Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pressies and pressing times

My rare update for the week, now that I am officially on leave (i.e. off work) for the coming 7 months (woohoo! thrills me whenever I think of it, to have zero mails in the Inbox, to "gently" remind people to remove me from their mailing lists)...

In any case, it's not a few days of 'horreeday' (holiday) for me at home before I head off for Singapore ok - I've been:

  • catching up on farewell meals
My team was really sweet and even got me an early birthday cake on my last day (don't mind the writing on the cake that was decorated by two of my colleagues themselves at the cake shop - that's a heart, with some flowers, on top of the 'See U Soon' wordings, if you can't figure it out - haha) --

In addition to the really sweet jumper suit and oh-so-cute pink rabbit-eared shoes for Rosabelle, they also bought a Pigeon bedding set that is ideal for the cold March winter weather when we get back - we can even strap her in so she does not wriggle into the covers, and it can be unzipped to serve as a blanket when she outgrows it --

We had a good team farewell dinner that night, where some of the ex-team members also nicely turned up - they will be toiling hard even in my leave of absence, and I look forward to seeing them when back!

  • buying stuff that are needed in China
Even though I'll be getting/using loads of things from my Sis/Simon/Marianne when in Singapore, we figured things like a bath tub can/should be bought in China, instead of being lugged all the way back from Singapore in March. My mum's advice for a bath tub was that we "no need to buy such a fancy one lah!", and she thought the SGD12 we spent was slightly too expensive at that! We got an 82cm one (should last Rosabelle till she's taller/older/bigger), and chose one with rubber grips by the side. Wayne purposely wanted a brightly-coloured one, and there was nothing we could do about the disturbing wrong English printed on the base of the tub (what on earth does 'Wi Mr. Bcan Clob' mean???)...
  • eating with friends

We brought some local colleagues, along with a colleague from our Singapore office, Adeline, for Singapore food at Lau Pa Sat restaurant on Saturday night, and thereafter headed for ice-cream at Cold Stone Creamery.

On Sunday, we headed to Tim and Van's house for a good round of home-cooked food that included heavenly chicken curry with toasted french toast (yummy!!!).

Last night, Tim and Van joined us as we brought Adeline to another nice Chinese restaurant (那家小馆) for dinner. Van got me an early birthday gift, to no doubt spur me back into sexiness (wahahaha! I... must... perservere... and shake off my fats accumulated during pregnancy!) --

They also wrapped an early angpow for Rosabelle (to be opened when she is born) - thank you to Uncle Tim and Aunty Van!

We then adjourned for desserts and wine at W Dine and Wine (standard of desserts have dropped...so sad...).

Enjoyed the company and look forward to seeing Tim and Van when they head back to Singapore over CNY next year so our daughters can meet for the first time! (Though Van still strongly feels she is expecting a boy..heh...we'll see, we'll see, so exciting!).

On my last two nights, there will still be more serious chomping as today, we'll go Outback Steakhouse together (just us both, as we enjoy some together time and my early 'birthday cake' from Awfully Chocolate - courtesy of my company that has gotten cakes instead of mooncakes for staff for the mid-Autumn Festival). Tomorrow, we'll be meeting an ex-colleague couple for yet another dinner... BURP.

  • cleaning up/packing stuff in the house

In case you think it's all fun, food, and drinks, I've been working hard at home too, going through all the rooms and cupboards to (i) throw away anything that is useless/expired (e.g. cooking oil we bought from two years ago and have used less than 5 tablespoons!) (ii) rearrange things so that we can make full use of the space for Wayne's Mum and Rosabelle's things when we are all back next year (iii) clean/wash anything that are mites/dust hoarders (e.g. sending mats for cleaning, washing plush toys lying around (iv) do up a list for Wayne to continue the housework action when I'm away (haha... he still needs stuff around the house and will need to send them for cleaning when he heads back to his hometown, Zhengzhou, in end-September so they can be ready for collection when he comes back to Beijing before heading to join me in Singapore in early-October)...

I'm done with most of the housework already, and have more or less already packed my bag for Singapore - just fingers crossed that Wayne's work visa stuff gets sorted sooner rather than later!

Of course, I've been rewarding myself with facial, manicure/pedicure sessions, and it helps that with quite alot of rains these days (was raining whole day yesterday), the weather is nice and cool for us. And Rosabelle has been so active these days it's quite hilarious to see my tummy heave from side to side at times - there was once I even felt her head bulge out, and patted her on her head, so cute... But it's not so cute when I at times stay awake for up to two hours in the middle of the night from being "kicked around" (it's also me being worried that her kicking means she is being uncomfortable...so I have to shift positions like every other 5 minutes...)

