Singapura May trippin’

By now you must be wondering…just how often do you go back to Singapore?! Well, about once a month actually. One of the things I’m most thankful for about Agent D’s posting to Jakarta is distance. 🙂

A one way trip to Singapore takes slightly under 1.5 hours by air. When you factor in the taking off and landing, toilet trips, announcements, etc, it is hard to even complete one movie in the plane (!). In fact, travelling 5km within Jakarta (with macet) would take 1.5 hours or more heh.

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Hello there, sunny island!

So anywayyy…I went back this time mainly for Adeline’s wedding but also to spend time with family and friends. Here are some pictures from the beautiful union of #Shaunade:

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Their Holy Matrimony was held at the charming Arts House (formerly Old Parliament House).

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Managed to steal a shot with the glowing bride before her first march in.

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A sacred moment. 😉

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Team Bride! Before rushing off to the hotel to set up.

Props & Crafts transformed the entire hotel reception area into the prettiest botanical garden EVER. They do customized props rental for all occasions/settings — bridal showers, baby showers, proposals, photo shoots, dessert tables, and of course weddings. Perfect for lazy people like me who cannot DIY for nuts.

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Together is a beautiful place to be. Aww.

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Photo table.

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Well wishes table + letters from the couple to their guests.

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Walking down memory lane with #shaunade.

As with all weddings, I was really happy to see and catch up with friends (some of whom I haven’t seen since I moved to Jakarta).

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With the whole bridal crew.

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awkwardzzz.

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Team Groom.

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Serene’s getting married in June and I’m counting down to that one.

I also managed to see lil’ baby Asaph for the very first time. He’s such a sweetheart, with such tiny toes and fingers. Congrats Josh and Cheryl – may God grant you both wisdom and love in raising Asaph. x

Weddings and friends aside, I managed to satisfy some of my many food cravings. Time spent in Singapore is always so short and I take my meal planning very seriously.

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Fried carrot cake (Chai tow kway) is an all-time favourite.

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Photos don’t do this justice. Fried hokkien mee from Tian Tian Lai, which I waited 45 minutes for.

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So simple yet so good. Economical bee hoon from Sembawang Hills Food Centre.

There definitely was more food that went into my tummy but I was either too hungry to take a picture, or my hands were oilyyy (some food simply tastes better with hands).

Not forgetting, precious time spent with my favouritest family + savouring every bit of home cooked meals. ❤

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Continue staying healthy and happy, Mama.

And before I know it, I find myself bidding farewell to Singapore again. Did the weekend just pass me by?

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Singapore Changi Airport.

2nd March Trip to Singapore

This March, I flew back to Singapore on two consecutive weekends with only 4 days in Jakarta in between. Bad planning on my end. :/ As usual, there is always so much to do but so little time to spare in Singapore.

My first trip back was mainly to celebrate the love of Pam+Hon Inn as well as welcome new beginnings — Adeline’s hens party and Cheryl’s baby shower. (You can read more about it here: Back Home)

For keepsake — some photo memories of my second visit home:

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Got super excited seeing Singapore in the near distance!!

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Home at my favourite airport.

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First meal upon landing – steamed chicken dipped in ginger sauce and wrapped in lettuce. PURE YUM.

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The entire stretch of Orchard Rd has pretty much changed except #1 TANGS.

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and #2 Takashimaya (please stay this way forever!).

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Old school ice-cream cart against modern Ion.

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Catch up with friends I’ve not seen in ages #1 Hazel. Its been a year (??!) since we last met.

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and #2 Shumin. I think its been 1.5 years. 😦

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Lunch with Agent D at Candlenut – the world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant. 

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Mama Lee (93 y.o.) working on her daily colouring. Although she no longer recognizes me, I am thankful that she’s healthy, eats well, and ever so cheerful. 

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Steamboat on a cold rainy night with great company.

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L Dearest – circa 2004.

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Last meal in SG with mom before heading to the airport.

“What i like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”Karl Lagerfeld

And I find myself back in Jakarta again battling the intense traffic. 🙂

Weekend Trip to Miri, Sarawak

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Singapore Changi Airport.

Last weekend, My college friend (Greg) got married to his sweetheart (Val). As Val is from Miri, the couple decided to hold their wedding celebrations there.

