Happiness is…..

4 Apr

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“….. sitting at nowhere in a shopping mall, sharing a ice-cream cone, and laughing at your silly jokes”. 

Cant believe its been a week that Rob is back to Singapore, for good. I still can’t believe that we are so blessed. When I saw him at the airport last Friday, the feeling of “relieved” was beyond words. Its been months that we have been living in worries, the situation back in Nairobi is not improving. I am happy that we can start our family back here in Singapore, somewhere safe, that I can concentrate to learn to be a good mum.

I am in my final trimester now… just 3 days to my due date and now is the waiting game. I have been a lucky preggy with no morning sickness or any uneasiness. I have been active and been moving around till a month ago when doctor told me that I should slow down to prevent early labour (well, I wanted to wait for Rob to be back and support me during the process!). And now, I am ready, we are both ready for our little princess who is weighing 3.6kg! Ha! Cant believe it when doctor told us her weight last week, I must be feeding her well and no wonder I am feeling so breathless nowadays!

Now, I am enjoying the alone time with Rob, spending quality time, sharing silly jokes and enjoy this precious moment while waiting patiently for our daughter’s arrival.

p/s: Thank you for reading and have a blessed weekend ahead. 

 

 

 

Goodbye 2013 and welcome 2014!

3 Jan

Cant believe it is already 2nd day of 2014 when I write this post. 2013 was a year I will not forget… the most challenging, eventful year for me personally. So many things had happened, both good and bad. Experiences that changes me and my life, mould me to a different person and how I view life.

Few highlights for 2013:

1. Moving out of the beautiful apartment which we had built, packing out entire life into 125 boxes and moved to Nairobi. Leaving the apartment was hard… especially when this is the first home we built together, so many memories in there.

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2. Reunite with Rob in Nairobi, starting a brand new life together, in a city which I never dream of coming.

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3. Our short trip to Dubai

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4. The day I have been waiting for my entire life – marrying my best friend, the kindest man I ever met.

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5. Terrorists attack Westgate. Up till now, it is still haunting me… The thought that we could be there was scary, that we could be the one sitting at our usual spot in the cafe, having our usual breakfast there, the one who had been shot. The blessing we received was emotional, how lucky we were that Rob was not well that morning, that we managed to escape this terrible incident. Especially, that was the period that I found out that I was pregnant. Words cant express how THANKFUL I am for the blessing.

6. A trip back to Singapore to attend my cousin’s wedding. Feels like a tourist back home and a honeymoon for us.

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7. Another terrible thing happened this year was to my family… to my dearest brother which I only got to know during my trip back home. Cant share much on what had happened, but it was something that had damaged my family… I was devastated. My mum was devastated. My brother too.. I almost cried everyday during the first 4 months of my pregnancy because of all that had happened. Seems like too much things had happened in such short period of time that I almost couldn’t handle it. I feel so sorry for my baby inside me that I was so depressed than, but slowly I learned to let go… Cant change anything that has already happened. I need to be strong for the little life growing inside me. Cant waste the life and chance that God has given to me.

8. A short stopover trip to Bangkok. A city which I love. A city which is so vibrant, cultural and full of mystery.

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9. Another wonderful thing that happened this year was that I am pregnant. Officially on my 26th weeks now. A child with Rob. How lucky again I am. To me, she is a miracle. So many incident had happened during my first trimester, eg… falling from the stairs twice… a golf swing went pretty wrong that cramped my tummy so badly… stuck in a bad rain in the golf course that we had to run one hour, soaking wet and cold to find shelter (thought I almost die out of breath)… and jumping onto a the ledge of my sofa, with my tummy holding the entire weight of my body, legs dangling in the air when I saw a cockroach running towards me (well, I wish I can draw to show because it was a pretty pathetic and hilarious sight that my mum almost fainted when she saw me).

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Every year, I will have a list of New Year resolutions that I gave myself, hoping to achieve lots for the coming year. This year, at this moment, I feel so at peace and contented, I have everything in life and nothing I can ask for more….. except I only have 2 simple wishes… one of them is pertaining to Rob’s job and the another one is that I will give birth to a healthy and beautiful girl.

p/s: Sweetheart, mummy is looking forward to meet you, although I am enjoying every single bit that you are inside me, feeling your cute little movements and kicks. Love you lots already.

pp/s: Wishing everyone a wonderful year ahead, fill with joy and laughter, contentment and good health. Happy New Year and God Bless!

Thank you for reading.

