Nyan complains about his taekwondo class from time to time, and says he wants to quit it. We always tell him “Nope.” It’s a good skill to have, it keeps him active, and it has demonstrable goals and rewards when he reaches those goals — very good things to learn about life.
The reward is typically a new belt. To get that belt, he has to attend class, learn new moves, practice, and go to the “grading exercise” where he shows a committee of masters that he has, indeed, learned the right moves and should advance to the next level.
Here he is in early August, practicing outside of the grading exercise room, just before going in:
Did he make it to the next level? He sure did!And at his next weekly class, his teacher, Mr Lee, gave him his next belt: green tip.
He’d never admit it, but he was pretty proud of himself, and rightfully so. Mommy and Daddy were too!
After the new belt ceremony, the kids relaxed by playing a rousing game of ball-throwing.
Next up for Nyan is a grading exercise in early November, if he is ready to be graded then. If he passes that, sometime in November he should receive his green belt!
Every year, there’s a week-long event in downtown Singapore called Night Fest. It’s a whole bunch of cultural events, food and music, art displays, and other cool things. We’d never made it down before, but we did this year.
There were several things we wanted to be sure to see, including a visit to the Gem Museum. (Who knew there was a Gem Museum in Singapore? Not us.) It was a small but nice little place run by the local association of gem-sellers. One of the officials took to Nyan, who was very excited to see all the gemstones, especially the ones from Myanmar.
The main event, for us, was this display called Lords of Lightning. It’s two guys up on tall pillars that double as Tesla coils, zapping huge amounts of voltage at each other. It was pretty intense and really cool
Then there was a random marching band, which led to our boy doing his dance thing:
Elsewhere, they were projecting a cool light show onto the facade of one of the art museums.
An old university friend of Mommy’s came through Singapore with her husband and their daughter on a short trip. Livia is a few years younger than Nyan and very sweet. We met them at a restaurant and Nyan and Livia immediately hit it off like old pals.
They enjoyed posing for pictures.
And, while the adults sat around and chatted and tried to get the kids to eat….
… the kids ran around on the grassy hill outside the restaurant.
Then, as night fell, they just ran in circles around the restaurant.
Fun times! Nyan got to see Livia one last time at a local food court:
You may recall that Nyan’s school from last year closed down, so we had to enroll him in a new place for Year 3 (a.k.a. Second Grade in the U.S. system). We decided on a place called Eton House, not too far away. A couple of kids from his old school, including Nadia, also are going there now; so is Abi, his friend from his MMI preschool.
So we weren’t too worried about the transition. And sure enough, he’s taken to the new place like a fish to water.
We had an orientation session in his classroom, and with his new teacher, a few days before classes began.
Then it was the big day itself. We made him briefly pose for pictures before heading out:
The school itself was a bit packed with kids and parents, but it was well organized. As Nyan waited to head up to class, he hung out with Nadia. (You can also see Abi in some of the pictures. They’re in the same year, but in different classes. They still get to hang out a fair bit nowadays though, so that’s good!)
Then it was time for class. No tears or concerns here:
The first day was a success, by all accounts. When he got home, Jayden happened to be in the pool — his new school started a few days later — so Nyan and Nadia hung out with him poolside for a few.
The school isn’t too far away – about a mile or so, a 20 or 25 minute walk – but we signed up for the school bus service. It picks up him around 8am and drops him back around 4pm. Not bad. He’s got a uniform to wear each day, so every morning we take a lovely stroll past the pool downstairs on our way to the front gate of the condo complex, where the bus picks him up.
Some pictures of the morning routine, including a cameo from Mommy:
He’s enjoying the class so far, and seems to get along with his classmates and his teacher. Here are a couple of examples of some early work, and a picture of him doing his homework (he usually gets about 20 or 30 minutes of homework a week — nothing excessive, just about the right amount for his age, we’d say).
A new place opened up recently in the shopping mall underneath Mommy’s office. It’s called Funsiamo, and basically it’s a place where you come to bake. They give you recipes and ingredients, and you mix it up and toss it in the oven. Mommy thought it’d be a fun Mommy/Nyan experience, and guess what? She was right.
Here’s the budding young baker, hard at work. (He was very focused the whole time, making sure he got everything just right.)
The cake’s in the oven, and then it’s out of the oven.
Gotta put frosting on the cake:
And we’re done! We got to take it home and eat it. It was delicious!
He’s already looking forward to taking Grandma there for more baking when she comes to visit in November.
In early August, to celebrate both Mommy’s birthday and the imminent end of a fun-filled summer, we took a three-night trip to Telunas, the low-key beach resort in Indonesia that we went to last August as well (see here). We absolutely loved it last year and Mommy said she wanted to return for her birthday again this year. So off we went!
It’s an easy place to get to — a one-hour ferry from Singapore to Batam, Indonesia, followed by an hour or so on a narrow, low-riding speedboat operated by the resort. It was a little bumpy but fun. Here’s Nyan on the ride:
It’s a casual resort in a secluded cove, all of it built on stilts over the water, with a long walkway connecting it to the shore. Some photos:
Here’s an evening time-lapse from our room’s deck:
And another time-lapse from the beach, showing the little crabs doing their little crab thing:
Telunas is not a place you go for non-stop excitement and action. It’s a place to unwind, chill, and rest. There’s plenty to do though: read, play games, swim in the ocean, and eat. Here’s Nyan doing the Telunas thing:
Nyan and Mommy on the beach:
We spent a lot of time in the water, with our waterproof camera. The water was a little murky (a function of the time of year: prevailing winds in August are out of the south, and the cove faces south, so it gets steady winds that bring steady churn-y waves right into the cove. Apparently the water is much more clear at other times of the year). But who cares about the murk: we had a blast. Check it out:
Telunas is a family friendly place, so there were lots of kids around, including Warren, a half-white, half-Asian American boy who was a bit younger than Nyan. They got along great. Nyan (and Mommy) also fell in love with PJ, a months-old baby who they pretty much wouldn’t put down.
We did the rope course again, just like we did last year. Still fun!
And one day, the staff demonstrated some traditional Indonesian dance moves:
At night, the staff would start a big bonfire down on the beach, and Nyan and the other kids would gleefully roast marshmallows.
Nyan also showed off his own traditional dance moves:
The resort has this platform about 30 feet above the sea. At high tide, you can leap from it. It’s a bit daunting but also pretty exhilarating, as Daddy found out both last year and this:
All in all, it was a super relaxing, enjoyable and successful trip. I bet we’ll be back again.