Tag Archives: Life

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Day 91/365: Apr 1, 2014

I’m thankful for:

  • Finding my keys where the toddler put hid them after searching for a half hour. (And an answer to prayer!)
  • A frustrating morning turning into a great day overall.
  • An inexpensive taxi ride home from lunch/shopping with the hubby.

Thankful for an higher-than-toddler’s-reach hook… if I only use it!

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Living with an Elevator

DISCLAIMER: I wrote the following blog post quite a few weeks ago. I’m not sure what’s to blame for me not posting it: pregnancy forgetfulness, pregnancy priorities, pregnancy naps… hmm. Take your pick, each reason has a theme. In any case, please pardon my delay 🙂 I didn’t revise my time references in the post, so it might be a little inaccurate in terms of timeline. But, hopefully you’ll enjoy the snapshot of our everyday life adventures anyways.

A few stories of note have happened in the past few days, all relating to our apartment’s elevator(s).

Background

We live in an HDB  high rise apartment. HDB=Housing Development Board; in other words, “HDB” is the local jargon for publicly built/maintained buildings that are NOT condos. Thankfully, our HDB has elevators that go to every floor. I don’t think we would live in a high rise without living on a “lift level.” Believe it or not, though, there are still buildings 10+ stories that do not have elevators that go to every floor. While the Housing Development Board of Singapore is undertaking efforts to update the older buildings with less elevator access – it is not an immediate process. Plenty of HDB buildings have one or two elevators for the entire building, that only stop every 4-5 stories. But thankfully, our building is “updated” and the lift goes to every level.

Story 1: Sad Girl

Late Monday night Andrew and I were headed home after a grocery store run.

We just missed making the elevator before it headed up from the ground floor. Oh well. No matter. Patience is a virtue. We weren’t in a rush anyways, right?

The elevator finished dropping off its previous load of passengers and came back to the ground floor.

Before it arrived though we could tell something was amiss. We heard crying.

The crying got louder.

The elevator arrived, and the doors opened. We were greeted by a lonely young girl, approximately 3 years of age, wailing pitifully. Slightly taken aback by the sight, we didn’t know what to do. She looked at us with the most mornful eyes not able to catch her breath in the midst of the cries. She tentatively took a step forward. We held the door open for her, because she seemed like she wanted to come out. But we must of unnerved her, because she then stepped back into the elevator.

We assumed there was a family waiting for her on one level somewhere above us. Unfortunately we didn’t know where that might be.

Did we go on the elevator with her and press each number? Did we let her ride back up alone? (She seemed too young and out of sorts to know what number to push.) Should we get her to come out of the elevator and wait for someone to come claim her?

We stood there holding the door open unsure of how to best come to the aid of this little girl.

Finally though rescue came, but not through us.

The girl’s father walked down the steps opposite the elevator and came and swooped the daughter up in his arms.

Major crisis averted.

He got on the elevator with his charge, and we got on as well. Eventually he and his little girl stepped off the elevator to a waiting mommy with a stroller and a younger sibling. From what we could tell one of two scenarios happened:

1) The little girl dilli-dallied and didn’t get off the elevator with her parents.

2) She was mischevious and went back on the elevator.

In either case it was clear that she was not happy with her results and her parents didn’t seem exactly happy with her either.

We felt sorry for the dad who had to walk down the multiple flights of stairs to retrieve his child.

Maintenance

While the elevators normally work fine such that you don’t think about them, it is not unheard of for the elevators to require maintenance. I would say once every other month we have had to use alternate means to get to our apartment than simply riding the elevator for our section of the building. Once Andrew even got caught in the elevator when it was having issues. It only would bring him to higher floors. It was one way. Unfortunately, this meant he ended up on the top floor of the building … with his bicycle.

Anyways, back to our recent news.

The other night Andrew arrived home from work and notified me that the elevator was out of commission. We didn’t think much of it as it is often fixed within a few hours.

We went back out later that evening. This is what we were greeted with:

Lift Repair Notice – from the 15th to 18th of August; “Inconvenience Regretted”

O-kay.

Good news first: For our building/block, we have elevators that go to each level. Bad news: Our building/block is split up into 3 sections. So our elevator only services one third of the building. The middle section has two elevators. And then there is another third section on the opposite end with its own elevator. The sections of the building are connected by walkways that occur every few stories. This means the nearest lift access other than our section’s elevator is either two floors down or three floors up.