21st September 2013 – My darkest weekend

17 Oct

Saturday, 21st September 2013 marks the darkest and most terrifying weekend of my life. The rest of the week was blurred, just filled with confusion, fear, anger, tears, questions and thankfulness that we are alive.

It is suppose to be one of the weekends, which we will hang out at Westgate Mall for our breakfast and shopping. We love to sit in the alfresco area at Artcaffe, sipping our coffee, watching cars and people passing by, talking about anything under the sun… It was our weekly routine to walk around the mall after breakfast and do our grocery shopping and checking out anything new.

That faithful Saturday morning, it was one of the rare moment (first time since we arrived in Nairobi) that Rob was not feeling well hence we stayed home. Some when in the mid-morning, I received a text from a friend asking if we were both ok, something happened in the Westgall Mall. We quickly turn on the TV, to the local news channel, and to our horror and disbelieved, we saw what had just happened in the mall, which we suppose to be at. Tears start rolling down, heart pumping so fast, body shivers and I just turn to Rob and said “We could have been there, it could be us there”.

Minutes later, all we can hear were sirens from either ambulance or police cars dashing through the roads outside our apartment, helicopter roaming above our rooftop. Staying at Westland, which is very near to Westgate Mall is not that ideal at this point of time. We did nothing the rest of the day but keep staring at the news trying to figure out what is actually happening. Nobody knows, we are at a standstill and at lost.

The rest of the weeks, I just know that I have been crying myself to sleep every night and cant stop crying when I think of it. I am obsessed to check on the news trying to get the latest update and figuring out what happened. I can’t stop myself from checking and crying. I cried because this is my first time coming so close to a terrorist attack, I cried because I cant understand why people are so cruel and heartless, I cried because so many innocent people had lost their lives including children, I cried because there is still a lot of uncertainty, I cried because I no longer feel safe here, and I cried because I cant believe we are so lucky that we are not there…

I passed by Westgall Mall yesterday, which is now cordon off. Just by passing by the area gives me a shiver down my spine. The place, which used to be buzzing with people, is a dead place now.

I am still living in fear everyday… too many unanswered questions in my mind and I believe in a lot of people’s mind here too… What actually happened in the mall? Who carried out the attack? Where are the terrorists’ bodies that had been killed? What about the White Widow which was mentioned? How many was really killed in the attacked? What happened to the hostages? Who looted the mall? What will happen next? And will we ever know what really happened? Which I honestly doubt it…

Till today, I fear of hearing loud bangs, sirens from ambulance or police cars… I cant stop thinking and fearing. I fear because of the uncertainty and the terrorist mentioned this is only “act 1″. Will something happen again? Are we safe? Can I protect my baby who is growing inside me right now?

This terrible act had left a scar deep in me… a wound which will take a long time to heal and a scar which will constantly reminds me of the nightmare… but a scar which also reminds me how Thankful I am to escape this terrible incident, how Thankful I am that we are all alive, both of us including the new life that is growing in my body right now, Thankful for the chance for us to build our family.

We are very grateful and thankful for the blessing.

p/s: Have a blessed mid-week.

The Kenya Story

30 Jul

“… to learn the lesson of Acceptance… as only through Acceptance, you will find the secret of existence… and you will be happy in a crowd or sitting alone… and you will use all that happens in your life, your joy and your sorrows, to become a better person, so that even death at the end will be good, because it is part of the game…”

I Dreamed Of Africa, Kuki Gallmann

It has been cold in Nairobi lately, around 15 degrees even during the day. Life has been quietly lately as I spent most of my time at home, reading and trying out new recipes. I’ve made some new friends, wife and son of Rob’s new colleague, who have been coming weekly to my house, spending time together either at the pool with a glass of white wine or taking slow walk at the small garden outside where the young boy can run around.

Weeks ago, a neighbor of mine, who brought me to Pilates too, had borrowed me 2 books about Africa. I was teasing with Rob if I can finish the books soon, as I have many other more interesting books lining up (silly me to even thought so), waiting for me to “read them”.  The first book which I had just finished reading, and to my surprise, it doesn’t take long as I thought, was I Dreamed of Africa by Kuki Gallmann. This book is about a lady, who had followed her dream, to move to Kenya, a place she called Home. A story about her life, her adventurous encounters, her family and life and death she had went through. I can almost see myself in places she went, houses she stayed and feeling her emotions like a roller coaster ride. I felt her sadness when she lost her son, her emotions that she was describing, made me cried myself silly, sitting in a restaurant alone, keeping my head down, hoping no one will notice the red and swollen nose I had.  I can see Kenya during the 1980s in her story, and can imagine the vast image of red-brown landscape, with animals nesting freely. A sight, which is so different from the Nairobi city now, where lands are claimed by tall modern buildings, and local Kenyans wearing westernized clothing.

