My new toy!

Our new Tefal Activys oven in SG.

Growing up in KL, I have never thought of being without an oven. My mum has a stovetop-oven that she took with her everywhere we moved to and I grew up watching her bake Chinese New Year cookies in them. When I went to Australia, the homes came with ovens and a stovetop. In Switzerland, it was the same and similarly in France.

So when we first moved to Singapore, that was one of my requirements – an oven. Here, most people don’t really own ovens and even if they do, they are tabletop ovens or toaster ovens – something I find to be oddly bizarre. Then again it has a lot to do with Asian cuisine – most dishes are stirfried, steamed, stewed or deep fried.

Anyway, the owner’s oven wasn’t working and after checking with my dad who was an electrician before he retired, we decided that it just wasn’t worth it to get it repaired – for one thing, it wasn’t ours and it was already broken when we moved in. For many months, we looked around for good bargains and I for one found it quite hard to adjust to being downgraded from a “proper” oven to a tabletop one. Still, as time went by and I began to really itch for an oven – this being the festive season for Chinese and I got really tempted to make some pineapple tarts, I decided that I could live with it – better than nothing.

We found a really good bargain at Carrefour – well, we saw the same bargain months back but decided that we could then live without an oven – and went ahead with the purchase. The price included free delivery so we didn’t have to cart it back with our groceries, and Eva – massive workout; no need for fitness equipment! It arrived yesterday in lovely condition and I never felt so excited about getting a kitchen gadget! Nil tried it out yesterday with a regular 9-inch pizza and the blur man forgot to set the temperature, leaving it at 280°C!!!! The pizza turned out “too” cooked on the top and barely on the bottom – yes, he forgot to move the tray to the right height as well. I suspect I’ll need to get some more appropriate baking pans but I’ll get them when or if I need them. In the meantime, I’ll just make do with the baking utensils the owner already has here in the apartment.

Anyway, tonight will be its first proper debut and my foray back into baking again! I’ll be making a fusion baked fish dish and hopefully it’ll turn out nicely. Wish me luck! 🙂

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Moving tales – Part III

We started packing up stuff in the guest/computer room today – mostly yarns (transferring them from their plastic storage to ziplock bags) and bedlinen. We managed to clear away everything into two medium sized boxes (max 25 kg each) – of course we have some more left in the form of documents and my WIPs which I figure will sit well together with some other smaller boxes in the carton we got.

While sorting out the WIPs to bring to Singapore, I pulled out the suitcase which I would be using to go to Singapore and to my shock, found a rubber hose that Mum brought with her in June sitting in the suitcase. Why the heck did she bring a bloody rubber hose??? And what I am going to do with it now? Trash it? Yeah, sure…so much for not wasting money. Sorry folks – I may come across as stingy and tight-fisted but really, to me, every cent counts. Money thrown away just like that is money wasted and I don’t print money – ringgit or otherwise. Some may argue that it just costs a few ringgit to buy a rubber or hose or anything else but add it up and it can amount to a lot back at home or here.

And I DO NOT like the idea of wasting money – contrary to popular belief, Nil and I aren’t swimming in gold and I wish people would stop thinking that we are. And folks, when buying things for people, never assume that you know what they need because chances are you don’t. Things, situation, lifestyle and so forth here even the health insurance leads are all different. Always ask before buying and accept it graciously when people turn your offer down.

Then of course, next to the suitcase is the box of disposable diapers, cloth nappies, baby wipes, hankies and all those things related to baby care which she sent from Malaysia. And that got me to thinking about how to carry all that back to Singapore. Mum naturally volunteered to carry them back but really, what makes her think that it’s going to be that easy considering that she and my dad are heading off to Spain after the trip here for a tour? And then what? Make the bi-monthly, tri-quarterly trip to Singapore just to drop off baby stuff because it’s “cheap”. It’s not – after calculating all these unnecessary costs, it would have been more cost effective to buy them in Switzerland, factoring the move OR not.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate gifts and such but buying disposable diapers and other babycare items when you can find them here is NOT PRACTICAL (we’re not talking about super expensive things like a crib or stroller – even then, I draw the line between buying them in Malaysia versus buying in Europe) – as much as my parents think it is cost-effective and practical, it isn’t!!!

