Tuesday, January 31, 2006

More relaxed

Posted by Dawn at Tuesday, January 31, 2006 0 comments Links to this post
This morning, I had the car as my mum lent us the car whole day yesterday. So, we drove back to my parent's house, picked my mum up and then we went to the hospital to see baby Janine. Pam looks normal and it does not look as if she just gave birth. She was walking around as per normal.

Pam upgraded to a deluxe suite and it was very cosy place. I was sitting on my brother's bed and just resting. Haha..When we arrived, we went to take the baby as the hospital staff took her to do some tests..

The baby was sound asleep and just watching her sleep makes me want to nap nap as well..

She has a little rashes due to enviromental changes from the womb to the outside world.

After visiting Bro, Pam and baby Janine, we went to visit a relative together as we do so every year. This aunty would make for us carrot cake and yam cake... Too bad my bro would miss it this year as he loves eating it. We met up with my relatives there as well.

After pigging on lots of carrot and yam cakes, we went back to my parent's place to spend time with my dad...

Tonight, went to mum-in-law's place for dinner. She invited her side relatives over for dinner. I did not eat much as I was still full. Left at about 830pm by taking a cab home.

I am just glad today is not so tiring as yesterday's. Tomorrow would be better! :)

Monday, January 30, 2006

First day of Chinese New Year

Posted by Dawn at Monday, January 30, 2006 1 comments Links to this post
This morning, woke up and got changed for the new year. I did not buy any new clothes as I still have quite a lot..so I just grabbed whatever comfortable clothes I had and donned it. Initially, I chose a pants and a blouse. But when we were leaving and went into the lift, I was swarmed with people who were dressed so nicely..and all of a sudden, I remembered the 'standard of dressing' for Chinese New Year.

So, I told CT that I better go up and change to something nicer, rather than pants. CT agreed and added that I dressed as if going to market. CT then helped me to pick out clothes to wear for the long day.. It is a struggle trying to choose clothes that is nice but yet comfortable so that I can last the whole day.

Anyway, in the end, I chose a long skirt and blouse. To match a skirt, I had to put on my high heels..sigh..what to do-got to sacrifice the comfortability to look nice.

Couldnt grab a taxi..was quite pissed as I was dressed nicely and had to stand in sun with my high heels waiting for a cab. In the end, I just found a bench near my house carpark and just sat down doing nothing. I was tired even before the visiting started. My legs were already sore and aching..sigh. Not used to wearing high heels.

Anyway, I decided to call my mum to come rescue us and she did. We went first to my parent's place to visit them and give them ang bao. Then, I took their car for the rest of the day as my mum is not going out. I would be going all over Singapore today with CT and his family as they do that every year. So, CT's mum needed the car. She wanted to rent one at first, but I knew there would be a way out without having to spend much money.

First went CT's mum's place for lunch and then got a quick picture as a family...

From left to right: Sister's husband; Feng Jiao (Linda); Mum; Feng Ping (Ally); Me; CT

You would never see CT wearing such shirt. His mum bought for him for his birthday and I thought at least he has something different in his wardrobe. Not bad..

After lunch, we went over to CT's grandma's place to meet up with his mum's side relatives who all gather there as well. They went to grandma's place for lunch while we just went to visit and sit around. After a while, we went back to CT's mum place to wait for CT's dad's side relatives to come over. His dad's sides gather from house to house once a year and for the rest of the year, they do not see one another.

So, the first stop was at CT's mum's place. They came at about 230pm, sat for awhile and then, next stop is Pasir ris. So the family's house which we would be visiting next would leave 5 mins earlier to go back to their house to open the door and get ready. So, I found it rather interesting.. After Pasir Ris, they all wanted to come my place. So, we left earlier a little to get our place ready and buy drinks! I was not prepared for guests to come over to my place, so I did not have any drinks ready. Thank God my supermarket just outside my block opens throughout the Chinese New Year.

I showed them pictures of my wedding as they did not attend. It is a complicated story but the short version is that we did not invite CT's dad's side to our wedding because CT's dad did not turn up. They all thought my house was interesting. I guess it is to them because they come from a traditional chinese hokkien family and their house has lots of chinese stuff and altars..etc..But when they come over to my place, it is clutter-free, no altars, no chinese ornaments, all modern! haha..

Anyway, after our place,we all went to Choa Chu Kang private house which had to drive through a railway track. I have never driven across a railway track in Singapore. Yup, very sensitive to train tracks now. It is a 3 storey terrace house and we only ate and talk. I was talking to CT's cousin who would be going to University of Melbourne to study dentistry. I had a good time talking to her and finding more about her. Instead, CT and his mum was quietly sitting at one corner eating, given their quiet and shy nature.

The last house we all visited was in Yio Chu Kang. It is a corner semi detached house. What stands out was the very huge koi pond with waterfall. They have 20 over huge koi fishes and about 10 'vacuum sucking' fish. I call them that because they stay on the ground eating dirt. Haha..

I was intrigued by the fishes that I spent some time in the garden just admiring and feeding them. Here is a picture of it..

We spent the longest time at the last house as we had dinner there. The famous dishes that I have been eating repeatedly was ngor hiang and pig stomach soup. I conclude it might be a hokkien tradition. It is all home made and so yummy. Dinner was great and the pig stomach soup has been in high demand every year..so I had to try their house specialty. It was so good, it made me cry as the soup was so spicy from the pepper! Very shiok. The pig stomach was so tender and clean..melts in my mouth. Oooo..

Oh by the way, the house in Pasir Ris and this house has lots of Karaoke Trophies. It seemed that they all love to sing Karaoke and would compete in them. They were also going to sing tonight as they invited all their karaoke friends to their house to get ready to sing. But before they sang, we left as it was about 930pm already. We were exhausted.

What a day...sent CT's family home at Simei before heading back to my own home.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Birth of baby Janine

Posted by Dawn at Saturday, January 28, 2006 0 comments Links to this post
This morning, I woke up and quickly checked my TV whether the channels are all gone and I was happy I could still view all the cable channels. So happy. I received call from my mum early in morning to let me know that Pam is in the hospital as she had contractions...

Pam is my sister in law. My bro and Pam got married in Dec- few months later than me and during their trip to Mobile, Alabama to visit me and my parents after the accident, we found out that Pam was pregnant as she had no appetite when she came. So we brought her to the doctor near my apartment in US and discovered she was pregnant. It was indeed God's gift to our family as it was timely.