I flew back to Singapore on Thursday night and was back at the airport on Friday morning to take the flight out to Miri. With work and family commitments in recent years, it’s been a long while since my JC friends and I travelled together. Thus we were all really looking forward to this short getaway.

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The whole Miri gang (the flight consisted mainly of Greg’s contingent of friends and relatives).

Greg and Val lovingly planned out an itinerary for all their guests:

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Wedding itinerary.

For most of us, it was our virgin trip to Miri, a coastal city in northeastern Sarawak. Located really close to Brunei, Miri covers an area of 997.43 square kilometres with a population of 234,541.

We decided to stay at Pullman Waterfront as most of the wedding festivities were held there. Here’s an aerial view of Miri from our hotel.

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Coastal city of Miri.

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We spotted many locals fishing and having a picnic along the banks.

We didn’t get to explore the city much as there wasn’t time to do so. But we managed to have loads of bonding time together, just like old times. 🙂

DAY 1

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It’s always hard to take a group picture…

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ALAS, FINALLY!

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Dinner and drinks at The Hangover 2.

DAY 2

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Roomies for this trip.

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Managed to catch Greg before he headed off to church.

Everything in Miri seems to be really close by; all our to-and-fro journeys (airport included) were within a travelling distance of 15 minutes. Feels really weird not having to sit in a vehicle for longer than 30 minutes! #JakartaWoes

The wedding ceremony took place at Canada Hill Church, a 10 minute drive from Pullman. Here are some snippets:

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Greg’s entourage (his granny is so well-preserved!).

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Val’s entourage.

To me, the most important part of any wedding celebration is actually the Holy Matrimony – watching the couple come before God in the presence of many witnesses to seal their love for each other.

“Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.” – Franz Schubert

We are so happy you found the love of your life, Greg! Congrats and big love to you both!!

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Too up-close for comfort.

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Friends for 13 years and counting!

The dinner reception was an unconventional but heartwarming one. Clad in the traditional costume of Val’s tribe, the couple put up an entertaining performance for everyone.

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With the happy couple in their tribal costumes.

There was loads of singing and dancing with more than half of the guests (many in their 50s and 60s) heading to the dance floor to do their thang. Not to mention Greg’s hilarious brother/emcee, who got all the Malaysians, Singaporeans and Aussies in the house laughing themselves silly.

Although there was no customary round table photo-taking, the photo booth was more than enough for the night.

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Enjoying the photo booth to the fullest.

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Brings to mind the good ol’ neoprint days.

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Our own table photo!

And so this sums up my weekend stay in Miri. 🙂

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Home sweet home.

I stayed in Singapore for one more day before heading back to Jakarta on Monday morning. Poor Agent D was surviving off cup noodles and takeaways in my absence and I wanted to return to cook him a home-cooked meal. 🙂

I’m already looking forward to the next getaway…I wonder when that’ll be though? I hope your weekend was a good one. x

Closing the Year with Dad and Mom in Jakarta

I’m finallllllly back to writing. And oh GOODBYE 2016, HELLO 2017!!!

Time seems to pass even faster than normal around year end with all the ongoing festivities. Agent D and I were back in Singapore the week before Christmas (I’ll leave that to another post). And then we had my parents over for Christmas and New Year.

Jakarta gets very quiet during Christmas and New Year because many Indonesians travel out of the country during that period. This is reflected in the road conditions — our car can actually travel at >50km/h for long stretches and we can get to destinations in one-third the time. Ahh-mazing, ain’t it? 🙂

Thanks to dad and mom, we had a less lonely and more colourful Christmas and New Year in Jakarta. Here are some bits and pieces of their 11-day stay with us:

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Lunch stop at KOI Kemang, after hunting for household treasures in Kemang.

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Exploring the alleys of Ancol Art Market, Pasar Seni.

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Christmas lunch with Wes, Steph and baby Sophie at Keraton at The Plaza.

Over the past two weeks, we’ve been bingeing A LOT on all things rich and fatty. I feel like my face has widened an inch horizontally *horrors*.

Food aside, we’ve been shopping quite a bit too. I brought my parents to ITC Mangga Dua, the Indonesian equivalent of Bangkok’s Platinum Fashion Mall. We were there the entire day but still could not finish walking all six levels of the wholesale fashion hub.

