How much you forget

You mentally remember things and say you ‘know’, but when it comes to actually living it day to day, it seems you forget and can forget more than you’d think, even after only 3 years.

Singapore was home to DengLang for many many years (we won’t count, but his whole childhood and much of his adulthood).  Singapore became AngMoh’s “home” after living there for 7 years and experiencing so many life-changing events: meeting DengLang the love of her life and giving birth to their first daughter. Not to mention being so fit and stronger physically and mentally for AngMoh, than any other period of her life. There had been a lot of brain work involved to get the strong mental and emotional state.

After 3 years and a few months in the States, they hopped on a plane for the trip to Singapore to collect their BTO (built to order) flat through Singapore’s government run housing authority, which they had applied for before moving to the States (though knowing they would be moving). With only 4-5 days to prepare flight and arrival details, they planned the following:

  • A bed and mattress purchase from local Singapore store online in US, before flying so it can be delivered the first day they have the keys
  • A list of furniture and stuff from Ikea they’ll buy
  • No plans to renovate like most Singaporeans do, as there is not enough time, nor is the expense needed for a place not lived in every day
  • No plans to install Aircon or air conditioning, due to little time there and mostly because they wouldn’t be there consistently to maintain and service it. They also thought for 2 weeks and a few days they’d be fine with fans.
large bunkbed in small flat in Singapore bto hdb

That last bullet is what drives the punchline of this blog post.

One lives in Singapore their whole life, another lives there for 7 years and came from a different climate (so maybe the impact of the different climate has a greater affect?) And both thought they could manage in Singapore for three weeks without air conditioning.

In retrospect, they wish they had arranged for Aircon to be installed, even if it was only going to be used for 2 weeks.

Singapore is hot and humid – that equals sticky, sweaty and smelly bodies, multiple showers a day, and lots of mosquitoes.

toddlers in hot and humid singapore

With two toddlers, everything is amplified.

Sleep was tough without air conditioning. Two fans, one that was a cooling fan with water made it possible to sleep, but it came with constant wind and wanting to cover with light blanket and then getting sweaty since you’re covered and mosquitoes braving through the wind of the fans to attack the girls.

All the factors mentioned above made it all the more challenging to just be there and get on with daily life (while you’re there).  The girls were more cranky and naughty because they’re hot, sticky and have tons of mosquito bites and they cannot articulate their discomfort well.  Both girls got heat rashes on their necks and Chili Padi started to refuse to wear her long hair up in a pony tail, which perpetuated the heat rash. 

Things are more stressful when you’re hot and sticky and uncomfortable, AND have kids that are itchy.

Definitely not trying to complain – but rather ‘What were we thinking?’ “How could we forget how hot and humid it would be every day and all the things that come with that?”

Next visit, even if it’s only two weeks, they will plan ahead to get Aircon installed and not worry about maintenance and servicing as they can shut off the power breaker when they are away.

The difference between a 2 hour domestic flight and an overnight international flight – Part 2

Sorry for the delay!! For the first part, you can read it here.

The morning after the layover, focus on some food and breakfast, getting the girls ready and AngMoh had a job interview.  The girls watched TV to distract from AngMoh leaving the room to go find a relatively quiet spot for the interview in the airport hotel.

Breakfast was a pastry and yogurt, and always some coffee.  Interview was smooth and went well, sitting in a chair outside the lifts or elevator hub.   There were tons of other seats and tables, but the music was too loud or the wifi signal was too weak the further the table or chair was from the center.

family check in at airport

Check-in at LAX for the long haul flight was smooth and they made it through security without much issue. Flight was saying delayed, so there was plenty of time to get some food before boarding. Though the staff at AngMoh’s food of choice in LAX were horrible.  After filling up everyone’s tummy they discovered a playground, hidden in the back behind the toilets which was behind the food area.  What a game changer! The girls could run and jump and slide and pretend to surf and enjoyed every minute of it.

Turns out the flight was back on time and no longer delayed, and so they made it to the gate for boarding in perfect timing.