Anyway, time passes so quickly and the baby was supposed to be due 2nd week of Feb. So, I was kinda shocked to hear she was in hospital already. At 905am, my bro sms me and told me that Pam gave birth to baby Janine at 9:03am weighing 3.05kg at 50cm. She is considered to be tall..Thinking of my brother as a dad seems unthinkable as he loves to play and when the next phase of life comes, it is just difficult to accept and watch people 'grow up'. Hehe..But def, I was very happy for my brother and Pam.

My mum went to Thomson Medical Centre with Pam's parents in the same car and I went later. Marianne and Joshua were already there when I went and it was a joy to see everyone taking turns to carry the baby. She has lots of hair...

Of course, I brought my camera along to take lots of pictures..It is always a pleasure to take pictures, though my preference is scenery...

Baby Janine's chinese name is Hui En. They chose the name to represent God's gift to them..I remembered in Alabama when we told dad about Pam being pregnant, he told us that he was praying for a grand child and it seems that God assured him. God is good!

Janine was happily sleeping and at times, she would open up one of her eyes to peek...

Here is the happy family...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Got my cable!

Posted by Dawn at Friday, January 27, 2006 0 comments Links to this post
CT has told me before that he would not order Cable TV for me as we do not have anytime to watch it and it is expensive...but I am glad that finally, I have it. I guess he felt that I am still on no pay leave..so I can watch it as well as the price was not that expensive after the discount. So, I am very thankful to him for getting cable.

Yes,I do miss US cable television because of the programmes that I have gotten used to watching daily. Back here, the cable programmes are so different.

When the cable guy came to put the digital box and connect it, he told us that we would be given all the cable programmes for one day, including the digital add-ons. I was so happy and excited. So, there are HBO, Cinemax, StarMovies etc..everything! How awesome is that?!!

If not for tonight's bible study, I would def order take-in pizza or KFC and enjoy my cable. But nevertheless, my priorities were clear and I went for my bible study..

After that, I told CT that we have to watch till late at night cos we could only enjoy this for one day before they take away all the channels, except what we ordered. So, we stayed up and watched movies..

Slept at about 2am plus.. Yawn..

Thursday, January 26, 2006

CT's birthday celebration

Posted by Dawn at Thursday, January 26, 2006 0 comments Links to this post
Today is CT's birthday. It was just a family gathering with my family and CT's mum. We ate at my parents' place because it was more convenient for my dad. Mum cooked while my mum-in-law contributed ngor hiang.

Had a great dinner as my mum put in a lot of effort to cook...I was very touched. We had "buddha jump over the wall", braised mushrooms with "hair" and dried oyster, steam huge pomfret which costs $38, fried egg noodles, and my mum's famous ginger duck! So yummy... My mum is a great cook and she is the best in my eyes..hehe..

Yup, got a little of my mum's cooking genes in me..as I love to cook and try new dishes. Here is my family enjoying the meal...(Pss..my brother loves to eat the whole ngor hiang like that!)

My brother got for CT a birthday chocolate cake.

After cutting up the cake, mum brought the cake to dad as he was at the living room watching his cable chinese TV serial which he catches everyday. Haha...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

CT back to work

Posted by Dawn at Wednesday, January 25, 2006 0 comments Links to this post
CT started back work here in Singapore on Monday already. He only had Sat and Sun to rest before he went back...poor thing. He leaves home at about 610am and comes home at 730pm. He reaches home later than his previous job because he starts later now. He'd rather wake up earlier, start earlier and end earlier. In US, he comes home 6pm..so we have lots of time together. But now, by the time he comes home, bathe and eat, it would be close to 9 plus pm already...so we hardly have time together.

Anyway, this is life back home..we have to accept it and try to make time for each other. Yesterday, CT ordered Starhub Maxonline and Cable TV for a promotional price. We did not want the free wireless modem, so substituted it for free 4 months for internet and a great price of $18.90/month for about 20 channels from cable. What we did was call up this guy who dropped by our place before we left US who is from starhub. Well, starhub has people going door-to-door to sell their 'products' and they will tell you the discounts and their latest promotion. So, it is quite good.

I was quite skeptical at first...so I called up starhub whether they really had door to door salesmen..and they said,"Yes". To check if they are authentic, check their starhub pass..they should have one.Anyway, the funny thing was that this guy from starhub who came to out house after we called is actually a secondary school kid who looks like from poly. I talked to him and he is doing this part-time. Interesting...He seems a very nice, sincere, decent guy.

The cable guy would be coming down on Friday to install cable TV for me..cant wait!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Reunion Dinner

Posted by Dawn at Sunday, January 22, 2006 0 comments Links to this post
After I had breakfast with my parents, I went home to bathe and unpack. So many things to unpack from my bags. Though my house was clean since my mum sent the cleaning agency to my house just before I came back, but it was so messy from my stuff...sigh. I hate mess as it makes my life so unsettling.

Anyway, I packed what I could..and as the evening draws near, I went back to my parent's place to get ready for our reunion dinner with our relatives as well. We had it early so as to cather to everyone's busy schedule. I have a cousin who is an air stewardess and so she flies very often, even during Chinese New Year. So, I guess tonight was the best time to have it and since CT and I just came back...it would be great to see my relatives again!

We had great food- BBQ and Steamboat. As expected, my mum prepares a lot! It was endless amount of food. We first started off by tossing the "Lo Hei" which looks so much already, doesn't it?

So after eating that, I was not hungry anymore...For BBQ, there were chicken wings, satay, otah, beef, sausages, corn, sweet potato, prawns and for steamboat, there were 3 diff types of veggies, yong tau foo, mushrooms, chicken meat, fish, bean curd, 'flying saucer', fishballs etc etc...

What a night. Everyone was talking about how full they were and when we stopped eating, some food looked as if they were not touched before! haha..

But anyway, we had loads of fun and a great time as the 'kids' ended off by playing cards which I bought from USA. This card game is called "Loot" and it has won the mensa awards games. Very interesting strategy game about being pirates and looting the gold. Only costs US$4!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

flight back home

Posted by Dawn at Saturday, January 21, 2006 0 comments Links to this post
Flight from Mobile was 8am this morning and first went to Atlanta and then to LA. Was at Tom Bradley International Airport in LA for about 7 over hours. However, time flew past quickly as we were playing Monopoly in the airport food court area. It was so addictive that when it was time for us to go down to the SIA counter to get our boarding tickets, we all took turns to go down so that we could play...

