEA on the weekend. I absolutely needed sheets, so I had no choice but to go there on Saturday. But it was sheer madness. I hate the crowds, and people shoving me. Sophie didn't like people coming up to her and petting and pinching her cheeks saying "oooh... Mixed children are so cute!!"

To which the only appropriate response really should be "so why don't you go get yourself knocked up by the next available white guy and then you can have one yourself?" It was on the tip of my toungue, but I was (sigh) *oh so good*, and answered the "how old is she, where is her father from, what color are her eyes?" kind of questions through gritted teeth for the most part of Saturday afternoon. At least they would have the decency to stop cutting in front of me at the lift. Anyway for the record, her eyes are still green (see photo).

Fortunately we had Sunday to recover from the IKEA madness. We went to the Regent hotel for brunch, and met some great new friends (lotsa volunteer babysitters!) who enjoyed passing her from lap to lap.

Potty Strike!

Sophie is on a potty strike. I am sooo tired cleaning up poop and pee from the floor and my clothes and her clothes (the aiyi gets Sunday off) that I just caved in and put her back in disposables. My bad..

Apparently this is common when babies start learning to walk because they become even more independent (read:bloody-minded).

I really don't have time to deal with this right now. Life as a single parent is periods of waiting around interspersed with periods of mad stress. Right now am trying to deal with the project that I signed up for (am I crazy or what?)... sigh... I realise my Excel skills (never very hot in the first place) are really rusty, and I spend all the time on the Excel help page. ARRGHH how do you change the entered values into a graph/bar chart?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Teething difficulties

We have just moved into our new appartment on Park Avenue. We didn't take Appartment 18C but one level upwards - Appartment 19F.

When we moved in, the ADSL line didn't work, and after jumping up and down the whole day I now have ADSL but the wifi still doesn't work. I also didn't have heating or hot water, but that was resolved in the first couple of hours. Only half my furniture has arrived with the other half coming on 8 Feb?! I now need bed linen, towels and other miscellaneous household stuff, but since we are not going to stay here that long, I think I will just get cheapie IKEA ones.

At least I found a cleaning lady (they are called the "aiyi") though Sophie doesn't seem to like her too much. Sophie generally doesn't like people smothering her with too much affection. If you want her to study you with endless fascination, the best policy is to ignore her. Trying to do stuff for her will just piss off, as my independent minded kid just wants to do everything by herself. This is just in complete opposite to the way I've seen aiyis treat their employer's children. I guess either Sophie or the aiyi will have to change their view... At least she will help toilet train. I leave Sophie out of diapers most of the day, and the aiyi will clean the floor each time an accident happens!

Our new phone number is:
+86 10 6530 6196

Oh yes - despite all the mess surrounding our moving in, I accepted the job. Just call me a sucker for punishment...