The Ultimate Staycation

I am the odd blogger who is not keen on any Stay-cation locally.

Stay-cations have been a huge trend with Singaporeans in recent years, with more locals staying the weekend at a local hotel, enjoy its buffet selection and the use of the amenities. In fact, it is common-place to have stay-cations offered to bloggers, for a blog post in return for a night stay and some meals covered at the hotel.

I think it is too much of a hassle to pack a small luggage for a night stay. And I have issues getting used to a new bed each time when I am away from home. It takes me at least one sleepless night, before I am able to sleep well in the hotel bed the next night. Then, it feels all too anti-climatic to have the check-out of the hotel after 2 nights, just when I have got used to the hotel bed to get a night of restful sleep.

The last Stay-cation I took in Singapore was in 2010, a short ‘vacation’ away from home, without having to leave Singapore, complete with free accommodation, with no strings attached (i.e., not obligated to blog about it). We had fun together as a family, since there were plenty of activities to do in Sentosa. Even then, 3 days was too short.

So this time round, K and I are taking the ‘Ultimate Stay-cation’, of a grand total of 15 days or 1/2 a month.

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From the Land of Banana and Mangoes…

K and I hopped on a plane last weekend to spend some family time with daddy, who is now based in the Philippines.

Manila Philippines might not be the top destination that families will travel to for a vacation. But for us, the quality time spent together as a family is what matters.

Most people have the impression that Manila is not a very safe city, but I think if you are in the hub of the business district, it is relatively safe. As long as you don’t wander into some quiet alley or obscure areas, away from the business or shopping areas.

K and I spend most of our days in hb’s apartment, right in the heart of Makati City, 2 minutes walk away from his office. Hb still has to work on the weekdays, while K and I will walk to his office to have lunch with hb daily.

As for what K and I do in the day while daddy’s at work?

Manila is not exactly a very child-friendly place, and I am not a fan of wandering around malls, so we stay home most of the time.

We don’t have any problems keeping ourselves busy in the day, even though we rarely leave the apartment. Just doing the things that we enjoy, very much like what we will do on rainy / hazy days. Besides watching TV, playing board games and drawing, these are the things we have been doing;

- K is still in his ‘Legolas-warrior-mode’, so he all he needs is a bow and arrow for pretend play.

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- We build Legos…

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- Discovered something to do with beads that helps keep little hands and minds busy, that doubles up as a hand-made Fathers’ Day Gift. One creation from Hama Beads can take up to 2 hours or more to complete, which is great for training his attention span, fine motor skills and spatial awareness.

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- And for some exercise daily, he swims in the swimming pool in the apartment building.

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One of the best parts about Manila has to be how affordable eating-out is.

We eat out for lunch daily and for dinner on alternate days. Lunch in cafes are about $6 – $10 per head, while for dinners, the international selections in Makati City are diverse and at least 30% cheaper than what we get in Singapore. Even grocery shopping in their hypermarkets is cheaper.

So we get to eat well, sleep well and stay well, pretty much all the elements that are needed for an enjoyable stay-cation.

And to complete this ‘Ultimate Stay-cation’? It is having the family re-united and we are just content spending quality time together as a family, just doing mundane things.

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I am Officially in a Long Distance Marriage

This is the first time I am addressing a topic on my blog that I often try to avoid.

I don’t think I am in a position to advise people how to maintain a good marriage. I may have been married for 10 years, but sharing tips about how to maintain a good marriage is just too contrived for me. Besides, the rule of thumb for a blogger, don’t write about something that you don’t know much about.

I used to think that I wanted to keep that part of my life private from this blog, and have avoided discussing about my marriage in this space. But I think its time to break my silence about it.

I am officially in a long distance marriage, after sending hb to the airport this morning.

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Life from today consist of pretty much just Kyle and I, with my extended family. And communication with Daddy will be limited to Skpe, FaceTime and What’s App daily, with the occasional family time 2-3 days a month.

 

What transpired?

A few days before hb shared that he will be going to Philippines for an interview. I had a dream that confirmed that we will be separated for a season, I woke up from the dream in the wee hours of the night and sobbed. Amid the tears, I knew this was God’s way of preparing me for the changes ahead, and I said, “If this is your will God, I will accept it.”

A few days after when hb broke the news that a business associate called him up and asked him to go to Philippines for an interview, I vehemently disagreed and told him “No…you can’t leave the country to work and leave us, what will happen to our marriage?” He obviously didn’t have the answer to my question and went for ahead to travel to Philippines for the interview.

Fast forward a week later, he signed the offer letter and he quit his job in Singapore. He shared with me how the whole process had no hiccups. The offer was way above what he initially expected and most importantly, during his days leading up to the interview and after, he had numerous confirmation from God that this was the path that He wanted him to take.

With a dream confirming this ‘separation’ and more confirmations from his end, we both were able to decide together that going to Philippines for work was indeed God’s will for him.

Morever, since July 2013 last year, spending only the weekends together was ‘boot camp’ of sorts to prepare us for the real thing, to face the real challenge of having a long distance marriage.