Flight from LA to Singapore was about 18 hours and I enjoyed the food a lot. There was salt baked chicken with rice for dinner and hokkien mee for breakfast. However, I was not entertained well by the movies this time round as the shows were not as nice and popular. I managed to catch few movies during my Delta flight to LA as well as to Singapore by Singapore Airlines. Saw "Just Like Heaven" (show about a guy falling in love with a ghost. Very romantic and funny), " In Her Shoes" (show about the bond of sisters-comedy and touching show), "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride" (animated show. I did not finish watching this show as I am not a big fan of cartoons), " The Myth" (Chinese, Cantonese show starring Jackie Chan about him travelling back in time), "Wedding Crashers" ( a very funny show about 2 guys gate crashing into weddings) etc..

Whenever I went toilet, I would also make a trip to the back of the plane to get food. Grabbed lotus paste bun, apples, cookies, bananas, yoghurt... Ate all these food while watching movies. Dunno why people get hungrier when 'flying'...I think guess cos we have nothing better to do but to eat,sleep and watch shows.

Finally reached Singapore on Saturday, 21st January 2006 at about 630am. Called my mum when I arrived so that she can just go to the pick up point to wait for us, without having to pay for parking and come in. However, Esther was waiting for us outside the gate. She actually came early in the morning to welcome us back. Very touched...

After mum picked us up, we went to my parents' place to see my dad and to have breakfast together, with Esther as well. It was my dad's first time eating at my house coffeeshop as the maid wheelchaired him. I ate vegetarian beehoon. Yum... Glad to be back eating cheap and good food...but still miss USA for the great weather, polite and patient people, free car, cable TV etc.

Sigh...give me some time...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dinner with the Brenners

Posted by Dawn at Thursday, January 19, 2006 0 comments Links to this post
Sarah called me later in the evening and asked me what I was doing for dinner as they would like to have dinner with us before we head back to Singapore. I told her that I have planned to take away fried chicken and eat at home. So, since I sensed how sincere they were in being with us, I invited them over and told them that we could have fried chicken together at my place.

So, Sarah agreed and said she would take away for us. So, I gave her our order and I felt so touched at their hospitality and warmth to spend time with us.

CT came home early today so that we could go to UPS to ship more boxes. I realised I have too many things in my house that I have to ship as there seems to be no space in my luggage. So, we went UPS and then, went to library to return books and cds. I love the library here as you can borrow like 50 over books and music CDs at one shot and you can also rent movies for 1 buck...and the movies are quite updated as well! Somemore, it is free subscription no matter whether you are a citizen or PR or foreigner. How cool is that!

Anyway, tonight we had "Open House" where CT's colleagues came over to our place to get whatever leftover stuff we had. Teck Meng dumped his leftover stuff at our place for them to pickup. So, there were leftover sauces,sugar,salt,oil,laundry detergent,pails etc... Only 2 of his colleagues came to collect and there were still so many stuff left at our place. I was wondering what to do with it. Then, I remembered that Sarah and Robert would be coming, so they can also stuff that they would like. But still, in my mind, I know there will still be leftovers since Robert & Sarah may not take everything.

They came at 7pm with our dinner and we had a great time eating. Robert brought his own dinner as he does not eat chicken for health reasons. He sticks mostly to veggies. So, he was eating a sandwich with ham and lettuce. It then confirms how sincere they are in meeting up with us despite not eating the same food. Sarah had fried chicken with us and she brought along her home made salad. I had a 99 cent spicy chicken fillet burger plus 2 fried chicken pieces. So so good. The juice still overflows out from the chicken.

Robert brought along a whole lot of music Christian CDs for me to bring home. There were about 10 plus CDs.. I then stuffed them in my handcarry bag.During our conversation, Robert was mentioning to us that he was on the phone with Paul Baloche ( a famous Christian musician). I then told him how I loved his music and guitar skills. Paul Baloche is a very good guitarist and has his own guitar learning DVDs.. Then, Robert quickly told me that he has his latest CD in his car. So, Robert quickly went to get the CD for me. When he handed it to me, he told me that I am now the first Singaporean to receive this CD. I was touched and humbled.

We had an enjoyable time chatting and eating. Great wholesome talk. After dinner, we told them to take some stuff back for our 'leftovers' and guess what? They said they would take everything back since we needed to get rid of them. They added on by saying that they know of some refugees from the hurricane that needs it as well...so they can distribute for us. CT then said how God appointed them to come tonight and help us to take all these stuff!

We ended off by taking a picture together and they said that we would always be in their prayers. It is really how awesome that no matter what difference we have in culture, race etc, we are all in the same family, God's family.

Last day in Mobile

Posted by Dawn at Thursday, January 19, 2006 1 comments Links to this post
Today is my last day here in Mobile, Alabama. Time passes so quickly... Weather today is very nice..Sunny with air con temperature. Was doing my packing and cleaning up of the house. Getting ready also for tonight's "Open House".

CT's colleagues would be coming to our place to get our leftovers. We have some stuff like salt, pepper, rice, dark soya sauce etc left and those who need these stuff would come and get it- first come, first served.

Sarah Brenner called me this afternoon as she just came back from Birmingham, Alabama yesterday from a few days seminar. She wanted to meet up with me this afternoon and bring me to her house again. I declined as I needed to clean up the house and do more packing before CT comes home today early as we would go UPS again to ship more stuff. I was afraid it would be overweight, so better ship as much as I can.Sarah mentioned she might come down later to either help me with the cleaning of the house or see me at the airport tomorrow morning. Told you she is real sweet!

Will be eating fried chicken tonight. I requested as I would def miss Southern Fried Chicken when I go back Singapore. The Chicken here is so crispy and fried on the outside and juicy, tender on the inside. Yum!

Salynn & Anthony actually asked us whether we want to go over to their place for dinner since I have no more food. So thoughtful.But I told them I better eat what I will miss before I go back.

Leaving tomorrow at 8am from Mobile. So probably reach the airport at about 630am-7am. Flying from Mobile to Atlanta. Then from Atlanta to LA. Transit in LA would be quite long, about 6-7 hours. So prob having dinner and Teck Meng said we could play Monopoly as he bought it recently. Ha.. I didnt want to go out of the airport cos it would prob be very cold. So, I'd rather stay indoor and relax.