I went through some photos recently, photos we took during our very first visit to this country last year to check out the place before we decided to move here. It was more than a year ago… How time flies. I still remembered when the plane finally landed in Nairobi Airport, an old-fashioned and rundown Airport greeted us. Almost immediately, my heart is panicking and afraid to imagine myself living here. However, the tours to the National Park, the Elephant Orphanage, Karen Blixen house and some others popular touristy places during our tight 2 days trip, changed my mind alittle. A city girl who had never leave her hometown Singapore, moving to Nairobi, I am scared but I knew it will be a life changing experience for myself, for I am searching to find a different form of happiness in life, not the material kind. I had imagined myself to live abroad when I was younger, but Kenya was never in the picture. Kenya to me then, was a place which I will see in the television programs, probably from Discovery channel.

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Cheeky monkeys welcoming us to the Nairobi National Park 

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View from part of the National Park 

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We didn’t realized we saw a lion until we zoom down our photo! Hey man, we are searching for you the entire day!  (sorry… it is a little blurry!) 

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A blind rhino which has been deserted by his family but adopted by the Elephant Orphanage 

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Visit to Karen Blixen’s house 

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Happy Tuesday.

p/s: Thank you for reading.

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Little Thing, Big Joy

12 Jul

It is Friday again, my favorite day of the week. Because I know I can spend time with Rob exploring the town again!

Its been awhile since I put together random photos I took with my phone… Mainly because my phone is full of photos of FOOD! Food from new places we explored over the weekends, food from new recipes which I am trying out now.

Some photos I took last weekend from new restaurant we tried, new recipes and mini golf session which we didn’t manage to finish the game!

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p/s: Have a lovely weekend and thank you for reading!

Austria – my new hometown

21 Jun

Back in cold Nairobi now… Just last week, I was in the Sunny Austria for my wedding. It was an amazing experience for me, experiencing a totally different wedding cultural and having another of my dream coming true – to have a church wedding. Looking forward to go through all the photos with Rob this weekend and hopefully to share soon.

I have fallen in love with Austria on my very first trip there 4 years ago… fallen in love with the cultural, the people, the beautiful cities, the food and of course Schnapps!

It is Asparagus season now! 

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And the Goulash… Yum…
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Rob has a house in a small town in upper Austria, most of his family lives there except his older brother who is living in Salzburg with his family. His cousin is living just next door in a bigger house with her family and Rob’s dad whom we call Oppa. Every morning, I will woke up by Oppa’s singing and laughter of the children playing outside the house and I will eagerly wake up, to join them outside the house!

Meet baby Jonas! He is so adorable and he loves his fingers! 

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And the pools are just in time for the Summer

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Cant wait to do some grilling here on my next trip back… This reminds me of camp fire during school days but the best part is that I can have beer now! 

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Meet Jain, the snorkeling boy

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The cool tattoo we got during our wedding day… which is not so cool after few days. 

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How about a “leafy” face Yohana 

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Meal with my new family outside the garden. Love outdoor meal. 

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I am so blessed to be part of this beautiful family. And I love spending time watching the kids running around the garden outside the house, see how fearless they are, the freedom in their eyes, exploring nature and animals… Something which I yearn and I hope to give the same to my kids in future. Have a fun childhood, enjoy and no stress.

It is always sad to say goodbye… especially to the kids and Oppa. So looking forward to see them soon again.

p/s: Happy it is Friday again as I can spend more time with Rob. Happy Weekend to all & Thank You for reading!

Taste of Home

7 Jun

It is never easy to move out of home especially when I am so close with my family. There are days when I am sitting alone at our Nairobi home (like now), wishing that I had my family with me, tasting all the superliscious home-cooked food prepared by my super-mum, having conversations and hearing their fights and laughters.

Had a chat with my cousins yesterday via We-Chat (thankful for the technologies today!), hearing their voices and knowing that they are having the usual get-together-session, I so wish that I was there to join them. Hearing my darling cousin voice when she shyly trying to speak through the phone, makes me start to cry uncontrollably. How I miss her sooooo much. She has such a special place in my heart.

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I’ve learned a lot of amazing “skills” from my mum and one of them is cooking. There are many signature mum’s dishes that you have been eating since you were young and that you know it is HOME whenever you have them. The familiar smell and taste… just bring back so much memories. So whenever I miss home, I will cook up some mum’s food that just warm my heart and tummy away.

