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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s palo alto duck pond!

Ask any child and feeding animals like rabbits, horses, sheep, goats, cows, BIRDS etc will most likely excite them. With just less than 20 mins drive from where we stay, a chance to repurpose stale bread; it’s a must visit.

At first glance, Palo Alto duck pond doesn’t look very impressive, with its scruffy looking appearance and less than fragrant aura but look it through a child’s eye and you will see that it’s a quiet setting with its sparkling water, full of activities going on as the seagulls swoop in for a feed, the aggressive goose (only one) fending its food, the ducks moving expertly in the water searching for food.

Breathe easy I told myself as I take a breath of old fashioned “fresh air”. Taking it all in, we saw planes after planes coming in for a land. Palo Alto duck pond is right next to the palo Alto airport so we got really good view of the small planes. This place was initially build as a swimming pool fortunately however due to siltation issues it was eventually turned into a duck pond.

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It isn’t the migrating season yet so we didn’t get to see the migrating birds. That didn’t bother ern at all of course.

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Here’s a short video of ern feeding the birds:

The gulls are really fast. They flap their wings and eat the feed even before the food can touch the water. The poor ducks can only wait patiently. I came up with a few ideas with ern to feed the ducks. So I will throw out a piece of bread to lure the gulls away and when I’m doing that, ern will throw the bread at to the ducks! It worked really well and ern chuckled at the silly gulls. she also tried to pretend to throw out a piece of bread and then quickly released it to the ducks and that requires a lot of speedy movement so after a while she just fed them altogether.

A place we will visit again for sure.

The Baylands and the Duck Pond
2775 Embarcadro Road, Palo Alto, California 94301 | 650-329-2506

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Alpine Inn

That’s the venue where our first TGIF was held. It’s an off the beaten path local spot with a lot of character and history.

Among other things, it claims to be the birthplace of the Internet, as researchers from SRI apparently made the first transmission using internet protocol technology in the 1970s from one of the picnic tables outside. Cool huh?

It is a very casual food and biergarten spot, with lots of outdoor seating and with outdoor space for kids to run around.

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It was quite a hilly ride up the mountain to get to this place, the two-way road was a little narrow and so you can imagine how much focus ee fann needs to get us there safe and sound. However, the moment you step right through the restaurant into the open area, the relaxed atmosphere calms your nerves again.

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(It was a little too noisy for ern’s liking so we quickly made our way to the “picnic tables” in the open area)

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The following pictures were taken when ern was playing with friends, allowing them to checkout her new binoculars. After which she started collecting things like stones, feathers etc and then I gave her a discarded carton box for her to contain her stuff which drew a few more children to join her in her “discovery play”.

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There is something magical about sand and this went on for the rest of the evening. (She also has been ROLLING in the sand at our shared playground) A very kind old man came up to me and said “this, (pointing at ern) THIS is good. (Smiling) these days children are exposed to too much electronic devices, Xbox and what have you. But THIS is good for the soul.”

Though I totally agree with what he said….

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I thank god for technology – washing machine!!! Hahahaha!!

And here’s a pic of daddies with babies. He is one of ef’s study group mate. His baby is 7 months old. Cute!

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Have a good week everyone!

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Nicely settled

Just a quick update before calling it a day. Its been a loooong day..

We are all settled here, very happy to be here. There are ample space, lots of greeneries, no pressure (except for ee fann), no hurry. It feels refreshing and invigorating to be so close to nature.

We live in a small but cozy place, with a yard which birds love to visit (will tell you why in a separate post). Ern is STILL making new international friends each time she goes out into the courtyard and she is enjoying every bit of it.

Here in Stanford, we have parties AT LEAST once a week. We just hosted one at our place last night and tomorrow (friday) there will be another one organized by ee fann’s school. There will be parties every Friday as they really do mean it when they say its TGIF! So it’s party after party … Oh we can really get used to this! Lots of mingling around, lots of games to entertain the children, lots of fun and laughter.

And for me, I am totally enjoying my time here, doing stuff with the children, cooking their meals, taking it all in. We are still exploring, taking small little holidays during the weekend. (We dove up to L.A / San Diego) to visit Disneyland and San Diego zoo respectively).

Prolly the only thing … i miss (after family and friends) is the food back home .. Laksa with lots of bloody clams… Fried hokkien mee, char kway teow, kway chap.. The list is endless! Any kind soul to send me some freeze dried durian chips? ; p

And for zi ern, she is a happy baby, charming people she meets with her generous smile. Think it’s the culture here, people here are more outspoken and i receive a lot more compliments from strangers (even in the restroom) about zi ern. It’s always a very nice feeling knowing that the baby made someone happy.

Here’s some pics that was taken during the first few days of settling in:

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(San Diego zoo)

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(San Diego zoo)

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We went on a road trip to L.A abd San Diego before we settled in! So boxes were unpacked, furnitures were still in the packages waiting to be installed, things were everywhere, we grabbed the necessary items and off we went! We just had to make full use of the long break before ee fann’s school term starts.

Ok that’s it for now!!

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The mayhem before we left

It was more like a nightmare of sort. We had plans to do some visiting before we leave. Then the crazy haze kept us indoor and to add on to the craziness, both girls started having high fever. Initially we thought its likely caused by the haze but when the temperature shot up to ABOVE 41 degrees the following day, we decided to admit both of them with the intention of a faster recovery.. Unfortunately the virus got to me during the third day of our stay in the hospital. As if taking care of 2 sick children isn’t enough on my plate. However on hindsight I’m glad I got the virus.

