The Always Evolving and Partially Unwritten Five-Year Plan

Dennis the Menace

It’s been a great week!  Jenny’s dad, Dennis, is visiting us in KL on the heels of a weekend we all spent together in Singapore.  He just finished up a consulting project in Shanghai and had planned a trip to see us in KL before heading home to the US.  Then Dennis learned of an opening at Universal Studios in Singapore and changed plans, which lead to a really cool weekend in Singapore first where we enjoyed the resort, and Dennis met many of the people he would potentially be working with at Universal.


Universal Studios Singapore


Unfortunately while we were relaxing in Singapore (picture album here), Dennis had a rough start to a long weekend. While we easily flew from KL to Singapore on time and without any problems (on budget airline AirAsia – 2 round trip tickets for $110), Dennis had a different experience with China Eastern that rivaled our July journey from the US to Malaysia.  His flight was due to leave Friday morning but after boarding the plane, the passengers sat and waited. And waited. And waited.  No departure, no explanations from the crew, no updates from the pilot…just sitting…for 3 1/2 hours.  When the passengers saw jet fuel shooting out from one of the wings things got ugly and mutiny began.  Eventually they deplaned but inside the terminal answers to what happened remained woefully vague and inconsistent.

In Singapore, comfortably checked into the Hard Rock Hotel, we received word that Dennis would be on a red-eye flight (thankfully on a different plane, presumably one not leaking fuel) and should land around 4-5am…ouch.   His contact at Universal was a Singaporean named Audrey who welcomed us at the hotel and gave us a fantastic tour of the property, including treating us to a delicious meal of local foods (while Dennis was battling with China Eastern).  We went to bed hoping Dennis’ backup flight would a safe one.

At 7:45am the next morning, there was a knock at the door.  Dennis had arrived!  Bear in mind, his first meeting was at 9:00am.  Knowing that Dennis had planned to deliver a suitcase to us with goodies from home, I was confused to see that he only had a backpack with him.  “Where’s your luggage, Mr. Dennis?  Ohh no….”  Stepping by me through the door, he grumbled, “Don’t ask.  Somewhere in China maybe…what time is it?”  So his weekend was off to a great start, but the real rub was that the airline made him also check a carry-on bag that was too heavy.  That bag included not just the clothes for three days of business meetings, but all personal supplies and medications.  Not good.


Perhaps where we would find Dennis' luggage


So the theme continued – we played and rested, while Dennis worked and had meetings (and picked out some new clothes so he could wash his one outfit).  The park was fun, Singapore sights outstanding and we enjoyed some delicious meals both on and off resort property.  Also, right before we checked out, Dennis’ luggage arrived!  Then we all had a safe, uneventful flight back to KL where we switched roles.  Sadly while Dennis has more free time, Jenny is working and Dan interviewing.  At least some of our down time overlapped though and we’re thankful to have a visitor with whom we can share some of our daily experiences.  Some are so odd, it’s nice to have another person witness and relate with you on just how different life abroad can be.  Dennis taught us a phrase he and his colleagues in China adopted to help process the bizarre – “TIC” (This is China).  When something new and strange occurred and your friend caught you responding in a confused, dazed look…he might remind you, “TIC, TIC, TIC…” (Remember, this is China and if you keep your eyes open you can see something everyday that you’ve never seen before).

So we’ve started to compile a few of those experiences here…whether TIC or TIM (for Malaysia), the stories are sometimes frustrating, sometimes laughable and always interesting and new to us.   A big thanks to Dennis the Menace for bringing some of those stories with him from China to Singapore, and to experience other new ones with us in Malaysia.


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