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.

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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. 🙂

Back Home: Of Wedding Festivities, Bridal and Baby Showers

Of Weddings

Many of my good friends are getting/have gotten married in the first half of this year. Last month (Feb) was Greg’s wedding in Miri. This coming April will be Adeline’s union with Shaun. In June, Petrina and Serene are getting married two weeks apart. And just last week (March), I flew back for Pam’s wedding.

Pam and I go a long wayyy back to primary school days. We went on to the same secondary school and junior college and have been in close contact ever since.

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18 years of friendship and counting.

Many fond memories flood my mind as I think back on our growing up years —  going to school and coming home together (we were neighbours), hanging out after school at each other’s homes/nearby malls, wearing cool baggy jeans with belts hanging out (gross!), experimenting with make-up for the first time, exploring IRC chats with weirdass nicknames, playing snake on our Nokia phones while waiting for the train, riding on our skate scooters/bicycles around the estate, playing futile badminton in an open-air space, the list goes on.

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From primary school…to secondary school…to JC…to now. What a long way we’ve come.

I still find it hard to believe that 18 years on, we are now at the stage of getting married and having kids. Where did all that time go?!!

It was a real joy to witness a good ol’ friend walk down the aisle with the love of her life and I couldn’t help but get all sentimental. Here are some photo memories captured on the day itself:

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Bridesmaids duties – THE GATECRASH.

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Three ‘fun’ tasks for the groom and his boys.

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Hon Inn and his bros in full force.

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United by our polka dots. 🙂

The groom and his friends were super sporting and everyone had a good laugh. After the eventful gatecrash, we proceeded to Bishan Park for photo taking.

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Pam in her beautiful gown.

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Bishan Park – one of my favourite parks in Singapore.

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Sharing a moment together.

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3/10 of L Dearest.

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Whoooop.

At the hotel, we had some time to freshen up and help with the decor. Everyone was tired from waking up at 5+am in the morning but adrenaline kept us going.

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Decor for the main table.

Hon Inn and Pam handcrafted a paper flower wall for their guests to take photos against. Each and every wallflower was painstakingly cut, folded, and threaded into its intricate shape. Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous?!

During the Holy Matrimony, Hon Inn couldn’t hold back his tears as Pam walked down the aisle and when he was saying his vows. I’ve never seen this softer side of him and it was really sweet.

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Mr. and Mrs. Hon Inn. Congrats you two!!

At the dinner banquet later in the evening:

With all of us in different parts of the world, a wedding somehow helps to bring everyone together. I was really happy to be a part of Pam’s big day + catch up with friends that I’ve not seen in a long while.

Once again, congrats Pam and Hon Inn!!! Wishing you nothing but the best and lots of love and joy in this marriage! ❤ ❤ ❤


Of Bridal and Baby Showers

As I mentioned earlier, Adeline’s wedding is going to be held in April, just one month from now. Coincidentally, Cheryl will also be popping around that time.

As such, we decided to hold a 2-in-1 celebration for the two of them: Adeline’s bridal shower CUM Cheryl’s baby shower.

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So much to look forward to in April for GSF+1.

Both Adeline and Cheryl were not expecting it…Adeline was informed that it was going to be Cheryl’s baby shower whilst Cheryl was told that we were hosting a hens party for Adeline. BOOOOOM SURPRISSSSSE! ❤

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With our Mrs-to-be, last one of GSF to get hitched.

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Congrats my dear! Really looking forward to flying back for your big day.

Adeline and Cheryl were both my cell leaders back in Singapore and have a special place in my heart. I’m really excited for them as they move into a new phase of their lives — as a new wife and a Mom.

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With our Momma-to-be, can’t wait to meet your lil’ one!

Over good food, we talked about their hopes for the future and discussed girly topics. Everyone had a good belly-laugh, an awesome remedy for the soul.

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Till our big reunion in April again. 🙂

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” — Khalil Gibran

Friends forever. xxx

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

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! ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Of Friendships and Farewells in Jakarta

Back in Singapore, I was always in my comfort zone. More often than not, friendships were formed from schooling days/work/church and we shared many commonalities when it came to culture, language, age, interests, and so forth. There were various areas of overlap even amongst different circles of friends. (Not that I’m complaining, I absolutely love my friends in Singapore!)

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Ladies in my bible study group – farewell Narelle!

The one thing I love about Jakarta is that friendships are way more diverse and cuts across all continents and age brackets. In my Monday bible study group, we have ladies from America, Australia, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore. The oldest lady is coming on 80 (!!!) and the youngest is yours truly (feels great to be the YOUNGEST in a group for once hehehe).

In my church’s community group, we once counted and there were close to 18 different countries represented, from grandparents to couples with young kids/no kids to singles. Despite the differences, people still share their hearts with one another. Ain’t that just amazing. 🙂

With that, people around me come and go all the time. Reasons are aplenty — end of Jakarta posting, a better opportunity in another country, relocation for kids’ studies, etc. And goodbyes are always bittersweet; a mix of excitement for what is to come for them and sadness that they’ll no longer be there.

The ladies in my bible study group just bade farewell to Narelle over potluck brunch on Monday. She’s been in Jakarta for a good 9 years and is heading over to Hong Kong next. Narelle has been leading the study all these while, continually challenging us with God’s word in love. I’ve learnt and benefited so much from her sharing. Thank you Narelle for being such a blessing to us, may your life continue to be a light to the world (especially HK)!

❤ ❤ ❤

Have so much to look forward this week, till the next update! X

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.