Then, fly 15 hrs straight from LA to Singapore. Reaching Singapore on Saturday 6 am. Many of my American friends asked me if I would come back. I said the next time I come, it would be with my father. My dad mentioned that he would like to come back to visit... CT said that most people after such unfortunate things happen in the country or place would not like to go back to be reminded..but all these will not be true once we have the peace,joy and love from God...

So, I would def love to come back with my dad and whole family once he is able to travel...

ok, so will be out of contact for 2 over days...or even more since I do not have internet at home. Need to apply once I have a good deal from starhub. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Shopping day

Posted by Dawn at Tuesday, January 17, 2006 0 comments Links to this post
Today, CT left his car for me to drive as I had to go Walmart and spend a US$80 Walmart gift card. CT's company gives away the gift card every 2-3 months..Pam got for us earlier since we would be leaving soon...CT actually went up to ask her for it so that we can use it.

It was raining terribly but I still went ahead as I needed time to pack my shopping stuff in my luggage or boxes. I bought so many stuff that I estimated wrongly. I got a shock when I saw the price on the cashier machine...it was US$144 total! I only brought about US$40 along in my wallet..so it was not enough even after using the gift card. I cannot believe my estimation was so bad. So, I sadly removed some stuff and paid the balance.

After that, I went home and heated up my lunch to eat. It was about 2 pm already. I spent a long time shopping at Walmart...about 3-4 hours. Yup..it is that big and lots of things to see. CT would probably die or boredom if he went with me..so I prefer to shop alone!

After that, I drove to Baby 'R' Us to redeem a free CD from a coupon which I have. It is a huge superstore selling baby stuff. That is what I like about America- very baby and family oriented.

After collecting the free CD, I drove to "Blockbuster" to rent a movie DVD because I have a US$5 gift card from it. I rented "Napolean Dynamite" show because it is a comedy and won awards during the MTV movie award ceremony.

When CT came home, we watched the new "American Idol" season during dinner and after that, we watched the DVD that I rented. It was so boring..sigh. What a letdown.

Anyway, I truly enjoyed today going by myself shopping and driving around.

Monday, January 16, 2006

farewell dinner

Posted by Dawn at Monday, January 16, 2006 0 comments Links to this post
I have been busy packing the whole day and squeezing stuff into my luggage. Looking around in my apartment, I still feel I have a lot of stuff..sigh. It is like moving house...so many things.

At night when CT came home and bathed, we drove to Pam's house. Pam is CT's colleague who has been a great help and wonderful lady. She helps arrange our accomodation, drive colleagues to take driving tests, buy working shoes and I heard that when the singaporeans leave the apartments, she would come with her husband or son to the apartment to clean up. She is really amazing and has a servant's heart.

We went to her house which is about 25 mins drive away and she stays near the golf course which my parents and I visited...so we drove the same route as the day we had the train accident and passed by the golf course and the train tracks...I was def feeling jittery in my heart but calm on the outside-def better than the time when it just happened.

When we arrived, we went in and her house was def much better than we expected. Pam told us that her house is quite messy but to us, it looked so clean and nice. She even has a huge swimming pool at the backyard as well as billard table upstairs.

I realised her sofa and pilows are exactly the same ones that we have in our apartment. So, I think she must have purchased our furniture for us as well..

She gave us gifts and I was very touched. She gave us a huge study bible, a journal, photo gift notes etc..

Then, Pam took me to her office and showed me a book that she is working on. She said she wanted to print out a draft for me to take home but had no time. So, she said that once she has finished, she would email to me. It is a book on Praising God...about how people could put it into action.

After staying for a while,we went to "Outback Steakhouse" for dinner. Her husband did not come with us as he is not feeling well. Pam followed us as she was not sure where it was. Somehow I feel that though we do not stay here, we have visited more places than Americans who lived here. It is the same when tourists from other countries come to Singapore and they would visit places which even we have not been to(even staying in Singapore all our lives)..and our usual and most common excuse is- we have no time. I think it is just a mentality that we have no time but in actual fact,we do not make time for it and just get into the rut of our daily chores and lives.

When we were driving, CT mentioned that when we go back Singapore, he would like to make time to do things and not feel that everything is a chore.. He said he would love to enjoy what he is doing and would like to make time for me and do things alone together as well. I was pleasantly surprised when he said that and I guess that is what everyone should reflect on time and time again because it is very easy to get into the routine and start missing out the important aspects of life like relationships, family, friends etc..

Before we went Outback, CT and I knew what to order already and Pam was surprised. I tried that steak before I loved it..so I ate it again. It is Rockhampton Ribeye Steak..very nice and juicy on the inside, but slightly 'burnt', thus crispy on the outside. Not sure whether the "Outback Steakhouse" in Singapore has this dish.

The steak comes with one side and either a soup or salad. Very filling...I could not finish my mashed potatoes. Pam could not finish her food as well..she left so much salad and steak. CT and I ate so much more than her. :)

During dinner, I was telling her all about the people I met in Mobile and how God has placed them miraculously in our lives and how He has planned everything and put everything in order even before things happen. I told Pam that sometimes, we worry too much and God is trying to tell us to just relax and trust Him for He is in control and has everything planned out already. How awesome our God is.

Went home about 9pm plus. Hugged Pam before we parted and told her that if ever she comes to Singapore, must let me know...In my heart, I know I will meet up with her sooner or later-either on earth or in heaven. *winks*

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Caught another movie

Posted by Dawn at Sunday, January 15, 2006 0 comments Links to this post
This morning would be our last morning in church and yes, it was quite sad leaving the church after service. During my farewell lunch with Jan, Reeda and Salynn, Jan mentioned that she misses mee siam the most in Singapore and last night, Salynn passed mee siam "Prima Taste" box to me to pass to Jan. How sweet...

So, I passed to Jan before we left church and she was very excited. We bid our goodbyes and went off after service. Sobsob...

We went Walmart for a bit of grocery shopping and then went home and I heated up last Friday night's leftovers to eat for lunch. We were watching show at the same time and after lunch, we went "Bel Air Mall" to do last minute shopping. Shopped for about 2 hours and after that when walking to the car, I told CT I very sad cos everything seems to be my last time...

