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Friday, April 29, 2011

Singapore Elections

happening on the 7 May and we are going to miss the chance the vote!

This election is so interesting and can't help but follow all the news/tweets regarding it. At least this time, we have a few credible-looking candidates! wish there were more tho! cos it's not enough.

at the end of the day, PAP most likely be returned to government. The difference is whether alternative voices/opinions are represented in the parliament and by how much.

I hope the opposition's "all or none" strategy pays off (am referring specifically to WP). it'd be scary to think that there's no alternative opinions/voices in the government.

Cos, honestly, i don't think that change from within is so easy to come by.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How Time Flies

ML's visit gave us the opportunity to revisit some lovely places we have been to in the past. and it brought back memories!!!

April 2011, Monschau :
October 2008, Monschau :

Kaira was a baby then in a pram and look @ her now, posing @ the same small door!! how time flies!


Aug 2008, Kinderdijk, with my parents in her pram :
Apr 2011, Kinderdijk, on her "loopfiets"

so mobile now!!! no need her pram when we go out :))

Netherlands Memento

Had always wanted to buy a Delft Blue ....... for keepsake. It will remind us of our time here in the netherlands when we leave :)



since we had the chance to revist Delft over the weekend, bringing our Singaporean visitor there, we finally decided to buy the above vase.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Apple Tree Blossoms/Flowers

Call me "suaku". i've never seen a flowering apple tree.

Went to the Philips FruiTuin some weeks ago and saw these :


i believe they are apple tree flowers/blossoms.

I love Spring!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another Post on the Weather

Today, felt like a summer day!! gorgeous indeed. spent the entire afternoon @ the park with kaira & friends -- feeling a lil' baked ;p

hope the good weather continues this way -- especially since my good friend is coming to visit this friday!!! Yipppee -- our first overseas fren to visit us in eindhoven!!!

well, we did have frens flying in and we meet up in amsterdam -- but no one has stayed with us in eindhoven in the 3 years we were here... so i am very very happy she's coming over to stay with us :))

Monday, April 18, 2011

Garden. And Me. And the Dutch.

The weather was really good today -- sunny and warm.

Hubbie's out of town.... and kaira is @ a fren's place playing with her children. (these days, kaira's very keen to spend time playing with other children, with or WITHOUT me ;p)

so i find myself having a few hours to myself and there's no shopping to do, no nothing!!! aaaargh.

so what do i do??

clear the weeds of our front garden!!!!

it's really getting unsightly (@_@)and gardening is usually hubbie's "responsibility" -- so decided to do it as a "present" for him when he returns...hahahah... call this an expression of my L.O.V.E ....LOLOLOL .... even i feel like puking as i type this ;)

hope he appreciates it!!

anywayz, i think dutch are generally "garden-proud" -- whenever i take a walk, i cannot help but admire how lovely everyone's garden is. it's rare to find an unkept one and if there's one, it's usually because the house is vacant. although, i have seen a few unsightly ones ... they are not that common.

u know what we say about judging people by their appearance....while here, they judge you by how your garden looks ;p

so, we are probably "frowned" upon .... hahahaha.

both of us are really a product of the "city". no green fingers (everything i try to grow, just dies!!!) and we find tending to the small plot of land tiring and a chore!! when the weather is good, we much prefer to be travelling or out and about. to spend a morning or afternoon tending the garden is just ..... such a waste of time and good weather!!! hahahaha.

although i do like flowers ...... but .... somehow, they don't last long under my care. the other day, i wanted to buy some, since they are so lovely now. but hubbie was like "really?? they will just die. why waste money??" heehee. i know where he's coming. but i guess i should start somewhere to try and improve how our garden looks :)

my neighbour has volunteered to give me some pointers, so we have made an appointment for me to learn from her :)) guess she also wants her neighbour's garden to look better than how it does today!!! LOLOLOL.

anyway, i spent a back-breaking 1-1.5 hours clearing weeds this afternoon. i am so tired now. and i am very grateful for the garden tool my neighbour lent me!! without it, i think i would have taken longer!!!

this thing about gardening -- i am not sure if i will take to it. to think that i even harboured thoughts of growing my own vegetables and fruits in the past .... hahaha.

while i wait for my green fingers to come, i guess i will just have to admire the work of others in the meantime ;p

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Third World Living Standards?

