I think it might have been while driving me to the airport that Mum mentioned she and Dad were planning on going to the Tesselaar Tulip Festival. Unbeknown to me, after I said I'd been thinking of going they postponed to the next weekend so I could go too. Thanks Mum and Dad for helping me tick off this 30 While 30 goal:
21. Attend a festival I've never been to before.
It was a Dutch themed weekend at the festival, so our first stop was the Poffertjes stall. So yummy. Then on to the tulips.
My first thought when I saw the tulip fields was that there wasn't as many tulips as I thought there would be. But when we started walked and really looking, there were so many different colours and shapes and types. Ruffled, double, dwarf and tall. White, red, neon orange, deep purple, peach, pink, two-toned... Tulips are surprisingly interesting.
We listened to Dutch folk music while Dad queued (in the slowest queue imaginable) to buy us croquettes and potato pancakes, more Dutch food, for lunch. Such a surprise that the queue for eel burgers was nonexistent. ;) There was even clog dancing.
A lovely way, in beautiful weather, to tick of this 30 While 30 task.
With less than two weeks til my birthday, those numbers aren't balancing out well for me now!
25. Go to the zoo.
So amazing to see these little guys hurry over for their food.
And this guy was big and creepy.
My nerves were humming walking through this enclosure - all sorts of feathered and furry creatures up high and down low. Thankfully my close encounters were limited to butterflies - them I can cope with.
Under all the mud, I think this is a white rhino. Maybe.
Little orang-utan, but I don't think I'd call him cute. :)
There was so many cameras, really big cameras, pointed at this guy. Paparazzi favourite I think.
We happened to be watching the otters when the keepers threw their lunch, live fish, into the water. Stunning and gruesome to watch them hunt down and rip into the fish. Quite up close and personal.
Mike and I very much enjoyed our day at the Singapore Zoo.
Having just become engaged (!) I thought it time I scrapbook about our beginning, which worked perfectly with the Simple Scrapper theme for October - Meaningful Moments.
Inspired by one of the story prompts and a Premium Membership template, I created:
Yep, he expressed his interest with a text message. ;) Sent only 18 months ago, my goodness how life has changed since.
The Premium Membership at Simple Scrapper provides skills and shortcuts to help you simplify and find more meaning in your memory keeping.
It was a sunny Saturday, Mike's only spare day in Melbourne before he headed back to Singapore, and he suggested we go kayaking. After a late brunch Mike went to pick up the kayaks from his brother's then we hit the road, driving north to Major Creek.
While Mike locked the car I got in my kayak, only to fall out the other side into the river. Oops! Mike called out something from the car - that doesn't sound good - but I just laughed. I was in a wonderful mood.
We paddled upriver for a while before turning back, finding somewhere on the bank to pull over for afternoon tea. After we ate our cheesymite rolls I gave him a hug, we joked and said some mushy things.
Mike bent down to grab something out from the bottom of the kayak and then suddenly he was on bended knee, holding up a ring box.
Will you marry me?
I said yes, kissed him, then said 'oh my god.' A lot.
Mike had surprised me, or rather stunned, and he was quite proud of that. Of course we'd talked marriage and it was in the plans, but a proposal at this time, this place - totally unexpected. He'd played it so cool too, no hint of nerves till the hands holding out the ring box shook a little.
He put the ring on my finger - I pointed out which finger - and it fit perfectly. Good thing too, Mike would have had to take it back for three weeks to be resized otherwise.
From the bottom of the kayak he produced two little bottle of champagne, which he'd kept on ice, and some plastic champage glasses. He'd even ensured that I bought my phone out kayaking with us.
As we drank, took some photos and I said 'oh my god' a few more times, Mike joked that anyone willing to go kayaking in 15 degree weather was worth marrying. I commented that we'd just see if he could still surprise me like this in 50 years time.
Mike had spent two days going to jewellers and was feeling the pressure of choosing something I'd wear for the rest of my life. After consulting with my sister - she'd known for two weeks and had kept it very quiet! - he decided on this, which he calls my practise ring. It's a beautiful ring - a sapphire is what I wanted - but I have the option of upgrading if I find something I love more.
I contacted my sister first, and learnt that Mike had rung my Dad that morning to ask his permission. Although it goes against all my feminist ideals, I love that. According to Mike, Dad was a touch speechless then said of course. Dad points out he'd never been asked that question before and needed a moment to consider the most appropriate response.
As we finished our champagne, Mike asked if he'd done good. Yeah babe, you did very good.
On Monday we learnt that Mike's grandfather, George Geoffrey Potts, had passed away. We'd been waiting for the call.
Today we celebrated his life and mourned his passing in a tear-jerker of a service. It was always going to be - he was a wonderful gentleman, forever with a twinkle in his eye. I think my favourite memory has to be him teasing me about going away on a dirty weekend with Mike.