After shopping, we went straight to "Carmike Cinema" and caught "King Kong". These were the 2 shows we wanted to catch- Narnia and King Kong. I must say I was quite impresed with King Kong. I have seen the old black and white King Kong movie and it has really evolved...

The whole time, I was at the edge of my seat as it was so exciting, scary and amazed at the effects. Of course it is good since it is a film by Peter Jackson-same person who did Lord of the Rings. Another thing that amazed me was that "Singapore" was mentioned about 4 times in the movie!! Cool, right? Speaking about publicity...haha

And even though I knew the ending, it was still sad as there were expressions of love between King Kong and the woman. So sweet...

It was a full 3 hours show and boy, my butt hurts during the movie cos sat too long. So, I kept shifting about to ease the pain. Haha.

After the movie, we went to Colin's house (CT colleague) for dinner as they invited us. We were supposed to be there at 630pm but since the movie lasted so long, we only reached at about 745pm. Most of the colleagues left already...but Anthony and Salynn were there as they just arrived as well. They went New Orleans the whole day and just came back. They told us that the place was still quite messy and most shops still not open eversince the hurricane.

Colin's wife prepared noodles soup and I added extra chilli. It was so spicy that I kept blowing my nose. Quite shiok!

Colin's wife is from Myanmar and has stayed in Thailand for some time. So, her food is really spicy and tasty. I loved it. She even made her own beef and pork balls from scratch.

After dinner, Colin's son came up to me and offered to me M & Ms. Then, his daughter offered Anthony as well. Then, Anthony said, "How come the M & Ms got mint taste one ah?" Then I said, "No..only chocolate what.where got mint taste?" Then, Colin's wife mentioned that she has medicated oil on her...haha.. We all burst out laughing. Poor Anthony..kena poisoned.

By the time we reached home, it was close to 10pm already. Few more days and I would be going back Singapore. Mixed feelings...cos in US, it is so spacious and we have our own car. Moreover, carpark is free. So,we will def miss life back here but yup, have to face reality and I would be glad to go back singapore to settle down.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Busy Saturday

Posted by Dawn at Saturday, January 14, 2006 0 comments Links to this post
Today, I was out the whole day from 1030am onwards. CT left home at about 9am to close his bank account while I was home doing a bit of packing. At 1030am, we went UPS store with Teck Meng and Kok Fong who will be leaving the same day as us back to Singapore.

We brought along all our boxes and boy,it was expensive! We brought 3 boxes to be shipped back and it costs us US$800 plus..almost US$1000! It was 200 plus per box...depending on the size and weight. But thank God, CT's company pays for it.

After filling up the forms and sending in our boxes, we went for lunch as Teck Meng was starving. So, I suggested Indian food as it was very nearby and the curry is good. Though Teck Meng does not eat spicy, he agreed.Guess because of his hunger. The Indian buffet was good. It costs only US$7 per person with about 8 different dishes...including chicken curry, mutton curry, naan, tandoori chicken, potato dish, spinach dish etc... Even Teck Meng enjoyed it cos it was authentic.

After that, we went to "Carmike Cinema" to catch a movie. We watched "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe". It is so cool! I loved the show. The effects were good and it was exciting. I would def recommend this show to everyone. It costs us only US$4 to watch. So, we wanted to catch as many movies as we can before we go back cos we know Singapore has raised its cinema prices.

After the show, CT and I rushed back home, took Kok Fong's lap top, heated up my leftover chicken wings and rushed to Jay & Natalie's house. We had a farewell gathering organised by our church group. I also gave a small presentation about Singapore to them to let them know roughly what is Singapore and where it is.

We had a great time. Though I was still full from lunch, I could not resist the food. There was mexican food prepared by each family as well as small bite size hot dogs. Very yummy. Not many took my chicken wings. I guess they did not want to get their hands dirty or rather, they do not eat such bony chickens. Haha.

Anyway, here is a picture of our bible study group.

I brought Singapore souvenirs for them and gave them stuff like 3-in-1 Milo packets, chilli sauce etc..So, it was quite an experience for them to get a bit of Singapore culture. Some of them even commented that they would love to go Singapore now that they have seen the presentation...but I would say most Americans are afraid to fly international and just prefer to fly within America since it is so big. Oh well..

As a group,they gave CT and I a scrap book of the group and there were postcards of Mobile. It was very nice as they individual pages of the different couples and their pictures of them and their kids. How sweet. They actually did last night only...

I will definitely miss them!

Friday, January 13, 2006

CNY cum farewell dinner

Posted by Dawn at Friday, January 13, 2006 2 comments Links to this post
Today, I had dinner party at my place. I meant it for an early Chinese New Year celebration as well as farewell gathering for those leaving soon back to Singapore which includes me and mu husband. CT told me, "how come we leaving, we organise our own farewell party?" I said, "Aiyah..nevermind lah..it doesnt matter."

So, I was preparing food the whole day from 6 plus am onwards...I was making my own tang yuan with lotus paste, cooked corn egg soup and marinated the chicken wings to grill later. Salynn came about 1pm to help shred the veggies for "Lo Hei". She was a great help. She would be making vinegar pork ribs for tonight as well.

CT's colleagues came about 645pm and I laid the food in the kitchen table-buffet style and placed te Lo Hei in the middle of the dining table for everyone to toss. I added jellyfish and salmon in it.. Everyone was quite impressed that I actually took the trouble to do it and to come up with such a dish. I brought the Lo Hei crackers from Singapore over as I already planned to invite CT's colleagues over for dinner.

We did not invite CT's muslim colleagues because of the food and we scared they would mind eating non pork dish even cos I cooked pork with all my pots before. There were about 16 people in the party and boy, I cooked too much! I guess more is better than less... :)

So, we had grilled chicken wings, vinegar pork ribs, braised mushrooms with pork, dried scallops and "hair", vegetarian mixed veggies with mushrooms, corn egg soup and rice. They all missed eating such food and I was glad to be able to cook for them...

Then after dinner, I started cooking my tang yuan...Here is how it looks

I made peanut soup with quaker oats in it. Tastes like the real stuff. The only problem was that I wished I was eating peanut tang yuan cos that is my favourite. But anyway, when I go back Singapore, frozen tang yuan is readily available in supermarkets. So, I can use that and just make my own soup. Cool!

