Summer in Shanghai

In less than a 140 characters, it gets annoyingly hot in summer here. That coming from a Singaporean who enjoys the tropical heat of home >_<

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Birthday Boys

More 140 character like updates.  It’s the 28th of July!!  So happy happy birthday to my husband and my cousin!!  Before we move to the celebrations at the end of the day, it’s a couple of calls before the trade show for me.  To my birthday boys, I’ll be thinking of you both 🙂  XOXOXO Have a beautiful one and to everyone else hope your day isn’t going to be as warm as mine will be in summer Shanghai -__-

First Night in Shanghai

Feels just like old times coz as fate would have it, Marcus and I are actually in the same city going to the same trade show.  What are the chances of that?  It’s like we never left the public sector and are still colleagues, but we’re actually working for different organisations in very different sectors too.  So we definitely made a night of it 🙂

First, it was a walk along the Bund.  A must see for anyone who is in Shanghai.

Even on a fairly warm night, it’s still a lovely walk and incredibly crowded for a Tuesday night.  That’s quite the view, isn’t it?  After the stroll, we were complete tourist and got lost trying to find the main shopping street.  When we found it, it was still going at 9:30pm.  Shops were open, people were out and nothing seemed to be remotely calling it a day.

There’s even an aquarium with sharks and turtles.  Even though I don’t agree with a small tank in a middle of a street mall holding little sharks and turtles, it was a pretty sight.  We walked some more and talked some more … about this and that but mostly about Transformers.  Yes, we’re both a little obsessed with the franchise so it was nice to be with someone who understood why I would take a picture of a Bumblebee poster and a Bumblebee statue 🙂

Not many of my other friends would understand, much less relish the sightings with me 🙂  All that walking and talking got us hungry and we started hunting down food.  We stumbled on a hot pot place where you made up your own sauces.  Yummmmm.

It really felt like good old times, being on another work trip together, exploring a new place and just hanging out.  This is what I miss most about working in an office.

Yes, I’ve pretty much been looked after.  A cool job that lets me work from home and work trips that actually coincide with a friend’s.  With an ice cream cone, we called it a night.  The next few days is going to be busy, busy, busy O_0

Aesthetic Night

That’s what schools are calling Talent Night now.  Yesterday evening, I was part of the most encouraging audience I ever been in  and saw my nephew perform with the rest of his class.  Their performance – dinging hand bells to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Three Blind Mice.  Cute 🙂

That’s my nephew in his school canteen, pre show.  I definitely take my hats to teachers of all boy primary schools.  I’m sure there are similar headaches with girls schools but the cacophony and unbridled energy from a group of boys in a confined area, is not something I can deal with on a daily basis :p

So there he was playing with his friends until he noticed us.  Then he started to play it cool 🙂  I remember those days but I thought it wasn’t till I was about 12 that it happened to me, needing to play it cool and balancing my school and home personas.  Maybe kids grow up quicker these days but it was really nice to see him in a situation he owns.  ThenI realise in a school with bigger boys, my little nephew who I thought is all grown up compared to his little sisters, is still like a little boy.  It made me smile that we’ve got probably a year or two where he’ll still want hugs, is curious about what we have to say and want to hang out with us.

Till then, it was a high five, post show and not a cuddle lest I embarrass him in front of his friends.  Who wants to the be crazy aunt who has no boundaries?  And we all know how I can easily fall into that :p

Like I mentioned, it was the most encouraging audience I’ve ever been a part of.  There was a ukelele performance of I’m Yours and had it not been for the program, I wouldn’t know what they were strumming to.  Nonetheless, they drew applause and cheers.  The boys are going to face a harsh reality some day but it wasn’t Friday evening 🙂

My favourite bit of the night, hanging out with my munchkins and this photo of my goddaughter, Rachael.  I love her little pig tails and though her fringe still bears the evidence of her brother’s first attempt of being a hairstylist, I think it really suits her 😉

Birthday Girls

July 17 is particularly special for me because of two little girls.  They were born on the exact same day, in the same hospital just a couple of hours apart.  One is my niece, Mabel and the other, Aira is the sweet daughter of dear dear friend, Claire.

