Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rekindling old friendships

Five years ago, just before we left for Frankfurt, a picture taken of Brian and Lesley-Anne, daughter of my friend and neighbour, writer-extraordinaire Monica.



And today, with the same elephant soft toy, and also in Monica's house, this time in the living room, not bedroom (!). The bunny that L-A was holding on to in the earlier picture is in storage so it's been replaced by a giraffe in this picture.


We've been back in Singapore for about 5 days and it's been hectic, to say the least. But before the REAL hectic starts when school reopens on Monday, Monica and I resolved to have the kids meet and just play for the entire afternoon.

The last time Brian and Lesley-Anne met was probably more than 2 years ago, so we expected that there would be some awkwardness. This crusty old hamster helped break the ice when we first came to the house. Here's Andre gently placing the probably terrified hamster on Sean's palms.



H-H-H-HELLO Seannn, please don't squash me....


Brian's turn with the hamster.


Monica claims to be a lousy cook but she's obviously being terribly modest. Her baked pasta was eaten with gusto by all of us, especially me. We also had fishballs and curry puffs from Old Chang Kee, and really sweet grapes and not-so-sweet strawberries for dessert.



The biggest surprise for me was this batch of banana chocolate muffins. I wasn't too keen at first but after I took the first bite, I was hooked! The cupcake/muffin was at the exact right density, moistness and just amazingly delicious. Again, I ate the most. If I wasn't watching my expanding (or more accurately, expanded) waistline, I would have walloped more than the 2.5 that I ate. Yes, they were that good.



The kids played Cadoo, Cranium and while a little shy at first, the two friends soon warmed up as they teamed up to prevent Sean from causing disaster in the room. Here are the two older ones and Andre playing Monopoly.



Sean got tired of annoying the older kids and spent the rest of the time reading Calvin and Hobbes by himself.


One last picture of 3 happy campers and a grouchy kid.


Thanks Mon, it was so good to catch up again and to see the kids rekindle their friendship and have such a fun time together before the crazy PSLE prep begins. I so don't want to be in their shoes in the months ahead! All the best kiddos, fun's over, work starts now :P

32 comments:

monlim said...

Your photos are so so much better than mine! Which is proof that it's not so much the camera but the photographer :P

I had a GREAT time and I know my kids did too. On days like these, I wish we had more hours! It's so great to see the transformation of Brian and L-A, too bad we didn't take of Andre and Sean back then as well.

We must meet up again, even if without the kids - at stressful times like these, having a kindred spirit is priceless!

Lilian said...

Yeah, we would have been happy to stay on and on and outstayed our welcome. But had to go back for dinner that porpor prepared.

Yes, we've gotta meet up often in the coming months and chew our fingernails to bits together. Arrggghhhh....

monlim said...

No, no, we've got to meet up and tell each other to Zennnnnn.... since we seem to be unable to tell ourselves that! I'm glad you're going to be here for a bit :)

Lilian said...

Tell you already, we do yoga lah, then can ohmmmmm.... peace sister :)

monlim said...

Cannot cannot, all I can think of during Yoga is how bored and hungry I am... then after that head out for roti prata. Rather counter productive, don't you think??

Lilian said...

I haven't thought of roti prata since I came back. Now look what you've done! *stomach growling past midnight*

Babypowder said...

Hey!

You're back!! Just for B's PSLE?

Lilian said...

Yes Wendy, the die has been cast, no turning back now, I'll be on edge the next few months! hehe. Sean will also be going to school, GASP!

Alcovelet said...

Whoa. I lurve the old photo - new photo perspective! Looks like the kids had a grreat time, and the mummies too, reminiscing!

Welcome back!!

Lilian said...

Thanks Ad!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Lilian! I'm sure Brain will have no problem in doing well for PSLE. Relax.

*can tell you to relax now but believe if its my dd's turn, I will be chewing all my fingernails to bits...hahaha

Chris

Lilian said...

Thanks Chris...haha, when it comes to PSLE, how well the child fares doesn't depend merely on how he performs in the exams, but how the entire cohort does. The latter is not within his control. So not so easy to relax :), but I'm sure I'll try.

Suji said...

Hi Lilian, have been meaning to comment for ages :) Glad you had a good time. And I do miss those Old Change Kee curry puffs terribly :(

All my best!

Lilian said...

Hi Suji, good to have you here. I love visiting your blog, didn't know you visit mine too! How strange the internet is :)

Yeah, Old Chang Kee puffs are good, but I much prefer the traditional Malay curry puffs or what they call Epok2. Can't seem to find good ones in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Strange...how come I am feeling the PSLE stress for both of you? Maybe because school is reopening.. LOL

Anyway, I am sure your kids will do well as your kids are bright and parents are diligent.

One thing great is to find friends that can share and empathise with each other like both of you. I seem to come across more of "competitive" mums who cannot wait to find out that my child is doing worser or the same with theirs especially if they see my child as similar calibre. It only says something good about both of your mindset, the world is large enough to accomodate more bright sparks....

Kudos to your friendship! Hard to come by.

qx

Lilian said...

Thanks QX. I think for Monica and I, it helps that our kids are good friends in the first place and genuinely like each other.

Also, Monica is a relatively bochap mother, so how to be competitive with people like that? LOL! Anyway, the mothers I hang out with tend to be pretty levelheaded. I think we try to steer clear of those hyper competitive mothers, cos they are extremely toxic to our system.

I really, really, really, dislike mothers/kids who compare marks and fret about a 1 mark difference, as if test results/awards are so important and define their entire being. There's so much more to life than scoring 100 or close to that all the time. And this is not a case of sour grapes, it's really how I feel.

