Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week 2 back in Singapore

Week 2 in Singapore complete; 2 more weeks to go. Another week gone but not much new to write about. I went into the office a few days this week to work on my paper but I also found our office has a pool on the sixth floor so I used that twice this week. I went to the SMU (Singapore Management University) gym twice this week as well. I began looking at Graduate School programs for a Masters in Education and bought the 2015 Gruber Complete GRE Prep and have worked through about 100 of the 700 pages so far. I am happy to say that my reading score (in comparison) to the SAT has sky-rocket. However, the math (which is all high school algebra, trig, geometry) actually went down a little because I have not been practicing those topics much lately. However, when I took a second diagnostic math test I scored 1 away from a perfect score. This would actually be a nice place to ask for some opinions. If I get into Match Core in Boston that is my plan because they pay you while you get your masters in Boston. However, if I do not get into that program I have debated taking a few (2-3) years off to teach and gain some experience before going back to school and maybe try and get a second masters in Policy or a PhD even. What do you all think? 

As for things I am doing here. Friday night the 9th floor staff (my center and the one next door) went to a Korean Barbecue place. The picture of the menu is from there. The idea is that you pick what you want (really anything) and they grill it for 1-2 dollars on a stick and it is all you can eat. It adds up quick though I ended up paying 20 for just food (20 skewers with veggies, bread, meat and a bowl of rice) plus 17 for my Chinese double beer (also pictured below). Compared to local street food that can cost between 4-5 dollars and fill you up just as well. Needless to say that explains the other picture of cheese, crackers and salami that was the next two meals. Also, in great news we (Anne and I) have a working fridge again so I have been able to buy small amounts of perishable foods instead of eating out every meal.

I also officially feel as part of the Singaporean community. Through my interactions and gradual acceptance as a member of the community and my experience visiting different temples I feel like I am part of this community. Most of the neighborhood children and small ones on the bus have began calling me Uncle. The general rule is you are expected to call any male at least 20 years older than you Uncle and woman Aunti in Singapore. It is a sign of respect for the generations before you and what they have done to advance the community. Starting this week (maybe due to my beard) small children who I had become friends with in the community and were under 10 years old began calling me Uncle. One specific account was one morning as I got out of the lift and was walking to the bus stop I passed by a young kid (no older than 5) who lived in the complex and I had met him earlier last week at the park turned to his mother and smiled and said, "Uncle fixed his beard, he looks much better." He then asked me, "Does it feel different?". I have also visited both Sikh and Hindi Temples in the last week.

At both temples I was to remove my shoes before entering. This is a part of many eastern religions and the reason being is that the temple is a home of the divine and to wear shoes and bring dirt into any house (but especially the house of the divine) is disrespectful. At the Sikh temple I also was asked to wear a head covering and to wash my hands upon entering. What I experienced in both (other than seeing locals praying) was a very strong sense of community. At the Sikh temple after Dr. Singh said a prayer we went to the dinning hall area. Here as we had a cup of tea he explained to me that the Sikh temple wants both worshipers and non worshipers to know that they can come for tea and a home cooked meal whenever they need it. As for the Hindu temple both individuals but more so large groups praying together and holding circular candles and flower offerings. Many prayed together to show a sense of the strength of community being stronger than that of one individual. The first 9 pictures are from the Hindi Temple and the last 2 from the Sikh Temple.

Outside of Hindu Temple

Outside of Hindi Temple

A pillar holding up temple

Another bright statue

Bright statue

One of many bright statues


The golden door with bells

Lobby of Seek Temple

Inside a Seek Temple

In an unrelated transition likely due to the beard, I should have started asking people for 1 dollar every time they ask if I am Muslim or want to know where the nearest mosque is. I would have a little under $100 in the last two weeks. Most comically was the little Chinese girl below (pictured with two Indian boys) who asked me why my God was named Allah and then asked Uncle if she could have his seat because she was tired from her day at school. 

Well, there really isn't much else new to report other than these few things so here are some pictures.

View from 6th floor of Office

View from 6th floor of Office

6th floor of Office also has games

6th floor relaxation area

Little kids on the bus
Most streets have street cleaners

For my friends who take pics and drive



View from Floor 6





Morning Inspiration at Work

Morning Inspiration at Work

Neat Restaurant Idea 

Learned to use Chopsticks

While drinking Chinese Beer

Nobody wanted the fountain :(

"Homemade"/ "Money Saver" Dinner

The mosque every local asks if I go to

Ghandi Restaurant--- Aka greatest Indian Food I have ever had not made by Grandma

For 8 dollars I had two cups of rice, 2 cups of lamb, bread, 2 cups of veggies (mostly potatoes) and fresh mango juice

Today's thank you shout out goes to Enrique "Henry" Noble the navigator. Grandpa has taught me a lot through the years. Most recently while being the first editor and co-author of his book he has taught me patience as we edit and edit and edit... one picture for what feels forever. More notably though, he has taught me to love the world and everyone in it. Henry was a ship captain for over 50 years. His stories and the coins he gave me (80 + places) have clearly impacted the way I look at others and try to learn about them and accept people for their differences. He also has shown me what it means to love ones family and do anything to put them first even ahead of your own interests. Thank you Grandpa! I love you and can't wait to work on your book again! Have fun in Mexico and tell all the family I love and miss them!

1 comment:

  1. Come to Boston for grad school, it'll be a great time and we can hit up Sox games!