A few weeks with Josine

So I’m a little delayed with this post, but now that I’ve found my footing again post-vacation I think it’s about time I update you all on my sister’s visit! We basically alternated between the mature women that we (obviously) are and silly little children getting to stay up late loading up on copious amounts of junk food. But who would have expected anything else…

We first met in Korea, spent a week there (as described in the last post) and then Josine came to Singapore where I met her at the airport at midnight on a Tuesday. We spent the rest of the week here. I showed her the cultural highlights, including Little India where we entertained a restaurant full of Indians as two ungraceful Dutch girls tried to shuffle their curry rice into their mouths using their bare hands. We spent a very rainy Wednesday morning in Chinatown, paid way too much money for an umbrella and visited the Buddha Tooth Relic temple where religious ceremonies were taking place. This city still has ways of surprising me.

On Friday we flew to Bali, and spent our first days in Kuta. We surfed, ate great food, had early morning swims and shopped around. Trying our hand at bargaining with the local ladies. We met Freddy on Sunday morning and drove with him to the north of Bali stopping at temples, villages and various sights on our way to Pemuteran. In this little town the beaches are black, remnants left over from the volcano. We did more swimming, floating in the water as the sun set in the distance, more eating, and more sightseeing. We also spent a morning snorkeling which was absolutely amazing. I (Maggie) had never gone before and it was amazing to see this whole other world under the water. So vibrant, colorful and alive.

After a few days in Pemuteran, on Tuesday we went back south to Ubud. It was here that we walked through rice terraces, visited the Sacred Monkey Forest, made new friends who will sponsor me when I eventually move Bali (okay, not really – but one can dream), drank lots of Indonesian coffee, discovered delicious potato chips, took a cooking class and did some cycling. The ultimate cultural experience was the Cockfight our bicycle tour guide randomly pulled us into, something I didn’t expect to experience and I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t have to see it again. Nevertheless, I saw another side of the culture. The Cockfight was set up in an arena and many men were cheering and throwing down their money in favor of one rooster over the other. Yet another reminder that people all over the world have an affinity to gamble, drink and smoke.

Early Friday morning, we were back on an airplane to Singapore. Once we arrived Chris had prepared a delicious brunch which set the tone for our next few days. We went on to spend some time in Sentosa playing soccer in the heat on the beach, which lasted all of 20 minutes. We went to the Sound of Music in the Marina Bay Sands on Singapore National day, followed up by a drink up on top of the hotel. One full day was spent in the waterpark on Sentosa having a blast taking all of the slides. We rode the gondola from Sentosa Island to Mount Faber (highest hill in Singapore, 105m) and hiked down in the dark to our house. All the while imagining various snakes lurking in the corners of the trail. But we survived. Moreover, we shopped, visited museums, ate, laid on the poolside and just relaxed. Exactly as one should do on a holiday.

After a few weeks like this I could have really used the ice bucket challenge to wake me up before I was thrown back into reality. That being said, the time away was really the best. It re-energized me to keep working away on my thesis and it was great for me to give Josine some insight into the life Chris and I have here in Singapore.

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