Constantly having to look behind you to ensure your competition isn't breathing down too close to your neck can't be a very fun way to live your life, but this seems to be what some kids are doing these days. For these kids, it's not just enough that they have done their best, but they'll only feel good if they've done better than their classmates or friends.

I have no idea how Brian will do in his PSLEs, and we don't even talk about targets. But I know whatever the results, I would be very proud of him cos it would have been the best that he could do, it may be 200, 230, 260, who knows?, we have no blinking idea at all. That the child gives it his best shot is really all a parent can and should ask for, right?

Suji said...

There used to be this great curry puff (epok2 style) store off Orchard Road. Don't know if they are still there. Gosh it's been ages since I walked down there...I think it's that lane before Centrepoint. Or maybe the next one. They had superb lamb and chicken puffs man! LOL, he he here I am talking about curry puffs when I should be telling you that I like your attitude about academic competition. We moved from a region where competition is so rife to one where it's a lot more relaxed. At least for now in the younger age groups. I for one am glad for this breather although I miss everything else about Malaysia/Singapore so much. Take care!

Babypowder said...

Cool.. when the entire ordeal is over.. maybe can meet up before you head back to Moscow :)

Lilian said...

Suji: Thanks for the epok2 rec. Will check it out. Btw, I think your little boy is so incredibly brilliant. And what you're doing with him from home is simply inspiring.

Wend: Yes, I really want to see and bite the little big boy!

Anonymous said...

Lilian, I totally agree with you that as long as they give their best shot, that is enough.

As for the ugly competitive landscape here, I had a case where a mum broke into a big grin before my eyes after she asked directly for my child's marks which was the same as hers. It was either she was pleased to know her child had done well or gloat to know that my child did not do as well or both.. LOL.... But the point was she could not help with that grin which came out NATURALLY! RLOL....

Then I recently met up with a close friend who had a little one. Being a close friend, we were exchanging recent happenings in our lives. So naturally a small achievement of my child in a national competition was shared with her. Instead of congratulating her, her face changed from smiles to graveness and details of how to be in the competition were being pursued instead. *sigh* I am resigned to living in such an environment.

Well, I am just happy to hear of your stoic friendship. What a refreshing change from my experiences! :)

qx

Lilian said...

LOL@the grinning-like-the-cheshire-cat mum!

The following isn't my experience, but one mum told me of her friend and her relative (2 different persons on 2 different occasions) who when they heard that her kid got into GEP, immediately clammed up and the conversation stopped dead. These two couldn't even muster a congratulations, they just pretended the topic never came up!

I know there are folks who find such things truly trivial and hence have no comments, but not these two. These two were apparently livid! LOL!

Anonymous said...

LOL at the 2 persons..for their myopia or narrow vision... Many successful people have emerged an icon without having to subscribe to any branding. Talented people can create it themselves at some point in their lives, maybe later but it is ok as it is hard for them to go unnoticed is my personal belief. I believe the more important and difficult lesson to master is learning how to be "gracious" in a competitive environment.

Btw, I will never be able to get away from such competitive people around me because I don't try to avoid them deliberately. In my community, too many already or you can say I am simply dumb...LOL

qx

elan said...

Hi Lillian,
Welcome back. What a small world!
Yesterday, my son said to me: "We have a new boy in class, he sits near me on the other side of Ch....."
I immediately guessed - "He's back from Russia and his name is Brian, right?" (How many other people would come back at this late date and be in a GEP class right :-))
He looked at me in amazement and I took advantage of that to tell him that " Mummies are all-seeing and know everything"
LOL!
Of course I relented later and told him I have been following your blog - haha.

Lilian said...

OMGosh LOLOL! Really small world, Elan! What's your boy's name? He must be thoroughly amazed when you said what you said! Maybe one day I'll bump into you in school, too bad mummies are banned from school grounds these days.

elan said...

My son's name is Christopher. He sits 1 boy away from Brian.
Hopefully some of Brian's Maths genius will rub off on him.
If he needs any help settling in or whatever, just let me now.
Well, we're not banned from the Cafe, and I do go there sometimes(aferall, I own it)Perhaps, I'll see you there.

Lilian said...

Brian says there are 2 Christophers, I'm guessing your boy's surname is the one that starts with G?

Where's the Cafe? Swimming pool level? I don't know the school grounds that well. They won't even let me go into the lift. Is there another way to the Cafe? I will go and ask for the Si Tao Por (Lady Boss in Cantonese) okay?

elan said...

Yes you guessed right about the name.
The cafe is on the Sports complex, 3rd floor, just when you step out of the lift. The guards allow you in if you say you are going to the cafe. There isn't any other way there unless you are a big shot and allowed to park at the level 2 carpark.
Can't ask for Sitao por cos nobody there speaks cantonese :-).You may also get my MIL instead. I'm not usually there.

BTW, I'm new to reading blogs, how do I directly email you?

Lilian said...

Your cafe food ho jiak or not? hehe. Maybe one day I'll go there for lunch with the boys.

I'll email you right after this. Brian's very nice English teacher forwarded me an email which happened to have the email addresses of his classmates' parents, I found yours ;)

elan said...

Cafe food surely ho-jiak especially famous for Thai Beef kway teow and curry chicken. It's a full-fledged Thai restaurant at night, wat. (Shameless plug)
Ah yes, just read you email - so your sleuthing skills not as scary as I thought - phew!

Li Min said...

How are you enjoying sunny Singapore? Have to comment that Brian is looking more and more like you! :)

Lilian said...

Luckily the weather has been pretty mild since I came back, I must have be the good weather charm :) Where are you now? London?

Li Min said...

I'm back in Singapore now. Off to Seremban tomorrow.