Linking up…

I have a quick question:

For those of you bloggers out there, do web directories help you bring in more traffic or just more spam?

While my plugins have been great at catching spam, trolls and bots, of lately, I’ve begun to notice that a number of my posts being link to directories of articles and what-not. I used to categorize them as spam but am wondering if I should continue doing the same or approve them as legitimate comments.

What do you guys think?

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Nearly two months old

Her first (recorded) smile!

Our little Eva is growing up and achieving all her wonderful milestones, including her first social, non-reflexive smile (pictured above – well, that’s not her first per se but the first that I manage to record). She now laughs and smiles whenever we stare and lock eyes with her. Just doing that is enough to make my heart melt!

It’s hard to believe that it was just two months ago that I first held her tiny and light body in my arms. Now she’s packing on the grams and is slowly outgrowing “tiny”.

Oh, how time flies…

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Not doing much…

…except tending to a baby and finding time for myself.

Think long and hard before having child – it is a life-changing decision in many ways.

Usually, this blog would be peppered with discoveries of a new country, cooking journeys and crafty projects, but of lately, I don’t really have much to share on that level. If you hop on over to the baby blog, you’ll probably find more regular updates because that’s the one thing that I’ve been busy with…and all the time as well.

It’s hard to blog about hobbies and such when…

…your craft tools and supplies are somewhere in the middle of some ocean.

…you can’t even poop, pee or shower without her having to take a nap or be occupied with her toys, and even then, it has to be done quickly!

…going to the market (a few minutes away) to get groceries and coming back with kiloes of stuff can knock you out for the day.

…you nap only if she naps, and that’s if you can fall asleep and stay asleep easily.

…you can’t go anywhere without taking her and keep in mind that it means bringing along her diaper stuff and feeding her while you’re out and about.

…you hate the heat and humidity.

I really hate to say it but my life now revolves around her, the house and well, her. I hope this isn’t going to be like this forever…not that it’s bad but I don’t want to be one of those ladies. You know what I mean, don’t you?

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Getting around.

We went to the Ministry of Manpower’s Employment Pass center today at Riverwalk. It was one of those must-do things on our list (kind of reminds me of all those official stuff we had to work on in Switzerland like health insurance and so forth).

While getting around in Singapore is great with the bus and MRT network, I must say that it was confusing to a degree. Bear in mind that Neuchatel was and still is small compared to Singapore, and everything was straightforward and simple. Here, the networks leave me befuddled to a degree. On top of that, I was to meet up with a forumer to get a preloved ring sling from her at Singapore General Hospital. So it was definitely time to get acquainted with the MRT network and try going around on my own.

Currently, getting around is bearable IF you’re staying along the same MRT line or near an interchange. Otherwise it can be a nightmare switching lines. For example, Riverwalk is just opposite Clarke Quay but because we’re coming from the East-West line, that meant getting off at City Hall and walking. By the time we made it to Riverwalk, I was nearly drenched and it was just 8:30am. Oh, did I mention that I was carrying Eva in our baby carrier as well? Geh.

After Riverwalk, Nil wanted to head off to the French Embassy near the Botanical Gardens to register himself and Eva. That required a cab and when we arrived, we were pleased to see that they were constructing the MRT stop for the new Circle Line. That means in future, should the need to go to the Embassy arises, it would definitely be easier for us as the Circle Line “joins” several networks in a, well, circle.

Later on, we split up – he headed on to City Hall whereas I got off at Dhoby Ghaut. I was, well, on my own then and didn’t go very far or to many places because of Eva & her feeding schedule plus I was quite tired already. Managed to survive the trip back in one piece since she started fussing a little somewhere near Paya Lebar MRT. She was hungry and had started sucking on the carrier. I like to think that while it’s great being able to take public transport, it can get a little tiring at the end of it all, especially when you’re hungry, thirsty and carrying around stuff (I don’t know how people who’re fasting do it!). Kind of reminds me of those times I took the minibus from Pasar Seni back to my house in PJ. We’d sleep on the bus throughout the ride…

At the end of the day, Nil and myself, well, you could say that we’re pro-public transport. If there is no need to get a car, we won’t. It’s an unnecessary expenditure and besides, cars do not appreciate in value. So pfft. It’s different in Lyon and KL where you definitely need a car to get around because the public transport sucks (KL) or everything is quite far (Lyon).

But for now, public transport is the word…even though it may sometimes be a little bit confusing. 🙂

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Watching the weather.

After spending 1.5 years in Switzerland, I have seriously lost the ability to cope with the heat. Being almost snake-like (as Nil would say since I have cold hands and feet), I just can’t stand the heat because it does weird things to me and one of them is making me cranky and all. I don’t know – I guess my blood just thickens and well, the headache just drives me bonkers!

Since arriving in Singapore, I’ve found myself bookmarking the National Environment Agency’s website. Why? Just to figure out when it would rain next. While people may tell me that the heat can help me shed those post-pregnancy kilos (apart from attending clinics like Austin Weight Loss center), lets just say that I don’t fancy living in a perpetual sauna 24/7. Besides, it’s not exactly a great thing for Eva. Already she has developed a heat rash on her forehead (I know it’s heat rash because it goes away whenever we turn the aircon on).