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Honing my bargain hunting skills (the shopkeepers don’t look impressed at all heh).

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STAR WARS exhibits at Pacific Place Mall.

Mom’s birthday falls between Christmas and New Year and we got to celebrate it together. Dinner was at Kembang Goela, a lovely restaurant with colonial interior serving traditional Indonesian food. My parents loved the place.

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Blessed Birthday Mom!

“A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.” — Cardinal Mermillod

Wishing you many more years of good health, love, joy, and peace as you walk this life with God!

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Thanks for everything and for always having my back (literally!).

This was our first New Year in Jakarta (last year we spent it in Singapore) and the fireworks were pretty spectacular. Five minutes before midnight of 1 Jan 2017, fireworks started going off all over Jakarta from people’s houses/backyards/gardens. It was a really beautiful sight from my balcony.

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Sparks of light all across Jakarta. Pardon the really bad picture – the blurish white/orange specks are actually fireworks.

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New Year’s lunch at Meradelima Restaurant.

We spent a fair bit of time at home too, watching DVDs and playing with Freckles the kitty. It was dad and mom’s first time meeting Freckles and they became fast friends.

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Freckles sitting up to watch a movie with us.

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Such a baby!

I just sent dad and mom off at the airport this morning and am already missing their presence at home. Looking forward to seeing them again in February!

P.S. I will write about some of the places we visited in greater detail in separate posts. Till then, xoxo.

Singapore and 3 Fs: Family, Friends & Food

This is a super delayed update on our two weeks in Singapore (late Sept – early October)…but oh well better late than never I guess! For most of the SG visits so far (to settle the house, attend weddings etc), I’ve been going back alone. So it was really nice that this time round, Agent D and I could head back together. 🙂

For this year, we actually made a decision to forgo a long holiday elsewhere and spend more time in Singapore instead. And I’m glad that the ‘sacrifice’ was worth it – we got to satisfy food cravings, spend quality time with family, and catch up with various groups of friends.

Here’s our SG trip summarised in pictures:

1) Family

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them” — Desmond Tutu

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Day out at Sentosa with dad and mom.

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Both our parents! Such a cute picture.

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Tourists at Madame Tussauds wax museum.

Its been a while since I last visited Sentosa Island and it has changed so much! Singapore’s landscape is constantly evolving…after a couple of months away, new buildings seemingly sprout out of nowhere and old buildings are suddenly gone.

2) Friends

“True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.” — Baltasar Gracian

Agent D was a happy boy because he spent an entire day board gaming with Shane (pretty sure 1 day wasn’t enough actually) — something he was really looking forward to leading up to the trip.

I even indulged him in a game of Eclipse one of the nights, which left me pretty much brain-dead thereafter. #wifeyduties

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Eclipse!

Get–togethers with friends are always great, as usual.

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Half of L Dearest, missing the other 5. When will we ever get full attendance with us in FIVE different countries?! 😦

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Congrats on your lil’ one, Hannah and Fred!

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GSF +1 + unplanned blue coordination.

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Agent D’s church mates.

And more pictures…meeting baby fatty is always a highlight of my trip! Ain’t he so adorable *pinch cheeks*.

3) Food, food, and MORE FOOD

“Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale.” — Elsa Schiaparelli

Singapore’s hawker food is one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable anywhere out of Singapore (at least to me). Usually after landing, the first thing I do is eat a delightful plate of hokkien mee. #comfortfood

Time allowing, I always stop by Melben Seafood for some good crabs.

So happy we finally got to check out the seafood buffet at 10 at Claymore, Pan Pacific Orchard. During my last SG visit, when they were having Oyster Occasions (1 June to 31 July 2016), I called to make a reservation 1 week in advance but they told me they were fully booked EVERY DAY for the next 3 weeks. :/

Oceanic gems aside (fresh lobsters and sashimi included), their other food like the premium New Zealand Grass-Fed Organic Beef and Penang specialties such as Char Kway Teow, Bak Kut Teh with Kurobuta Belly Ribs, Assam Laksa with Barramundi Fillet were good stuff too.

Agent D and I also got to spend time chilling at cafes with a book. Simple pleasures I’m missing now.

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High tea at Saveur.