Thankfully, we don’t have to climb all the way to the 8th floor. We can take one of the elevators in the center of the building up to the 6th or 11th floors. From there we can use one of the connecting walkways to get to our section of the building and then proceed via stairs to our floor. It’s not necessarily straightforward, but it works. And with a pregnant belly, I am very thankful for that!

Despite the unique travel method to leave our building, Andrew still rode his bike two days during the maintenance period.

Last night Andrew arrived home. He happily informed me that the elevator was back in working order! Sweet! Go Singapore for getting things fixed before they say they will 🙂

We’re happy to have our elevator back.

left-over Habbit?

Now, my favorite elevator story of late.

The other day Andrew left to pick up a few groceries for dinner. Apparently he had gotten used to using the other elevators in the building recently. He later informed me that he was absorbed in a book he was reading on his kindle and didn’t realize he was taking the wrong elevator until it was too late. He ended up in the wrong part of the building and had to walk down to another level so that he could cross over to our section of the building. While I wasn’t trying to make him feel bad that he had his spacey moment, I couldn’t contain my laughter when he told me his story. His spaciness just about made my day 😀

CDs = bird deterrent?

I have a pet peeve that has nothing to do with “pets” but rather a “pest.” ( I wonder: does this make it a pest peeve?)

For whatever reason birds like to come into my home. They don’t come in like regular guest through our front door. Nor do they like to come in my living room. No, their preferred place of visiting is in my kitchen.

I do not like their visits. Their visits are intrusive, sometimes sneaky, and just downright rude!

Caught in the act of snooping!

I thought I had pictures of them sitting on my clothes pole and in my home, but I can’t find the pictures. Maybe they took the time while they were in my house to erase the incriminating photos off my camera.

 

They always come right into my kitchen and snoop around seeking out crumbs. If they can’t find any crumbs or food to nibble on they leave me the gift of poo. Actually, they leave their poop regardless of whether or not they found crumbs.

I don’t know why they come in. But I am banking on the fact that its because they like food. Now, I don’t always keep my kitchen spic-and-span… in fact, more often then I like to admit, there are dishes or other items sitting around in the kitchen waiting to be taken care of. However, I have evidence to support the fact that its not just my keeping of the kitchen that seems to make these birds self-entitled to intrude upon my space.

(Note, as I’m writing this, Andrew starts talking out loud and says, “Bird: SCRAM!” He doesn’t take too kindly to their intrusion either.)

 

My evidence for their love of my kitchen sans food impetus is thus: right after I have done a deep clean of the kitchen and mopped the floors the birds still come in. I wouldn’t mind so much if they were friendly, but their pooping on my very clean floor is NOT friendly.

All this unwelcome bird activity has caused Andrew and I to start searching for an effective method of discouraging the birds from entering. Andrew proposed that we take old CD’s and hang them from our window.

It’s hard to tell if they actually deter the birds. It seems like they come in ever so slightly less. But then again, we’ve noticed them entering right next to the CDs. However, it also seems that they prefer the other window slightly more when there are CD’s around. Hmm…

There is one discovery though: CDs hanging in window + wind = Adrielle deterrent. The sound of CD’s flapping against the metal on the windows does not exactly sound like a pleasant wind chime. On the plus side, CD’s don’t poop.

If you close the window with CD's... CD's stop being annoying, birds don't

I spent a lot of time on the computer the other day searching for people who have found effective ways of discouraging these Javan Myna from entering my kitchen sanctuary. No luck.

Here are some of the ideas we have had, some with varying level of plausibility vs. drawbacks:

1. Close Windows

Plausibility: If the windows are closed all the way, they can’t come in.

Drawbacks: If the windows are closed all the way, the birds aren’t the only thing inhibited; the wind/air flow is also stopped. Also, if there is an open crack in the window, the birds will find a way in.

2. Scarry Owl Technique

Potential: I suggested we put up a large owl. They scare off other birds in the US right?

Drawbacks: Two problems with that idea. 1) as Andrew pointed out, Singapore isn’t known for its owls. So, would these trespassers even be phased by a non-existent-to-them bird? 2) a friend shared this frustration, there is no obvious place in Singapore where such menacing bird statues are to be found. So, I don’t think we’ll try that idea.

