The 3 ring circus…

There’s not been much to share over the past few weeks. Like a majority of the world, on April 7th we went into a “lockdown”. Originally, this was planned to be until May 4th. This week, the prime minister spoke and extended the lockdown until June 1st with additional restrictions. Though this was expected, it was still heartbreaking. Lockdown in a city is tough. No backyard. No driveway, we cannot use the grounds, playground or pool in our condo complex. We are still allowed out for exercise, but only alone. The “rules” are very unclear if your children are allowed to accompany you. As penalties are stiff here (Monterey fines and the possibility of losing your employment pass are all possibilities) it doesn’t seem worth it. So mostly we stay in. Groceries and easy to get and plentiful. we are lucky. Ryan’s job is busier than ever, the kids home based learning has been excellent and our apartment is very comfortable. We also added Janeth, our “helper” (foreign domestic worker) to our family. Janeth is from the Philippines and has been a FDW for about 10 years. She has a grown daughter of her own. She has our condo super organized, clean and running like a top. She never uses the dishwasher and only infrequently uses the dryer. She’s also an amazing cook. She is appalled by my over stocked “American” pantry and freezer. She can make delicious food out of few ingredients. Needless to say, she is my new favorite person. If we hadn’t already hired her 6 weeks ago, would we still have? Probably not. But we have been very lucky that she has worked out so well so far. She has made me obsolete and since the whole reason to hire her was to give me more “freedom” away from the condo it seems silly now. Though it has made home learning for Avery (and sometimes Liam) much less stressful since I can focus on that. I’d like to say I’m using my time well by exercising and reading more, but that’s not always true. I’m trying to find a schedule and balance and not feel guilty that I’m not vacuuming and doing dishes anymore.

Here’s a few pictures from our lockdown life. I’m sure it looks both the same and a little different than back home in Fairfield. While we are missing having a separate office and extra space for video game playing, we are making do.

Avery does her school work in her bedroom (that desk she HAD to have is coming in handy now). Some days she’s super productive and finishes all her work easily. Other days she struggles. She requires my presence to get anything done. I have no idea how people who are also trying to work can get this done. I’m trying not to think about the future when she has to go back to school and we will be at square -1 with separation anxiety. I take heart that she’s learning and happy and I have this time to spend with her. Her class has only had one “live” class to date. It was ok, but crazy and at the end they were all pleading with the teacher to go back to school. It was heart wrenching. My guess is they won’t do that again soon… we have one on one meetings with her teacher a few times per week which are much more effective. The teachers record video lessons with activities. They also have to leave a lot of voice and video comments with their work. So far it seems to work.
Ella also works in her room on a makeshift desk using our balcony table and chair. She has live classes daily from 8:30-3. She’s totally independent and actually seems to like online learning. She spends her free time chatting away with friends and playing games online. Ironically, she seems happier than ever…
Liam kinda works everywhere. He starts at the table but frequently spends time working in Avery’s room and in his room. He has live calls a few times a day. Both Avery and Liam have instructional videos followed by activities. In the beginning, Liam was finishing by 10:30/11 which was difficult as both girls school takes most of the day. After spring break they changed the “pacing” of his day with set times for specific tasks. It has helped immensely. While he’s doing great, he misses school and his friends the most. He gets frustrated and teary the easiest of the kids. Though he *can* do his work independently, we’ve discovered he needs “moral support” more than we initially thought. Right now I’m planning to reconfigure Avery’s room a little so he can work in there too.
They have gym (note Ryan’s “home office” in the background. He’s on calls all day while the kids play, jump rope, etc behind him. He never loses his temper and has really been a trooper).
Do mindfulness, art, music and drama.
Liam’s swim team has a daily group workout. Sometimes we join him. He’s been a trooper about doing it each day. They watch them and call them out if they’re slacking. He may be in better shape at the end of lockdown than he was in the beginning.
They have online music lessons.
Masks are mandatory here now (violations can be reported by other citizens or by patrolling enforcement). It sounds strict, but it doesn’t feel that way. The government here is very good at explaining things clearly and rationally and explaining why something is good for you, your family and the community. The overall population here is very compliant. While they are very hot to wear, we are slowly getting used to them. If they are our long term ticket out of lockdown, we will happily wear them.
Ryan’s company sent us dinner a few nights ago. What a treat! Burgers, steak, fries, salad, and clam chowder. An American feast! So nice and it came on the day when we found out the lockdown was extended until June 1st. It definitely took the edge off…
A perk of the 20th floor. Beautiful skies. I love watching storms roll in. We get huge booming thunder and lightning storms. Nice to have time to appreciate them.
Balcony bubbles. We love to watch them float away and hope they make our neighbors smile.
I tried joining the ranks of sourdough bakers. Too much work for bad results and a lot of waste. Somethings are better when made by someone else. For me, Sourdough is in that camp.
The kids have been baking. Home ec. Liam made a wonderful lemon cake (like the Starbucks cake). So good…
What am i reading? I was trying to slog my way through my Asian studies book club book (Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk). I was majorly on the struggle bus with it so I’m taking a break. Reading this fascinating little book (an interview by an American journalist with the founding prime minister. His son is the current prime minister) I’m enjoying learning more about our adopted country and it’s leaders/philosophy. Truly fascinating. The chapter on his thoughts on American presidents during his tenure of worth the read alone. Not what you would expect. Planning to read his autobiography next. He is truly a complicated person…

Some final thoughts. It’s really hard to watch this pandemic playing out in the US from half a world away. We see all the news, no media is restricted here (except porn…). It’s hard not to compare how it’s being handled in Asia with how it is in the US. But the further into this we get, the more it seems apparent that the US cannot go down the same path as other nations. Will this possibly cost more American lives? Yep. Is that the price to pay to keep the US intact. Maybe… I don’t pretend to know any more than anyone else. I do believe in science (in fact, it seems crazy to even write that) and I believe there have to be experts. When we discount experts in anything we are saying that education doesn’t matter. I can’t live in that world.

The other thought we discuss regularly is are we glad we are here in Singapore instead of home in the US? The answer is still yes. Our extended family at home in the US is healthy so that hasn’t caused any stress (and hopefully won’t). In general we feel safe and happy here. We miss some things (the yard. The extra space..) but love our view and still feel our life here has future potential. Hopefully that won’t change.

Stay well everyone! 💕

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