Oh, I made longan, red date drink and stored it few days before in the fridge to keep it cold. Wanted to create the homely, local feeling...

After dinner, a few of us played "Cranium" boardgame...quite fun but it is suited more to Americans because of the questions they ask.

By the time we finished our game, it was 1030pm plus. After cleaning up,CT and I packed our boxes as we would be shipping some back by UPS tomorrow. So, by the time we slept, it was midnight already. Super exhausted but happy that the party went so well.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Farewell lunch

Posted by Dawn at Thursday, January 12, 2006 0 comments Links to this post
For the past few days, I have been very busy. It will be a busy week for me as I would be doing a big cookout for Friday's early Chinese New Year Party at my house and I need to not only clean the house, but to pack stuff into boxes for me to ship back to Singapore.

I cooked 2 dishes beforehand as these dishes taste better when left overnight. I prepared braised mushrooms with dried scallops and 'hair' as well as vegetarian dish (mixed veggies with mock stuff, mushrooms and black fungus).

Today, met up with Reeda and Jan for lunch. Reeda initiated it and I brought Salynn along for it to introduce her to Reeda and Jan, as well as to get out of Cabana since she has been at home all day. Reeda came to pick me up while we drove to Salynn's apartment to pick her up. She stays further away from me as hers is a single room apartment..so it is further away. We went to "Panera Bread" Restaurant for lunch. I ordered salad and soup. Very filling as they provided bread as well.

We had a great time as Reeda showed us pictures of her first time visit to Singapore. Jan was from Singapore and is a Peranakan but has not been back for 9 years already. She married to an American and have kids..so it is very expensive for her to fly back.

Salynn is a very easy going and friendly person. So, she fitted in straight away and communicated well with an American accent because her ex bosses are Americans . She works in Chevron, Jurong Island. She reminds me so much as my friend, Esther. (Yes, Esther..if you are reading this..you and her are very very much alike!! Quite spooky!) She is just as bubbly, friendly,easy going, loves bowling etc..Hope to introduce them to each other one day. Haa...

I gave Reeda Prima Taste 'Beef Rendang' as that is one of her favourite food in Singapore. Prima Taste has very good easy-to-make local food like Bak Ku Teh, Laksa, Mee Siam, Chicken Rice, Beef Rendang...It tastes just like the real stuff as they provide all the paste and condiments. For the chicken rice, they even provide the chilli sauce, ginger sauce..etc..So, it is quite neat!

Below is a picture we took before we left...

After lunch, we exchanged hugs for the 'final' time and then Jan fetched us back. I told Jan to drop us at "Dollar General"-just opposite our apartment as I needed to buy plastic forks and spoons for the party. Salynn was sweet to pay for my stuff and then I walked her back to her apartment as she is still new to the surroundings here.

The weather was very nice today. Not too cold and chilly. It was probably low 20s C.

Quite sad that I would not be seeing Jan and Reeda soon (except this coming Sunday in church)..Time really passes so quickly.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Another day at the Brenner's place

Posted by Dawn at Sunday, January 08, 2006 1 comments Links to this post
This morning, went church in the morning. Have not been to church for a while already as we have been travelling...so it was good to be back for 2 more weeks before we head back Singapore. When we first entered the church, SL Hudson (lady from church) grabbed us and asked us if we could carry the flags in during service at 9am. She looked desperate, so we each grabbed a flag and lined up with the rest of them for the cue to go in and walk in front of the people during service.

CT and I both did not know what was happening and what we needed to do...but we just followed. It seems that it was Missions Week and there is a group of people carrying all the different countries' flag to be brought up to the stage area when the song is sung by the choir. I spotted the Singapore flag amidst the whole lot of flags..quite cool to see own country's flag.

After that, we went for our bible study lesson. As usual, we go for our church service after that. CT went toilet and I quickly went into the sanctuary as I did not want to be arrowed carrying the flags again. Haha.. Then, CT did not join me for a while and I thought he might be waiting for me outside the toilet. So, I went out of the sanctuary to look for him and I saw him lining up, carrying the flag!! haha..He kena arrowed again.

So, I quickly ran in to my seat and took a picture of him. Very blur picture as it was quite dark...

CT is actually the one walking in and carrying a "Madagascar" country flag. Anyway, after the interesting service, we went out lunch with the bible study group. Went to "O Charlie's" for lunch and Danny paid for both me and CT. So sweet. About 20 people went as they knew there would not be much time they could spent with us left. We ordered buffalo wings and a mushroom swiss burger. Restaurant burgers are much bigger than those in fast food restaurants.

After lunch, I called Sarah as she told me to as we would like to revisit her place again since CT has not seen the house during daytime yet. The last time we were there, it was dark already. Sarah just came back from church and we arranged to be there at 3pm.

So, we went and it was a great time just meeting up again and talk...

Robert came out to greet us and brought us around as CT has not been toured yet. Robert was showing the projects he would be working on in his house as Americans are usually very hands on and they go most of their own stuff...like building the fence, outdoor lighting in their gardens etc..

They have such a huge land that there is just so much to do...

Their friends were at their house when we reached and they were all taking the horses for a ride..

CT was busy entertaining the dogs.. There was this dog especially who loves to fetch things for you. He would bring you his toy, placed it in front of you and waiting for you to throw. Then he would fetch it back for you and wait for you to throw again. So, CT was kept busy throwing for him and the dog never gets tired!! Never...

CT gave up after a while and we left the dog to bark as he was calling for attention for us to throw his toy.

Their grandson, Ian was riding the horse as he wanted to...so cute as he looks so tiny as compared to the horse.

Robert was playing with Ian after that and they looked so sweet together-grandfather and grandson playing.

After that, we walked to Step and Nathan's house for CT to take a look. I was surprised as 2 days ago when we came, the house was not fitted with windows and the rooms did not have much walls..but it was already so different when we went today to see. There were windows fitted and walls were up. I was amazed at how fast the Americans worked. They started this house in 2nd half of last year and would be ready in Feb. Only about less than 8 months, they can build a new house from scratch already.

This is the lake in between the 2 houses in their plot of land..

You can see Robert and Sarah's house in the background if you stare hard. We were standing on Step and Nathan's house side.. If I stay here, I would use the boat to row over the otherside even if I could walk over...cos it is more fun rowing the boat in the lake to get over the other side...or grab a horse and ride over. Haha..

