Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Expanding Our Family

We got a puppy!!! Bet you thought we were about to announce big news about an impending baby bump, huh?

Finally after numerous years of begging hubs finally broke down and let us get a puppy. Her name is Lulu. She's almost 4 months old and she's a mix of half maltese/half shih tzu.

It seems like I've dreamt of the day we'd finally get a pup forever. But actually having a puppy has been a rude awakening. Growing up I always had a dog. And I remember the tough first few weeks when you bring puppy to your home. However, Iwith really don't remember it being this rough (no pun intended...haha). I guess once you're out of the woods with the difficult parts you just forget how hard it was.

Hopefully things will start getting a little easier for us soon. A lot of it is trial and error. Don't let her sleep on the couch with us because she'll be wide awake in the middle of the night. Weigh down her pen in just the right places so she can't move it around when we leave for work during the day. And most importantly be able to recognize her potty dance...which in her case is more like a potty pounce.

Hubs, Lulu, and I are all learning it as we go. And that's all I can really ask for.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring Breakers: Hiroshima and Miyajima

During the first part of the Japan leg of our trip we were on our own, without a tour. Needless to say it was definitely a culture shock coming from Singapore where everyone spoke English. Although I went to Japanese school after school in elementary school and took Japanese from 7th through 12th grade my Japanese is horrendous at best (I'm sure my grandparents are so ashamed). They really aren't kidding when they say "use it or lose it." Luckily my mom's Japanese is better than mine. Unfortunately as we found out throughout the trip knowing how to speak Japanese doesn't always translate to understanding Japanese.

L to R: Hiroshima before, Hiroshima after, a child's tricycle that survived the blast
Our first stop in Japan was Hiroshima. I have always wanted to visit the Peace Memorial Museum/Park so I was really excited to finally get to go. Let me just say, in all honesty, you feel like a real asshole as an American there. We did the headset tour that takes you around through the museum and the stories you hear are absolutely heart breaking. They have a model of what Hiroshima looked like before and after the a-bomb blast and the devestation is staggering. With everything going on with North Korea it makes me wonder how anyone would ever wish that kind of destruction and pain on another.

Outside the museum is the beautiful park. One of my favorite parts of the park was the Children's Peace Monument where they display the thousands of paper cranes that are folded and sent in like the famous story of Sadako and the 1000 paper cranes.
The next day we took a ferry to Miyajima island where we visited the Itsukushima Shrine which is most notably known for their floating torii gate. Both the gate and shrine are built along the beach in such a way that they look like their floating in the water during high tide. When we got there the tide was high enough that the tori gate was in the water, but not quite high enough to have reached the shrine. Either way it was beautiful. The other highlight of Miyajima were all the DEER! The deer are so sweet and docile there...except for when their stealing the food right out of someone's stroller.

Later that day we took the bullet train from Hiroshima to Kyoto where we met up with our tour group. But we'll save the Kyoto recap for another day.

Missed out on the first parts of the spring breakers series? Check out our Hawaii and Singapore posts.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Breakers: Singapore

After our quick pit stop in Hawaii we were off to Singapore with my parents in tow. Let the reccords show that I am NOT a fan of long flights, but the service and food on international flights make it tolerable. We flew JAL for all of our international flights for this trip. The service was very nice and the food was good, the food wasn't nearly as good as when we flew to Rome with Lufthansa. One of the meals they provided us was a spam sandwich...gross! Don't get me wrong, growing up in Hawaii I know all about the delicousness of spam, but only when it's properly prepared. Slapping an uncooked slice of spam between a sweet roll is definitely not the proper way to prepare spam.  I was a little disapointed that we didn't get to fly Singapore Airlines who is apparently the best international airline around. Hubs traveled with them when he went to Singapore for work and said that was the beat flight he'd ever been on. Maybe next time.
JAL meals from Hawaii to Singapore

When we got into Singapore late at night the first thing I did was brush my teeth. OH MAH GAWD does it feel heavenly to brush your teeth after over 15 hours of travel time. After getting a good nights sleep we woke up refreshed and started our day off the best way we know how...with pancakes from McDonalds. I think my mom said it best when she said that "being in Singapore doesn't feel like you're in another country." Everyone there speaks English and it has all the modern architecture and comforts of the good ole US of A.