Korean Bingsu (consisting of ice shavings and various ingredients) is currently all the rage in Singapore. I saw about 10 new Korean Bingsu shops during my short time there. Reminds me of the bubble tea/froyo/salted egg yolk anything craze, which have all more or less died down by now.

I just had to try one…

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Green Tea Bingsu at O’ma Spoon.

Ending off this post with my all-time favourite salmon sashimi bowl from The Sushi Bar.

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Thick, fresh pieces of salmon sashimi. #sogood

OH I WANNA GO BACK TO SINGAPORE SOON AGAIN! ❤ ❤ ❤

 

When Friends Visit: Elaine Comes to Jakarta for the Weekend

I’ve so much to update here but haven’t had time at all. Last week, I had to settle all the furniture and white goods for our new place back in Singapore (power of online shopping PHEW) + take Elaine around Jakarta because she was visiting over the weekend.

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Welcome to Jakarta, Elaine!!!

T’was so good to see Elaine, who flew 558 miles from Singapore just to spend the weekend with me. Elaine and I go way back to secondary school days – when baggy jeans and hanging belts were in fashion (dang now you know which generation we are from). I’m so thankful for the friendship we share and how we’ve seen each other through the different seasons in life. ❤

So on Elaine’s virgin trip to Jakarta, we did everything possibly touristy and girly together – going for hair spa & hair colour, full-body massage, manicure & pedicure, hunting for good food, watching a cheap(er) movie, playing board games, travelling to Bogor (outside of Jakarta), and of course shopping, shopping, and more shopping. Elaine even came to bible study with me today before heading to the airport.

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First meal together in Jakarta.

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ALIEN INVASION. Nah, just Elaine having her hair coloured.

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Mangga Dua ITC Mall, which left us penniless for the day.

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Binging on GROM gelato just before our massage. #sogood

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Tourists at the lovely Bogor Botanical Gardens (Kebun Raya Bogor).

Bogor Botanical Gardens (Kebun Raya Bogor) was really beautiful and well-maintained. We spent half the day walking around and chatting, not to mention chasing Pokémons. The air up there is so much fresher too! [I will blog on our Bogor day trip in a separate post soon.]

Elaine’s trip to Jakarta was timely because Agent D has been super duper busy the past weeks (and still is very busy actually). Thank God for providing good company during times like these. 🙂 🙂 🙂

More pictures of our weekend together:

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Please come again soon Elaine! Freckles and I are already missing you!!

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With the little grump.

12 Days Back in Singapore

12 days in Singapore flew past me just like that. And I find it surreal that I’m actually back in Jakarta, sitting on my usual armchair, typing behind my laptop.

I haven’t been updating much because I’ve been SO SO BUSY – settling the house, catching up with friends, spending time with my parents, baking, running errands, etc. There’s always so much to do and so little time (!!!).  I’m glad I managed to accomplish all that I had initially set out to do though. *pat on back*

Back home, L Dearest and Centures celebrated my (and the other July babies’) belated birthday. Yay for being able to make more birthday wishes. I wish to be FOREVER YOUNG hehehe.

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L Dearest. JC days would never have been the same without them (missing Krys, PamL & Dania).

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Centures. Its been whaaaat 12 years since JC?!

During this trip, I managed to catch up with almost everyone I wanted to – be it over brunch, 1-hour lunch during office hours, tea, dinner, supper. More often than not, we got too carried away with our conversations, forgetting to take a picture.

(I’m a big fan of taking pictures because I believe they’re the only mementoes left behind as time passes us by. One day, I’ll look back on these snapshots and think “was my hair ever so black?!!”).

Anyway, here are some picture souvenirs from my trip:

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I was happy to see my old man doing much better (compared to the last trip where he was very unresponsive and lay motionless on the floor 24-7). Although he’s still as blind as ever – pooping and peeing around the house + knocking into everything (ouch!) – he’ll always be my sweetheart. ❤

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Hello, I am 120 years old this year!

Also very thankful to my parents for the countless trips they’ve made to the airport ever since we relocated to Jakarta. Without fail rain or shine, they’d be there to welcome me home and send me off when I return back to Jakarta.

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At the airport with mom and dad!

All in all, I had a fruitful time back home and I already can’t wait to be back again. So thankful that Jakarta and Singapore are SUPER NEAR to each other. 🙂