Our government would like us to believe that we have attained Swiss standard of living..... but have we????

UBS: Singapore has third world living standards

Rusty

I had to use MS Word to do up a document over the weekend. well, all in, it's about 7 pages so, there was quite a fair bit of formatting etc to make it look nice. And i felt so "rusty"!!! can't seem to find the commands i want, the formatting was all hay-wire ..... seriously felt a bit out of touch..... and it's only a few years since i left the workforce!!!

how does one keep up to date with technology ??

think i'd better revise my excel and powerpoint too. never know when they will come in handy!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

One for the Memories

these are Kaira's friends whom she plays with quite often. And thanks to them and their mummies, she has the opportunity to practice her Mandarin :)

when i look back, i see this really as a testimony of trusting in God's perfect plans and not worrying.

I remember when i first arrived in Netherlands, i was concerned how well-versed Kaira will be in chinese and also lamenting the fact that there are no "chinese enrichment classes" here for toddlers unlike in singapore.

Now, i am thankful that she has "good teachers" and a conducive environment for learning mandarin -- from our Chinese and Taiwanese friends. So much so that, i felt when we were last back home (fr Dec to Feb), her mandarin took a step back cos she was not exposed to it daily like now and she doesn't practice speaking it as frequently as she has to here. ;p

the next challenge i guess is character recognition and writing. that, i suppose, i will have to cross the bridge when it comes.




(the kids were watching cartoon. that's why i could capture all of them in one shot! otherwise, it's quite impossible ;p )

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

This is the kind of weather we get here in the Netherlands

Grey skies in the morning. strong winds. followed by ice pellet rain. next came sunshine and blue skies!! and very soon, it was raining ice pellets again (got hit by some when i was cycling and it sure hurts!). and now, it's bright and sunny with clear blue skies as i am writing this.

and it's only 1.50pm !!

i wonder what the rest of the day holds .......

and as u can see from my previous post, we had such sunny and warm weather over the weekend that we had a bbq! the change is just so drastic sometimes .....

Spring Cookout

our first BBQ for the year. hope to have the chance to have more BBQ in our backyard :)

we bought a portable BBQ grill cos not sure how often we will BBQ. wasn't sure how much we should invest into hardware.

it's not ideal. but i guess it does its job. let's see if we will get a better BBQ pit ;p




Saturday, April 09, 2011

Sweet!

Andre, kaira's good fren from school is a really sweet boy.

he's always very happy to see kaira and tells his mummy that kaira is his best friend.

On Friday, he gave a card & drawing to kaira. The card reads "you are my dearest friend". Such a sweet boy!



Of course, his mum is also sweet lah!! she's a very friendly and nice dutch lady :) and teaches me simple dutch whenever we meet and chat :)

and because of her, i learnt a new cake recipe recently which was given the thumbs up by hubbie and kaira!!

So blessed by this friendship.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Rhine and Moselle Rivers

I am so blur sometimes.

Only after i made this trip to the Upper Middle Rhine Valley that i manage to finally figure out which towns lie along the rhine river route and which along the Mosel river :p

So!! a moment of epiphany!!! our 2009 roadtrip when we visited Burg Eltz and Cochem -- these towns were along the Mosel River! and haha, i thought they were along the rhine.

All because of Koblenz -- which lies @ the intersection of Rhine and Mosel -- that got me all confused!!

it's good to learn something everyday. although not earth shattering ;p

Child Friendly Upper Middle Rhine Valley

Europe in general is a very child-friendly place -- and travelling with kids is relatively easy.

