Monday, November 1, 2010

Backtrack SG: That’s the end

OK, I am finally blogging the last entry ever about our June trip back to Singapore… just a simple recap of our flight and tying up some loose ends.

On 2 June, Rosabelle had an early lunch at home before Wayne and Nainai sent us to the airport, where Wayne and I then enjoyed our Burger King lunch, haha!

After that, we made our way to catch the 3:35pm flight on CA969 back home – this was my first time travelling alone with Rosabelle sans stroller (I'd left it in Singapore over CNY for Gideon), so you can imagine I needed to carry her quite a bit AND still handle a huge hand-carry (I could just hang the bag on the stroller and push her around previously).

Thank goodness all else was quite uneventful as we caught our plane, and sat on a three-seater, where we had the luck of having an empty seat next to us (and a man sitting at the far end). So after nursing upon take-off, she could snooze for about an hour. Maybe she could have slept longer if only the old man seated on the other side of the aisle wasn’t having a hacking cough that sounded highly contagious (and of course loud).

The whole journey was basically quite uneventful as I fed her the usual travel foods (fruits/peas/carrots/sweet potato/biscuits – luckily I had raisins handy as that made her cooperate in sitting down with me upon touch-down). There was an older girl seated in front with her parents, and she was quite friendly and played awhile with Rosabelle, but when she kept turning back to want to offer sweets/chocolates to Rosabelle, to the point of being insistent, I got quite irritated. She also seemed very attracted to the (more healthy) snacks I’d prepared for our girl, and sweet Rosabelle even fed her some of her own biscuits. But when she kept asking about what Rosabelle was eating, perhaps waiting for me to offer her some, I started becoming unfriendly, haha… Well, can’t blame me – her parents were also very unfriendly, not turning back even once to acknowledge our presence nor ask their daughter to thank me for the food I’d given her, cheh!

I managed a few diaper changes in the plane toilet (as well as having Rosabelle being typically obedient and holding on tightly to the rails as I also needed to use the loo), though it wasn’t as safe back in our own seats as she hit her head on the handles on at least three occasions...

The trip back home from Singapore was more eventful… over the whole duration of my stay in Singapore, I had loaded up on a lot of things to bring back – foodstuff, clothes, books, toys, medicines, toiletries etc etc… so I was seriously very worried whether I could bring them all on board as my previous Air China Silver Companion Card had been downgraded (since I wasn’t chalking up enough miles like I used to when I travelled for work), and I had 10kg less of luggage allowance. I was fully prepared and packed my items into ‘Must bring home’ vs '
Not really necessary’ (the packets and packets of teh tarik, milo, and hot chocolate).

So D-Day came on 29 June, where we had to wake up early to catch the 9:30am flight on CA976. After we loaded everything in my brother-in-law’s car, I carried her up from her sleep and she actually woke up half-way into the journey so I could get her changed. When we checked-in, my luggage weighed a total of 55.9kg, 25.9kg over the allowance we were given. Oh dear me.

I pleaded and pleaded and they gave upped the 5kg originally offered to a total of 10kg of additional allowance (seeing that I had a child and I wasn’t checking in any stroller), so I basically repacked and decided to HAND CARRY all the books, and gave up the packets of mixed drinks (my brother-in-law was still around so he brought them back). Even when I repacked, I was still about 5kg in excess and the counter girl was quite nice, waving it off (or maybe my look of dismay was too convincing/dramatic and she could see that I really tried and was at my wit’s end, haha…).

After the drama, Mum stayed on with me and Rosabelle ate her breakfast of yoghurt and cheese – in between, she told me ‘sssh sssh’ so I told her she can just do it in her diaper. Later, when I wanted to carry her for a diaper change before boarding the plane, I realized the diaper had come loose and she had peed into her pants. Thank goodness I always travel with a spare set of clothes and quickly had her wear a new set of dry pants.

After that, we bade farewell to dearest Popo, where she strangely allowed my mum to carry her for a shot. I basically almost fainted after that when I had to wait in queue to clear immigration, carrying her, and two heavy hand-carry bags on each of my shoulders (remember one had LOADS of heavy books). There were times when my whole back/shoulder just almost broke, and I told myself our girl had better appreciate these books, haha!
On the plane, we were originally seated at the front with two empty seats, but a couple came by with a younger baby and needed the space for a crib (obviously they did not have experience and did not request for a seat where they could install the crib), so we made way for them and moved to the middle row. Although we had 3 seats to ourselves, we were right in front of the TV screen, which was too loud/noisy (yes, it was still emitting sounds even though people are supposed to plug into their headsets) for me, so I asked the lady at the back if she minded changing seats (I saw that she had also moved from elsewhere). At first, she was reluctant and did not budge but maybe she figured I might give her killer looks throughout the journey, so she decided to be nice and make way – a good turn deserves another, I guess, in this game of musical chairs!

Luckily Rosabelle managed to catch some sleep at the beginning…
However, for the rest of the journey, it wasn’t as smooth as the one to Singapore – Rosabelle kept wanting to nurse (On this topic - I even called a KKH lactation consultant in Singapore to ascertain if I should be nursing exclusively in favor of formula/cow’s milk, and she said that as long as Rosabelle is eating her solids well, and does not fuss after each feed, she should be fine and can start other milks after two years of age. As long as I continue taking my supplements, she can get the nutrients from me and her own foods. She said Rosabelle was being clever and asking for both sides these days as she knows she does not have enough from one side, heh!), and I had to threaten to go sit with the aunty in front before she stopped being so whiney. Thank goodness she was distracted at times by the baby occupying our previous seats, though we could not play with him for long as his parents had serious issues. The woman kept scolding the man (she’s Chinese, he’s Singaporean) and the poor man took it all in his stride. She even pushed him at times and I suspect she might have post-natal depression. Oh dear me.

Anyway, we reached Beijing soon enough and I had to deal with my 3 heavy loads of 2 bags and one Rosabelle again - I remember perspiring heap loads in the carriage of the airport sky train as they obviously did not turn on any aircon (or any ventilation for that matter). However, all of the hard work/sweat paid off as I loaded the luggage onto our trolley and let Rosabelle sit on top of it to wheel her out into the arrival hall. That’s when she gave Daddy her sweetest ever smile upon seeing him. 28 days of not seeing, only hearing, Daddy did not make him a stranger, and she even looked surprised/a tad disappointed when Daddy suddenly disappeared from view as he ran behind the crowds to get to us. So sweet.

When we reached home, she was rather awkward with Nainai, and did not want her to carry, but was most happy to get changed and go downstairs for a walk (giving her friends like her favourite Mai Dou a big hug) whilst I unpacked our massive loads. That night, she had a good dinner, though she kept wanting Papa to feed her (and I was at first afraid of her pooing on the plane – looks like she saved her best for home, haha!).

The next day wasn’t as smooth sailing – I’d blogged about this previously but she was most clingy to me, not familiar with most of the friends in the yard, and refusing to let Nainai touch/feed her. I had to let her cry it out (she finally ate lunch at 4pm after crying herself to sleep), and when she pointed to our family photos on the fridge door, saying she wanted Gong Gong, I also started having family separation pangs, crying slightly at the thought of having to let her go through such separation ordeals every once in awhile. It might be unfair to her as she did not choose to be away from my family, but I guess we don’t have much of a choice – we’re either away from the Lohs or away from the Shis, and for now, Beijing is our home. Guess it makes her (and me) appreciate family and our homecoming all the more.

That’s why I sure am looking forward to our CNY 2011, and of course the upcoming Guilin trip at the end of the month!

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