Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tourist, Local, Family

Hello again everyone,

This post is supposed to cover the last two-three days because I have not covered those days. As the title indicates I have partaken in events that allow me to be characterized into all three of these groups. 

I finally did something 100% touristy. I went to the Singapore Night Safari last night. However, I did learn the bus system at the same time. The Singapore Night Safari is one of the main reasons (other than Singapore being super safe and clean) that tourists from Europe and America visit. Bernard Harrison (who actually happens to be a good friend of my host family) built this Safari in the heart of the forest like part of the country, saving many endangered species from Africa, Asia and Australia in the process. Here is a link to the website:

Furthermore if you are interested in purchasing a book written by my host father about all of this check out this link:

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the animals. I refused to use flash like everyone else who was constantly yelled at, (at least 10 times) during the ride and my phone got nothing good without flash. 

Today I visited the oldest, largest and most prestigious University in Singapore.  I went to the National University of Singapore (about 25,000-30,000 students) with Christopher and his mom. As he went to his tennis lesson (at the University) I was able to use a real gym for two hours. I won't say much except this University was hands down one of the prettiest and most amazing I have seen anywhere. I will let the pictures (with captions of course) do the talking. 

View of Indian Ocean from Student Housing

Indian Ocean Again but here we see a new dorm being built
Tennis Courts at the University

The Gym Take 1

The Gym Take 2

Olympic size outdoor pool at the U

How about a restaurant/bar for Students (3 in this building alone)

Same bar as above, Post Workout

Student Housing

APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Collaboration Center) 

Today I also became more of a local and family. First, for lunch I ate one of the most famously known Singaporean dishes called carrot cake. No, this is not the dessert with frosting and nuts. It is white carrot (aka radish) with other vegetables and fried eggs and rice. I had both the traditional (white one) and Chinese one (brown sauce). I also ate Chinese duck (without sauce).

Christopher's uncle, aunt and little cousin (Marcus) came over for dinner. At dinner Uncle made a comment on the way to get all Singaporean's respect was to sit at a fruit stand and eat two of the best Malaysian/Singaporean fruits: Durian and Mangosteen. Look at the pictures and see if you can guess which is which. 
Sure enough, after dinner we went to the street vendors and I ate both (and enjoyed both a lot). Durian (top two pictures) has a similar taste to avocado, even though it looks and feels quite deadly and Mangosteen (bottom picture) is like a peach-plum combination. Both are quite cheap and I plan to buy more when I return (more on this soon) 

Last but not least I became family. As I stated just above we had family over. I just met young Marcus (age 7) tonight. I already have a place in his heart. As I carried him on my shoulders he began petting my beard. He looked at his mom and said I have an Uncle Fluffy (I guess I am Hagrid's three-headed dog? And I guess he isn't used to beards?)



Last but not least we need a Thank You Shout-out. The last post did not have one so I will make three here. These three people (and many others) have been good friends for three years or more. The reason I pick them is due to the above pictures. Starting from youngest to oldest, Gavin Watson. 

Gavin and I have honestly gotten a lot closer with time and due to events that I will not go into detail about. Nonetheless, Gavin always is listens to anything I have to say, always offers an honest yet caring opinion and thus he is the definition of a true friend. He is also incredibly intelligent and I have no doubt he will do great things in the world. I could honestly rant about how wonderful he is all day but if I make it to long he won't believe me. The above tennis courts are dedicated in your honor. 

Joe and I have been through a lot since we became best friends Freshman year in J-Base. Most interestingly, we are in a way star-crossed lovers (seriously feels like his parents question who I am and vice versa a lot). Nonetheless, our similar interests (sports, jorts, not caring about money, matching clothes etc) keep our friendship strong. Joe also is not afraid to be blunt with me and understands the complexity of my brain better than most. Our friendship has both good and bad moments (but I chose this picture mostly because we look amazing and I do not have a picture of us riding the tandem bike, yes Joe sits on the handle bars). One other thing is that when Joe realized how much passion I have for teaching and working with kids he was the one who helped me become brave enough to peruse a career in this field. (The pool picture is in his honor).

Last but certainly not least Peter Cummings or as I call him Pete or P-Ball (like Baller). Peter is my best friend, big brother and mentor in many ways. After bringing a football and chocolate chip cupcakes to me when I moved to Indiana (at 6) our friendship was tested by a racist bully named Casey Leech. The rest is history but our friendship can take anything. Peter is there for me at all times good or bad and is not afraid to tell me things that may upset me but are best for me to hear. I can talk to Peter about anything and everything and know that he only wants what is best for me. Seeing Christopher and his little cousin (he calls him a brother) made me think of my big brother Peter who is also a man of the world (a multi-cultural ambassador headed to Chile!) like myself.


Pete y Yo

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