The Always Evolving and Partially Unwritten Five-Year Plan

Posts tagged “Singapore

Chingay Parade 2012

I really love parades. I love watching them. I love marching in them. I love the floats, the music and the costumes of parades. In my opinion, there are not enough parades in our lives. In my little hometown of Alpharetta, the Old Soldier’s Day parade in August was one that I looked forward to every year. And don’t get me started on the mother of all parades, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. More than once, I have recorded the parade to watch later becuase I was out running the Atlanta 1/2 Marathon. True story. (Yes, I realize it made me sound old when I said, “record.” Yes, I was around before there was DVR. And, yes, sometimes I still say “tape” instead of DVR. )

Well, last weekend I was down in Singapore visiting my dad and he supported by parade addiction by getting tickets to my very first Chingay Parade! For those of you that don’t know the Chingay Parade is….see below: (Note: It has nothing to do with the Gay Pride Parade in Atlanta every year, which I have also watched and found highly entertaining.)

Origin of Chingay Parade in a Nutshell!
A dazzling extravaganza of colours and cultural diversity, Chingay Parade Singapore is known for its resplendent floats and multi-cultural local and international performances that are an insight to our festive traditions and delight the hearts of many Singaporeans and tourists.
The word Chingay is from the Hokkien dialect, of which the Mandarin equivalent is Zhuang Yi (??), meaning “the art of masquerade”. The festival began as a neighbourhood parade with only Chinese elements in 1973. Today, the Chingay Parade has evolved to be the grandest street and floats parade in Asia, showcasing the rich, vibrant multi-culturalism of Singapore and exciting cultures all over the world. To all Singaporeans, the next Chingay Parade is a parade of our people, our dreams and our pride!

I would describe it as Mardi Gras, a rave, and the 4th of July all in one. There was fan participation, a goodie bag and refreshments offered. The parade took place on what is normally the F1 racing track, but the coolest thing about the parade was it was all done with the parade participants marching and dancing in about 6 inches of water! Since it is the year of the dragon, specially the blue water dragon, the organizers had the brillant idea to have people trapsing through water in a parade. It sounds like a nightmare, but only with the mad organization skill of the country of Singapore would something so big, so public and so wet be pulled off so well. Don’t try this at home.

There were so many cool floats and dances, I took a ton of pictures, but these ones were my favorite. (The rest I will put on facebook for anyone that is interested.)

Singapore Flyer at dusk
A local family gets their pinwheels ready!


First the Phoenix came in. Check out the guys running through the water carrying her!
Yup, these guys are walking through the water on stilts!
These kids came out and were throwing water everywhere! Later they formed a huge dragon out of all of their drums.
This was the Indian float. They did a Bollywood dance too! I love me some Bollywood!
My favorite from the whole night! A group of older Chinese did Tai Chi with fans spanning the entire F1 track!

Rule Breaker

Breaking the Rules!

If you can’t read the sign in the MRT (Singapore subway), it says, “Please DO NOT wait here. Thank you.”

But, Dad and I were being wild and crazy, so we went ahead and broke the rule. He just stood there and….well, waited. Technically, he broke the rule and I just took a picture of it. What? Someone had to stay on the straight and narrow!

Generally, it’s a good idea to follow all of the rules in Singapore, (no gum chewing for real!) but I don’t know what got into him that day. What a rebel!

Thank yous!

This post isn’t going to get any points for originality, but in the spirit Thanksgiving I thought I would try and come up with 50 things that I am thankful for this year. How do you ask, did I arrive at the number 50? Well, I felt like 10 seemed like I wasn’t really showing a lot of effort. I mean, my first graders came up with five each this week for goodness sakes. I did like the symbolism of 30 things that I was thankful for, being as there are 30 days in November. Then I ran across some over achievers on the internet that were doing 100 things to be thankful for! What?! Really people, you get past a certain point and you are just making things up. Unless you are Kate Middleton, in which case you might be able to round out the 100 thoughtfully and accurately.  So, being half a princess myself, I decided to go for 50.

I don’t know if anyone that might read this really even cares what I am thankful for this year, but on days that the frustration level of living in a foreign country gets so high that I swear I might lose it and I can’t think of a single, solitaire thing to be thankful for, I thought it might help to put things in perspective. Like storing up some thankfulness to be opened as needed. Although working today wasn’t the same fun as running a half marathon and stuffing your face with loved ones by the fire, it will have to do for this year. In no particular order, here comes the silly, sappy, and serious things that I am thankful for in 2011.

1. My Mom. Behind every good girl, there is a great mom. Seriously, my mom  is awesome in so many ways I can’t even begin to write them all here. I am so thankful for her giving nature, her persistence in everything, and taking care of so many things for us while we are overseas.

2. My Dad. My dad is also an awesome guy. I (selfishly) love it even more that he lives on the same side of the planet as us right now! It makes weekends so much better when we can go and visit him in Singapore, eat some yummy food, visit Vivo City and listen to some of his corny jokes. Plus, he is doing an amazing job at Universal Studios Singapore. He won’t brag about it, so I will!

3. Singapore. When Malaysia just gets a little too crazy, dirty and unorganized for me, visiting Singapore is like hanging out with the beautiful, polite, well groomed sister that you never get tired of.

4. Teaching friends. They make me only want to have three drinks when I get home on Friday instead of seven or eight.

5. Room mom. I have the best room mom in the world. She is bakes, subs, throws amazing parties and in general makes things easier for me.

6. Travel. I am so thankful that we have had the AMAZING opportunity to travel to so many places in the past year. So far we have been to Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and Indonesia! We will be heading to Cambodia in December too. Pretty sweet.

