This year my younger brother pointed out an interesting observation, “Age, this year will be the first time you’ll be able to celebrate your birthday without Jehi!” (Jehi is the affectionate nickname we use for my older brother who is 7 years older than me, to the day!) At first I didn’t catch his meaning… I had celebrated my birthday without my oldest brother. Nor was this the first time I had been in a different state than my brother when celebrating my birthday. Then he clarified, “No! Where you are it will be your birthday BEFORE it is Jehi’s Birthday.”
So there you have it: this was the first year that I had my birthday to myself… at least for 12 hours. The first half of my day it was July 19th where I was BEFORE it was my brother’s birthday. The last 12 hours of my birthday were shared (time wise, not in person) with my brother, niece, and cousin. We all have a birthday in common (just different years, thankfully)!
My birthday morning was spent baking a cake and speaking to 5 out of my 7 siblings. (One of my siblings had wished me happy birthday a day early, and the other one contacted me later in the day.) It was very special for all of my siblings to take time out to greet me on my special day.
Andrew sweetly took a half-day off so that he could spend lunch and the rest of the day with me. I knew he had something planned, but I didn’t know what. As we traveled on the mass transit system to our destination, I eventually came to realize where we were going:
Yay! A great Singapore destination we hadn’t seen before.
It would take forever to list ALL the animals we saw (not to mention uploading pictures of every single animal)! But, here are some highlights:
We visited the Kangaroo exhibit. I don’t think I had ever seen Kangaroos before (and neither had Andrew)! It was interesting to see them support their weight with their tail as they walked. The path that wound through the exhibit was guarded only by a simple wooden rail fence. We gasped when the Kangaroos came up close and walked right under the rail and across the path (top right picture)! While we were there a zoo keeper fed the animals. The family in the bottom right photo paid some money to feed the Kangaroos by hand. It was funny to watch the expressions on the little boy’s face!
At the elephant exhibit there were three elephants. There we learned that “Elephant” comes from the Latin, “ele” meaning big and “phant” meaning arch. These big arches of animals were pretty active. Especially this one who seemed to be having a lot of fun in the water!
I think watching the elephant play in the water helped us realize how thirsty we were. So after leaving these big animals behind we went to find water.
After we took a small break eating an apple and sharing a bottle of water, we were walking outside when Andrew exclaimed “look up!” I looked up. I was under a roofed walk-way. I didn’t see anything impressive about the roof. “Over there!” Finally I saw what Andrew was excited about:
The neatest thing about this was that there wasn’t any net or cage obstructing our view. They were literally overhead! We did notice that some tree trunks had some wiring that probably discouraged them from coming down to the people level. But they seemed to be happy in the trees anyways! We were really impressed with all the swinging they were doing. It reminds me of the scene from Swiss Family Robinson when the family tries to swing from vines in imitation of the monkeys. We also saw Chimpanzees and baboons, but the Orang-a-Tangs were the neatest of all!
As were bearing the Singapore heat, we felt sorry for the penguins who probably weren’t made to live in Singapore.
While we saw lots of animals that would be categorized as large, there were a few that really astounded us with their size:
I think the top picture is of a crocodile (or at least my nephew told me that’s what he thought it was after my description of the huge beast). The middle is of a massive Komodo dragon! And finally an incredible old tortoise! You can even see his toes – I didn’t know they had toes. His skin was so wrinkled and leathery. (The two dudes in the pictures had the cutest shirts on, one said “Son” the other said “Papa” on the back – Lol!)
Since the zoo closed at 6 and we knew we would get hungry we started to wind our way back to head out. The path that led to the exit thankfully went through the African area.
The Giraffes were AWEFULLY cool!
Of course with the zebra’s we had to take a posed shot for my mom, since it is her favorite animal!
And we couldn’t forget Andrew’s parents. This was the best we could do under the circumstances:
After a few hours at the zoo, we felt exhausted and like we had been there for much longer than we had in reality. Of course, our trip back home wouldn’t be complete without one quick stop:
It’s hard for me to believe that two years ago I might have seriously considered not dating Andrew had he really brought me to McDonald’s for my birthday. Now, it seemed like a sweet gesture from the man I love. How perspective (and a place of residence) can change things!?
Once home we ate some DELICIOUS lasagna. Andrew made it up in the crock pot the night before. The only part I had in making the wonderful birthday dinner was turning on the crock pot before I left for the afternoon. It might not have been the cheapest meal (considering the Ricotta alone cost $10), but it was probably less expensive and definitely more tasty than what we would find in a restaurant! Oh, what a fantastic and decidedly non-Singaporean way to celebrate my birthday.
To end the day Andrew sang to me, and I blew out more candles than I’ve ever had to before. (It actually took me two breaths… oops!) The cake was “economically” made by using a cake mix we brought from the states and making my own peanut-butter/nutella frosting. Mmm…
Thank you Andrew for a really memorable birthday!!! You’re my hero.
Happy and tired, I went to sleep while my fellow July 19th-ers were just gearing up to celebrate their birthdays on the other side of the world.