November 15th, 2012:
A couple of days ago Felicia and I were sitting up in our living room in Burbank until 3:30am packing and repacking for our flight out of LAX the next morning at 11am. We had just wrapped up all our editing/blogging/emailing for our 2012 wedding season and packing got pushed to an after midnight affair. Finally we were able to crash for 3 hours before getting up when my brother arrived to drive us to the airport.
We boarded our first plane to Seoul with no issues and (because of a short layover) were thankful when it pulled away from the gate on time. Our thankfulness was short lived as we sat on the tarmac in line to take off, when the wheels finally lifted off the ground the pilot informed us we would be landing in Seoul 13 hours from then, about 20 minutes behind schedule… 20 minutes which would cut into the 1 hour we had to get from plane A to plane B bound for Singapore. Seeing that stressing about these travel joys is useless, I tried to sleep (to no avail) and instead watched a series of bad movies on the 6″ display in from of me.
13 hours and 20 minutes later, we had the joy of furiously running from one end of the airport to the other, waiting to go through security again, then rushing to our plane to Singapore just minutes before they closed the doors. I settled in for another bad movie and some more bad Korean Airlines bibimbap, a couple more Korean beers, and I finally slept for 2 hours before touching down just after midnight in Singapore.
Of course, one of our bags didn’t make the rushed transfer, so we headed down to lost baggage and gave them Felicia’s Mom’s address and we informed the bag would be delivered in the morning, then caught a cab for the 15 minute ride to the house my wife grew up in. We arrived after 1am, exhausted, but happy to see her mother and brother and ended visiting for a couple more hours before exhaustion took us to bed for a few hours of restless, jetlagged sleep.
We woke early and proceeded to spend the next two days visiting family in a whirlwind of activity (which did not include recovering from our flights) before repacking our travel bags and catching another 6am flight to Manila in the Philippines.
10,500 miles in about a 65 hour period, and Felicia and I are completely whipped out in Manila. We had the whole day here, but all we’ve managed is to eat, nap, drink Starbucks, eat a little more (woefully out of obligation to feed our exhausted bodies), blog, and now we are off to sleep. The cameras almost never came out, but as soon as we spend the next couple days resting up, we’ll be ready for adventure.
More to come.
May 17th, 2011:
Our second to last day in Singapore was the one year anniversary of Felicia’s fathers death – and the reason for this entire trip to Singapore. Arthur passed away from lung cancer with his wife by his side and his daughter across the Pacific. Felicia had seen him a few weeks prior to his death and had those very important conversations while he was still lucid and aware, but this was the first visit since his death and our first trip to the cemetery.
Standing in the slow drizzle, we placed flowers, incense, food, beer (his favorite) and the quiet prays of Felicia’s mother on his grave. Needless to say, it was an emotionally taxing day for everyone and the grief I saw in Felicia’s eyes only increased my feelings of ineptitude at comforting my wife during this time.
Watching my new family come together around Arthur’s headstone makes me realize how short life can be, how important our loved ones are, and reconfirms my belief that everyday has to count – because before we know it, we will all return to the earth.
May 12th, 2011:
During our shoot with Bernie and her family at the airport, Samantha had tagged along, and ultimately proved very helpful as a second assistant, helping with lighting and taking care of everyone’s belongings.
By the end of the shoot, Sam was brimming with excitement and wanted to have pictures done with her family too. Thankfully a quick preview of Bernie’s session was sufficient to convince Samantha’s family to also have a photoshoot of their own.
Luckily for me, the Lees are a super fun bunch and needed very little coaxing or direction, preening and posing with confidence despite the sweltering heat and a surprising number of mosquitoes that were buzzing around Ann Siang Park!
Felicia and I had a lot of fun on this shoot, and definitely enjoyed the yummy kaya toast and iced tea that they bought for us after! Thanks Sam & family!
May 10th, 2011:
Each of our Saturdays in Singapore were filled with one, if not two, photoshoots, and on this overcast day, the Ongs braved a slight drizzling rain for a humid photoshoot in the park.
Their 3-year-old, Evan, certainly made up for his sleepy little sister’s meekness. He sprang out of the car and called me “Uncle Rocket” (his Mommy had prepped him to say hello to “Uncle Robert”, but I guess “Rocket” is close enough, and probably sounds a lot cooler to a kid), and then apparently he went home and made pretend phone calls asking for me to take more photos of him.
He has the best impish little grins, doesn’t he?
My favorite photo of Erin: a one-tooth, squinty grin!
Thanks Chocks & Edmund for having us photograph your beautiful family, and even bravely having lunch with us even though I sweat so much and probably stank really bad!
May 9th, 2011:
I haven’t seen Felicia grandparents since just after our wedding almost 2 years ago, but as the two most charming and in love 80-something people I know, I was excited to see them again. It turns out Mama was excited to see us again too – she almost never cooks for the family anymore because after she fell and broke her hip a few years back, standing for so long is hard on her – but I guess Felicia and I are special because when we showed up at her house she had prepared a feast of deliciousness (seen below) to celebrate us coming back to Singapore. I, of course, did my part and devoured as much as I possibly could in order to maintain my status as Super-Grandson-in-law.
Even after I had eaten WAY too much, Mama still insisted on feeding me more: she figured that since I was so big, I couldn’t possibly be full yet. Right? I’ve learnt that no matter the culture, old ladies love to feed their families – and since I lost both my grandmothers about a decade ago I am thrilled to have another.
