One of the sad truths about expat life (or at least expat life with kids) is that eventually, you fall into routines. We no longer spend every weekend seeking out new life and new civilizations (sorry, obligatory Star Trek reference…I’m a geek) but rather run errands, go grocery shopping, and in many cases, hit the zoo or the Botanic Gardens.
This past Saturday, E had a cold with a low grade fever, so she couldn’t attend her gymnastics class on Sunday (the rule, and rightly, is fever free for 24 hours). She wanted to go out, but we didn’t want to do anything too strenuous as she was feeling better. No need to push our luck, right?
So we offered the option of going to the Botanic Garden to feed the swans.
As a photographer, the Botanic Garden always offers me something new. There had been a torrential rainstorm that morning so the flowers were still quite wet when we reached the garden (the rain caused some flash flooding…Singapore Actually has video of Tanglin Mall-where we often shop at the grocery store-flooding on the lower levels…and the Little Gym location we don’t attend is also closed this week due to flooding).
We wandered over to Swan Lake, where we saw very little of the swans (more on that in a moment) but took the opportunity to feed the turtles and fish. This is always a big deal for Ellie. I remember feeding the Canadian Geese at a pond on Fort Devens as a small girl, and remember that I always found it very exciting as well.
Later as we were walking, we discovered where the swans were. They were resting on a quiet lane behind the lake!
The swans alternated between napping, cleaning their feathers (which was a confusing idea to Elanor as there were no hairbrushes involved, I guess), and being awake.
This is the closest I think I’ve ever been physically to a swan.
Ellie pronounced that these two swans were the “Ellie Swan” and the “Daddy Swan.” Later when we saw two more swans swimming, I asked if the other two were the “Mommy Swan” and the “Wheelie Swan.” Elanor seemed ambivalent on this question and had no response for me.
Although I wasn’t quite fast enough to get a picture, we also saw a bird with three baby chicks. I don’t know if they actually have quails in this part of Singapore, but that’s what it looked like. Kind of tan and brown plumage. The babies were all black, and they just crossed the path in front of us and then hurried into some bushes to approach the water’s edge.
I’m somewhat enchanted by the local wildlife (for the most part…I really could live without the mosquitoes and the roaches, thanks) because it’s so radically different from what we have in Massachusetts. Because of our climate, lizards would never thrive there. I’m used to spotting robins, cardinals, and chickadees as opposed to the local avian life here. I absolutely adore the teeny little lizards (and not just because they eat roaches among other bugs)…they’re just adorable! And it’s always interesting to see the wild monkeys at the zoo.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the day, though, was when Ellie announced that she WANTED her picture taken on the stone wall. This is shocking for her, as I have endless pictures with her pointing at the camera as she shrieks “NO PICTURES, Mommy!”
While not as exciting as exploring a new part of Singapore, our Sunday in the park with Ellie was a lovely afternoon. Which we followed up with my first restaurant dinner in months at Outback (the nausea has often been so bad that I have taken to eating in our bedroom, so that I’m closer to the bathroom, should I need to throw up).