Once sitting down in their seats after pre-boarding with the littles, DengLang and AngMoh looked across the aisle at each other and exclaimed – “miles different, so shiok”. Economy Value, in the back of the plane, but each seat has its own TV screen (of course), and they had a middle and an aisle seat in the same row.  Boarding finished and just so nice – the window seat next to AngMoh was empty.  This was so nice with a young toddler by your side.  No need to worry about her kicking and touching her seat neighbors.

Skip ahead more than 10 hours, the girls watched movies and slept, and enjoyed having their own tray of food. Don’t you love the innocent and true appreciation for the small things. We adults take so many things for granted and even more so as expected. If only we could package up the joy, excitement and appreciation the girls have with something new and share it with the adults in this world, as well as teach our littles to never lose that!

AngMoh hasn’t seen so many movies in a row as that flight.  Hard to sleep when caring for the little one. Even when she slept, she was likely to roll and fall off the seats. 

The layover in Narita airport, Tokyo was quick and super easy.  No additional lines or re-check through security.  Basically a pit stop for the bathroom and filling up the water bottles with water. 

6 more hours on a plane, and they managed as well as could! Movies and shows really save the day with kids and the adults! Difficult to sleep even when your little one is sleeping as you’re afraid they’ll roll off the seats. Both the girls, especially the littlest one are crazy movers and kickers while sleeping (I suppose just like their mummy, AngMoh.)

Arrived in Singapore at 1am, family greeted us and we had a tea/coffee and chilled at the airport for a few hours before heading over to AhMa’s (Grandma’s) place for a rest on the couch as our check-in to AirBnb hotel wasn’t until 4pm that same day.

family greeting at ariport with name cards

The difference between the 2 hour domestic flight and the 14 hour international flight – Part 1

Everyone knows travelling with your kids can pose it’s challenges. DengLang and AngMoh were about to ‘feel’ this and experience it first hand.

A bit of background – Chili Padi (their now 4 year old) travelled on a plane at 6 months and 11 months. She hadn’t started exploring walking at 11 months, and the overnight, long haul flight from Singapore to Denver for their international move/relocation, ended up being quite smooth. Albeit some explosive diaper situations… Skip ahead, Chili Padi can definitely scream in the car like any other kid but it’s usually when she’s tired or if she gets uncomfortable. For the most part, shes pretty good at entertaining herself. (Only in Singapore when whe was an infant she would cry every time the taxi stopped at stop light).

Her little sister is a different story – born in the US in the middle of COVID. Every ‘home house’ trip – Airbnb places in different Colorado mountain towns, the little one would scream and cry in the car making a 2 hour drive a 5 hour drive. After the age of 1 and walking, she fights and wants to play nearly every time you try to put her in the car seat.

Okay, so the domestic 2 hour 20 min flight from Denver to LAX, the necessary journey to connect to the overnight haul flight to Singapore. Booked the whole flight through Singapore Airlines (not a travel agent). Tried to reserve seats and was only able to do it online for the long haul flights. They said to contact the domestic airlines directly for seats on the short domestic flights.

Called United Airlines on Thursday or Friday for our Tuesday evening flight. They confirmed they booked us two and two on the flight and said they waived the fee because we were flying with minors. Relief….

Getting to the airport was as smooth as could have hoped, with reserving a private shuttle (which ended up being slightly cheaper than the shared rides like Lyft). Navigating through to check-in with 3 big suitcases, 2 car seats in a bag, and 1 rolling carry-on (plus two big backpacks) and 2 kiddos under 4 years old – is NOT easy. Was about to buy the trolly for $6 and an airline lady said she’d call someone for a $5 tip. Checked in on the screen and it said they didn’t have seats!!! Asked two agents standing by and they said we had to see the gate agent. They couldn’t do anything for us.

Get through security – kids Pedialyte powder packs and pouches call for extra screening…
They go to the gate – but the gate that was printed on the boarding pass and at check-in had a different destination. They just thought it was another flight before theirs. So went to get some much needed food into the kids and their tummys.
Upon going back to the gate, the flight had changed gates. When we get there, the gate agent said no way can they move seats around to accommodate them. AngMoh told them she had called to confirm seats, she told them their boarding passes printed with ‘see agent’, they didn’t even print with what seats they were in. Luckily the agent was able to move AngMoh up to a seat next to one in the family. And the other 2 seats were the row behind and in the middle across from each other. Attempted pre-boarding and luckily, oh luckily the people in the row with the separated middle seats were already on and kind enough to swap so a parent could be with each kiddo.

