Capturing our love for art, adventure and learning
Dream big, live simply, laugh often and love a lot!
That's what we've been doing on this Grand Tour. We've been driving across the states of Johor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Perak, Pahang, Penang and Kedah, soaking in the sights, food and culture. You can read our entire Malaysia series here!
We've been dreaming big! I've decided I would like to co-author a book, do up photography, video content of road trip through North and South Island New Zealand in a camper van in honour of my dad. I know he would have loved it so much to go on a trip like that. It is more than travelling on his behalf, it is making that last thing we shared come to life.
I've sat with my dad on countless occasions along hospital corridors, in the clinics and by his bed side for hours in the two years he battled the cancer. Those times gave me an insight I never had of my old man. I still remember the day he showed me the channels he subscribed to on Youtube vividly. We sat waiting for his number to be called in the Haematology Department at Singapore General Hospital. He whipped out his iPad as usual and went: "I'm watching this ang moh build their own container house". It was the "Life uncontained" channel on Youtube! I've never seen him so excited! Mind you, he had a rare blood cancer that sucked the life out of him. We would discuss the progress of the renovation every week and when they missed a scheduled upload, we'd comment about it. It was something special between us! I still watch it weekly. I wish he was here to see the completed house.
After showing me the "Life uncontained" stuff, he went on to say "You see this van, they can cook, got toilet and he drive all over and travel". I was in absolute shock because I WATCH VAN LIFE VIDEOS TOO!? and I'm also crazy about living out in the nature and HGTV/renovations. His eyes sparkled and I could tell he was so excited about it. We watched several episodes from the Chinese van life channel. He would occasionally say "How good can travel everywhere and do this...Singapore don't allow, they should allow this". New Zealand was also the last place we planned to go as a whole family just before the pandemic hit. My heart aches as I'm writing about this now.
(I did New Zealand for my honeymoon and you can read about it by clicking the destinations tab and selecting New Zealand!)
I'm so glad we've come up with a meaningful way to memorialise my dad. We miss him terribly. The only issue is....we can't make the trip. Airfares alone are $8000-$9000 for all of us. Camper rental would cost another $6000 for a month. That's not including camp sites, fuel, food and attraction costs. We estimate that a trip for a month to properly cover the North and South Island would cost more than $20,000 cash. It didn't cost this much pre-pandemic! The costs have doubled!
We are determined to make this work and at the same time we would love to continue travelling long-term. We've come up with a series of products that we are excited to launch very soon. We hope to get your strong support so that we could make this plan work in the near future!
We've been living simply and enjoying the simple pleasures of life: Food! There is where I made the MISTAKE THAT ALMOST KILLED ME. It was a regular evening, we were happy to visit a cafe near our apartment to enjoy a good meal after a good day of homeschool and content creation. I was excited to see a delicious chicken burger picture on the menu....
Chicken burger and a golden ring on top. What would you assume it is? An onion ring right?! Lo and behold, I put the WHOLE THING into my mouth and it tasted nothing like an onion ring. It was a calamari! I spat it out immediately but it was too late.
I’m dangerously allergic to calamari/squid/shellfish/Molluscs.
I experienced TWO episodes of anaphylaxis over the years after I ate steamboat and fried food contaminated with squid/shellfish. Had swelling all over, couldn't breathe properly, very very high heart rate + crash after that and had a whole body of rash. Ended in emergency to get jabs that didn’t help much. Each time it took two weeks of medical leave to recover from it.
Debra was immediately alarmed, she witnessed it first hand the previous time it happened. (Sorry I scared the crap out of you!)
I drank my coffee and assumed it would wash it down fine. After all, I didn't swallow the calamari. I only felt a little tired which I assumed was normal post-meal tiredness. We went to the supermarket to get some groceries and that was when the serious reaction started.
The little tiredness became extreme exhaustion and I gradually felt more and more confused + brain fog. I stood in the supermarket thinking "buy toilet paper" and I did walk to the aisle. When I arrived at the row, I stood there staring at the toilet paper in a daze. I completely forgot where I was and why I was there. My body was reacting to the "toxins" and I think my blood pressure fell. We managed to get back safely and I collapsed in bed. I slept/concussed for an entire 12 hours. Thank God I'm okay now!
I'm a little ashamed because I tell my students this all the time! READ, DON'T ASSUME! But I did exactly that and it almost killed me. It is so important for people will allergies to READ, ASK and CONFIRM that they aren't any allergens in food they purchase outside of home. It is a matter of life and death. You don't always come back from an episode like that.
I woke up a few hours after collapsing in bed to this magnificent night sky. I grabbed the Leica with whatever energy I had and snapped these shots. Living simply took on a whole new meaning. This sky reminded how I first fell in love with photography. It showed me how small I was and I was in a place that made me feel so alive.
Laugh often and love a lot
Travelling slowly has given us so much time to look beyond the shopping and attractions. It has given me time to look beyond our homeschool schedule or work demands. It has given me more time to enjoy our children. It has dawned upon me that every day that passes is one less day I can put them to bed and kiss them goodnight. It is one day less I could tickle their tummies and have a little monkey on my back.
I found this post on Instagram and it is like that life-saving model you drew for your problem sums that enlightened you!
It is wise to number our days and understand we don't have a lot of time left. It could be a blood cancer or just a calamari ring.
Dream big, live simply, laugh often and love a lot!
p.s: Updates from our whirlwind drive to Penang for finger licking good Dim sum coming this Thursday!
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