Saturday, July 28, 2007

First Day

I am operating at high alert since we arrived. I think it is because this is just the look see trip and we can still back out of a move to Singapore. I can certainly see why Dell forks out the money for these trips. It is really overwhelming to arrive in a foreign county with the knowledge that you are choosing to return and live. All my other overseas jobs and visits have been formulated in the safety of my home. In those cases, once you arrive you are stuck with your decision like it or not. That was the case with my student exchange programs, Vienna job, our move to Cape Town and even when we moved to Washington DC we just chose a place to live and headed there. So, this is a really different experience especially when four kids are added to the equation (fabulous travelers though!)

I am well aware that many of the emotions we might feel are temporary and expected. I have loved seeing so many different things in our one day here. It started with breakfast next to a lady wearing a burka. Aside from the obvious reasons why I would not want to be expected to wear one, how in the world does she discipline her two boys from under there? I checked out her eyes and there was entirely too much fabric and no way she could shoot the “The Look”. Breakfast reminded me a lot of what we were offered at buffets in China. I’ll have to get the congee, a dish our children from China are started on, for Lyvi one morning and see if she likes it. When we got her at 8 months she lapped it up the first day, but after discovering so many other new foods were now available to here we could’t get another bite down her!

In our part of Texas we feel like any other family, but here we are quite the conspicuous family. The realization that we catch almost every one's attention as we walk around is a bit disconcerting. I think we stand out in part because of the four kids, but our littlest shining star makes us quite the visible constellation. Most Singaporeans aren’t going to ask you about your Chinese daughter, so they just stare. Not as aggressively as in China, but it was probably the overwhelming theme of my day. I am VERY glad that we will be doing this while Lyvi is young. At 18 months I’m sure she is oblivious. I don’t think I would be comfortable putting her through this at an older age. I was relieved to have already seen another adoptive family at the hotel pool. Jason wouldn’t let me talk to them though because we had four freezing wet kids and he didn’t want to be put in a hotel room alone with them for who knows how long.

I’m sure this sounds ridiculous, but I am surprised at how many Chinese Singaporeans there are here. Singapore is so proud of its mixture of culture I guess I thought there would be more of a mix. I do love being out of my element and in with people from a different culture though.

At the children’s pleadings we visited the pool. Why is the pool freezing in July? I haven’t been warm since we left the house in Texas. I’ll need to few more days here to figure out what is going on and will pack differently than I thought when we move. They also wanted to go on the subway. They loved it and because all the Thomas trains have a name, Dylan wanted to know its name.

Just getting six of us through the gates to the subway is tough. We back up the line while we scan card after card and we all walk one at a time through the gate. Something the kids will need to learn how to do one day.

We took the MRT to Chinatown and it was just like the malls we visited in China with all the same merchandise available. Jonathan started to complain about the smell, but we were walking by a durian fruit seller and that thing does assault the senses. We really need a stroller for Lyvi although how do we get on the MRT with it? I'm not going to be able to take a single picture until we have one. The hip hammock went MIA while packing so thus far Jason and I are strength training with her.

At Chinatown I hoped to find a cheap stroller in one of the department stores. The kids were starting to sink, but they lit up when the toy department appeared before them. There is nothing on tv for kids so we let them buy a toy each. I even love experiencing stores in other countries. Today we head to Toys R Us for our stroller quest so it will be interesting to compare.

Lindsay wishes that this was our trip to move here. I don’t know how things look from her perspective, but she loves it. She just wishes it was already time to make friends. Maybe Jason and I will have to come back to pick out an apartment before we move so we can get settled even quicker.

I talk like we know we are moving. We know we want to move, but this is harder than we thought. I think I almost would have preferred to just show up committed. I feel like I have exchanged so many dreams for new dreams that I don't want to give this one up. I thought I'd be a jet setting career woman and excluding family and friends, I've never even left the kids with a babysitter. Since college, Jason and I talked about how we would love to live overseas with children. Here is the perfect chance at the perfect ages of our children.


Anonymous Barbara said...

As was said on Inspector Gadget - WOWZERS! What an awesome day in an awesome, busy, bustling place. What would it be like for you and the kids if Jason was away in India (do I remember that's part of his territory?). Keep that in mind as you experience a hint of life there. It's all food for thought.

Please tell Dylan I'm all for trains with names, too. We have an Ertyl Thomas, too, and Edward, Percy, the Troublesome Trucks, and many others!!

Lindsay seems to already know that a friend is someone you haven't met yet!

Looking forward to hearing more about your amazing adventure! Cool!

Hugs and love - Barbara :D

5:16 PM  

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