CT rode the horse for only about 15 mins. It was his second time riding and he is quite scared. But after a while, he seemed much better. Here is him riding by his own and taking the horse to places around the house...

I did not get up the horse again as I was too lazy. I just wanted CT to try riding again and I accomplished that..so I was satisfied already. Ian was playing with the logs set up for thr horses to jump over.. By the way, Ian is a good model as he loves to look at cameras and smile..He would do whatever you ask him to do. His parents actually did a whole year's calander on him with bible verses for each month. Very cool..

After that, Sarah took us around their lake through this 'jungle' full of trees and fallen branches due to hurricane. It was quite messy and their was even a small bridge in the 'jungle'.

When I took a peek at the lake through all the branches, I saw a nice reflection of the sky on the waters...

After that, I grabbed a stick to throw in the lake to see whether their 'fetcher' dog would fetch it or not by swimming..and not to my surprise, he did swim just to get the stick..so so cute.

We then went to the living room in their house to just sit down, drink and chit chat. They asked me how my family became Christians since we were not a Christian family to start with. Then, CT repeated his story again to their friends as requested by Robert because he thinks it is amazing.

We then got a picture together...

I brought some ready made local delights for them to cook and remember the food back in Singapore. Gave them "Bak Ku Teh" and " Hainanese Chicken Rice". They were so happy.. :)

We left at about 6 plus pm..and Sarah kept saying, "You don't have to go.." How sweet... But we had to leave as I needed to go back to cook dinner. Robert passed me some music CDs for me since he works in Integrity- a huge Christian music company. Some of the CDs are not even out in stores..cool. I love music and I was so happy to have them.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Last minute shopping

Posted by Dawn at Saturday, January 07, 2006 1 comments Links to this post
Today, went out with CT's colleagues for some last minute shopping at a huge factory outlet place about 45 mins-1 hr drive. I love it there as you can get branded stuff at a very good price. We did not shop long as I am not a very good shopper. I usually have a list of what to buy and just go for it. I do not really like to waste my energy and time by walking and just looking. Moreover, the place is quite big, so the more I do not want to walk and just see.

Shopped for only 1 and a half hours, then we went for lunch at Lambert's Cafe: home of throwed rolls. I love this restaurant because of its interesting concept.
Everyone has to order something. No one is allowed to share. Of course you can each order your own food and share but everyone has to order a main dish. The price is reasonable. About US$15 per person for a lot of food. They have free flow of bread rolls, fried okra (lady fingers), fried potato onions, black eyed peas. With all these free flow stuff, you get real full already.

It is very crowded when we were there. The picture above is taken from the internet. So, do not be mistaken that there are no customers. We all sit in booth-like tables and waitresses would come and serve you with all the free flow stuff. One guy would come and shout, "Hot rolls" and then you raise up your hand and he would throw to you. Sometimes, he would throw from one end of the dining area to the othe end. Sometimes, the people are not good in catching and would drop on the chair, table or floor and the guy would throw you another one and another one, till you catch it right! haha.. Cool, right? It is a lot of fun I must say.

The bread roll tossed is fresh and hot. So, when you add the butter they have, it is so so nice..as it melts richly and soak into the roll.

I ordered a burger with one side. I could not finish as I was already full before I ate my main dish. CT ordered polish sausage with Kraut (the pickled cabbage). CT's dish did not taste nice as they add the polish sausage mixed with the cabbage. So, his whole dish was very sour.

The restaurant has a very nice mural on its building. Take a look at this huge hand painted wall..

After eating and taking away left overs, we went back Tanger Outlets to Timberland shop as I wanted to buy some stuff for CT's cousin as requested by mum in law. So, we shopped for 30 more mins and then headed back home. We were in the same car as Anthony and Salynn. The other car was Teck Meng, Kok Fong and Kok Siong. So, there were quite a lot of us.

When we went home, it was 430pm already and went to play tennis at 5pm. It was very cold but CT and I were just in our t shirt and shorts as usual. Haha.. Anthony, Teck Meng and Bon played as well but there were 2 courts so 3 played in 1 court while 2 played in the other court. I was paired up with someone all the time.

After playing for an hour, we decided to compete 2 on 2, and 1 person would sit out. The loser team would sit one out and the other person would come in. Had loads of fun as I played quite well and did not get to sit out at all cos I guess the guys were being gentlemen and though the few times that my team lost, they would go out and let me stay in. Ha..

We played until the night grew colder...CT was shivering and we could all blow 'smoke' out. Can you imagine wearing shorts and t shirt in this kind of weather? I think it was less than 10 degrees celcius. My left hand grew stiff and numb from the cold. I could hardly grab the tennis ball. My joints were numb...but we still went on playing cos it was fun.

We played for about 2 hours and then went home for dinner. When I bathed, my left hand felt so hot because it was frozen. Then when I came out of the shower, it was very red...ha. It was stiff the whole time...What a night!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Company farewell dinner

Posted by Dawn at Friday, January 06, 2006 1 comments Links to this post
Tonight, there was a company farewell dinner for the next batch of engineers going back to Singapore which includes US. We would be leaving soon and so, there was a get together at a seafood restaurant with all the technicians, engineers and their families. There were about 40 of us.

We were in a room where it was buffet.The food was not as nice because it was not individual order, it was mass cooking. The pasta was soggy and the crabs and prawns were over cooked. It tasted ok but it was just disappointing as we expected better. But I still try to enjoy whatever I had.

Salynn, Anthony's girlfriend was there. I met her once when we were in Knoxville, Tennessee. Now, she is here again for a longer time till Feb when Anthony goes back. Salynn is a very bubbly and humourous person to be with. There were kids in the room and they were running around and making loud noises. I found it cute while some colleagues found them irritating. I can understand...

We left right after we finished eating.

The amazing thing that happened during dinner was that CT's boss, Bill Skelding said grace before everyone started the buffet. I was pleasantly surprised as Cathy, Bill's wife told me before that he never does professes his faith as a Christian and for him to say grace in front of all the colleagues and Muslim technicians, I was happy for him.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Did horseback riding

Posted by Dawn at Thursday, January 05, 2006 1 comments Links to this post
Today, Sarah Brenner picked me up at 130pm with her grandson, Ian in the car. I would be spending the whole day at her house and CT would come after he finishes his work. Getting to know Sarah is very amazing as her husband went to Singapore for work and she tagged along. My mum actually got to know her in Singapore which is a miracle because my mum never knew them. So, it was really God-arranged.