After our hearty breakfast we braved the 90 degree temps and 100% humidity to see the Merlion. We stopped by to gawk at the Singapore Flyer, but decided to opt out of actually riding it to save $50. While we were at the Singapore Flyer we went by the Singapore F1 track. Hubs was pretty excited since he's a pretty big fan, too bad it wasn't a race weekend there where we could've really seen all the action. After all of that we hightailed it back into the air conditioned safety of the many mazes of malls that Singapore has to offer.
L to R: Merlion Park, Singapore Flyer, Singapore F1 track

That night we went to Night Safari, a zoo that opens up during the night. It was so much fun to see all the animals awake and moving around since most animals in zoos are actually nocturnal. The enclosures they have for the animals are similar to those you see in parks like Animal Kingdom, where it's more of a natural physical barrier than actual cage so it seems so much more pleasant for the animals.

The next day we spent playing at Sentosa, where the Singaporeans play. We got there early to try and beat the sweltering heat, but our plans were foiled since a lot of the things didn't open up that early. While at Sentosa we went luging and zip-lining. Although ziplining wasn't even as close to amazing as on our honeymoon, it was still fun and I'm glad we were able to convince my parents to do it. I really think zip-lining shiuld be on everyone's bucket list. After sweating about a gallon of sweat out in the sun we retreated back to malls yet again.

Our last day in Singapore was spent wandering around the labyrinth of malls connected to malls. The number of malls per square mile in Singapore is simply staggering. I can't imagine what it must be like to live there. You could probably make a living of just going to the malls...that is if you could find someone to pay you to do such a thing. Not only are there an amazing number of malls in Singapore, but the food courts in the malls are fit for a king. I was literally drooling left and right at all the yummy goodies surrounding me . I just wish I had a bigger stomach so I could've tried everything.

Next up on our vacation recap is Hiroshima, Japan.

Missed out on the first part of our spring breakers series? Check it out here.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Breakers: Hawaii

Hubs and I have been back from our vacation for almost a week now and we're STILL recovering. Don't you hate that? Hopefully we can get resettled and rested over the weekend. During our 2 weeks away we went to Hawaii, Singapore, and Japan. In order to avoid posting an epically long post about our whole trip I'll break it up into some bite sized easy to swallow pieces.

L to R: super lame in flight meal from Hawaiian Air, view of Waikiki from the airplane before landing
First we flew to Hawaii to meet up with my parents. As per the usual we flew Hawaiin Air...can't really beat a free flight due to accumulated and stolen miles from my parents. Hawaiian is supposedly the number one domestic airline in the states, but it seems to be getting worse and worse each time we fly. No blankets or pillows were provided since we weren't on a red eye flight. Not that I actually use those grody things...but it's nice to know they're there to rest my feet on. Our in flight meal was a bread roll with 2 pats of cold hard butter in it. I mean DAYMN it wasn't even King's Hawaiian sweet bread! Just a plain ole crusty bread roll like the ones that you buy in bags at Costco. I know some people would say these are luxuries you don't have with other airlines to begin with, but it's hard to imagine how we got to this point when they used to have carts selling cookies and snacks and meals made with Sam Choy's recipies. I guess times have really changed (that makes me sound really old, doesn't it?)

While we were in Hawaii we were able to squeeze in a little quality time with my family before we had to jet set off to Singapore. We had dinner at one of hub's favorite restaurants, Camellia. In all honesty it's a pretty filthy K-BBQ joint where the floors are greasy and the air is smoky, but damn the food is good...or at least the bulgogi is, since that's all we really eat. It was really nice to spend some time with my family. Although I love living in the bay, it's tough to be away from my close knit family...especially with my grandparents getting older. Hopefully we'll be able to make more trips to visit them more often.

Stay tuned for the next installment on the Singapore leg of our trip.