I asked her about the recipe for creating the sauce for the fish dish (at 12 o’clock position on the lazy susan) and she rattled off a list of standard ingredients (soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil…) then gleefully pulled out a bottle of VSOP Courvoisier. “And XO!” she said. That’s right grandma, you can’t go wrong with alcohol!
After dinner I hacked up the awesomely fragrant durian we had brought and enjoyed its foul smelling fruit with the family. Mama gazed at me as I wrested the thorny shells open, and she said with a hearty laugh to Felicia, “Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that there would be a white boy in my house, opening durian for me!”
Christina (Felicia’s Mom), Nick (Felicia’s Brother), Yeye, Mama, my wife and I – a couple days later when we all got dressed up and when out for a 7 course Chinese seafood feast.
And finally a random picture Felicia took that she says makes me look bad ass, she also insisted that I put it up to maintain some manly credibility after all the recent sappiness on the blog.
May 6th, 2011:
Rain is inevitable on the equator, and it always seems to come at the worst time – like when you have a family photo session scheduled. Fortunately for the Low family, rain doesn’t matter, they just quickly rescheduled to Singapore’s Changi Airport, one of the few uncrowded (and air conditioned!) spaces in Singapore. That said, the air-conditioning didn’t stop me from profusely sweating. Sweating so profusely that Mrs Low actually referred to me as a “han bao bao”, a pun where she meant “sweat baby” instead of the regular transliteration for “hamburger”.
I’m glad everyone had a good time, and I’m really darn glad that Singapore’s airport – ranked World’s Best Airport for many years now – also has a nice range of cool backdrops!
May 5th, 2011:
When word got out that Felicia and I were going to be back in Singapore we received half a dozen inquiries about doing various photoshoots. Even though we were supposedly on vacation, we still were able to make our schedules work for 4 of these clients and kept ourselves overly busy during the entire stay. If we had an empty Saturday afternoon, we booked it up with a photoshoot.
Cindy and Justin were actually surprised by their friend, Bryan (who is an ex-collegue of Felicia’s), who paid for the shoot and told them to dress like they were headed to a fancy dinner, then he introduced them to Felicia and I and sent the four of us on our way for a sunset/twilight shoot at Marina Barrage. Even though the session was a complete surprise, Justin and Cindy took it in stride and instantly became models for us, and although it may not look it from my pictures, the entire area was absolutely jam packed with people on a Saturday evening — as is the situation for almost the whole of Singapore.
After working with this spectacular couple for about an hour and a half, I changed out of my sweat saturated shirt (Singapore is ALWAYS hot) and we four met back up with Bryan and another ex-collegue of Felicia’s for a dinner of chicken rice and conversation about the upcoming Singapore elections.
May 4th, 2011:
Landing back in Singapore from Borneo and a few hours later seeing my wife left me ecstatic. The weather was still abysmally hot, and the air conditioner in Felicia’s room was slowly sputtering to death with puffs of cold air, but we were back together. It rapidly dawned on us that we need a “Date Night” so we called and made reservations at Le Bistro, the small french cafe where Felicia and I said our vows almost two years ago.
We brought a camera, but left everything else that goes beep-beeoop in the car and enjoyed our fancy 3 course meal complete with complimentary champagne from the waiter who remembered serving us on our wedding day.
We spent two hours overeating, reminiscing and maintaining the newlywed attitude that we still feel for each other on a daily basis. It was a perfect evening, and just what was needed to rejuvenate us before we started our last hectic week of photoshoots and visiting friends and family in Singapore.
More to come, soon.
We found the “Thank You” note Felicia sent hanging on the wall in the hallway between the dining rooms.
April 18th 2011:
When tourists come to Singapore, one of the main draws is the food. When you are married to a local who has been pining for local dishes and exclaiming of all the things she will eat when she visits the next time – food is THE main draw. Especially when catching up with friends and family, it always involves copious amounts of South East Asian deliciousness. Every single meal we have eaten has been huge and/or exceptionally rich – from the home cooked dishes of Felicia’s mother, to eating stingray in the local coffeeshops, to waking up and having tea and kaya toast.
I really can’t say I am complaining now, but in a few days when I have to start unbuttoning my pants and moving to the next notch on the belt, I will think about all the exercise that will be taking place in my life in May. Oh well….
This is my “Before” pictures from two days into our stay here, that way in 2 1/2 weeks when we head back to California I can remember what I looked like before all this overindulgence.
April 14th, 2011:
From the time we left our house in Burbank until we walked in the door of Felicia’s mothers house in Singapore it was slightly more than 24 hours. We spent 19 hours in the air and 5 hours sitting around airports trying to maintain a sense of dignity while exhaustion and travel grease built up on our faces. As I write this it is 1pm in Singapore, and I feel like sleeping the rest of the afternoon/night – which I actually was attempting to do, but couldn’t fall asleep and instead sat down at my computer to post a couple of pictures of our sojourn.
We’ve been here about a day now and Christina (Felicia’s mom) hasn’t stopped feeding me, it’s been Bee Hoon, Agar-agar, Lotus Leaf Dumplings, herbal soup (to help with jet lag)and Kaya toast for the last 24 hours. I can’t really complain, but I have a feeling that after this little getaway my wife and I will need a diet.
Anyhow, I am going to keep blogging while I am here – a mix of our international adventures and some more of the shoots from the last few busy weeks – so stay tuned. Now, I am going to try that nap again.