Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from Singapore

I know it's a little bit belated, but happy thanksgiving to you all in the States! I really miss my American thanksgiving: thanksgiving day breakfast with my church family, hosting my best friend Ei for thanksgiving dinner at our home, staying up for black Friday shopping, decorating the house for Christmas, and heading to perform Balinese dances for the annual Bali to Bala opening night. I didn't get to do the traditional thanksgiving meal here since 1) I don't have access to a kitchen, 2) Restaurant thanksgiving meals are pricey, 3) When I found out supermarkets were catering it, it was too late to place the order for thanksgiving day. Believe it or not, turkey dinner here is more of a Christmas fare so this time around they have just started providing the service. Despite of the absence of  thanksgiving meal, my heart was so grateful for all these places, faces, and experiences that God has blessed me with. They were more amazing beyond I previously imagined. I'm also thankful for whatever God has in store for me next.

One and a half week left for me in Singapore. Everyone has been busy preparing for the finals. I only have 2 exams,which are on the 29th and the 5th. So much time to study that I've became kind of scared that I'll forget things I'm reading up now comes the real exams. This is where lecture videos come in handy. I've been putting it on as I do my chores and start on consolidating/throwing my stuffs away. On the brighter note, I'm really looking forward to spending a month in Indonesia and more importantly going back to the States. So here's what my life looks like post-exam:

  • Dec 6th: Flying to Jakarta in the PM
  • Dec 7th-10th: Being tourist in Jakarta with Diana, an exchange friend I've been travelling with
  • Dec 11th-13rd: Bali with my mom
  • Dec 13rd-20th: Mostly Jakarta, but I might drop a visit to Bandung as my sister ends her semester and coming home
  • Dec 21st-29th: North Sumatra to visit grandmother, relatives, and some times of family vaca

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Last Backpacking Trip: Melacca

I might've lied when I called Cambodia as the end of my backpacking series. I actually headed to Melacca, Malaysia which is 4 hour bus ride away from Singapore with some friends last weekend. Leaving around 9 am in the morning, we got there around lunch time and to our surprise, everyone was taking lunch break *sighs*. Despite of the lunch break, we managed to find a cab driver who was still working over the lunch break and drove to the guesthouse in the Jonker Walk area. To our surprise (again), the guesthouse owner who also happened to live there was taking a lunch/nap break as well. We knocked and he welcomed us, giving a spare backdoor key aside from our room key in case he locks the front door (which also happens to be his t-shirt store and his office) when we get back.

Feeling hungry ourselves, we took a lunch break just like the locals did. We decided to have the legendary Famosa chicken rice balls. It was way better than regular Hainanese chicken rice.

All the interesting attractions are within walking distance from one another. So much Dutch and Portugese influences shown in their landmarks, which are remains from the European conquest of East Indies beginning in the 15th century. The overall highlight to me was definitely Jonker Walk and Baba Nyonya House. Jonker Walk turns to a night market after 6 PM where they sell a lot of souvenirs, antiques, and local delicacies. Baba Nyonya House, on the other hand, used to be a real house where a family of Peranakan merchants lived. Thanks to the Singaporean drama I've been watching titled "The Little Nyonya", I became really interested in the Peranakan cultures and stories.

Another highlight was definitely the food. Thanks to the same drama, I was so wanting to try the pongteh and ayam buah keluak. And of course, authentic nyonya laksa was a must-try.

The local snacks at Jonker Walk was unquestionably good as well. From the Nyonya kuihs to twisted potatoes, from Taiwanese omelettes to satay celup; everything was so delish!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Breaking My Singapore Bubble

America, it is.

This past week I've been thinking of things that are going on back there a lot. It all started with the Hurricane Sandy hitting the Mid-Atlantic. Even though I was spoiled by Singapore's 90 degree days during that disaster, I was with you folks. I kept a close eye on the news while praying for your safety. I missed the historical Drexel closure and worked intensively on term projects and papers instead, boo! (I did celebrate Halloween with my neighbors, though. Eastern State Penitentiary should start hiring them; they did an awesome job scaring people off and turning TV lounges into haunted houses).

Election was another thing. You'd never know how much the international community is watching your election from here, America. Students from all over the world gathered at our Global Lounge nervously watching the votes being counted: many celebrated at the end, while few were disappointed. I had a mixed feeling towards the whole thing. However, a key take away is that no matter who the president is, God is still in His throne and Christ reigns over all. I had never felt such overwhelming gratefulness that my citizenship is not of this world, but is in heaven ruled by my Savior Jesus Christ.

Lastly, I have only one month left in Singapore and two months in Asia. It's time to register for courses to fulfill my degree requirements. I'm already set on staying full-time until graduation since the senior capstone course that I needed was closed for Winter term already; making it 2 courses that I really need for graduation to be postponed to Spring. I've also started  to look through the application for the year-long ministry internship which was quite lengthy. God has definitely been making me realize more than ever of my great insufficiency apart from Him.

This Singapore comfort bubble needs to be broken. Time for some real stuffs  to kick in.