AngMoh is still fuming and outraged at United Airlines since she knows she called days ahead and thought all along they had seats.

People on a plain on airline seats

Chili Pad did amazing on the flight. All the snacks and head phones and things we brought kept her occupied and she stayed in her seat the whole time.
Her little sister, yet another story. Love her dearly, but know that 1.5-2.5 is probably the most challenging age to fly with. She was so excited for her own seat but still struggled to keep her bum sitting still. Pouch, fruit leather and two lollipops later they’re finally in the air. Though, a poo happened in diaper right before take-off but already on board. She was great at waiting. Though it seemed we had to wait forever. The rest of the flight was literally a back and forth scramble between rows from Daddy and Chili Padi and Mummy. Trying to help her not fall and not bump into people. Not easy when there’s other people sitting in the isle.

The descent was rough for the little one. Refused to sit in her seat, refused the lollipop, refused the pouch, screaming and spinning and sliding in her seat area. Finally mummy could get her on her lap and nurse her for the landing.

Contrails of airplane flying

Needless to say, event though it was only a 2 hour flight, by the time we made it to the layover hotel, AngMoh and DengLang were exhausted.

The busy mind and eluding sleep

How many people struggle to get to sleep because of a busy mind?  I suppose the number is pretty high. My husband and I, well as our bio says, are much alike and think many of the same things while also being vastly different and from completely opposite cultures and upbringings. 

I could imagine DengLang could name more of the differences than AngMoh could.  But one of the same traits is the busy mind keeping us awake and unable to sleep.

busy mind keeping you awake

DengLang’s mind might focus on one particular thing and if not solved in his mind, will keep him up and not able to get some shut eye no matter how hard he tries.

AngMoh’s busy mind tends to start on one thing and then jump to every other thing going on or not even going on and can keep her up for no good reason hours past trying to get to sleep. 

So what do you do when you know you have a busy mind? For AngMoh, she needs to start writing. She tried counting sheep, she tried in bed meditation, and slow breathing methods and her mind keeps jumping. 

counting sheep to sleep

Whether it’s writing the task list for the next day to be hopefully more successful than today, or sudden inspiration for a blog post, writing should be the answer for now.

So with that, minds are busy not every night but usually when something big and pivotal is happening.

The big and pivotal could be any number of things though:

  • A personally disturbing  outburst at the kids, from lack of tolerance or getting pushed over the edge – the moment it’s out, you’re left saddened and ashamed by exploding on your precious little ones.
  • The loss of a job or steady source of income
  • The real conversation between spouses/partners or close friends  of challenges that you’re working through but still scare you  (in our case spouses)
  • The sudden booking and arranging of an exciting and overall ‘good’ overseas trip and situation

That’s just a few to mention that seem to spark the busy mind that struggles to get rest.  And after writing those few, it helps put them into perspective – they are big and important! Each one in a different way, but each one deserves some grace to get through it.

Each one could likely be an entire blog post as well…

We’ll see how the inspiration goes. And we’re happy to share the vulnerability of our challenges, in hopes that it might help others. 

Our first attempt at growing pumpkins

This is a story of both success and failure combined. If you want to skip ahead to the lessons learned, by all means, please do.

AngMoh had always had the desire to have a green thumb and grow edibles, mostly vegetables, in her own garden. AngMoh had found some success about 12-15 years ago in a backyard in Colorado. So that sparked the ever optimistic approach. (Though DengLang always says that was ages ago and in a different time / different life so cannot compare)

The first attempt at gardening in their current home in Colorado was in a raised planter box that DengLang had built (out of the left over wood from building our fence).  It was raised and quite high as intended for use when AngMoh was pregnant. Some success with root vegetables and leafy greens, but not great success. Likely due to lack of companion planting for organic pest control, too shallow of soil and watering consistency.