Well, it's likely the next update is after I am safely in Singapore (my flight's this PM on Friday, and Wayne's sending me off, where we can enjoy a Burger King lunch at Beijing's ONLY BK outlet...haha!). Looking forward to homecoming!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Longest. Break. Ever. (or not...)

Today is my last work day - I fly off to Singapore next Friday (yaaay! can't wait!!), and am going to take a few days to just rest, pack, and make sure I can put as much in place as possible before I head home (e.g. need to get translated versions of our Chinese marriage certificate notarized at the Embassy here so that they can be recognized for use in Singapore for whatever purpose)...

I'd already started packing my work station and handing over my work a few weeks back, so there really isn't anything particularly outstanding to do on my last day. I got some really sweet well wishes from fellow colleagues when I sent out my mass email farewell note (not strictly a farewell, since I will be back at work in April 2009 - April Fools', no less!).

The total duration of my 'break' from work is seven months - this marks my longest 'holiday' of any kind since I embarked on my work life some eight years ago, though a colleague reminded me that having a baby would not be a 'break', but be the start of a hectic life. No doubt, and I'm looking forward to this life-changing experience/role!

When I got into work today, my colleague had left me a nice note and a pair of pink booties/jumper suit - Rosabelle's first pair of shoes/clothing, how cute! Tonight, Wayne and I will be heading out for a farewell dinner with my team members... I hope enough of them hang long enough to be around when I am back next year, but I know they are in the good hands of some great team leads I have around...

Well, given that I will not be in the office from next week, I might not be posting blog updates as diligently as I do now (am afraid the workholic in me will be tempted to start checking on work-related emails once I get online at home, haha!), but do continue to stay tuned on our progress!

P/S: Time really flies. We were having dinner with Tim and Vanessa last night - it dawned upon me that Vanessa is going to deliver NEXT MONTH, and I'm going to follow shortly after. Sheesh, you can never be too prepared, can you? I'm going to just crash-course through with my Mum and Sis on all-things delivery and baby care-taking when I get back to Singapore...

A hairy case of bad Freudian slip

A Director-level from the EU arm of a certain PR agency sent a note to his global colleagues (with HQ head honchos/management included, I assume), asking for help in sharing input for a new business they were pulling together.

The email header read: "Any gorilla PR tactics?" (Hmm...were they going to pitch to WWF, or maybe a local zoo? But wait, this company does not do any animal-like Clients...)

The contents touched on the 'hairy monkey subject' with: "Can you let me know if you have any good examples of gorilla tactics that you've discussed or implemented for any of your clients?... are looking to build a series of new and different gorilla tactics...".

It dawned upon many on the recipient list that this Director was referring to "guerilla" tactics. Somebody in their US office was 'kind' (or not) enough to hit the 'Reply All' button, with no input into any 'guerilla' (or 'gorilla') tactics, but with just a picture attached as below. This brave Account Executive left his contact details as well - I'm not sure how much flak he's going to get from his bosses for putting down a Director-level in the EU office (or it could be the case of them seizing the opportunity to take the 'EU versus American English' spate to another level...).


In any case, I give the American Account Executive top marks for bravery and sarcasm, and zero to the EU Director, whom I'm sure is reeling over from being humiliated badly - on a global level. Ouch.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

This is NOT supposed to be so darn funny

Spotted on TV yesterday (a show reminiscing the hot hits of Leslie Cheung) -- MTV of his hit 'Monica' (I can only assume the eyeshadow-no-need-money girl with the triangle fizzy hair is the protagonist in question... how...alluring.)

What is with the leotards? Leopard-print leotards, and neon leotards at that?

What is with the wriggling/electrocuted-dance step?

What is with the Maggie noodles hair-do?

What is with the male breakdancers (one looks like a construction worker with his out-of-step sequence)?

What is with the chopping-tree action they all do during the chorus?


And here we girls go moaning about why somebody like Leslie Cheung wants to turn gay (when the women in his MTVs who are trying to 'seduce' him all look like that)...

I had a good laugh, and then I think - well, it's all forgivable - this MTV was filmed in 1984, so the balloon and Powerpoint-like effects, along with all the fashion faux pas, are all acceptable, really. But still, I'm sure this MTV was not meant to be so hilarious...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Killing trees... and everything else

Grrr.

In my last week at work (last day's this Friday, hurray!), I am inundated with finding out the various to-dos/documents I'd need for:
  • getting back into China after my work permit/visa expires in end-Dec - this involves a series of steps, organizations, as well as me having to get started on preparations at least 6 weeks in advance... (don't get me started on why it's taken so long for my company to get the extension of their Beijing office company permit beyond end-Dec in place)
  • getting Rosabelle back to China in line with my above
  • Wayne's papers in Singapore for him to stay for the five months, as apparently a work permit will not do given he does not get salary in Singapore... (ask his HR, you say? heh. hehheh. hehhehheh.)