3. Water Gun

Potential: While at the bookstore the other day we saw a water gun. Andrew suggested we pick one up… for bird control. We also could put up a warning signs for the birds that says, “Warning, kitchen invaders will be shot.” The idea had some merit, but it also had:

Drawbacks: $15 for one water gun. Really? I mean, we don’t even know if it will be an effective measure. Also, sure water beats poop, but who wants water all over their kitchen every time a bird decides he’d like to come in? Not me.

4. Alternate “gun”

Potential: Andrew also had an idea that combines his field of expertise and a slight geek factor is to build an ultrasonic gun. The upside: wickedly outside the box. No water would be used, no windows would be closed, and it might be fun. (Please don’t call me morbid for thinking shooting invader birds with invisible and inaudible sound waves is a great idea.) And who knows – maybe it’d work.

Drawbacks: I don’t know how feasible this idea is. Maybe it wouldn’t work. … but I sure would like to stick around to find out.

5. Suggestions?

The verdict is still out on whether or not the CD’s are effective. It’s been a few days so far. It hasn’t stopped them, but it is possible that it has partially decreased their likelihood of entering. But we’re still desperate for more ideas. We’d really like to hear if anybody has ideas that are worth trying. Help!

God answers my nieces’ prayers

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

I must admit: after working full-time while we waited for the Lord to grant Andrew a full-time job… well, I have been enjoying the break from work ever since moving to Singapore. A close friend put it this way, “It seems like you have adjusted nicely to house wife.” I was (and am!) enjoying focusing on setting up house, decorating the home, trying new meals, and spending a lot of time “nesting.” Although Andrew and I had just moved half way around the world and we were missing family – I can honestly say the changes in our lives had reduced my over-all stress level significantly. But I would be lying if I said that I didn’t use my newly unemployed nature to my advantage – often giving in to lazy habits.

We often discussed the topic of whether or not I should go back to work. While not completely opposed to the idea, neither were we eagerly searching for a position. We prayed that the Lord would give us wisdom on how we should proceed in the realm of job opportunities.

Earlier this summer I discovered through my sister that my nieces were being much more direct with their line of prayers. Apparently they had been praying diligently for “Aunt Age to get a job.” My sister gently reminded them that their Aunt might not be that interested in finding a job and posited that perhaps they might want to revise their prayer topic. But they were not thwarted. They continued to pray for that which I wasn’t sure I even wanted: a job.

Every now and then I would do web searches for part-time tutoring opportunities. But typically the positions would require SG citizenship or permanent residence status, willingness to work weekends, or full-time commitments – none of which suited me. Finally about a month ago Andrew and I decided we would put forth a more concentrated effort on looking for a part-time position for me. A job posting was found for a Christian tutoring company that was looking for part-time tutors. The job interested us enough for me to work on updating my resume and fashioning a cover letter to send to the company. While the company ended up expressing an interest in me, my particular skills and desires (ie: not to work on weeknights) weren’t exactly suited for their present needs.

Meanwhile two ladies at church encouraged me to look into substitute teaching at a local Christian school. One of the ladies had children that attended the particular school, and the other lady had a background of substitute teaching. The school was one that I was familiar with and had even looked into. But the fact that they didn’t have job postings that seemed to matched my interests had previously discouraged me from investigating further. I discovered that another lady at our small church was the music teacher at the school. I spoke with her, and she gave further confirmed the encouragement I had already received and gave me a name of one of the individuals at the school to contact.

Due to the encouragement I had received, I put an email in to the school. When I sent my email in, the school was in the midst of preparations for the school year which started within two weeks! After my email getting juggled around, the high school principal contacted me and expressed an interest in speaking to me. An interview was set up for Friday. Thursday night I was a nervous wreck. I had never done a true in person interview with someone I had never met before. Andrew kindly reminded me that God was in control. After refocusing on the One who could worry about it and praying about what the next day would hold – I worked on getting a good night’s rest.

The next day I showed up for my interview. The Lord answered my prayer for a good interview, and I was informally given the job on the spot! After a wonderful tour of the school, I left to walk back to the bus. About a block away I heard someone call after me. I turned to find a gentleman from the school literally running after me! Once he caught up to me, he joked, “This is how much we want you, that we’re chasing you down!” He was the elementary/middle school principal and was catching me to speak about whether or not I would be interested in (and/or suited to) the opportunity of a full-time position as a teacher’s assistant for a kindergartener’s class. I was a bit shocked – but told him I would consider it. That  night I received an email from the first principal. He was following up on the interview and was curious if I had any interest in teaching a middle school computer class. I was bewildered: here I had been originally nervous about the interview, and the Lord had provided three opportunities for me to consider!!!