Planning for gardening season in 2022 started in fall of 2021 and much more preparation and reading went into it.  There was a patch of grass and section of the yard that was off in a corner, closer to the house and quite low, so water pooled.  AngMoh attempted to get quotes for extending the deck to fill the space, but few quotes came in and were way too expensive for a simple deck extension.  Instead, they decided to remove the grass and attempt a larger in-ground garden.

They tore up and ripped up the grass. DengLang did most of the hard digging but AngMoh also got down and dirty by moving the grass and dirty into a barrier mound – hoping to stop and soak up the pooling water, as well as keep the dog, Indy or of the hopeful garden space.

AngMoh decided to leverage the mound for planting squash and pumpkins. (After an accidental success of zucchini squash in that general area in a prior year.)

Seeds were planted – bought seeds for pumpkins and zucchini and some saved seeds from pumpkin, acorn squash and spaghetti squash. Beautiful foliage and leaves grew all along the mound.

pumpkin zucchini and squash garden

Zucchini and yellow summer squash were up close by the neighbor’s fence.  Acorn squash were the first to produce fruit, and the pumpkins were next to start. Interestingly, the zucchini, summer squash and spaghetti squash all produced slowly and minimally.

The girls (3.5 and 1.5 years) were extremely eager to help with watering and any gardening activity they could.  They area near the neighbor’s fence got too over crowded and also in an awkward access position.  Occasionally AngMoh would see these different kinds of bugs, kind of beetle looking types, and tried to wash them off with the hose on full strength.  If only she’d have paid more attention to these bugs the first time she saw them.

Nearing season end, the produce from the zucchini and summer squash was bare minimum.  And several were dead/getting eaten on the vine.

The pumpkins were growing, and they could see 5-7 of them.  Those pumpkins really extend their vines every which way.

After a short trip away, the plants weren’t looking so great, mostly the foliage and leaves dying too soon.  They thought it was from lack of water while they were away, but upon closer inspection- it was the bugs.

Come to find out squash bugs are a thing.  And once they’d get started, they are relentless!

AngMoh did some reading and quickly decided a vacuum was going to do the trick. Clear the dead foilage, and vacuum up those suckers.

Overall, the girls are super happy we still get 6 or more pumpkins from our own yard. And we got a few dinners out of the very few zucchini, yellow summer squash, spaghetti squash and acorn squash that made it past the bugs.

Lessons learned:
  • Growing pumpkins and squash is not so easy as planting seeds and forgetting about them (albeit watering of course)
  • Pumpkins are the hardiest of the squash when it comes to squash bugs
  • Over crowding really is not good… everyone says it and it’s true
  • If you see squash bugs, try to eradicate them before they proliferate and destroy
  • Vacuuming really DOES work for squash bugs
  • Water the base of the plants and not the foliage, consistently
  • Plant herbs in between that are good at warding off mosquitoes (lemon balm, pepper mint)

The 24hr rally booking an urgent trip overseas

When the big puzzle pieces fall into place and specifically with the right timing, we have to jump or rally to make sure we accept the blessing.

For DengLang and AngMoh, this has been a theme for the past 3-4 years. The actions and decisions they’ve taken may seem in the moment and may come with some risk, but so far timing surrounding those decisions and the outcomes have all fallen into place, better than they could have planned or imagined.

(Quitting a job in Singapore to give birth, obtaining DengLang’s US visa right when lease agreements are ending and funds running out, finding a rental in US and landing a consulting job 2 weeks after arriving, leading to a full time job and ability to buy a house, when pregnant with the second child – just to name a few of the big puzzle pieces fitting nicely together). 

