Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Halfway point

Only two months left... It's so hard to believe that I'm halfway finished with my exchange program in Singapore. It's been the most amazing experience so far and I am so grateful that Elon and my parents provided me with such an awesome opportunity. Having lived abroad before, I wasn't too nervous about the cultural differences or adjustment. I've always thrived in a new environment and being overseas has taken me back to my middle school days living in England where I was constantly learning new things and meeting new people. 

Classes and group meetings dominate my schedule Monday - Friday, so I've gotten to know a handful of local students pretty well. Thanks to them, I'm now an avid lover of Korean pop music, char siew bao and Tiger/Chang/Singhi/Bintang beers. I was even told that I'm a natural at holding chopsticks... so minus the whole blonde hair thing, I'm practically Asian.

My favorite Korean pop song. Obviously I'm in the middle of memorizing the lyrics and music video dance.
Char Siew Bao-- barbeque pork buns. DELICIOUS!
Friday night was an exciting night for the girls of room 10 because we completed a 40k bike marathon! Hall 3 sponsored a 40k bike marathon from 10 pm to 6 am across the entire country. NTU is located on the far west side of the island and we went from NTU to East Coast Park. The journey ended up taking longer than we expected and we arrived back to our room at 8 am. We were absolutely exhausted but it was worth it. We spent Saturday sleeping and met up with Leah's family from Perth who were in town for dinner. We took them to our favorite local Chinese restaurant, Wan Dou Sek. As always, the food was absolutely delicious. Leah and I ventured to the Jurong Bird Park - the world's largest bird park - on Sunday afternoon. It was very cool to see all the different birds but the highlight of the afternoon was the Ben and Jerry's ice cream stand at the gift shop. The combination of the heat, humidity and bird poop stench made my ice cream cone taste like heaven on Earth.

Start of the bike ride
The whole crew
Jurong bird park

Feeding a lorrie

Wan Dou Sek!! Great dimsum
But perhaps the best news of all lays ahead. Friday evening, my parents are coming to town!! I can't WAIT!! It's very difficult to sit in class and listen to a 2 hour lecture on crisis management when my two favorite people ever are coming to see me in my favorite place ever. They arrive on Friday and are staying at the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel for two nights. Can't wait to show everyone pictures --- it is an UNBELIEVABLE hotel. We're spending Sunday and Monday at Bintan Island in Indonesia (about 45 min ferry ride away) for a little rest and relaxation so they can get over jetlag ASAP. Monday - Thursday, we'll be in Singapore. I am so excited to show them my campus, new friends and my new city. We lived in Sing in 1995 and I'm curious how my parents think the city has changed. They leave for Hong Kong on Thursday and I meet up with them on Saturday. My perfect week comes to an end on Monday when I bid both my parents and Hong Kong farewell.

Leah and I are looking forward to continue conquering Southeast Asia in our final weeks. We're spending Easter weekend in Malaysia and then we are spending five days in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Between and after these travels, I'll be handcuffed to a chair in the library preparing for exams. Exams here are a big deal -- as in 70% of my grade big deal. It's a far cry from the class system at Elon where I have multiple tests, quizzes, papers, exams -- a lot more opportunities to boost my grade.

I'll be sure to update my blog with stories and pictures from my parents' visit to Sing and Hong Kong. That's all for now :)

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