Memorial Day falls on the last Monday in May and this year, it was on May 29. We had arranged to meet up with another Singaporean family who lives in Virginia just to hang out with them. They are a family we know from our church in Singapore. Being out here and so far away from our families, any Singaporean (and even Malaysian) we meet is like family.
Once, while out dining at a Chinese restaurant, we heard what we thought was the “Singlish” (Singaporean English) accent coming from a family of 3. Papa just had to ask them if they were from Singapore. Turns out, they are Malaysians who have relocated here many years ago. Sama Sama la (All the same, alright. Many Malaysians and Singaporean sound alike because of similar backgrounds, education and ethnicity. ) Papa immediately exchanged contacts to keep in touch. But we digress.
We set off early on the Saturday before Memorial Day for our long drive to Virginia. It was our longest road trip yet and Mama said we did pretty well. We spent the first half of the ride listening to Bible stories and songs and the second half napping. When we woke, we have arrived at our friends’ home.
Along the beautiful Chesapeake Bridge
But we missed all that view
Arrived at our friends’ home and the first order of things was to raid their room. How cool is this “playground bed”?
It didn’t take long for See2 to be transformed into a Princess by See1 – we helped ourselves with all of Jie Jie’s (elder sister) toys.
That night, our lovely hosts planned for a Korean BBQ dinner at their home, with 2 other Singaporean families living in Virginia. There was instant connection from the moment we met, and we played till late, while the grown-ups chatted. There was a little situation between See2 and another boy because See1 was having a friendly pillow fight with that boy, and See2 thought they were fighting for real. In his 2.5 year old stature, the only way he knew how to stand up against the other older boy was to bite down on his back. The boy cried and all the children ran down to look for the grown-ups. When Mama found out that See2 had bitten another child, she was furious (See2 has a deep history of biting See1, and up till this point has not bitten anyone outside the family). Mama asked See2 for an explanation and he said, “But I was just trying to save Kor Kor (elder brother) because the boy was fighting him”. Upon hearing this, Mama couldn’t bring herself to reprimand See2, and let him off with a stern warning against biting other people as a form of protest.
The night ended pretty late despite having to wake early the next morning for church. We attended our friends’ church and See1 had fun at Sunday school as usual, while See2 regressed and cried at Sunday school, even though See1 was with him. Mama came running into Sunday school because she saw See2’s registration number being flashed on screen during the service. She brought See2 into the service and thankfully he napped throughout. The late night of fun the night before must have been too much for him.
We adjourned for lunch at Olive Garden after church. It is a chain of Italian casual dining restaurants all around the US. We were also waiting out for the weather to clear because we had planned to go to the beach because, who skips the beach when in Virginia?
What we love most about restaurants in US is the little activity booklets and crayons we get. It keeps us busy till food is served.
See2 working that pencil grip
After lunch, we headed to our new friends’ home. Their parents are studying at Regent College, Virginia and they live on campus, so we got to tour the beautiful campus. The weather forced us to skip the beach that day, but we found something else equally fun.
Water fountain at Regent College
All the kiddos in one pic
We love how our parents let us play by the fountain like it was a water park. This probably wouldn’t have happen in Singapore, because it probably wouldn’t be legal. Incidentally, we had to stop playing after a long while, when a policeman came to tell the grown-ups that the fountain is not for playing.
We then spotted the Singapore flag at the auditorium
The big kids decided to play tag and made See1 the tagger. Funny how See1’s always the tagger whenever he plays with the bigger kids. But he doesn’t mind. He simply loves making friends and having the opportunity to play with them. Bless his heart.
We stayed at Regent College till pretty late that day and went back to our friends’ home for dinner and one final overnight in Virginia. The next day was Memorial Day and we celebrated the day by visiting Colonial Williamsburg – a living-history museum which has preserved and reconstructed some colonial day buildings and lifestyles throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Flags flying at half mast on Memorial Day
Happy to see a real windmill. Prior to this, Mama had been teaching us about windmills and their uses.
Many visitors chose to tour the large compound on the horse carriages
Mama made See1 pose at this pillory. He was very unwilling and scared when he found out what it was used for. Could he have known that this could be a preserved pillory?
See2 couldn’t wait to get up on it but he was too short
We spent the most time here, playing with colonial weapons
Some visitors playing a game of graces – a popular activity for young girls during the early 1800s. It is played between 2 people with 2 rods each. Each player is to pass a hoop to the other player by pushing the rods against each other. The game goes back and forth until one player fails to catch the hoop.
Check out the lady on the left, dressed in colonial outfit. We saw many people dressed in the colonial outfits that day.
Taking a break, Singapore style. The sun and the walk got too much for us.
We found the chocolate and sweet store.
Limited Edition PEZ!
The trip to the candy store didn’t end too well, with See1 throwing up in the shop. He had taken a sample of a peanut chocolate and the moment he bit into the peanut, he felt like puking. (See1 hates the taste and texture of anything with peanut).
After the candy store, we left for lunch at a French fine dining restaurant. Together with our hosts, we gave a treat to our new friends as it was their Mama’s birthday. We were happy to meet and make new friends from home, in our home away from home (if that made sense to you). We set off for our journey back home after lunch and it didn’t take us long to fall asleep since it was just about nap time.
Papa and Mama decided not to do any pit stop on the return. We slept half the journey and Mama entertained us with the remaining half. We drew, coloured, sang songs, and even played with Playdoh! Mama had packed this secret weapon and kept it till the very end so we wouldn’t fuss. See2 was fussing and crying because he is See2 and also because he needed the potty. He was already potty trained, but Mama gave him a pull up because we may not stop by a bathroom when he needed one. But See2 refused to do it in his pull ups. In the end, the Playdoh kept him entertained for the rest of the journey home. We did make a bathroom stop later, and realised that See2 had indeed not wet his pull up. His ability to hold it in and his will to keep his pull ups dry was rather impressive.
Keeping it clean – Mama brought these boxes for us to knead and roll the Playdoh in. We had so much fun.
All in all, we think we did pretty well on our first and furthest road trip to date. And we look forward to more road trips in future.