These are a few photos we’ve taken over the last couple of months that made me smile.
Since we’ve homeschooled for the last couple of years we jokingly call traditional school “real” school. Does International school count as traditional school? No idea but that’s where Anna will be spending the bulk of her life over the next school year.
We went to orientation on the Saturday before school was to start. SAIS, Stamford American International School, has a brand new campus this year and the best word to describe it is “WOW!”. We met her homeroom teacher, whom we liked very much and took a tour of the campus. WOW! And indoor golf driving range and swing analysis area??? Really??? They did a fabulous job of planning this facility and seem to have thought of every detail. The school itself is still fairly new in Singapore, started up in 2009 with just a few elementary grades and have added a few grades each year and are up to 9th grade this year. They have met in a temporary facility up until now called the foundation campus. Even that campus wasn’t too shabby.
SAIS is an IB school with American standards. As best as I understand it, they follow the IB, International Baccalaureate, curriculum and incorporate standards from the US education system. So, as far as we can tell, it’s the best of both worlds.
Anna had a great first day and was super pleased with all of her classes. Her teachers are hard but she hasn’t had an overwhelming amount of homework thus far. We’ll see how long that lasts. They get their Macbook Pro’s, issued by the school paid for with our tuition of course, tomorrow so I’m thinking homework will pick up a little then.
She made friends quickly which was no surprise. There are 33 students in the whole 8th grade class split into two classrooms. She has 16 students in her classroom and they are from Texas, Korea, Philippines, Russia, Finland, Singapore, California, Japan, England, and Canada. Her going to school in such an international setting is one of the highpoints for sure. She chose her elective for this term and will be participating in a student mentor program helping out with younger students in their classes. She’ll be great at that!
Anna has pretty much been exhausted and famished for the last week. Our homeschool routine was much more relaxed and snacks are very handy when you’re at home. She’s getting in great shape fast by lots of walking across the large campus, climbing stairs to all of her classes and swimming for PE.
Here’s a quick run down of our conversation after her first day of school:
Worst part – PE (teacher worked them really hard)
Best part – PE (teacher told her she needed to be on the swim team because she was good)
Hardest part – learning how to work a combination lock
Lunch – good, of course, I packed it for her…
Snack – the BEST! I found some little pizza crusts and made her a simple cheese pizza and bought her Dr. Pepper that day. It is actually what she has had every single day for after school snack so far.
Her dad had to be in Texas with his mom so he wasn’t going to be here to experience her first day/week. He wrote her a letter before he left for Texas for her to read before she left for school on her first day. Then he called from Texas to get the low down when she got home. He’s a good dad.
The van in the photo is her bus. I typically get a play by play texting session filling me in on the bus driver’s music choice. It’s pretty funny. She requested her favorite pasta/sausage/broccoli dish for dinner. One night we went for sushi and she did her homework there.
As you can see from her uncontrollable laughter picture (she’s telling me stories fromher day) her overall take of her first day was
“It was a GREAT day!”
Now for some pics.
Nope, this is not a facebook status update but it is a family status update. A rather long one.
I’m just going to jump in…..
Tommy is enjoying his job for the most part. Who really fully enjoys their job??? It’s getting more stressful now that the project has only about a year left and things are down to the wire. There have been some organizational changes that have created more work for him but he’s up for the challenge. He still prefers to be busy than bored. He’s still running a lot. He’s all registered for another Singapore marathon in December. He is co teaching our bible study class at church and it’s no surprise that everyone enjoys the Sunday’s when he teaches. Ok, so they enjoy when the other guys teaches too, I’m just kind of partial.
Andrea: I am finding myself with more time and spare brain cells since we’re not home schooling Anna this year. I have joined the church choir and am beginning to volunteer at a house for helpers who have had to leave their employment for safety reasons. I miss Anna very much but am enjoying meeting new friends and helping them find their way around Singapore. I’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease so am now eating gluten free. That poses a huge challenge here in Singapore but it’s worth the effort to feel so much better. Since feeing better I’m exercising and using some of my spare time and brain cells in the gym. I’m trying to read more and I’m also learning to knit. It sort of sounds like I’m reinventing myself. I sort of am. Knitting helps with dieting. You know you can’t eat and knit at the same time. It’s a decent diet plan and you get to make something cool, or warm rather, in the process.
Tori has been at her new job since February and has already been promoted. She’s always good at what she does whatever that happens to be. We are so proud of her work ethic and so thankful she has found a place to work that she really enjoys. She is dating her boyfriend, Austin, now for almost 2 years. Our family has been through some hardships recently and it’s so comforting for Tommy and I to know Tori has Austin with her. We are so thankful for how he has cared for her and just generally watched out for her especially when we’re so far away. Tori is enjoying cooking and often calls or emails me for recipes of some of our favorite things. You know that makes this momma happy. She is enjoying her church and serves in the Children’s Ministry. Her church is pretty awesome and we love going with her when we get the chance. Tori continues to be strong in her faith in God and is learning more and more how to own her faith each day as opposed to believing what she believes simply because of how she was brought up. She does her share of whining about having to be an adult and be responsible and pay for her own things. Don’t we all do our share of whining about that??