Rain…believe it or not, rain does cool down the place but it has to be heavy rain and not the measly type of showers we sometimes do get here in the tropics. Being on the highest floor has its ups and downs. We get very strong winds but we also get most of the heat that is typical from units that have the roof directly above them. As such, when there is no rain on a particular day, it’s crazy hot in the entire apartment, leaving me no choice but to adopt the European approach – shut all the windows and doors, AND turn on one of the room’s aircon.

*sigh*

It’s either we continue using this approach or invest in a portable air cooler for the living hall. In the meantime, Eva, while slowly adjusting to the heat, is living her days and nights in relatively cool comfort. Or at least I try to keep it cool by dressing her in sleeveless outfits – we just invested in seven sleeveless rompers that will last till she’s at least over 3 months old – and giving her two fun baths a day (she loves her baths).

As for myself, I need to find ways to keep cool apart from stripping down to my undies. =.=

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Our baby registry (Revised)

I’m not exactly soliciting for gifts – just responding to the usual “what do you need?” question that I get from friends and family. But if it does come across as soliciting, then assume it is and shamelessly too. 😀

Seriously, babies are expensive.

Apart from the usual diapers (in case you’re wondering, Eva is still fitting into the S size – 5-7 kg), we would really appreciate things for her and not so much for me. Clothes are always a safe bet (although Mum bought enough to last a lifetime) but toys and nursery items like crib music players, mobiles and activity gyms make good gifts as well. What we don’t need are things like hats, mittens, booties and all those frilly girly hairband-scrunchy accessories. It’ll just go to waste (end up sitting in the cupboard).

To give you an idea of what we’re looking for, here are some of the things that are on our to-buy list (I seem to have problems pointing to a Singapore site so used the M’sian equivalent):

  • Sleeveless bodysuits/onesies (Size 0-3 mths) for homewear
  • Travel playpen (here)
  • Baby monitor (here)
  • Gym (here) My thanks to Deeps, her parents and future hubby!
  • Wedge pillow (here)
  • Open-top swing (here) OR cradle swing (here)
  • Bath/changing unit (here) OR bath centre (here) OR bath unit (here)

So yeah, if you do want to send us something, seriously consider what we need, contact me via email for an address, and well, our thanks in advance!

** Cross-posted on the baby blog **

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Renting in Singapore

The baby's room

In some ways, I miss renting apartments in Switzerland and yet, I don’t. For one thing, the Swiss only allow you four days in a year to move – every quarterly – so moving during other times requires more work on your part. Then of course there is the clean-up. My parents didn’t quite understand the importance of a clean apartment during hand-overs and upon arriving in Singapore (and getting our own place), I now see why.

In Switzerland, a tenant must clean the place to the condition that it was given to him/her prior to the start of the tenancy agreement. And it’s the same everywhere – sparkling clean. In places like Zurich, some people have been known to be charged for the clean-up because the apartment just wasn’t “clean enough” during hand-overs. This means the place has to be live in – you, as the prospective tenant, don’t have to do more cleaning upon moving in. Think this: no cobwebs, no bits of stuff on the floor, no layers of dust on shelves, no sticky feeling on the floor when you walk on it barefoot, and so forth. Really anal, if you ask me – as if one is on hgh growth hormone and bouncing off the walls or something. :X

Unfortunately for us here in Singapore, while the owner was kind enough to clear the place of his stuff, he wasn’t doing things like the Swiss. Upon moving in, we had to mop the floor, dust the place and well, just make sure it’s liveable WITH a baby. It would have been great if he had taken the initiative to mop the floor before handing over the keys instead of just leaving dust marks around. Then there are the plates – I had to keep them, and well, some of the kitchen utensils and appliances had to be washed before use because they were dusty or just, urm, not so clean – thankgawd nothing gross or icky.

But I must say – the Singaporean rental market does move fast. The unit we moved into was just put up for rent on the day of the viewing and already, before we made the offer, someone else did. We were lucky that the owner’s parents (who were in charge during the viewing) picked us instead of the other person. I guess the fact that we had a baby helped and of course, with God’s blessings too – the owner’s parents are quite superb really; very friendly and kept asking us if we wanted anything else to come with an already furnished place. Lovely people.

It works very differently from the Swiss system. There, you can do everything at a more relaxed pace – deposit is done via the bank and a slip is given to the rental agency. Rent is paid every month via a slip that the agency will give you in advance (a long trail of slips where you just key in the invoice no, and what-not online) so you can pay this at home using your computer. Here, it’s cold hard cash that rules – something I feel should change as it involves large amounts of money moving from one hand to another. Two months deposit, first month rental plus agent fees equals to a few thousands and I, for one, don’t relish the idea of carrying all that money around. Am hoping to get a bank account soon (PCOS) so we won’t have to pay cash every month. =.=

The unit is a high floor unit, which means a good flow of breeze on a cool day and when it rains, it’s just perfect. But it doesn’t mean we can do without fans. I still have about two fans left to purchase – one table and stand fan for the hall (we are using one stand fan for both the room and hall, and carting it to & fro every day is getting tiring). The air-conditioning has not been in use so far, except yesterday when it got a little too warm for Eva. I left the air-conditioning on at 28 C and at the lowest speed so that it wouldn’t be too cool for her.

Location-wise, we are next to a market, food court and plenty of small shops selling all sorts of things plus two fast food joins – not that I plan to drown myself in McDonalds or KFC (although I wouldn’t kill for a meal of hot & spicy chicken!). They don’t have KFC in Switzerland.

Otherwise, you could say that we’re comfortably settled in and slowly unpacking – or at least I am… 🙂

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