Why didn’t we go with him? There are several reasons why K and I are not going with him, and don’t plan to in the long haul. Even if this overseas job stint may be for 2-3 years or more, we are planning to stick with the existing arrangements.

Sure, I got my fair share of advice from well-meaning friends and family. But we have come to a point that we are certain that this is God’s will for this season of change ahead of us. I have experienced enough to vouch that indeed, God’s thoughts and His ways are not the same as our ways (Isaiah 55:8)

 

Two Halves Making a Whole?

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In every marriage, a husband and a wife is often dependent on one another emotionally, that I believe the old adage about ‘Two halves making a whole’ is coined in perspective of that. So often people get into relationships or marriages hoping to find their ‘other half’.

With this same dependence on their spouse, in considering a long distance relationship, comes the insecurities of “What if he/she finds someone else?” or “What if after these few years, we realize that we don’t need one another.”

I think that it is not healthy to look outside yourself to find someone who can validate you, find worth or depend on emotionally. How strong can a marriage be when one party has differing expectations of the other, or the other person could feel ‘drained’ by the dependence?

Nonetheless, I do agree that it will be hard to maintain a long-distance marriage and have this lack of ‘father’s physical influence’ in my child’s life for a time.

Hug 1A kiss from daddy before K left for school

I admit that it has been hard making this change, for all 3 of us. Being the only one left to ‘hold the fort’ here in Singapore, I can choose to let this problem take me down, resent it and then feel sorry for myself, and then dwindle into a pit of self-pity.

And how would the world see me? “Oh it must be so hard to be apart from your hb, be prepared that things might happen” or “Oh your son so poor thing, don’t have his father with him” or the well meaning advise, “Watch him carefully, if he cheats on you, walk out on him…”

This change may have potential problems, but I see them as a perspective-lifters.

Besides, if ever hb decide to cheat. It’s between him and his personal accountability to God.

 

Perpective Lifters

I have come to realized that I don’t lead a conventional life.

What normal things that most receive easily, often I have had to sit back and watch as “others may, and you may not”. Some people will say that our lives are a consequence of the decisions that we make. I agree that consequence play a part but I think there is a bigger picture in it all.

Is there anything in our lives that God don’t know about? He already know what decisions we will make and have planned it all in the life story that He has written for us.

Lack is a good thing. I perceive this lack as a LADDER. A ladder to enable me to climb up and see my life from God’s perspective.

Why? Lack are opportunities to latch onto God for unashamed dependence. I have learnt that self-sufficiency is a myth perpetuated by pride and temporary success. Happy families, health, wealth, or even life can disappear overnight.

In case, you have an impression that I am a very strong individual. Trust me I am not, I often tell God that I can’t.

The only thing that I have learnt to be strong in, is the awareness of my inadequacy, which I believe is a rich blessing, that trains me to rely whole-heartedly on Him. I rejoice in this insufficiency, knowing that His power in my life is made perfect in weakness.

So life really have not ended for me, instead, life as I know it, has only just begun.

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This song really says it all for me;

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In Everything, there is a purpose.

Our lives took a drastic turn, just 3 weeks before K’s registration for Primary 1.

No more looking at attending Primary 1 at hb’s alumni.

No more K2 at his existing Childcare, in fact no more formal school on the weekdays.

No more staying where we used to for the short 5 months in the not so new neighborhood in the East.

I teared when I had to withdrawn K from his Childcare with immediate notice, I teared when I saw the sadness in K’s eyes when we said our last goodbyes to his classmates from his school. We said that we will visit sometime. But I didn’t think we would, as it is just too painful for K and I to go through the goodbyes again. We left the place we called home for 5 months in a great hurry.

In summary, the family is dysfunctional at its best now.

I am now a single mom on Mondays-Fridays,

We still see Daddy, and we still spend time with him from Friday evenings – Sun nights in the East.

K is not going attend formal school till he starts primary 1, and we are just going to go to any primary school he can get into at Phase 2C.

And there a couple more not so good things which we are experiencing now, that I would not divulge in this space at this moment.

Frankly, life really sucks at its finest right now.

Nonetheless.

It goes on. I still have my responsibilities, and I am doing my best for them. We are managing ok and K’s still a happy little guy despite moving house 4 times in less than 2 years, and 3 schools in less than 2 years.

For someone who hates clutter at home, I think our abode is the simplest we ever had these 2 years. We are left with skimpy closet of clothes, some toiletries, less than 5 sets K’s toys in my mom’s house, and some books.

My mind has never been clearer, and there is no self-pity, no frustration, no anger, no questions to ask.

And now I think I know why it has never been in God’s plan for me to have another child, and I am thankful that I never went against His will for my life.

Most of all, I have learnt how to take my eyes off my circumstances, in all things give thanks for all I have been given and TRUST no matter what, and believe that there will be a purpose for all of this.

I have never felt more free from the shackles of this life, and for that, I am thankful.

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