And most recently and what this post is about – waiting approx. 3 years or more for our tiny flat in Singapore to be built and ready for collection, losing a job due to the mortgage industry fluctuations and a company reduction in force, scared of the unknown timing for the Singapore flat collection (in relation to needing to ask for time away from a brand new job/employer) and finding out on a Thursday that our flat is ready and keys can be collected less than two weeks later, before a new job has been secured. 

singapore airlines plane flying

So hence starts the 24hr rallying –

  • 650am – DengLang informs AngMoh it’s ready, let’s talk later if we can go.
  • 730am – Both have separately researched flight prices and processed logic of – perfect timing, best to go now when AngMoh is actively interviewing but doesn’t have a job secured yet.
  • 8am –  Quickly discuss same logic and decision, and look at flights again.
  • 815am – Confirm Indy, our rescue dog, can be boarded at our preferred boarding place.
  • 830am – Check on cats boarding place (no space /availability at same place as Indy)
  • 9am – Book flights – amazingly was able to find prices reasonable for only booking 5 days out…  Flight departs in Tues. – and price is around the average of what we’ve seen historically when looking for Singapore to Denver or vice versa.
  • 1030am – Book a one night layover hotel room in LAX due to a 14 hour layover (hotel = $130, if we booked different departure days for the flights it would have been about $1500 more no matter which way you tried to slice and dice it!)
  • 11am – AngMoh informs local sisters (we’ll sadly miss our nieces 16th birthday party) and DengLang has a small notebook dedicated to several lists mostly filled out already:
    • What to bring in carry on
    • What tools and not standard things to bring
    • What people to meet
    • What places we want to go when we’re there

The rest of Thursday – take Chili Padi to preschool and pick her up.  [Our precious 4 year may be little but she packs a punch with her strength both physically and emotionally/personality, so her nickname to us is chili Padi (the spicy Thai chili or red cut chili in soy sauce)]

We do our best to talk about the things we need to do lightly while going on with raising the toddlers and feeding them dinner and putting them to bed.  But both our busy minds kept each one awake for many hours longer than should….

Skip ahead to Friday AM
  • Determine how we get to the airport (and back home)
    • Train and bus is cheap, but not feasible with two little kiddos, 3 large luggages, some carry-ons and two car seats.
    • Leaving the truck is $200 parking and runs the risk of catalytic converter theft.
    • Private or shared shuttle and rides are WAY more expensive than either of us thought (inflation AND traveling with 4 instead of 1)
  • Booked a private shuttle, the cheapest we could find for $260
  • Booked an Airbnb in Singapore for 4 nights
  • Bought the bed and mattresses in Singapore to be delivered to our flat – hopefully the day after we collect the keys. 
  • Called 3 airlines:
    • Call United airlines to book seats together to ensure parents are with a each toddler even for the 2 hour domestic flight (Singapore air would not let us select or reserve seats)
    • Call Delta, have to use the text messaging as it would have been a 30 min wait, to book seats for the last 2 hour leg of the flight.
    • Call Singapore air to request special dietary meal.  (Used to be able to do online we thought, but no where was it available on this reservation). AngMoh is gluten free vegetarian, so the best option for long flights is Asian or Indian Vegetarian (most likely get rice!)
  • Picked up snacks for the upcoming 14hr + more flight:
  • Picked up some screws needed to bring for outfitting our new flat
  • Packed the clothes – for both toddlers and AngMoh and DengLang
  • Organized the suitcases
  • Picked our pumpkins in the back yard that had matured
  • Set vacation hold on our mail

All while letting the littles get their energy out also – basement time doing art, running, swinging and tumbling.

So what’s left for the weekend before we fly?

  • Final packing of suitcases
  • Confirm toys (and food) for the pets, to bring on their boarding
  • Pack carry-ons – 1 for the girls, + a mini backpack each for themselves, and large backpacks for DengLang and AngMoh
dinosaur backpack for toddlers
  • Sort power cables and plugs for computer and phone
  • Sort phone arrangement for overseas – what’s cheapest and works with current Whatsapp number or regular US number for AngMoh who will still actively be interviewing for a new job back in the US.

And hopefully some rest… 

One cupboard left unopened

Isn’t it strange how, whenever we visit a new place, we have the need to open every cupboard, drawer and nook openable (maybe it’s just me) and look at what’s inside or if there’s anything inside at all? Perhaps it is the need to familiarize ourselves with a new space that we have planned to encroach upon over the next few days or simply being a ‘Kaypo’ (busy body)… Whichever suits your excuse to go around opening people’s stuff… For me it’s both I guess. I’m Singaporean you see, born and raised before I moved to the States with my wife. And I think deep down I have a responsibility to keep and showcase the Singapore culture wherever I go as long as it’s tolerated of course. And being ‘Kaypo’ is part of that culture. We LOVE poking our noses into other people’s business you see. That’s just how we were bred. Be curious and always ‘Kaypo’. But I diversify.