7. Henry. You didn’t think I was going to have a list without him, did you? He’s the best dog ever. End of story. If you have met him you know this to be true. I can’t wait to see him in 7 months. Never leaving him again.

8. Mags. She is orange, funny, vocal, fat, and comes when she is called. She is pretty much the best cat ever. Dan “I really don’t like cats” McNair, even affirmed the sentiment the other day. Impressive.

9. Honeykins. I am so thankful I picked him. After this adventure I feel like we can accomplish anything together and am looking forward to the next one. (Maybe a little closer to home next time?)

10. Sistas. I don’t get to live in the sista house right now, but I get so excited to hear about the cool things they are doing back in the states and am so proud of them for being fabulous.

11. Kindle. A portable library. Need I say more?

12. Spell check. I would look pretty stupid without it. For the record, I blame the Canadian education system for my spelling failings.

13. Pinterest. Obsessed.

14. Australia. The best vacation ever. Beautiful country, nice people, and good food. Whenever I need to go to my happy place, I just go to Australia.

15. Good health. I really hesitated to even write it, because I didn’t want to jinx anything. But, compared to last year, I have had significantly less food poisoning, stitches, and general doctors visits. Thank goodness.

16. Being an American. Not putting anyone else’s country down, just proud of mine.

17. Fresh fruit all winter. The watermelon and mango are amazing all year long here! And the mango is so good, my sister calls in “Malaysian Crack.” Seriously, it’s that good.

18. Tennis. Discovering I like to play tennis has been revolutionary! I love the feeling of a solidly hit ball right on the line and the cute skirts. I’m not very good, but I have a great tennis partner and tennis coach. I’m also super pumped about going home and playing with my mom and friend Leigh.

19. Rowing. Not having rowing here has solidified how much I love it and can’t wait to start coaching again when I get back to the states. Dad Vails, Head of the Charles and erg tests, here I come!

20. Glee. Biggest Loser, Modern Family. I know they say television rots your brain, but I love these shows. I am thankful for Glee because I always wanted to be in a broadway show (although I can’t sing or dance.) I can practice my carefully choreographed dance moves all from the safety of my living room. Biggest Loser never fails to make me cry, but in a good way. And Modern Family is just clever. Love it.

21. Facebook. It lets me keep in touch with people from far away. Priceless.

22. People who spay and neuter pets. Listen to Bob Barker people!

23. My camera. Love that I can take pictures to remember all of the amazing stuff we are doing. That being said, I can’t wait to upgrade!

24. Invitations. Sometimes I don’t feel like going. But it’s nice to be asked, isn’t it?

25. Markets. Thankful for the fresh food and interesting people that I get to see. Plus, I am getting better at bargaining. Can’t do that at the Gap.

26. Travel books. I pour over these like they are gold.

27. Opportunity to realize what things are important and not so important.

28. Dave Ramsey. This man changed our marriage and our family tree. I am thankful I can listen to his podcasts to stay motivated.

29. Armed Services. Thank you for everything.

30. Funny forwards. Sometimes you just need a good laugh.

31. Mash-ups. If you don’t know what these are, you should watch more Glee.

32. Jesus. Duh.

33. Lists. They help me provide clarity and stay organized. No problem was ever too big that couldn’t be conquered with a list.

34. Quotes. Big ideas with carefully chosen words, in just a few sentences that you can post where you can see it. Love it.

35. Our blog. I am so thankful that we can share what we are doing over here with people all over the world. Pretty cool.

36. Condo that is rented. We have two good renters and rent coming in every month. So beyond thankful!

37. Jobs. We have ’em when so many people don’t.

38. Chai tea. It is a bright spot in my mornings.

39. Dr. Pepper. I have been able to find this consistently at the grocery store, which is a miracle. Chances are it might not be there next time I go. So I’m thankful for it now.

40. Teachers pay teachers. Awesome website that pays teachers for all of the amazing work they do in creating lesson plans and units and lets me download them for a small fee.

41. Toilet paper in public bathrooms. I live in Asia, don’t forget.

42. Report cards for this semester being done. Thank goodness!

43. We live closer to the school than we used to and I don’t (usually) break into a sweat at 7:30 in the morning. Score.

44. Healthy babies born this year to friends and family. We have had so many babies born to friends and family this year and are thankful for every one. (And we love getting pictures of them!)

45. Good friends getting married (but not to each other). So happy that Slim and Abby are climbing on the marriage train this year! Yay for finding the person you want to be with the rest of your life!

46. Grandmother getting treatment for cancer. My grandmother was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and while I am not thankful for her getting the cancer, I am so thankful that she has great doctors, my mom, and aunt to help her through this. Love you Ermie!

47. Ruffles on shirts being in style. Actually everyone that wears a “B” cup or below was pumped about this one.

48. Clorox wipes. A room that smells clean? Yes, please!

49. UGA vs. GT. Always my favorite game of the season. Thankful that I know and love people on both sides of the field!

50. Clothes that feel like pajamas but aren’t. You know, the kind that can be passed off for regular clothes in public, but you could sleep in later and feel perfectly fine.

51. My husband surprising me with tickets to Twilight the night it opened in Malaysia! Major points.

52. People that say “Excuse me.” Appropriate for adults and children to use.

53. Packages, suitcases, letters, facebook posts and emails from people back home. Thankful for the reminder of what we have waiting for us when we return. 🙂

54. The cute way some speakers of Asian languages add or take away “s” at the end of the word. For example, “Thanks for being my friends” when only talking to one person. Adorable! (And helped to inspire the perfect Thanksgiving blog title!)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!