Sunday, October 16, 2011


This past weekend was one of the most Jewish weekends we have had since we got here - and it was super nice and super community-y. After a super great shabbat dinner with friends, and shabbat lunch in a sukkah with other friends, we went to two sukkot parties today - at each of the two synagogues in Singapore. You may recall that we moved here from a VERY Jewish life on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, and generally we have been a little low key for the last 4.5 years.

Interesting things to note about the sukkot -

They were both totally huge. Like we're talking at least 70 people huge - possibly more.

They both had fresh fruit hanging from the ceiling. In one that seemed fine. In the other, there were casualties all over the ground - and it was bizarre. There was everything from pomello to pineapple to mangosteen to apples. Sam loved pointing to them. I just wanted to sit below the small ones.

They are both attached to the synagogues (Chesed El and Magen Avot) that were built around the same time, look very similar inside and are totally gorgeous.

Upon our arrival at the second sukkot party (the orthodox community...after we had been with the progressive community...), we saw a lulav and etrog. I said, "Sam - look - that's a lulav and an etrog. Do you want to touch them?" Chabad saw this as an opportunity, and Mendel moved in. He asked Matt if he would like to show his daughter, and then he slipped in there that he could say a bracha too. I absolutely can't believe that Matt got chabad-ed and ended up saying a blessing over a lulav and etrog! I have never seen him do anything like that - ever. There are two reasons this happened.

1) He plays basketball with some of the chabad boys here, and he genuinely likes them and probably didn't mind too much, since he had a relationship with the guy.
2) He wanted to show off for his daughter. (She was clearly impressed).

Separately - I seriously think that sukkot is the weirdest Jewish holiday. If you're not Jewish and you're reading this, I'm talking about shaking four types of branches/leaves together along with a lemony-type a hut that we build for a week of the year. Super weird. But Sam loved colouring her decorations (it was her first time) and the food and music were awesome. The community was also pretty great.

In other news, my mom has been here for two weeks and she flew off tonight (don't worry - she'll be back soon). Sam loved playing with her in the last few weeks - they read tonnes of books, played with all of the toys and learned new puzzles. Sam definitely knows Savta now (she points), and she kept wanting to be held by her. Savta even put Samara to bed tonight (that is a rite that has been reserved for only me and Matt (and Rose once) in her whole life.

I am also posting a photo of Sydney from my ipod, from a harbour cruise.

Finally, I got Matt this t-shirt as a gift (he doesn't read my blog, so he won't find out until his parents come in a few weeks...). My brother has it, and I think it's one of the funniest, most creative pieces of clothing I have ever seen. I almost bought three, but I thought it might be weird to send it to random friends. Buy it!!! (If you haven't seen the title of it, it's even funnier).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I can't believe I'm one of those people with a blog that isn't updated regularly. I was so regular for about for years. But I went over a month with no post! Terrible! Generally when I don't post a lot it means that not too much interesting is going on, or I don't have too much positive stuff to say...hmmm...

So, this week I'm in Sydney for work. I'm here for a conference (Global Banking Alliance for Women Summit) for banks who have approaches, products, services, etc for women customers. This is part of my portfolio for my job, and it's something that I spend a lot of time thinking about, a little of time speaking about, and not enough time DOING. It's been totally inspiring to sit in a room and hear people talk about what I think about. I get to hear what banks in Australia, Uganda, Malawi, Turkey, Lebanon, etc. are doing for banking women. Super relvant to what I do. Super relevant to what I'm interested in. Quite an opportunity.

On the other side, I also get to go to Sydney for four days. I absolutely hate being away from Samara (and she's had an upset tummy and been generally unhappy since I left, which makes it even worse!), but the city is helping to make it not so bad. It's my second time in Australia (Margaret River, Dec 2010).

Granted I have VERY limited exposure to the city, I have fantasic impressions. I have been on a harbour cruise with the conference, and I have walked around the CBD, sat by the opera house at a bar, seen the city from a tall building, and walked back to my hotel, which is about 15 minutes away from the rest. Other than that, I have really only seen the inside of a room.

Sydney at first felt like New York - since it had vibe, people walking all over, old buildings, diversity, energy, etc. Then I realised that wasn't New York, it was more like Toronto or Philly (which are also great cities...). It has a totally chill feel, people seem interesting and healthy (mostly good looking too). There are some vast differences to Singapore - there seems to be a limited amount of shopping (which I really appreciate - it grosses me out in Singapore). It is COLD!! It's spring here, so it's in the 50s and 60s F. For someone who has spent almost every day of the last 4.5 years in 80s and's FREEZING! But, on the other hand, I am not sweating my way through life, and I really love it. It feels so much more human and less frustrating on many levels. I still really hate the heat of Singapore - I don't think I will ever get over or used to it. Sydney has also been a pleasure to walk in. I have blogged frequently about how much I hate walking around in Singapore - as it makes my blood pressure rise and turns me into a grump. I literally want to step on people sometimes. Here it all seems quite organised, and you can always pass people on the street. I can't put my finger on what's different, but it's just as crowded, yet I don't get angry walking around!

Overall, I am going to try to convince Matt that we should come back here for our next holiday. I absolutely love it. Maybe we'll even move here...if only it weren't THAT far away...though I do think it's closer to the US than Singapore...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sam's One!

Sam's one! She's had a wonderful year:

She made it through all 12 months with only a few minor bumps and bruises. Unfortunately she hasn't gotten sick yet (I think that just means it will be really bad when it happens...actually I wrote this ten days ago and forgot to publish...since then she's been sick...twice!).

She finally learned to eat food (sometimes), after six months of trying everyday. She now loves yogurt, challah, custardy stuff, watermelon, cheerio things and spitting water all over herself.

She has read approximately 79 books. She particularly loves "Caps for Sale," "From Head to Toe," and "Doggies."

She has developed an attachment to a doggy and a froggy. She sleeps with them.

She has traveled to six countries: Singapore, Australia, Indonesia (twice), Thailand, Vietnam and the US.

Her grandparents have visited approximately ten times (all together).

Her strong skills include: "doing" touchdown, downward dog, blowing kisses, reading books, finding belly buttons (on strangers in public...sometimes quite embarrassing...) and generally being sweet. She now hugs and kisses me, and it may very well be the highlight of my life.

It's been a pretty awesome year for all of us. We have loved watching her grow and develop into who she is today, and we can't wait to see who she will become. We are totally in love with our child in a way we never could have imagined a year ago (or even 11 months ago...). Happy Birthday Sammers!!

I made a video - but it won't load...I'll try to post it somewhere for general consumption.