So that’s when we arrive at a new space. But what about when we leave? Isn’t it more important to check the drawers and nooks before we leave a space? Lest we leave something behind? Unless we are there for only a couple of nights, I like to take my belongings out of my luggage and use the bedroom drawers (if there are any). And I think my Ang Moh wife caught on to it too. Ang Moh had recently been the one checking drawers and cupboards when we reach AND when we leave…. Or so I thought…. So nowadays I leave it to Ang Moh to do the’Kaypo-ing’ and the check before we leave.

mountain house kitchen cupboards

But…. The first time was when we were leaving Breckenridge, CO (Breck)… Ang Moh was packing up the clothes in the bedroom so Deng Lang was just chilling. When we reached home that day, we received a text for a lost and found item. Apparently, Ang Moh had left one cupboard unchecked and Deng Lang’s Carhartt jeans with his Arcade belt got left behind. Now how did Ang Moh miss that cupboard? It was blocked by the bedroom door, so Ang Moh thought there probably wasn’t anything in there… (Wah lau…. She assumed…) Anyway, we went back a couple of weeks after, so we managed to pick up Deng Lang’s wonderful pair of jeans and the one in 50 belts that Deng Lang has that was left behind. Fast forward a couple of months and we are back in Breck again. (Timeshare and fractional real estate is lovely especially if you love experiences and live only 2 hours away). This time while checking out, (yes, you guessed it) Ang Moh left one cupboard in the kitchen unopened and we forgot to bring home some instant oats and a WHOLE BAG of raisins (Ang Moh says there was only a little left. Of course.) So at the time of writing this blog, we have no raisins for our morning oats that Deng Lang and our darling girls live on….

Family with dog on hike

Funny isn’t it, being marvelously intelligent and sharp, how did Ang Moh miss checking those cupboards? And why did Deng Lang take for granted and not counter check? This is what happens when you’re sleep deprived and under nourished (both in body and mind) when you’re taking care of 2 toddlers (I don’t know how people stay sane with more than 2). So note to self – next time we should probably second each other and check each other NOT because we don’t trust each other’s ability but instead KNOWING that both of us are walking zombies that might miss somethings sometimes. Thank goodness we have never and will never leave one of our kids behind.

denglang and angmoh at dinner with crazy toddlers

Has Deng Lang ever left anything behind in our trips? Maybe… But he’s not saying anything.

The Scuba Dive AngMoh will never forget -Part 2

We hope you were able to have a quick read of Part 1, but if you missed it, it’s here!

The next day of diving, a further distance away to a notorious dive site that has strong current and undertows.  The Dive master (local to Puerto Galera, Philippines) had warned everyone and instructed for all to stay close to him and each other and to hold on to the rocks/coral etc. 

(Never has AngMoh enjoyed having to hold on, as being taught to respect the ocean life and not disturb the live coral. Even dives where they specifically go to current waters to look for Manta Rays and just sit there to hold on are not considered fun or enjoyable for AngMoh).

Puerto Galera Philippines

They dove/swam over a nice reef for the first part of the dive with some definite current, but it was very manageable. They all swam over the edge of the reef to swim along side/by a wall.  AngMoh had loved walls in the past. This one was different. The current was seemed to be going every which way – hence the undertow and even over-tows. Everyone in the group had to grab and take hold of the wall.  The Dive master was working on grabbing people and helping them get to the wall. AngMoh and DengLang were dive buddies and were closer to the front of the group, hanging on to the wall and practically ‘climbing’ instead of swimming or drifting, as you would expect for a nice dive.