Both have older brothers that are the same age and the both of them have made me give horoscopes a second chance.  I’m essentially a non-believer.  How can so many people all over the world born on the same day have the same personality, much less fate same in life?  However, the similarities between the girls can be ever so slightly uncanny.  Sure, they are also two distinct individuals but they have very similar reactions when their respective brothers bug them, they have a silly sense of humour that I find unique to the two of them and they have temperaments that seem a tad more matured than their 5 years of age.  Sure sure sure, sounds like I’m describing any other 5 year girl and I don’t deny that but when I watch the two of them, I do see some similarities that other 5 year old girls don’t share with them and I guess no one can second my opinion since I’m the only one that sees the both of them :p  Notice the string of pearls both of them picked out to wear for their birthday celebrations.  The other 5 year old girls in my life don’t quite have a inclination for pearls.

Whatever the case may be, I’m just glad that the two of them are more reasons in my life to celebrate birthdays.  Nothing like a preschool birthday party to remind you what’s important in life 🙂

To Mabes and Aira, Happy Birthday sweeties!!!  God bless you both and may your life be filled with as much joy and love as your birthday celebrations were 🙂

The Impossibility of Healthy Relationships

Today, I feel like post SATC sequel, Carrie in NYC, sitting in a Starbucks with my Soy Chai Latte, musing over relationships and what not, inspired to type away on my Macbook Air.  Except of course, no movie has been made about my friends and I … and I’m just Carlene in Singapore.  Doesn’t quite have the same ring but lately, post TF sequels to boot, my life has taken a turn away from hot sexy robots to the pondering on relationships in franchised coffee chains.  Brought on largely with what’s going on with my friends and their struggles with relationships and on a personal level, wondering if I’m as well adjusted as I think I am to be a part of a matured healthy relationship for the rest of my life.

So as I pretentiously keep typing on my laptop, I ask myself ala Carrie in the first few seasons of the TV series.  Is it possible to be a well adjusted individual in a healthy relationship?

*Cue CUT to mid shot and Carlene serendipitously look up to see a young couple staring longingly at each other as their respective Frappuccinos melt away in the Singapore humidity.*

A relationship take two to rock so it takes TWO well adjusted individuals to make a relationship healthy.  It’s tough enough being a well adjusted individual, try looking for another one.  We live in a world where being self absorbed is more a right than a flaw.  Instant gratification with overwhelming consumerism are natural parts of everyone’s make up.  Even the best of us, Nelson Mandala, Ghandi, Martin Luther King may not have been the best people to share a relationship with.

Healthy relationships are as real as the tooth fairy?

The cynical part of me sucks on a cigarette slowly, stares into the crowd and let’s out a simple ‘yes’

Thankfully, Cynical Carlene locks herself in her little studio apartment filled with her best impression of Pollock only to come out when hormone levels have gone astray.

Today, Carlene, glass is always half full and things can always be worse, The Optimus Bride  says, “No, healthy relationship where both people (or robots) inspire each other, support each other and make each other laugh is possible … it’s hard as hell but totally possible.”

How?

Compromising without losing yourself.  That’s the kicker for me.  When you’re in a good place and your partner is in a good place, it’s hard not to support, inspire and make each other laugh.  Another life lesson that I haven’t graduated from though is this, in order to compromise without losing yourself, you first have to be secure about yourself, love and know who you are.  That’s the tough bit for most of us and even in our 30s, I’m realising that a hell lot of us haven’t got a clue who we truly are.  So we keep learning, wanting to make it better and learning to be responsible.  That’s the best we can do, each of us working at making ourselves the better half of healthy relationships and recognizing that your partner is working just as hard, if not harder than you.  If everyone does that, we’ll all be parts of healthy relationships 🙂

My Daddy always reminds me that there’ll be good days and bad days.  At the end of it all when you look back, hopefully there’ll be more good days than bad.

Today is another opportunity to make it a good day 🙂  Rolling out.