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(It is not exactly mum’s taste… but it is almost there!)

p/s: Thank you for reading

Reminisce

5 Jun

I am having a hard time giving this blog a name…

It’s been almost 2 weeks after my big day in Spore. The DAY that I’ve been waiting for, dreaming of and planning for my entire life. Till now, I still couldn’t stop thinking about it. Flashes of images keep floating in my mind. I want to feel it again, so bad.

I remembered when I woke up in the morning at 6am waiting for my make up artist, with only 2 hours of sleep from the previous night, feeling stone, strange and unreal. I am tensed that the photographer had to remind me to smile, as I am looking too “fierce”.

I remembered looking into the mirror after I am dressed and still thinking to myself “Is it real?”, “Will he show up later?”, “Can good thing really happen to me?”. When I finally heard the horning of the bus confirming their arrival, I feel a sense of relief. Yes he is here. I am going to get married today.

Sitting in the room waiting for him while the group is playing the traditional gate crash games outside the house, my heart is filled with anticipation. I can hear laughter after laughter, balloons bursting and soon I know he will be at my door. I am so happy. Happy not because of the stunning dress that I am wearing. Happy because I feel so blessed and love at that moment.

And the moment came… when he is at my door, saying the words in mandarin from the last set of the game, my mind went blank and tears stream down my face. When he came in, I saw the tears in his eyes…. And the moment, that we both have been waiting for, was just so PERFECT and AMAZING.

** Some photos we managed to capture with my phone that day

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And a post thank you dinner for all my lovely cousins who helped us TONS on this wedding

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Now, I have to put this aside and start preparing myself for our wedding celebration in Austria next week (Am I not a lucky gal!). Looking forward to walk down the aisle, holding Rob’s dad’s hand and towards our matrimony life together.

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Planning a wedding is not an easy job. Things may not always turn out as planned. An important lesson I learned from this wedding :

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p/s: Thank you for reading and looking forward to share more photos when receive from our photographer

3 days and counting…

21 May

Before I came back to Spore to prepare for my wedding, I have a super long To-Do list. Besides tying up lose ends on my wedding preparation, I also wanted to spend quality time with my family and friends, taking many (many) photos to capture the moments. A week has passed, I have nice time with my family and friends, however, we are really “too busy catching up” and I totally forgotten to take any photo. I want to punch myself so hard for not doing it.

3 days to our wedding and Robert is arriving Spore tomorrow. Its 1 am now and I am still very awake. 3 glasses of wine didn’t help. Too much things in my mind, too much worry and anticipation. 3 more days to the day I have been dreaming of, to marry my best friend, my soul mate. Just hope everything will run smooth and fine on the actual day. I pray.

p/s: Thank you for reading such a post.

Life in Kenya – Shopping

6 May

Cant believe that it is less than 3 weeks to our wedding….

The day that I have been waiting for, for the longest time in my life. There are many days recently when i woke up with panic attack… the first thought I have in my mind was “What have I not done for wedding?” “Will it be a successful night which everyone including us enjoy?”……

We started planning only about 6 months ago as it is not a huge dinner, we only inviting our close family and friends. I heard a lot of stories about couple fighting during planning stage and some eventually call it off. So far, our planning has been a blessing as I have an amazing partner who understands me and we have lots of fun planning this together.

I will be going back home to Spore this coming Thursday, 2 weeks before the actual day so that I can tie up all lose ends. Of course I can’t go home empty handed, so past weekends, we did a lot of shopping for our family and friends. Before I came over to Nairobi, I heard a lot of remarks about this place…. Mostly negative and scary I must say. As someone who likes to dress up and like pretty things, one of the most frequent things I’ve heard before I came was about the dressing. No high heels, no dress, only jeans, long pants and long shirts…. It’s been a month since I am here and I am happily surprise to know what I’ve heard are so NOT TRUE. Sitting in a café, walking around the malls, I saw many pretty women dressing up, beautiful heels and wearing nice accessories too. Pretty accessories make me happy! So of course, I have to bring some pretty happiness to share with my family and friend too. These accessories I found in one of my favorite shop not too far from my apartment.

So in LOVE with these beautiful handmade and painted beads accessories

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And of course, they have nice items for myself and my apartment too! 

New cookbooks to add to my collections 

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Beautiful chalkboards for the apartment 

(Cant decide which to buy so end up buying both!) 

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These small little things bring smile to me just by looking at them, so I am bringing some happiness back home too.

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p/s: Thank you for reading and have a great week ahead.