So really, in future, if anyone, ANYONE, tells you that they want to send things over from Malaysia just because it’s cheaper, quote them my example and how I am a living proof of what a nightmare things can be when it comes to storage and relocation.

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Moving tales – Part II

Packing
My wheel has finally been dismantled and is now awaiting storage with some “stuffing” material in the form of towels, bed linens and such. We’ve packed the nuts & bolts plus loose items in a separate ziplock bag so that it doesn’t go missing (at least everything will be together) and with any luck, I’ll see it again in around two to three months’ time.

Nil is also checking out things like truck rentals and such to help with moving our furniture back to France. It looks like we’ll be leaving Switzerland a few days before the middle of August for the family home in Mazel Girard since it’s too hot in Lyon.

Apparently, my father-in-law called recently and complained about how unbearable it’s becoming there. Here where we’re higher than sea level and are therefore seeing cooler conditions, the days are getting warmer – today, the temperature is still alright at 25° but yesterday, it was around 28° in the shade and higher out in the sun during the day. Mind you, no fan and definitely no air-conditioning here. Yes, Malaysians are a spoilt lot! (Just kidding!) So imagine how it is like in Lyon…crazily hot. In fact, so hot that Nil’s grandma used to spent the entire summer and up to early autumn in the family home in Mazel Girard where it’s much cooler.

So yes, we’ll be moving there before the middle of August – baby, myself and my parents – and Nil will probably drive back again to clean up the place and pass the keys off to the next tenant (a bit of drama there, as you will see if you read on). The biggest concern I have with this plan is should she arrive on her expected due date, it means that part of the confinement will have to be carried out in Mazel Girard which will make life difficult for my parents and as well as baby & myself (no Asian stores, no proper utensils, and so forth). So really, Nil and I are hoping that she’ll show up earlier – preferable this week onwards.

Tenancy
Our rental agency is crappy. It’s official.

Apparently a prospective tenant was told that Nil never mentioned anything about quitting the place when she called to sign up for the place. Luckily she called us back to ask us if what they said was true and as you may guess, Nil flew into a fit of sorts. He called the agency this morning and was promptly given excuses like “I don’t understand”, “I don’t know” (did I mention how I abhor those words???) and so forth. Now, if you must know something about the Swiss, it is this – they do not like it when people throw tantrums (unlike how it is back in France and Malaysia where you HAVE to throw tantrums in order to get things done).

So yeah, he managed to sort it out with the agency but still, talk about crappiness. I felt like asking him to ask them if they were intentionally sabotaging us or just have idiots working there. =.=

Keeping sane
I’m still knitting away in front of youtube movies, Murder, She Wrote and so forth, and am happy that I’m close to finishing ONE side of Nil’s blasted socks. The trouble with going back to knitting is that my attention tends to wander to stashing and checking out all sorts of things related to buying like outdoor lighting sale, sock yarns, nursing bras, and so forth. Online window shopping is great and all but you seriously need plenty of self-control!

I’ve also cut back on the cooking by a lot – nothing “too” difficult or complicated. Yes, you could say that I’m getting lazy these days although I suddenly am now craving for a good dish of fried rice with some squid, prawns, watercress and fish cake topped with sliced chillies! *drools*

Oh, for those of you who are reading this, please pray for an early (and smooth) delivery for Eva – we really really need her to make an early appearance in the next two weeks!

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Moving tales – Part I

With slightly less than two months to go till our relocation to Singapore, we naturally have started on preparing a number of things.

Packing up stuff
For my part, I have slightly more on my plate since I’m the one doing the delivery, and care of Eva as well as managing my shop and such. Nearly all my shop stock has been packed away except what’s on sale at the store which will close in a few days time. I’ve been lucky to have had a number of sales right up till today so I don’t anticipate a huge inventory to pack. There is, of course, the tools and dyes to pack up and a spinning wheel to disassemble. My yarn and fibre stash is almost done – I am just missing a number of big boxes to put them all together…I should be able to find a couple of boxes here so Mum, if you’re reading this, please don’t start packing your things into boxes and carting them here.