At the Rhine -- i felt it even more -- cos almost every town we visited had a playground located by the riverfront -- while she plays, we can just sit around and relax ;p even the cruise boat had a play area ! considering that our entire cruise journey took 2.5hours (altho we did make a mid-journey stop) kaira was so well occupied she didn't disturb us ;p
@ Bacharach
on the cruise boat :

initially, i wasn't sure if she can manage the hike up and down Castle Stahleck in Bacharach without needing us to carry her ........ but she did it and was very enthusiastic about hiking ..... hahaha. well, at least it was fun!

here are more photos of her!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Wining & Dining in the Rhine

While i enjoy my occasional glass of wine -- i don't drink that much of it -- and this past weekend, i was totally wined-out!

a glass every meal, plus wine and brandy tasting plus we bought a bottle which we opened up to enjoy during the trip.

on the last day, had to have tea to clear the mind ;p

@ Stefan's Wine shop -- he has his own vineyard - we tried a couple of wines and his brandy. bought a bottle of sweet riesling :)
hee, our very uglily wrapped bottled of wine from Stefan's Wine paradise! it was very good altho quite ex.

very good tasting flammkuchen @ Bingen (of course accompanied by wine)!
weather's so good, kaira could enjoy her ice-cream which made her a very happy gal!

@ the outdoor dining area of our B&B
food was good and reasonably priced

Upper Middle Rhine Valley - St Goar

We began our exploration of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley in St Goar. This is where we stayed for 2 nights.

Had always wanted to make this trip to the Upper Middle Rhine valley as i remembered admiring my fren's gorgeous pictures and i remember her mention the town St Goarhausen.

With that in mind, i was looking for accomodation @ St Goarshausen on the trusty tripadvisor.com website (my travel reference always!) however, there were not that many recommendations but a search turned up quite a few @ St Goar instead.

even though there are many towns along the Rhine, but somehow, i was quite fixed @ staying @ St Goarshausen (or hearby).

And that's how i made my decision to stay @ St Goar. Not much homework i admit .... just going by faith in other travellers and my feelings.... hehe.

I absolutely love St Goar -- it was an excellent location. and had such a great view of Burg Katz!!

View of St Goar

View of Rheinfels Fortress in St Goar


Of course, the town itself is pretty small -- one can cover the main street on foot in less than an hour, so don't expect much activity!

and because we visited during off peak season, it's really very quiet!!

We stayed @ Hotel Hauser, a B&B which was so well-located (but of course, the town of St Goar is very small!) i cannot ask for more! I highly recommend it to anyone who's planning a trip to the Upper Middle Rhine.

this is the view from our balcony -- gorgeous isn't it?

the hotel building:


our room:
the train station is located just behind the hotel (and although i've read comments about noise form the trains, it didn't bother us at all. altho the cars zooming down the main street were sometimes noisy!) -- perfect for tired souls like us when we return after a long day trip out -- just a few steps and we are back in our hotel room!!

the Koln-Dusseldorf (KD) cruise embarkation point is just in front of the hotel and if you are interested to take the tram up to Fortress Rheinfels, the Burg-express pick up point is just outside the hotel.

It is simply such a convenient location! And the cost of the room -- 58 euros per nite for 3 of us, including breakfast. I cannot ask for more.

And for some reason, the restaurant of our hotel, seemed to be the one with the most "人气" .... after walking around town looking for dinner place .... we ended up eating @ the hotel restaurant for both nites!! food was quite good and reasonably priced.

This place really has it all! :)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Our Short Weekend Getaway to the Upper Middle Rhine Valley

What a relaxing weekend we had -- the kind of holiday i like -- do nothing much. sit around, have wine, enjoy the views and eat ;p kekeke

well, i supposed we did do abit of "hiking" -- about half an hour in total, when we had to walk up to the one of the castles. ;p

Just some photos of the gorgeous River Rhine to whet your appetite ... ;)

View of the River Rhine, on our way up (yup, this is the hiking we did. about 10-15 mins by foot up ) to Castle Stahleck in Bacharach


Nite view of Burg Katz, from our hotel!


the very scenic cruise.

Giving Thanks.

Before i write about our trip, i must first give thanks!!

Thank God for beautiful weather on Saturday and Sunday for our trip!!

We left Netherlands on friday afternoon, for St Goar, in Germany (Upper Middle RHine Valley) and the skies were grey that day and weather forecast for the weekend wasn't that great. So, i was psyching myself up ... for the possibility of a wet weekend.... thank God it was sunny and warm on Saturday and Sunday morning!

The skies started to turn grey only when we left Boppard for Eindhoven. Talk about great timing! Praise the Lord.