Jakeb spent his summer in Kenya serving with a mission organization. He really enjoyed his time there and has transitioned back into life in the US. That transition proved to be a bit of a challenge in some areas but he handled it all. He has begun his 2nd year of college at Texas Tech and is on his way to finishing up early if he plays his cards right. He’s in a different dorm this year sharing an apartment type unit with three of his friends. There is a common kitchen and living area but they each have their own room. He’s pretty happy about that. He has a job on campus where he’ll be working with outdoor equipment and taking groups on outdoor adventure trips. Right up his alley! We’re also proud of Jakeb and looking forward to continued growth in his faith and just generally growing into the man God has planned for him to become.
Anna’s big news is that she’s back in “real” school. She’s got her first week under her belt and really loved it. I’ll write about the actual school in an upcoming post. She made a couple of friends the first day of school and had them over on Saturday to hang out. I took them to do what teenage girls like to do…. wander the mall. She’s still volunteering in the nursery at church and is getting more and more involved with the youth group. She loves to cook, mostly bake. Cupcakes are her specialty. She tried her hand at truffles. Let’s just say they tasted good. To her credit, truffles are hard to make anyway and the recipe she was using was just not written well. She/we are totally consumed with the BBC show, Doctor Who. Anna is a hoot and it is so much fun to watch our baby girl, our very tall baby girl, grow into herself. What a ride, though! Anna keeps us smiling.
We’ve had some recent bad news regarding the health of Tommy’s mom so Tommy made a trip back to Texas last week and I will be going in September to help out for a couple of weeks. Although we LOVE going home, we really hate that it’s for this reason but we are thankful we can go and help at least some.
We’re looking forward to our upcoming travels. The Stunz Family 3 will be headed to the North Island, NZ and Siem Reap, Cambodia in the coming months and the Stunz Family 5 plus 1 (Tori’s boyfriend, Austin) will be meeting up in London to bring in the new year.
Past that, the countdown will be on for a hopeful summer of 2013 move out of Singapore and on to our next adventure. Round and round the Stunz’ go. Where we’ll stop, nobody knows….
This all sort of sounds like a Christmas letter but I don’t do those so it’s not.
And yes, I know I use too many smiley faces.
I’m so behind on posts it’s ridiculous. I have yet to post our trip posts from Telunas in January, London in April, Texas in May, New Zealand in June, Jenny’s visit to Singapore and our trip to Cambodia in July and now another one from Bintan in August. I never really did a 3 year anniversary post. I have a list of blog posts that I want to do and I’m pretty sure I’ll never get to them all. There’s no way I can catch up and do it justice so I will post a few pictures here and hit the highlights from July and August so far.
We’ve met some new friends here and are enjoying lunches and dinners with many of them. Our closest friends from Singapore who are now back in Houston had their precious baby boy this week. Another close friend was able to be there to photograph. What a blessing it is to me to have introduced these two friends and now they’re friends.
We still get excited to find new things from home at the grocery store like Rice Chex and Honey BBQ Fritos and we are still horrified at some of the prices, especially for coffee cream that costs about $3USD for the same bottle back home. And nope I didn’t buy it for this price, $13.95 is my limit.
We’ve eaten at some good new places, Carnivore and actually found some pretty yummy Mexican food.
We’ve had a few more Texan friends come through to visit and eat and see the sights on layovers. We always love visits from home even if they only last a few hours.
Another cooking class, probably my favorite so far. We made a phenomenal Indonesian feast. We celebrated Singapore’s National Day, Singapore is 47 years old now. I began volunteering at a safe house for helpers in Singapore and one of the ladies brought some bags of clothes for them. It was like Christmas for these precious women. I wish I could share more about that but then it wouldn’t be a safe house anymore.
I made spaghetti in our wok and had my first chocolate avocado shake and ate more Popiah, one of my favorite hawker center foods.
That about sums it up or at least hits the highlights. This is a really poorly done post but it enables me to move forward. I’ve been stuck for a while now and just needed to get this one done. I hope there was something remotely enjoyable for you in here somewhere, if not, I apologize if you made it this far and you were completely bored. Maybe the super ingenious hard hat picture made it worth it? That’s one of my favorite pictures of all time.
In Singapore, M.O.M. stands for Ministry of Manpower. It’s the government agency that give us permission to live here. There’s a strong correlation between this M.O.M. and my real MOM. Could be Ministry of MOMpower. It could also stand for Maternal Organizing Machine or Mom On a Mission. And just like the M.O.M. gives us permission to live in Singapore my MOM is the one who pretty much gave me permission to live.
Ministry of MOMpower: She definitely has power that only a mom can have but her power goes hand in hand with ministry. Her power comes from the heart and she’s usually right. Did I just say that???
Maternal Organizing Machine: A family is just better with a mom who keeps things in order.
Mom On a Mission: Mom is ALWAYS on a mission!
Mom, I love you so very much and am eternally thankful for the day you were born and for every single day of your life since then. Especially the day you gave birth to me. And even those days growing up when I didn’t like you so much. I pray your day is wonderful and you feel blessed and honored.
I’m making gluten free chocolate delight in your honor. Wish I could just pop over and bring you some.