Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My first full day in Singapore

Hello Again Everyone,


If you have read the title of this post, you already know that I am writing about my first full day in Singapore. One last announcement, when it comes to the time difference I am 12 hours ahead of those of you on Eastern Standard Time. If you chose to contact me via Whatsapp or Facebook or email please keep this in mind. Below are some pictures of my living arrangements. 



My bedroom







<--------------------------- My shower

(Water is a vital resource, DO NOT waste it)




The view from my bedroom ----------------->








For those of you wondering what Singapore is like here was my description to a friend. Singapore is a great combination of urban and rural even on the same streets. There are a few high rise buildings (mostly apartments) but their is much in terms of the diversity of trees, plants and even animal sanctuaries. When you search Google images for Singapore most of the results show this. They are much better than the two pictures I took on my phone, thus I encourage you to use Google images instead. (I will post a picture from Google images if you are too lazy to look them up). 




But if you prefer some statistics of Singapore I recommend you use this link to learn some information. 


https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sn.html

This morning I woke up around 7:30 am (I know this is early for me) to have breakfast with my hosts (Dr. Kirpal and Christopher) at the local food market. It is very similar to the train/bus stations that I have been to in the United States, that contain multiple food stands all with excellent food that are very cheap. Breakfast, which was Christopher's favorite meal, included a piece of rotti (Indian style bread) stuffed with apricots served with a bowl of curry. 


Breakfast of Champions

The distinct difference between this breakfast and that at a busy US train/bus stop was the people. Everyone seemed to be taking their time to enjoy a nice breakfast with family or friends and were in no rush. All around people were smiling and many friends of my hosts took the time to come say hello and introduce themselves. 
   
When we came back to the apartment complex, there was a group of adults in the main lobby practicing Taichi. Christopher explained to me that in the morning the adults did Taichi and at night the children came to the same place for self-defense classes that are all subsidized by the Singaporean government. After arriving, I began to read the Triple Package. My mathematics major adviser recommended that I use this book as a starting point in my other research project about factors that lead to success and the converse among minorities in America. (My other project and the reason I am in Singapore is to see what they are doing in math education, where they place second in the world). Christopher (age 10) had his mandarin lesson. After his lesson we went to the park across the street where we played basketball and fútbol (soccer for you common American folk) with other children who lived in the neighborhood. 


Christopher (taller) and the little guy I taught to shoot

The park even contained a full outside gym (also provided by the Singaporean government), so it looks like I will be able to stay in or get in shape this summer (you can comment which you think is more accurate). I will have to find a workout buddy.


Gym Equipment Part 1

Exercises for Equipment Part 1

Gym Equipment Part 2

Exercises for Equipment Part 2


After an hour plus in the heat Christopher and I came home to eat lunch. For lunch we had rice noodles and vegetables and a special Chinese tea that was made from longans, ginger and red dates. I was able to find this article someone else has written about this drink. My parents always taught me as a kid that: A. you should always try new things and B. if you do not like it, saying so is hurtful so instead say I only like it a little. Fortunately, I actually really enjoyed it and am not lying when I say I finished two cups.





http://abeautifuldayblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/a-cold-remedy-tea-and-come-in-handy-for-black-friday-shopping/

After lunch I spent about 2 hours plus discussing every component of the Singaporean education system with Christopher's mother (who is an administrator at one of the premier high schools in Singapore). We discussed everything, from class requirements at different grades to standardized testing (interesting fact the test is proctored and graded and then double and triple checked by third parties who do not know each other or the students and their families to ensure their is no cheating or other forms of dishonesty involved) to student three options for furthering their studies after they finish their high school equivalent. We also went through both my student and teacher surveys and discussed the objective of my questions and any necessary adjustments to them. The rest of the day I continued to read the Triple Package, took a nap, played Risk (the Board Game) with Christopher and some of his friends and finished the day by eating a superb dinner of chicken, egg and vegetable curry. 

Because of this traditional Indian dinner, I think it is only appropriate to sign off tonight with a thank you to my Indian Grandmother who introduced me to curry as well as my Iranian one too.

Jooraji Noble and Ezzat Espahbodi are two of the most incredible women in the world. Both have shown me the meaning of love. Both have shown me this through the art of cooking delicious meals, always providing a house to visit that booted free laundry services and their everyday actions. Jooraji helped my mother and her brothers raise my sister, my cousins and me. She played and still plays a mother role in my life to this day. Her health has been quite a scare but calling her everyday reminds me how much I should live and enjoy each moment while being thankful for the moments and opportunities I have. Mommon Ezzat could only say one phrase in English,"I love you" (in Farsi it is Man Shoma Doosetderam). She would say it countless times but it was her actions (ie. waking up everyday for 2 months at 4am to cook my favorite Iranian foods everyday) that showed her love. There is not a day that goes by where I do not think about her and sharing this meaning of true love she taught to me and others. 




   <-------------------------------- Jooraji




Ezzat------------------------------------> 

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