At some point, AngMoh’s grip on the wall was lost and she started going down and then up with the current very quickly.  She struggled to swim back with all her might, literally fearing death with how strong the current was. DengLang had been trying to reach and grab her as well, but knowing for his own safety and each other’s, he had to maintain grip on the wall and could only use one arms length of reach. AngMoh’s determination and experience helped her reach the wall. The Dive master had been helping someone else and only came over after AngMoh had made it back to the wall. He made sure AngMoh was able to find a more secure grip. The next minutes seemed like hours for AngMoh as she focused all her mind on calming herself down to slow her breathing so she’d have enough air to get back to the surface. At the same time of trying to calm down, AngMoh had to clear and reset her mask. The current was so strong and there was an intense fight swimming down against the current with all her might that the mask for sure had shifted and lost suction.

Time was moving so slow.  Calming down, hanging on and barely able to see DengLang through traumatized eyes and a recently cleared mask, it felt like the group was never going to get out of that treacherous spot and find a way back to the safety of the surface. Perception thwarted, the group – everyone including AngMoh (thank God!) started to crawl their way up over the crest of the ridge/top of the wall and back to hovering over the reef in calm waters for their safety stop.

Back on land and fairly quickly retreating to their room at the resort, AngMoh noticed a red rash over her entire belly and abdomen. AngMoh assumed it was a mild case of the bends (decompression sickness), given how the current had taken her UP and away and there was no telling how far and how fast she had gone up before swimming back to the wall. AngMoh and DengLang enjoyed dinner with the group, despite this dive town being a bit notorious for obnoxious and drunk Japanese men traveling and partying without their significant other.

AngMoh decided to sit out the rest of the dives the following (and last) day of diving.  The trauma of being taken by the current, (literally where ‘being scared to death’ seems to fit perfectly… ), the red rash and the bends and generally not feeling herself and remembering the first easy dives were a bit of a struggle with air consumption, there was no hesitation in not going on the remaining dives of the trip.

Tired couple after diving
Both tired after the ordeal, but still smiling!

Back home, in Singapore, working and living daily life, AngMoh started to realize she still had not got her menstrual cycle back after the miscarriage and dive trip. Loh and behold, AngMoh was pregnant again! They came to find out after learning they were pregnant, that AngMoh was about 5 weeks pregnant while diving on the Puerto Galera, Philippines dive trip.  It was no wonder that the easy dives felt different and just a complete mind-boggling experience of that trauma and slight case of the bends in early pregnancy.

Precious was born about 8 months later.  And a perfect little baby girl.

infant baby girl

They never put much thought into the dive experience while pregnant in terms of it affecting Precious in any way.  Though it still remains the last dive that AngMoh has done and one that she will never forget.

Once the kiddos are older and there is family to help watch them, AngMoh and DengLang are excited to dive again, though not in any notoriously high current ocean dives and turbulent unknown undertows and over-tows.

The scuba dive AngMoh will never forget – Part 1

Scuba diving was a hobby that both DengLang and AngMoh enjoyed – especially together.  AngMoh got certified when living in Colorado circa 2010.  One interesting fact is that Colorado being a land-locked state, has the highest percentage of Scuba divers per Capita of all the U.S. states. 

DengLang was just finishing his certification in Singapore when they started dating.  So, quite naturally, it became the reason for many trips together.

As DengLang was running (owned, managed, and taught) a Muay Thai gym, he was a natural at organizing events. He garnered enough interest from multiple students to become certified and luck would have it, a regular/loyal student was already certified in training Scuba Diving as well. Thus, multiple trips were organized to help the newbies get certified, to dive for fun as a group who already knows and trains Muay Thai together, to get advanced certified, and even rescue diver certified.

Enough background, DengLang and AngMoh became pregnant and after a non-diving holiday to Bangkok, Thailand in October. AngMoh’s first doctor visit occurred. AngMoh and DengLang were both there when the news of a missed miscarriage had happened shook their world. 

A dive trip to Puerto Galera, Philippines with the ‘gym’ group was in the works and getting planned.  Dive trip was scheduled for the first week in December, less than 2 months after the missed miscarriage. As AngMoh was no longer pregnant, the plan included her as a diver on the trip. (And a more experienced one of the group). Given nearly 100 dives under her belt, and maybe also because she’s been a singer most her life, AngMoh had a fairly good and steady intake and use of oxygen under water.  Meaning she should stay down for a full 40-50 min dive and still have air left when surfacing. 