When I knew I was down I went to A&E and after some testing, the results for influenza type A was positive. (Some sort of bird flu) So “yay”!! We just needed to let the virus run its course though I must say that this time it’s quite bad. I knew what the children is going through literally.Not just the high fever, it too came with the terrible chills, drippy nose, sore throat, cough, body ache etc… Basically everything.

Zi ern got it worst. In addition to all the symptoms mentioned, she also had diarrhea (it’s bad. Like 8 times a day or more at its worst days) and she also lost her voice. These are just symptoms. She too had to deal with the experience with the nurses. The drawing of blood (she was screaming with eyes wide open) and the constant intrusion to the ears when they take her temperature and the force feeding of medicine. Witnessing these my heartache is worse than my body ache!

As for Rou Ern, except the drawing of blood and finger prick, she is quite cool with everything else. One trick I used for the needle prick was I told her that “it’s just black ant trying to bite you not the fierce red ants.” And it worked well.

Im the “luckiest” one. I was prescribed tamiflu which reduced almost all the symptoms quite immediately. The children cannot be treated with the same medication due to its side effects. Their high fever lasted seven freaking days.

The moment the fever is below 39, we asked to be discharged and flew off the following morning. Sound like madness?? At some point, I was too exhausted and I didn’t really know what I was doing exactly. The last bit of packing after being discharged was done in a blur. But with the help of my parents, it was slightly easier.

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We took the early morning flight and although still in a blur mode, it was nice to see an entourage of people sending us off.

During the flight, because they were still having fever, zi ern slept through the 2 sectors and Rou ern too were well rested. And I too managed to rest quite abit.

They have since fully recovered and we have settled in nicely. (Sort of)

Wait for the next update!

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She is O.N.E

Time flies when u have a kid. Time flies even faster when you have two. Where did that 12 months went?! Think it sneaked by when I was busy changing one of her many diapers? Or maybe it went by when I was kissing her face, nose and feet? Or perhaps it escaped when we were playing peekaboos? Hmmm… It may have left without notice when we were singing songs? But one thing is for sure, I am loving her more and more everyday.

How should we celebrate this awesome baby’s one year old? We did it the quiet way. Just the way we like. A simple dinner.

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On a seperate occasion, We also celebrated my mum’s birthday together with Zi Ern’s since their birthdays are just a day away. I know… Lots of people don’t like sharing birthdays but definitely not the grandmas.

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Thank you for the 12 wonderful months you gave all of us and many more to come. Though we can’t promise you life to be a bed of roses but if ever life runs you down, just look over your shoulders and we will always always be there.

Happy birthday my dear Zi Ern, we love you ALWAYS.

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I miss the rain

It is only until now that I realize I have been taking clean air for granted. I know I’m not the only one with that thought.

I saw the layer of ash on my car today and couldn’t bear the thought of having these into my children’s lungs. Especially Rou ern’s. The poor girl has started coughing since yesterday and with her weak constitution due to sensitive airways; ern’s condition will only get worse. And as such, we will be leaving Singapore a day earlier. I wish we could flee like right this moment but unfortunately, flights are all full. Well that early departure of 24 hours still means a lot.

At the very very least we still have clean water supply. Drink up everyone! Flush away the toxins that we had breathed in. It’s not just burnt wood ashes, but also dust, pollen … And god knows what else!

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Take care everyone!!!!

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It’s comforting to be home again

It has been a roller coaster week (stressful) and we have finally moved out. After the movers shifted out all the boxes, the unit was left exactly how it looked like 2.5 years ago.

We shifted in 2.5 years ago with lots of anticipation, happiness and plans. I set up MY very own Christmas tree here, held parties here, had my own kitchen. Basically a place where I call home and to move out from my comfort zone isn’t so straight forward. This is by far the longest period we have ever stayed in a unit. I will miss this place, the memories and the convenience of a mall right next to us. And looking forward, we will be creating new memories again when we reach America. But before that, let us take a break and snuggle back at my parent’s abode for the next 10 days.

I am physically tired and mentally exhausted now and having my parents to tend to the children… I couldn’t ask for more.

Found some stuff while packing up my good old room this afternoon:

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(Names of the crew members on board)

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(I always had this dream that I went on flight without my name tag, nails unpainted and hair in a mess)

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(ME!!!)

Memories .. Lots of memories… Maybe that’s the reason why I always feel so comforted back here. Every turn, every corner is full of memories.

The children and I waited for the ice cream man to sound the bell and I hurried down to get ice cream for all. We all sat down (my parents too) on the floor and ate together – “picnic style” as Rou Ern would put it.

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(Juicing vegetable and fruit juice)

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(Munching on apples)

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(Ern went about finding stuff to play with)

Ern is quite happy here. She treats this as a holiday before another holiday. Zi ern is happy to have my mum around and I’m sure my parents too are very happy to have us around before we fly off. As for me, there is no place like home. ; )

More pictures found:

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(With my fav team. Guess where were we? Look at the billboards)

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(In India. We walked alongside slumps to get to this restaurant. The sight there makes us (me) felt so ashamed.)

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(In Japan. I was totally drunk. This picture was taken just minutes before I decided to jump on my Inflight supervisor’s back (man in the picture) and landed hard on the floor. We finished all our wine bottles and emptied the hotel’s beer vending machine. We are a “drinking team” which means the whole set of crew will gather in a room and drink till the nxt morning.)

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(That’s me when I first started flying. Think less than a year)

Happy weekend!!