Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas - 2012 in review from Singapore...

Christmas Eve 2012 - Singapore.

To our friends and family,

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year or for those of you who don’t celebrate – Happy Festive Season.

2012 has been a good year for us, with a few challenges thrown in along the way to keep us on our toes (or on our crutches).

Highlights of our year – holidays! (as always). Alex and Tara are turning into great little travellers. To prove this to us, on our trip to China in September, we hired a driver to take us to the Great Wall. It was a 2 hour car journey there and 2 hours back – due to the heavy traffic in Beijing. With just 2 transformers to amuse them, we managed the 4 hour journey time without any whining. They are both troopers!

This time last year saw us celebrating Christmas in Siem Reap Cambodia. Alex, Tara and I flew up before Gary as somehow he had forgotten to book a leave day – so came up the following day. We all had a brilliant time, and our tuk tuk driver was very pleased when my husband turned up, waving and greeting him like a long lost friend. Kids are adored in this part of the world, and the temples proved to be a tourist attraction for both the kids and adults.

In January, Alex, Tara and I headed back to Adelaide for a get together with the Leydon side of the family for a significant birthday for my brother. It was a lovely time to spend with all of the family and for the kids to reacquaint themselves with their cousins. Unfortunately Gary had to work over Chinese New Year so couldn’t join us but we all had a fabulous time catching up with friends and family.

In March, we went on a 3 week trip to England and France. After landing at Heathrow, we got the hire car – Gary did a fantastic job of navigating us onto the M1 and driving to Nottingham to pick up Ann who joined us for a few nights in a cottage near Chesterfield. What a gorgeous part of England to visit – we had a great time. We then dropped Ann back to Nottingham and headed to Glastonbury where we managed to catch up with Sarah, David and Megan (Gary’s cousin Sarah) and Holly (Gary’s sister). A lovely few days there before we headed to Gatwick for an overnight hotel stay before our early flight to France.

We had a wonderful week skiing in Tignes – it was the first time Alex and Tara had seen snow. They both did ski school and really enjoyed it! On our last day skiing, I managed to fall over (spectacularly) and tear 2 ligaments in my left knee – my ACL was completely torn. Not the end to the holiday we had envisaged – me on crutches and in a brace. We managed to make it on to our flight back to London the following morning (a few tense moments when we thought they weren’t going to let me on the plane due to needing to keep my leg straight), and then to a lovely hotel in Surrey for a few nights where we caught up with Mark and Liz and their girls Rachel and Gemma. Gary did a fabulous job of managing me on crutches or in a wheelchair and 2 kids who got tired of carrying their bags on the way home.

In July, Gary went to Sydney for a course and I had a couple of days in Adelaide and then we all had a lovely few days in Bintan – the easy getaway from Singapore – being just 45 minutes on a ferry.

In September, we had a great week in China / Hong Kong, including some drama before we got Chinese visas as Alex’s Australian passport had less than 6 months and the Chinese embassy refused to put his visa in his British passport so off to the Aussie embassy to get an emergency passport we went. Beijing was great and actually really easy to travel around, despite language barriers. Hong Kong was a lot of fun, especially visiting Disneyland and Ocean Park.

In November, we had a long weekend in Bangkok where we caught up with Gary’s family – Uncle Neville, Ann and Simon. A great time was had by all.

Other highlights of our year – Alex started at ‘big school’ this year – he began at Avondale Grammar School – which is a small International school based on the Australian curriculum here in Singapore. He loves school and took the change in his stride. We bought a car after 3 years of living here – it has been brilliant to have freedom to come and go as we please without relying on taxis. Yes, they are stupidly expensive but ho hum, it’s been great!

Tara has really changed from a toddler to a child this year; she looks so different and is such lovely company (except when she is fierce Tara). Alex and Tara seem closer now than ever before and are good friends who generally like playing together. Alex is devoted to Lego, Star Wars and Ninjago this year while Tara is starting to make real friendships and is becoming the resident TV addict (taking on that role from Alex this year). She also loves Lego as well as dolls and strollers.

Lowlights have been surgery. I had my ACL repaired at the beginning of June and had to wear my brace again / use crutches again for a time. Gary had to have surgery on his shoulder in October to repair a tendon that he tore in a freak fall on a wet path. Ouch! We are both recovering well – Gary is now able to drive again and is slowly getting back into exercise. We have been keeping the orthopedic surgeons / physio in business.

We had Ann come to stay in August and my nephew Daniel came to stay a couple of weeks ago on his way to Vietnam. As always, it’s great to have visitors.

I have had to do a little (Gary says seemed like more than a little to me!) travel for work this year, which has been quite fun really. I got to go to London in February for a conference as the project I’m working on is global with key stakeholders in Europe and North America. It was fun to be back in London for a few days including drinks on Valentine’s Day with Molloy! I have been to Shanghai 3 times, Bangkok once and then Sydney last week (great for a spot of last minute Christmas shopping!) Probably no more travel for me now, which is also good.

2013 is shaping up to be another big year. I am already into planning our holidays - we have Bintan, Adelaide and Vietnam in the frame and hopefully some further afield later in the year.

Anyway, enough words, time for the photos! We wish you health and happiness in the year ahead and hope that our paths will cross again in 2013.

Christmas Lunch 2011 - Siem Reap - Cambodia

Hong Kong Disneyland - September 2012

Alphabet Playhouse End of Year Concert - November 2012

Loving siblings.

All the grandkids - Leydon side - January 2012 Adelaide

With our cousins

With Auntie Holly - Glastonbury - March 2012

Skiing - Tignes - France - March 2012

First day of school - April 2012

Universal Studios Singapore - July 2012

Tiananmen Square - Beijing - September 2012

Great Wall of China - September 2012