Looking at the various websites and liaising with the various entities (Singapore embassy in China, Chinese embassy in Singapore, Ministry of Manpower, Immigrations & Checkpoints Authority... and being put on hold for a full 15 minutes before I got to speak to a non-machine for the last one).

Do the government leaders in both countries know what they are talking about when they say they welcome foreign talent, or when Singapore talks about attracting Singaporeans back home (without their foreign spouses, maybe)?

Not to mention the amount of forms we need to fill in, the different visits we need to make, and the trees we are killing with the amount of paperwork (copy+original blah blah blah) we need to submit.

Enough. Grrr.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bad back, back home, and going back

Poor Wayne is suffering from a mysterious onset of bad back - he only starting feeling the pain late yesterday afternoon, and had to take time off work to see two doctors today - of whom diagnosed him with a bad spinal ache, and also that he could have worsened an existing condition with bad posture/recent exercise. He has been given three full days of medical leave! Hopefully, the doctor's medicines can alleviate the pain, and it does not worsen further (we have friends whose conditions are so bad they are permanently hunched as they cannot straighten their necks/backs due to the pain - yikes!). I also suspect it got aggravated with his recent visits to the blind masseuse parlour in our neighbourhood (nothing sleazy), though Wayne swears by it...

Before he experienced the pain, Wayne and I went for my 30 week routine check-up at the hospital yesterday morning. This time round, I took a heavier breakfast of two toasts+milk since my glucose level was too low in the previous visit, and as I needed to fast for my two-hour glucose reading. Since there was also a trace of protein in my previous urine sample, I also took a urine sample at home after ensuring I had a good wash-down so as not to taint the specimen (haha, oops... too much info!!!). My two-hour GTT this time round was a healthy 6.6, so doctor advised I maintain such levels of breakfast intake, but there was still a trace of protein in my take-at-home-urine-sample, so guess I need to monitor closely when I get back to Singapore.

Since it was our last trip to Amcare Hospital (as my next check-up due in two weeks would be back home in Singapore's KK Hospital), we took the chance to ask our last few questions with the local doctor:
But Wayne thinks there is still some truth somewhat, so moderation is key lah!
  • Q: I at times feel baby kicking more when lying on my sides - is it because I am pressing on her? (A: You could run into the danger of pressing onto the umbilical cord, so just shift positions if she's kicking more actively than usual. Monitor carefully and go to the hopsital if after a bout of violent kicking, the foetal movements do not resume a normal level.)

Yikes, I was so conscious of my sleeping position last night as I wanted to make sure I wasn't hurting Rosabelle! However, it's been really uncomfortable sleeping flat on my back now (which I have to do when doing simple stretching exercises) - I can feel my chest area becoming heavy (NOT to be confused with being heavy-chested), and feeling short of breath.

  • Q: I've heard of side effects from taking medication before getting on the plane. Will it affect baby's oxygen levels? (A: Nope. It's safe to take such medicine.)

We also did our last ultrasound of Rosabelle in China at the check-up yesterday (no photos this time round as our girl's face was closely adhered to the placenta, and she refused to face the screen, haha!). But according to the doctor, everything is in order, and she is actually bigger than predicted by my LMP - calculating with the latter, she should be 29 weeks 4 days old, but according to her size, she is a full 6 days ahead at 30 weeks 2 days. Wowee... she is growing fast and strong, attagirl!

She now weights 1,464 grammes (how cute is that?!), and doctor also remarked that the length of her thigh, at 6 cm (how cute is that as well?!) is quite long - good girl, go take after Daddy's height! We also caught sight of a sequence of her opening and clutching her fingers closed (think the action you do when singing 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Stars')... (again, how cute is that?!).

Well, Rosabelle and I have been given a clean bill of health to get on a plane in two weeks' time, and we also made copies of our case file so that I can share with the doctor back in Singapore. Thank goodness I've been rigorously taking my own notes after each session, so it's a case of summarizing key findings/concerns (or I'd just faint from having to translate all the medical reports/terminologies from Chinese into English!).

After the check-up, we went for a magnifique, oh-so-wonderful lunch at WISH restaurant in the area (slightly pricey by China standards, yes - about SGD60 for two persons), but our ordering of a divine pumpkin/cod soup (below pic) + beef (below pic) + mashed tofu + kailan + cheese dumplings + signature chocolate cake was all... so.... good. Yummy... and it helps that the service was good (attentive, but not imposing - i.e. not the kinds that whip your plates from under your nose when you are putting that last morsel of food into your mouth), and the ambience was nice... Good food, coupled with good service, always make me really happy, heh! Will try to make another trip there to try out other tempting foods on the menu before we head back!