Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our first Christmas in so many ways

I guess I'll get my nose out of my Twilight books and update you all so you know we're still alive. (I'm already finished with book two and I've only been reading the series for about a week. It's sad, I know.)

I'd like to dedicate this blog to the theme of "Our First Christmas". This holiday included many firsts and each one threw us for a loop. However, we surprise even ourselves at how well we can handle this now. So I go down the list...

Our first Christmas as a married couple: This one was probably the biggest adjustment. Coming from two families that have very distinct Christmas traditions, we were both hell bent on doing things our own way. Ya see, Aaron's family does their Christmas fun on Christmas Eve. My family does EVERYTHING (minus church, Grandma's house and the McDonnell's house) on Christmas Day. So I had to remind Aaron that it was against the very core of my Christmas-loving soul to open anything before Christmas morning. Keeping his hands off the wrapped gifts was a daily task. He even sunk so low as to say "Well, we can open it now and then rewrap it and open it again on Christmas morning on the Skype and then our family would never know we opened it early." To this I replied, "But God would know Aaron, and he'd be very disappointed in you." That shut him up until the next day.

So when Christmas morning got here, you'd better believe Aaron was up at 7am (we didn't get home from the previous night's festivities and to bed until 3am). But he was too excited. I was less than thrilled to be woken up at that hour, but thought it was sweet that he was that excited to play Santa. He'd also made our breakfast and a big pot of coffee (a.k.a. Megan niceness juice).

It was a perfect Christmas morning for just the two of us. It made me feel very lucky to have a husband that would make Christmas feel this special even if it's just the two of us. Our children are going to have a wonderful father. (Just hopefully not in Singapore.)

Our first Christmas in Singapore: Singapore goes crazy for Christmas. They decorate every inch of the city and every establishment has a Christmas tree. They don't give a hoot about political correctness either. Everyone is saying "Merry Christmas" everywhere you go. Being a Christian, I loved it. I liked not having to dilute the meaning of the holiday with "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays".

Christmas is also the only time of year that the stores are open past 9pm. In Singapore, most stores are only open from 11am to 9pm. It was really hard to get used to at first (actually it's still a pain at times). However, a lot of stores stayed open until 11pm during the month of December. Even though we don't do much shopping here. It was nice to have the option. Shopping in Singapore is very expensive and very crowded. It's a tourist city afterall.

Our first Christmas away from family: I was seriously dreading this aspect of our first Christmas. Aaron had already spent a Christmas away from home, but this was going to be my first one. Much like Aaron's family, my family is extremely close. Before I left, I spoke to my sister daily on the phone. My mom also called everyday, even when I lived at home before the wedding. I talked to everyone else at least once or more a week. So the thought of spending the most important holiday of the year away from them made me very sad. However, thanks to a little invention called Skype we were able to spend Christmas with both Aaron's and my family. We did Christmas Eve (our Christmas morning) with the Spreers and then spent Christmas morning (our Christmas evening) with my parents (in fact, we joked that we were the only kids to show up for Christmas breakfast at my parents house.) It was almost as good as really being there. Everyone else that we didn't get to see, called us in the spaces in between.

So all in all, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. In fact, it was kinda great.

Don't get me wrong though, I'd still have rather spent it in Kansas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

To: Santa, From: Guinness

Hi Santa.

I was just wondering when you were coming cuz I've been carrying my stocking around for a while now. There's still nothing in it.

I don't really know when Christmas is, but it seems like it should be here by now. If you wanna come early, that'd be cool. I might have accidentally chewed up all of my good toys. I think I smelled some new ones under the tree, but I'm not allowed to open those until my Mom says I can.

Also, please don't put me on the "naughty list" for sticking my tongue out at Mom when she took my stocking away.
Thanks! I'll try to leave you some treats by my dish. The ones shaped like bones are the best!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Perhaps we should stick to Jingle Bells

Merry Christmas Singapore - Culture Vulture

Singapore has recorded its own Christmas song. Since I'm striving to be less critical and keep the blog upbeat, I'll let you form your own opinion. However, just imagine sitting in an office and being forced to listen to it everyday. EVERYDAY.