His sons Uncle Geoff and Ray had us laughing and crying as they recounted stories from his life. Mike's favourite - learning that George had actually flown under the Sydney Harbour Bridge during his time as a radio operator in the RAAF during WWII.
His three grandsons, Mike and brothers Dan and Steve, collaborated on a letter that was read at the service. This is so very George, who made me feel so welcome.
We wanted to let you know a few of the things we have learnt from you as the only grandfather we have known.
Early on we learnt that you could build things, as we were provided with handcrafted racing cars and planes from a very early age. Later on you built us each a beautiful desk from which we would dismantle and hopefully reassemble anything we could get our hands on, and which we could cover with as many pen-holders and letter-openers as we allowed. And later still you built us the beautiful presentation boxes that were gifted to us on our 21st birthdays with hand selected bottles for the important moments in our lives. Even Claire, your first great-grandchild, won’t miss out on this lesson when she receives the dolls cradle you finished for her.
We learnt from you the importance of a man’s workshop (we would always get corrected if we called it a shed as craftsmanship happens in a workshop). From an early age no visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Strathmore was complete without a tour of your workshop. This was where we could see your creations come to life. And together with Dad you encouraged us all to make our own workshops as we grew, buying us tools as gifts and encouraging us to use them whenever we could. Even now the tools that you couldn’t fit into the retirement village are being distributed and shared between us when we need them.
You always encouraged us to follow our passions, whether as a vocation or a hobby. Although you were thrilled to see Mike follow you into the aviation industry and could talk with him as if you had never retired, you were just as happy talking with Dan about his music studies, or Steve about his cars and other random projects. You were always genuinely interested in all of our activities no matter what they were.
You taught us was that there has always been, and will always be a need for gentlemen. Whether it was something as small as ensuring we knew proper table etiquette or as vital making sure Grandma was helped to and from the car (even if you were more in need at the time), we learnt that we should make time and effort to be polite no matter what the occasion.
Above all else, you taught us the importance of family. We have never been a family to squabble on the whole, and we can’t help wondering if this wasn’t simply because you wouldn’t put up with it. As we acquired girlfriends they were welcomed as if they had been there all along, and you would in turn show as much interest in their life as you did in ours. Any family occasion, whether it was a small dinner for no particular reason or a large celebration at the RACV club, was treated with the same sense of importance. And on each occasion you showed us that it was special purely because we were all there.
From now on these occasions won’t be same because we are not all there however the advice and lessons you gave us will always be remembered and treasured. We will care for Grandma as you have taught us and try and keep your children under control, as best we can.
We love you Grandpa and we miss you.
Mike, Dan and Steve
The service, which was lovely and seemed so very appropriate for him, finished with the ladies standing to give George one last wink.
Later, Mike's grandmother said to me she hoped I didn't mind being mentioned among the grandchildren, but that George had considered me one of his girls. I'm honoured.
George Geoffrey Potts
17.05.1921 - 16.09.2013
You will be missed.
A slow, lazy start to the day while Mike did some studying.
Our plan for Sunday - a trip to Sentosa Island. Not planned - the terrible cab driver who seemed to loop us around the entire city to get there. Not dodgy, just directionally challenged and GPS reliant.
First stop - Universal Studios Singapore.
Despite some lousy weather - we got drenched by rain and rides - we loved it. So much detail and excess. Favourites rides: Transformers and The Revenge of the Mummy.
When we'd ridden and watched and walked and queued all that we cared to, we hopped on the monorail and headed to the beach.
Mojitos and seafood. It's a hard life.
Another monorail trip took us back to the mainland and Vivocity, apparently a largest shopping centre in Singapore but there are so many of them, who could tell. We finished the day with some dumplings and taste tested some carrot cake, which contains no carrot, is not cake and I'm not a fan.
My first MRT (train) trip brought us back to the hotel. Some tea and blog reading before I showered and headed to bed. Singapore is definitely a two showers a day kind of place.
And with that, Week in the Life 2013 is officially over. Although not planned, I'm pleased I finished on a self-portrait, although I should drop the more flattering Instagram filter if I want to be truly honest. :) I have another day or so before I'm back home and can begin the task of pulling all the days, photos, words and memorabilia together. I'm curious to see how it will all turn out!
A lazy start to the day.
The first of four taxi rides of the day, out to Singapore Zoo. We took a boat ride, saw lots of animals and walked and walked.
Vegetarian naan set meal for lunch, with lemon iced tea.
We waited for to watch the Elephants at Work and Play show, then made our way out.
Back to the hotel, where everything is lovely and tidy again. I reminded Boyf that he better not get too used to this!
Back in a taxi we headed to East Coast Park seafood area for dinner. Loved the atmosphere there - almost 8pm and bustling with families.
Black pepper crab. It's a meal of commitment - we lack crab cracking skills and had sauce and shell everywhere - but incredibly yummy.
We wandered the shoreline a little - those lights are all ships docked on the other side - then headed back to the hotel.