Philippines was exciting.  A new place, further away from their more recent jaunts/trips to diving and knowing that the Philippines has some awesome dive sites.

The first few dives of the trip were shallow and mellow dives to get re-acquainted with the water.  Fairly close to the shore and hotel/resort location. What was odd was that AngMoh was not feeling ‘normal’.  Her air consumption on the easy and shallow dives was way more than any dive she could remember.  She obviously shared this perplexing news with DengLang and they agreed to just keep diving and see how things go…

Please stay tuned for Part 2!

The story of the ‘cursed’ flight – Part 2

We hope you read Part 1, but in case you missed it – you can find it here. (It’s a 2 min read only)

Skip ahead 6 weeks and about 6 months, DengLang and AngMoh are ready to take their 6 month old precious daughter on her first overseas trip to one their favorite countries and places – Thailand. 

Prior to being pregnant and giving birth, DengLang and AngMoh had adopted two Singapore specials – rescued two of Singapore’s street dogs.  Dora was rescued with her mom and litter and was adopted at 9 weeks old.  Indy was adopted about 6 months later at the age of 5 months. The story was that his litter was rescued from a construction site at around 3-4 months of age.  Definitely enough time for some significant trauma to settle in deep, rendering Indy being scared of everything and everyone (except DengLang and AngMoh, his family).  They had found a wonderful sitter through Singapore’s online pet-sitter platform and Indy and Dora were well taken care for most of DengLang and AngMoh’s trips and adventures. 

Why, come to find out later, their doggies even had social profiles from their holidays….

Their favorite sitter was originally available and then not available due to her work, luckily with enough time for them to find a different one for the upcoming Krabi, Thailand trip with 6 month old precious.  Enter the new sitters, a western couple new on the platform, but the intro and meet and greet / visit went well and seemed to be comfortable all around.

They drop the dogs off the night before their flight due to an earlier departure time the next morning.  Boarding and flying was smooth and spirits were high, finally taking advantage of the flight voucher from Scoot airlines (from part 1) on a leisure trip and bringing their precious for her first overseas adventure.

The landing in Thailand was smooth.  After clearing customs and they were able to get reception and look at their phone – what do they see and hear? – messages from the new sitters that they had lost Indy.  On the first walk of the morning, while DengLang, AngMoh and precious were either boarding or on the flight, Indy was already ‘lost’. The sitters had already been searching for hours and unable to locate him. 

DengLang and AngMoh checked into their hotel in Krabi, Ao Nang Hill @ 11/1, and immediately started planning how to get back to Singapore to help in the search for Indy, one of their Singapore rescue pups.  The first flight back was the next morning.  They HAD to stay for 1 night.  Meanwhile back home in Singapore, the SOSD (Save Our Street Dogs) was helping with the search and sending out flyers and social media posts.

So for a few hours in Thailand, they managed to take some adorable pics of precious and head to town for some dinner and a walk near the beach.  AngMoh was baby wearing so precious got to see a bit of Thailand, bought her first pair of Thai pants (to be worn many times in hot hot Singapore), watch the waves as night set in and ride in a tuk tuk on the way back to the hotel.

Indy was found, thank God!, by the sitters and was able to be ‘caught’, also thank goodness, before they even boarded their return flight.  There was no staying in Thailand or turning back on they newly purchased/adjusted flight. Though, rightfully so, DengLang and AngMoh needed to be there for Indy after another traumatic 24 hours of being lost.  Dora and Indy had been given over to the favorite sitter as she was back in town and the new sitters that had lost him were also traumatized by losing someone else’s dog.  They removed themselves as sitters from the platform.

So all in all there was something about ‘that flight’ that was just not meant to be. Potential crisis one averted in part 1 when AngMoh was pregnant.  And who knows, but potential crisis two was also diverted by a mini crisis of its own. 

Glad that it was over with! Whatever was associated with that flight and the timing of each, months apart.