Buddha temples and helpers

It’s been over a week since we came home from Langkawi and I still haven’t finished my posts! Oh well, I’ll get there…

Life’s gone on… while everyone in Singapore is still very vigilant about Covid-19, the number of new cases has leveled off and half of the cases have recovered and are released. It feels like Singapore has it under control for the moment. How in-depth they research each case is mind blowing.

This is an example of how they trace each person. Anyone they were in contact with is contacted. They look into grab records and trace your steps. This is where Singapore has a certain element of “big brother is watching”. I don’t think this level of granularity would ever be possible in the US without a million lawsuits…

The bigger concern are countries that are reporting none or very few cases (Indonesia, we’re looking at you!). We’re not sure what to think about travel. We are planning to go to Bangkok in a week and a half but we will have to see. Luckily nothing’s booked that can’t be changed. spring break is also still up in the air. Originally we were wanting to go to northern Vietnam but we may table that and head south. The good news is there are lots of travel deals to be had out there! We aren’t particularly concerned about actually catching the virus (though we do wash our hands a lot!) but more the disruption that would occur if one of the countries we were to visit was put on the quarantine list. All five of us stuck in the condo for 2 weeks doesn’t sound like the best plan to me.

Outside the temple from the backside
The Buddha tooth relic temple

Over the weekend, the kids got some play dates in, we furniture shopped (new bookcase with pretty teak shelves, yay!) and then on Sunday Ryan got his first round of golf in while the kids and I went down to Chinatown. As expected, it was empty. While the kids really just wanted to shop, I made them at least look at a few other things. There are a number of interesting temples in Chinatown. One is the Buddha tooth relic temple. Basically bits and pieces of “Buddha” are strewn about Asia in temples. Here in Singapore. We have a tooth. Who knows the validity of this, but the temple is super cool. There are a thousand little golden Buddha’s inside and Buddha’s in different “phases”. In the above picture, the kids are standing in front of the future Buddha. We also saw our “personal” Buddha’s for the year we were born.

This is the one for the year of the snake, Avery and I share this one. We made a bow to it.

Unfortunately, due to the virus screening (in all public places in Singapore you have to have a temperature check. I don’t even really notice them anymore. At the temple we also had to write down our name and contact info) we couldn’t go up to the actually tooth room on the 4th floor. It was also very hot as they were not using the air con to try to improve ventilation. Needless to say, that made for some whiny small visitors. I guess we’ll have to come back…

While we walked around Chinatown, Ryan played his first round of golf with his co-worked Jim at marina bay. He reported it was a fun and sweaty round. He didn’t play the best since he hasn’t even picked up his clubs since October, but was happy to be back out. The only downside was the cost, he’s going to have to find a cheaper location! He might be ferry bound in the future to Batam or Bintan

We’ve also officially joined the American club. Our membership is still being finalized but I’m playing tennis on Friday’s (sadly, it was rained out last week). Ryan and I had dinner at the bar on Saturday while Ella babysat, which was nice. She even got both Liam and Avery to sleep!

As good of a job as Ella did babysitting, we’ve also hit the wall and need to figure out child care as well as other household “annoyances”. Basically we’ve come to the conclusion every other expat reaches. We need a helper. A “helper” is a live in domestic worker. There are many ways to hire someone. I had hoped to find one from another expat family who is leaving, but unless we want to wait, no luck there. I went to an agency this week and interviewed 5 lovely women (the “agency” was a surreal experience. We had hoped that going through an agency would provide a level of security for ourselves and the worker, but I’m not sure that’s true..) we are only considering “transfers” which are domestic workers already working in Singapore and we are more inclined to hire a Filipino worker as other nationalities have food constraints. I also like Filipino food. I have 2 coming back to the condo. Hopefully one of them works out. It will be very strange to have someone living with us. I wasn’t very keen on it and I’m still very nervous. I also worry our living space is too small for them, though I’ve been assured it is not. But I’m also excited to give up cleaning, laundry and cooking. I’ve felt very tied to the condo since moving here between the never ending laundry, grocery shopping and deliveries. And the truth is, I don’t really know how to cook with local ingredients and I welcome someone who can do that for us. Right now finding the right person and ironing out all the details is a bit confusing. But it will come together and hopefully make living here a more enjoyable experience for me. I cannot wait to be able to go out at night for more than 2 hours!

A goodbye from yoda statue from one of my AWA walks this week. I also began to learn Majong. More on that to come.

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