Taipei Travels: On separation anxiety

A couple of years ago, the hubs proposed the idea that we would take an us-only trip for a change and leave the boys behind. Back then, the boys were both quite young, and the mere thought of leaving them on their own – granted with loving grandparents to care for them – made me tearful. The idea was swiftly passed on by… but earlier this year, as we reconsidered the option, we both felt that perhaps it was time to try, with the boys a bit older and our parents willing and able to help us look after them. This year, we celebrate 10 years of marriage too, so we thought it would be a fitting milestone trip to make as a couple – kind of like a “second honeymoon”!

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One Terrific Sister Act

Queen of Angels Choir

Sister Act, the five-time Tony-nominated smash hit is in town! Crime, faith and a whole lot of dancing nuns – there was something for everyone, and as David commented at the end “So much glitter! I like the glitter best, mummy.” While Daryl declared, “I like the pretty one, mummy. The pretty lady with the big curly hair.”  Read more

How we chose a primary school for our boys

I’m sorry, that’s not a very creative title, is it? But really, it’s a post that I’ve been sitting on for a long time, and just didn’t feel confident enough to share. Now that we are almost halfway through the year (GASP!), I do feel like we have gained a little experience with primary school life – enough for me to share – and it’s also a good time to talk about this, as many K1 parents are probably losing sleep over this issue as 1 July draws nearer…

Two years ago, I was you.

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A grandparent’s heart

There are moments when it feels like life has come full circle, even though I know (well, I hope!) that I still have a lot more life to live.

Like this afternoon, when we celebrated my dad’s birthday with a very satisfying lunch at Baba Chews Bar and Eatery. The two monkeys were fascinated with the bar counter, but I told them not to climb the stools in case they fell off. So grandpa gamely went with them, supposedly to take a look at the counter too, but actually to make sure they didn’t fall off the stools and break their little heads. And there he stood, supporting one with each hand, and then later carrying them to the ground safely.

And I flashbacked to my own childhood, and the many outings I had with my grandpa, and remembered the feeling of him hoisting me onto his shoulders although all my uncles and aunties and grandma were all “Put her down, you’ll break your back!” How I loved that feeling of being on grandpa’s shoulders, and I knew he was indulging me back then, and it mattered to me.

I’m sure it matters to my boys too, now.

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Progress, not perfection

Last week, I attended the first of five watercolour classes conducted by local watercolour artist Tam Kwan Yuen. This week, we had our second class. We started off with a (according to him, “quite simple”) bunny, and I was quite happy with the finished result.

This week’s challenge – a mountain-valley landscape piece – was significantly harder for us, and I was somewhat not satisfied with my end product. But I think it’s a good kind of dissatisfaction that spurs me on to want to keep trying to get better at my craft.

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Rediscovering beauty

Growing up, I wasn’t the typical girly girl who wore frilly dresses and puffed sleeves and played lovingly with her Barbie dolls. Actually I was quite the tomboy, preferring comfort over ribbons and lace, and I chopped off my Barbies’ hair when I was about 6, then couldn’t deal with their hair loss, and promptly decapitated them and cast them down the chute – true, sad story.

But even as a little girl, I gravitated towards order and perfection, such as making sure my textbook covers were properly wrapped and uncreased, and using a ruler to draw lines on any paper before writing so that my words would always be straight. Looking back, I think those were my benchmarks of “beauty” back then. I wouldn’t say much has changed, although these days I am definitely very much in love with all things floral and sparkly.

In short, I had come to think of myself as a person who appreciates beautiful things. The glory of a golden sunset, of my child’s innocent smile, of the promise of crisp, new things and of words that touch the soul. Thus it came as quite a shock to me when I was recently challenged to examine my perspectives on beauty.

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Celebrating small adventures

As you have probably guessed by now, blogging has taken a little bit of a backseat this year, as it’s been challenging to juggle mothering my two adorable rugrats with managing Dottieshop and housework and church work. But I’m still going to blog as often as I can, and today’s rainy afternoon was the perfect opportunity to huddle up in my cosy sheets with my laptop while the boys took an afternoon nap. (I LOVE the sweater weather we’ve been having the past two days! Except during the school drop off and pick up times…)

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Our first night under the stars

In all my 35 years of life up until last December, I have never once camped in a tent overnight. Oh, I’ve been to many camps and mission trips over the years, but they all involved stays in dormitories or hostels, never the outdoor kind of tents that I would see in movies or read about in books. And I had no inclination to try anyway, since I’ve never been particularly nature-loving nor outdoorsy, but then God gave me two bug-loving, flower-plucking, ant-spotting, bird-watching boys, so…

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