The next morning I went back into the school, this time find out more details about the opportunity to teach computer. That gave me the rest of Saturday and Sunday for Andrew and I to discuss and pray about the opportunities. It didn’t seem like a lot of time to us for making a wise decision. However, the Lord’s plans were in place long before we realized them, and he was not concerned about the time crunch! By Sunday evening we had arrived at the decision to accept the offer for me to teach middle school computer and to do substitute teaching in addition.

Things continued to move quickly, and within 12 hours, I was headed to school for my first full day of work! Tuesday was Singapore’s National Day, so I got that day off. But Monday and Wednesday were spent trying to quickly settle in and get somewhat acclimated. Thursday I taught my first class to a group of energetic 6, 7, and 8 graders! WOW! What a week. In some circumstances the Lord answers prayer quickly.

It has been a week now at my new job. I teach one class a day. Since the class is an elective, each class I teach is every other day. Consequently, one day I teach one class; the next day I teach the other class. I had one student ask me if I like computers. Boy do I!? And how fun is it that I get to teach computer!?  I am still spending a fair amount of time working on planning out the year ahead of me – but I am looking forward to getting into a routine of teaching while still having the time at home that I enjoy.

The school is wonderful – just a short bus ride away, located in the same town as our home. It is a private, American, Christian school with excellent students and a superb staff. I LOVE it already! I could not have planned for a more excellent part-time job, but the Lord did. And I am convinced that my nieces committed prayer had some part to play in the perfectness of the situation 🙂

There’s a Giraffe Outside My Window!

Learning to look at the positive side of perpetual construction

I LOVE our apartment. I really do.

I also really enjoy our community.

Except for… the construction. There is one building that has yet to have completed the elevator upgrade (changing from one original elevator for the entire building to a total of four elevators). That building isn’t our own thankfully. But it is catty-corner to our building. And while I really am thankful for having a corner unit, our corner unit is at the end where all this construction is taking place.

This means that shortly after moving in I realized that most days I would hear banging, jack hammering, welding, and an assortment of electronic construction equipment – all right outside the windows of my bedroom, kitchen, and 2 bathrooms.  Not my favorite aspect of our apartment.

There have been days that due to the seemingly incessant noise I will go into the bedroom, shut all windows and doors, turn on the AC unit for white noise, and try to take a nap to escape the noise. At other times I throw in the towel all-together and leave for part of the day.

To add to the feeling of being surrounded by construction, on the other side of our community they are upgrading a meadow to some sort of community area. You guessed, it – this requires more construction related noises. Thankfully though, this isn’t as noticeable or obnoxious as the noises right outside my window.

But I am learning to be thankful for some aspects of these situations.

For example, one day we come home to see these 3.5 story tall elevator shaft parts being hoisted into the air!

The crane was literally a few feet from our kitchen window at points. How cool is that!?

It's a Crane!

The crane was literally a few feet from our kitchen window at points. How cool is that!?

A crane right outside our window!

Now, not everyone gets to see such a unique sight like that right next to their home! I don’t think we ever looked out our window as much as we did the day that crane was in operation!

Today was even better.

I heard some noise outside the window (you’re getting the picture- that’s not an uncommon occurrence). This time I went to go check it out.

What!?!? I just went to the zoo… it seems like a giraffe must have followed me home:

Poor giraffe, his name is "52"

I was fascinated by this creature. It made the average day of construction interesting and vastly amusing.

Full size giraffe makes the ones at the zoo look small.

I bet that somewhere in the community there is a mom with little boys. I am sure that mom is loving days like these. And for that I can be thankful.

I can also be thankful that with this weird piece of equipment and another noisy day that the people in that building are one step closer to having elevator access to all floors.

And selfishly, I am thankful that I already have elevator access to our floor and that I am not living in one of the rooms right next to all that construction. I’m sure being in the building across from the construction is much better than being in the building where it’s actually taking place!

Dear Giraffe,

Thank you for reminding me to be thankful. I will miss you.

Yours truly,

~Me

#52 all packed up to go home

Bye bye!