Rock Chalk Christmas

Call it sacrilegious....

and we'll call you a Missouri fan.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

24, which is almost 25, which is waaay too close to 30

(not that there's anything wrong with being thirty :) )
God gave me a great present for my birthday. He worked in his mysterious ways to get the Ministry of Manpower to approve the other girl's work pass. So now I have freedom! See, I was hired as part time which meant I work Wednesday afternoon, Thursday, Friday and alternate Saturdays. However, because her pass had not gone through, I was working everyday. (But you've all already read my bitching about my work schedule...SO ANYWAYS)

Today, I had another very treasured day off. I spent it going to the NEX, out to lunch with colleagues to celebrate the office birthdays and then home to clean the grossness in our house. Not a very fun day off, but a much needed one.
As for my birthday, we had such a great time. Minus a bout with a little sickness, it was a perfect day. We went out the night before the big day to Howl at the Moon Singapore. It's an awesome dueling piano bar that Paula (Aaron's mom) told us about. They have one in KC's Power and Light district and they just opened one here a couple of months ago. It's the most fun we've had since we arrived here. I'm not even joking. We had about ten people with us and it made for a very fun night. Here's some pictures from the evening:

We started out the night at a restaurant called Paulaner. It's owned by the same German company that makes Paulaner beers. I had the weiner schnitzel. Aaron was mildly intimidated. (just kidding)
Then we ventured over to Howl at the Moon.
Upon returning from the bathroom, I see this phrase written on the mirror behind the stage. I guess our friends gave the musicians a dollar to write "Happy Birthday Megan, We almost Love you". I thought it was pretty funny.
Then they called my name to come get on stage. It was a mildly embarassing moment of me not being able to get my big butt up on the piano, but I made it. Then I found out that a couple of our friends had arranged to get me a birthday cake. Isn't that so sweet? I was very excited. So I sat on the piano while everyone sang Happy Birthday. Awkward, but fun. Just like me.
Although, once we brought it back to the table, we were told that due to Singapore law, a bar is not allowed to house cutlery. So had to eat our cake with our hands and on napkins because they also had a limited supply of plates. I get it. It's a bar and angry drunk people may try to stab others. I found it more amusing than upsetting. That could have been the booze disrupting my thought process though.
So following all of this and a mountain of song requests from our table, we got a little rowdy.
Then they had us get on stage and play a song game which entailed feeling each other up. (Again, probably something that wouldn't have been so appealing with a sober mindset.)
and then they handed Faby and me a tamborine. You can't say no to a tamborine! So we went back on stage, yet again.

It was a long night, but so so so much fun. I hope we can go back soon. A couple of the musicians are American and their sense of humor is right up our alley.

So even though I miss my family and my bestest friends from home, it was a great birthday...followed by another long and wonderful day of Skype with everyone from home.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Say it in Singlish

I've decided to start an occasional update called "Say it in Singlish" as a way to show you kids at home the kinds of things I hear everyday. I'm constantly asking people to repeat themselves or asking them what the heck they've just said. I'll post these little snippets of my day on the blog to show you the challenge I'm facing in learning a British/Malay/Mandarin/Tamil version of English. This time though, it sounds more like a Brit.

Singaporean version: "I forgot to clear my rubbish from the bin. Could you help there?"

How I must translate: "I forgot to take out my trash. Could you do it for me?"

Yes, their way sounds much prettier. However, I'm sticking to my American sass. It seems to be fewer words that way. I'll be posting more interesting ones as I remember them.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Crawling out of my hole

Hi. Since today is Hari Raya Haji (a Muslim holiday celebrated in Singapore and many other parts of the world), I actually have a day off work. So now I have a free moment to update you all.

In response to several questioning people about why I haven't blogged, this blog shall serve to tell you why.

So even though I was only hired at my new job to work part time, I have been thrust into full time status thanks to a pokey work pass approval system affecting my coworker. This would be no big deal back home in the States, but here in Singapore, it sucks. Especially without a car. Did I mention that in Singapore full time includes Saturdays? Yeah. Me no likey.

Check out a typical day:

6:30 Wake up and get ready for work
7:45 Walk to the bus stop located about 4 blocks of hot humidity away
7:55-8:00 Catch the bus
8:10 Get off the bus and walk underground to get across the busy street then up several escalators to get to the above ground MRT
8:12 Throw some elbows and run and shove into the empty train to be able to get a seat or face standing up in shoulder to shoulder sardine-ness for the whole ride, which is not cool in a country that doesn't value the use of deodorant
8:43 Get off the MRT at Douby Ghaut station, walk up several flights of stairs, walk a half a mile and down several flights of stairs to switch to the other MRT train
8:49 Take the other train to the next stop which is directly under my office building
8:56 Walk up several flights of stairs and down several hallways and into the office tower section of the mall I work in
9:00 Finally make it up to the 16th floor and walk into my office hoping my day won't start with me getting screamed at (which is usually the case)
9:00-6:00 "Work"
6:00-7:35 Repeat the same travel routine in the reverse

So yeah, when I get home, I'm dead tired. We have just enough time to cook dinner, eat it, take care of poor neglected Guinness, sit for 1 hour and then go to bed. It pretty much sucks. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the extra money and having something to do everyday...it's just a bit much. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.