Thankgoodness we don’t have much furniture and such, not to mention valuables in the form of electrical goods and jewelry.

Today, we spent a good part of the morning going through what we wanted to bring to Singapore and what we wanted to leave here in Switzerland. Since we’re planning on moving into a fully furnished place in Singapore (which means that everything is provided), we’re not going to bring much other than the usual clothes and already bought baby items – don’t laugh when I tell you that I have to bring the cloth nappies, baby liners, baby wipes and cotton buds that Mum shipped from Malaysia back to the same region! Almost all our furniture is heading off to my in-laws and a variety of places for storage or use. My mother-in-law has already pre-booked our bookcase plus a couple of other items and all my plants (lavender, aloe, etc).

As for the kitchen items, we won’t be taking any with us apart from the hand mixer and pressure cooker – we’ll be leaving almost everything with Nil’s family. This means the wok, rice cooker, kettle, toaster, slow cooker, all purpose cooker (I have no idea what this is coz I didn’t buy it – Mum sent it over), my so-called blender, raclette & crepe maker (a wedding gift), Nil’s coffee machine, fondue set and the stand mixer. There is of course a big box of kitchen stuff in the basement which I haven’t looked at in over a year – there are a lot of things that we didn’t really use. I might bring my cake decorating stuff with me but otherwise, all our pots, baking pans, dishes, knives and all will go into storage here in Europe.

A huge bulk of our winter clothes and skiing items have already gone off to my father-in-law for storage so I guess that’s nearly done in terms of packing.

Tenancy
In case I haven’t explained it before, rental procedures here in Switzerland are bizarre. There are only four days in a year where you can move officially – any other day and you’ll have to find a tenant to take over the lease instead of being able to leave it to the agent, which is what’s happening in our case.

The next moving date is 31 July which is next to impossible for us since we’re only leaving in middle of August for France and then flying off to Singapore two weeks later. So Nil has had to put up paid notices for the apartment. I am glad (and so is he) to say that we’ve been having some pretty good luck, of lately. We had over 15 enquires and visits in the past week and a few look very interested in the place (thanks to the view). Nil’s pretty confident that we should be able to find someone. We have our eye on one particular pair and if they do bite, maybe we can offload some of our furniture to them for a lower price – that way we don’t have to worry about carting them back to France.

For my part, I’ve been “charged” to contact some agents in Singapore ASAP by Mum and Nil. I wasn’t too keen on pursuing the issue this soon but thought just to look anywhere to get a rough idea of what the market is like in Singapore. Completely opposite of Switzerland. Properties move fast and although I’ve established some form of contact with the agents there, the replies are almost always the same – “Please remind/call me again in August or once you land in Singapore. We can definitely find you something.” So really, starting this early does not help at all. We do have a rough idea of where exactly we want to go, what we’re looking for and our budget so no worries there.

Hey, it’s not as if this is our first time in Singapore or house hunting! Nil has stayed there for three years and moved three times plus I’ve had my fair share of house hunting in Sydney.

Keeping sane
With Eva coming in less than a month – she’ll be full term come next Thursday – there isn’t much I can do or go without getting those awful pelvic pains. Since my hobby gadgets have been packed or are nearly packed, I can only work on my WIPs and thus pulled out a project which has been hibernating for a while – socks for Nil. He isn’t exactly over the moon about it since it’s merino wool based and Singapore is awfully hot for wool socks but pfft, I couldn’t care less. XD

I might explore working/selling cotton based yarn for socks later this year for the store but we’ll see how it goes.

Then there is the cooking, the napping, easy house chores (gardening, light cleaning, etc) and usual online stuff. I can’t for the life of me understand why I cannot sit still and do nothing. I guess I’m too used to being busy and such. O’well…

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