They are a great couple. You know sometimes when you are out with different friends and after meeting up with your friends, you may feel lousy or you feel great because of what was being said? I feel lousy when the whole time, people gather to gossip and talk bad about others or just talk superficial things...but on the other hand, when the conversation is so uplifting and so meaningful, you just feel so much respect for your friends and you will leave the place feeling great. That is what I like and that is what Robert and Sarah Brenner are like..a very influential couple in their own way.

Her house was only 25 mins away from my place and very easy to get to as we just travelled one straight road and make a right turn. Very simple yet it was a place CT and I never explored as it was past the airport. We never drove past the airport as it was all residential over the other side. So, I was pretty excited to check it out!

Ian quickly got down and played with his bike. Ian is only 21 months old and is a very very cute boy.

As you can see, they have a very long drive way up to their house from the roads with pine trees grown at the sides. Very nice and scenic.

I was greeted so warmly by her 5 dogs! When I opened the car door, they all came up to me and started licking me. Haha..Very cute.

Here is their house- Sarah with some of her dogs.

Their whole land area is about 21 acres. That is almost a million sq feet! They are in the midst of building another house in their land. It would be her daughter and son-in-law's house (Stephanie and Nathan). So, right now, they are staying with them. Step is expecting a second one and will be giving birth almost the same time as my sis-in-law, Pam...around Feb.

Sarah took me around her place. They have a lake in between 2 houses..So, it is very nice.

This is Step and Nathan's house in their plot of land...

We walked into the house and even climber up the stairs as Sarah told me where would the toilet, rooms, kitchen be..

Then, we went to see the horses. They have 5 horses in all as Stephanie teaches horseback riding to especially kids. So, they even have all the obstacles for the horse to jump over..

They seperate 3 horses from 2 of them as they could not get along with one another. Here are 3 of their horses..

They also keep hens for its eggs. The looks of it is quite different from normal chickens which I know of in Singapore..

Grow their own vegetables like collard greens and broccolli. Check out the broccolli plant.

After touring the place, I went for horseback riding of course. Well, I love riding horses and have been riding since young in New Zealand. My parents have exposed me to do a lot of things and I am very thankful for that..for having such opportunity to try so many things. My late granduncle had a farm in New Zealand and we used to stay with him and see his horses. So, most of my horseback riding experiences was in New Zealand.

I remember one time riding, we had to go through rough terrain like through a jungle and when we got out of it, there was a huge slope down. Being young, I could not control the horse well..so it was galloping down the slope very fast. So, I lost control and fell off. Thank God my bones were intact and I just fell on the soft and luscious green fields.

Another memorable horseback riding experience was recently a year ago, we went to South Islands to ride. We rode with the huge mountains as a background, through the tall trees, streams of river and there was one particular obstacle which was quite hard to control but super fun. It was a deep river where the water reaches up to your legs. So, I had to lift my legs up as I rode the horse. The funny thing was that my dad's horse kept splashing on him. My dad's horse loves to play with water..so it kept kicking and splashing water. What an experience. That was CT's first time riding and I was glad to be able to introduce that to him. We rode for couple of hours and yeah, as usual, my butt hurts after that. But I loved it. I think if I stay in the country side, I would probably own horses and ride on them.

Ok, anyway, back to Sarah's house. Stephanie was with me as I rode her horses. She instructed me to put up the saddle for the horse and taught me a lot. Afterall, she was an instructor. She did not ride as she was expecting...but when I went up the horse, she left me to ride the horse by myself as she went to feed and tend to the other horses. But before riding the horse, I had to brush off the dirt and fit on the saddle...Then, I took my horse for a ride and it was an easy horse to ride.

Then, Step told me to go through another gate to the obstacle course area. So, I rode the horse there. Step was teaching me a lot since it was one on one training. Ha..

I was very comfortable riding the horse so much so that she taught me how to let the horse go faster and run. She taught me the technique of what to do when the horse runs. I had to bob up and down-stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down. IT was tiring but fun! Wheee...Stephanie first trained me and the horse by going in small circles as she took the whip. Then, once I was comfortable bobbing up and down, she told me to do it on my own round the fence. So much fun as I was in control of this huge animal...

After the ride, I helped Stephanie to feed my horse, brush the horse and remove the saddle. I enjoyed it because it was hands on and I have not learnt so much about horses till today.

Then, we put the blanket over the horse to keep it warm for the night.

At about 6pm, I went out of the house to the roads to wait for CT. They do not have street lights along the roads. So, I wanted to wait outside with a flash light to get CT's attention.

Robert came home first from work and he stopped and asked if I would like him to wait with me. So sweet, isnt it? I told him I was fine waiting for CT alone and admiring the vast skies full of stars! I must say, I was freezing but I was really enjoying the moon and stars..

CT came shortly after and I got into the car as he went into the long driveway...

Dinner was simple and nice. Had rice with smoked pork, veggies soup. There was also salad and toast. Had Strawberry Jell-O as well. I enjoyed it a lot as it was typical country food.

From left to right: Ian, Stephanie, Nathan, Robert, Sarah and CT!

Then, we spent time talking in the living room and had cookies with ice cream for dessert.

CT shared about how he became a Christian, his journey and the trials he faced after that with his family and his dad passing away. We all thought it was an amazing story as how CT stood by his faith despite his father threatening to severe ties with him if he became a Christian. I know most non-Christians would think that it is being unfilial but I guess they would think otherwise if they really know who God is and what He has done and what He would do...One question any non-Christian should ask is: What is so good about this God that makes CT stick by his faith and go through so much trouble by going against his dad?

You know as a teacher, I would always love for my students to ask questions because only when they ask questions, I would then know that they want to learn and they are learning... So the more questions people ask about God and Christianity, the more they would learn...and learning never stops when we leave school..it is always ongoing, isnt it?

Actually, it was my inquisitive nature that led me to be a Christian. I asked questions when I was young like- What would happen when I die? Is life so meaningless that after what happens duing this world and I just die? There must be more meaning and purpose to my life here....

Anyway,we left about 9 plus pm as we noticed Sarah getting quite tired. We had a great talk about Singapore and about God..Left their place feeling enriched and inspired by this wonderful couple.

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