A year in two posts — Part 1

Since I haven’t blogged properly in forever, I’m going to do a summary of events (or non-events) in the last year or so, just to keep the blog up to date, in a manner of speaking.

It’s going to be mostly photos, so brace yourself for a storm of randomness.


March 2012 — Oxford

I first visited Oxford University (where Harry Potter was filmed) in July 2011 and was awed by the sight of this.


Oxford in summer


Then, I went back again in March 2012 and it looked like this.


Oxford in spring


The colour tone is a bit different because the first photo was taken by a Lumix and the second, an iPhone 4. But I was delighted to note the differences in the sky and the foliage.

I love how things and places can look very different with the changing of the seasons.

And Oxford, by the way, is enchanting.


April 2012 — Montessori

Four months into our course, we each had to prepare a group lesson based on the theme “Spring” and present it to our classmates (who pretended to be little children).

I decided to do an interactive lesson on how the change from winter to spring affects an apple tree.

I drew a bare tree on an A2 (four times the size of A4) mounting board, then drew and cut out paper leaves, blossoms, birds, insects and a nest and eggs.

During the lesson, as I explained how leaves and blossoms grew, attracting birds and insects, I allowed my “children” to stick each individual element on the canvas with Blu-Tack.


An apple tree in spring


It was very educational for me also because I had no clue as to the growth cycle of trees.

In Singapore, trees never do anything but drop worms on your head. I had to spend quite a lot of time Googling and reading just to make sure I knew the subject well because I had to expect children to ask precocious questions. (“Can I have the eggs for lunch?”)


May 2012 — Cute Children

I did my first teaching placement and fell in love with all the children, who say and do the most precious things. Well, not all the time. Sometimes they make you want to cry and other times they give you diseases.

During my year of training at the nursery, I picked up chicken pox and impetigo, and got the flu nearly every month.

Here’s one of a bunch of cartoons I drew for my teaching journal. This conversation really happened.


The precious things children say.


June 2012 — Garden Party

Piers’ parents hosted their annual themed garden party and the theme was the Queen’s Jubilee (the Queen celebrated her 60th year on the throne last year).

It was a really good party with extravagant costumes, food, wine and laughter.


Jubilee Party.


Jubilee Party.


Not really a costume.


I was too stressed with school at that time to prepare a costume so I just wore what I thought looked like a 50s-style dress.


July 2012 — My birthday

Piers took me to a nice restaurant at Poole Harbour (one of the world’s largest natural harbours) and then to Christchurch for a bit of romantic boating. It was a bright, sunny day, the favourite weather of the English, but not really for me, which explains the umbrella.


Piers the boatman.


Being a wimp.


August 2012 — Farm

We visited Longdown Activity Farm in New Forest. It’s kind of a children’s thing but what the heck, why can’t adults enjoy children’s activities?

On the way to the farm, we encountered horses blocking the road. That’s a common occurence in New Forest, which “includes one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the heavily-populated south east of England” (Wikipedia).

We had to stop and create a car pile up behind us, and then a woman came out from one of the cars and gently led the horses off the road one by one.




Then we got to the farm and I had such a great time, but Piers was very self-conscious because we were the only adults there without children in tow.

They have the usual farm animals to look at but the attraction is really all the activities you can do with animals, such as feeding and playing with them.






More hungry!


September 2012 — Wedding

Piers’ sister got married. It was a lovely wedding, first at the church, then to her parents’ for a garden reception, dinner and dance.


Church wedding


Church wedding


Church wedding


Garden wedding


Garden wedding


Garden wedding


And that concludes Part 1.

My life was relatively uneventful in 2012 because of college. I was stressed out most of the time trying to complete assignments that never stopped coming. They only told us after we graduated that it was originally a two-year course that they crammed into a year to make it more attractive to foreign students.



Alright then, more photos and randomness coming up in Part 2!

Batam Trip: Lazy adults become children

It was early in the morning. Everyone was shuffling about the house like zombies, trying to wake up and wash up so we could all make it in time for our complimentary hotel breakfast.

I was messing about absent-mindedly when one of the girls suddenly burst into my room and said, “QY! QY! Come and see the bag carrier!!”

I stared at her with a sleepy narrow eye and yawned at her. “What the hell is a bag carrier?”

“Unker Kell! WAHAHAHAHAHA! Come and see!”

So I lumbered into the other room and this was what I saw.

We spent a good minute laughing at the sight of a sleeping Kell being used by Elyxia as a toiletries bag holder while she prepared herself.

With eight people sharing two bathrooms and all half-dead from lack of sleep, it was a miracle we managed to not miss breakfast. We made it there at 8:30 am, one hour before closing. Breakfast was at the huge kelong restaurant, overlooking the sea.

The food was quite limited and tasteless but we had a great view and great company so that kinda made up for it.

After breakfast, while walking back to our villa, not really knowing what we were going to do next, we sauntered past the playground and turned into children.

The seesaw was the favourite attraction that day. But I never liked the seesaw (nor the swing) even as a kid. I just don’t like my body being forcefully propelled in any direction but natural forward.

But it’s okay if I’m just fooling around and not using them as intended.

Guess who was supporting all of us…

And what happened when he got up.

Then, Elyxia discovered that the seesaw could be used for wakeboarding practice.

For some time, the guys stood around her, giving her pointers and encouragement. And then, suddenly, they realised that I was hiding in a little house taking photos of them. Lolololol.

My hiding spot:

Anyway, everyone was too lazy to go out and just wanted to hang around and do nothing, so we spent the whole day at the resort.

One of the attractions in KTM Resort is the giant kwan yin.

It’s really huge. Can you see me and Minou at the foot of the sculpture?

A little background about it:

By the way, we could see Singapore from our villa. We could even see the Singapore Flyer clearly, but it’s too small to see in this photo.

We spent the rest of the day at the jacuzzi pool. Except me. Because of a multitude of reasons. So while the others were having a raucous time in the pool, I was hiding in a pavillion beside the pool, blogging.

It’s a sea salt water jaccuzi pool which drops off into a lagoon. There are rocks one can sit on at the edge. From my angle, it looked almost like they were sitting on water.

I mentioned before that the pool was dirty, but with the debris fished out and jacuzzi turned on, it looked decently inviting.

According to my friends, the jacuzzi is VERY strong.

When we met for dinner that night back in Singapore, one of them punched Morte, who didn’t go to Batam wih us, forcefully in the arm and said, “That’s how strong the jet is.”

And the entire pool was surrounded by jacuzzi jets.

My delinquent friends even made a game of it. Somehow, they managed to acquire a swimming float and they would assign one “monkey” to sit on it. The rest would hang on to the float around the “monkey” and then they would let the jacuzzi jets drive them around the pool.

The idea was to capsize the monkey while not being pushed off the float by the strong jets. The last survivor would become the “monkey” next.

Or something like that. I’m sure I got it wrong somewhere but I’m confused because the Goonfather and Minou told me different versions of the game. lol.

Anyhow, they spent like two hours playing this game, making a lot of noise and attracting a lot of attention in the process.

That was our second day in Batam, spending the whole day in the playground and the pool, playing kiddy games.

We had ice cream, too! Paddle Pop pirate ice cream!

I’ve been trying to find it in Singapore but I can’t. =(

So you know what that means? I need to go back to Batam again, soon. I might even try out the jacuzzi pool next time.