Home Yummy Home

28 hours to be exact. This was my shortest home trip ever. I was so proud that I was able to attend 5 special “yummy gatherings (including celebrating 3 advanced birthdays)” with my closest friends and families.

As usual, I wanted to give my dear folks a sweet surprise with my presence. Trust me, it was priceless to watch their expression every time I appeared out of the blue. They did that a couple of times to me in Hong Kong too. Those surprise appearances are the most memorable. Until now, I remember all of them – how Felicia appeared outside my bedroom door during her Perth university days, how my mum and aunties “ambushed” me at the garden below my office late one night and how cousin Chester and auntie walked into my office on my actual birthday. Those are the most special moments of my life.

This time, my sister and Auntie Amy planned everything for me. My sister tricked everyone to a late lunch at Tampines while Auntie Amy and Uncle Benny picked me from the airport. My mother even thought about organising a “surprise birthday celebration for Elkan”. What she didn’t know was I was going to surprise her later.

Surprise, surprise. I was the victim of my own surprise. I managed to surprise everyone in the family with my sudden presence except the smartest woman in my life – that is my wife! I made one of the most stupid mistakes by making a tele-booking at Jumbo Seafood. I totally forgot that I have transferred the membership contact number to hers. So, when my dear buddy Jimmy helped me with the restaurant booking, Felicia received an auto SMS alert 2 days before I arrived! She knew it all along. The minute I stepped into the cafe to surprise my family, Felicia gave me that sly look on her face.  She handed me her mobile phone and I saw the SMS. At the moment, I knew I was exposed. My sister and auntie shook their heads, clearly very disappointed with my careless blunder. Sigh….Can’t beat my wife in such game.

We had a great 2-hour lunch gathering. It took my family a little while to get used to my new rugged look. We celebrated 3 birthdays in advance for my mum, brother-in-law and Elkan. When we were lighting up the birthday cake, my mother took out a carton of eggs. Most of us thought those were the traditional birthday egg. It was only when we put the eggs in our mouth, we realised they weren’t real eggs! My gosh! My mother mastered the same imitation skills like the Chinese. Her egg-jelly really looked like the real egg! They were so real that my sister-in-law Chups thought they were salted eggs!

Right after my late lunch, I went to visit my in-laws. Later that evening, we planned to have dinner at my favourite Japanese restaurant, Watami at The Central, Clark Quay. When we were at The Central Shopping Mall, I went to fulfil a promise that I made to a friend a year ago. It was one of the top “must-do” items on my list. One of my ex-interns at VOXmedia, Gin Oh (who won 3 consecutive years of Best Singapore E-Commerce Blogger Awards) has opened her own retail outlet “Shinnpark” last year. And I have promised to visit her shop since last Sept. I came by this May but the shop wasn’t open. Fate was kind to us this time. Gin happened to be at the shop and we finally met – after 10 long years since 2003. We chatted like old friends and I was very proud of her success. Best of all, I found something I wanted at her shop! For those who love designer’s goods and Singapore Designs, please go visit her shop at The Central!

Next Stop – Gareth came by my hotel and drove me to Mustafa where I bought new earphones to replace the one that I stupidly damaged on my flight to Singapore (I plug my earphones into the seat socket and the high voltage burnt the earpieces). It was so good to reunite with my Brother Feng! We were taking shortcuts to Mustafa and accidentally discovered some extraordinary colourful vices behind the back alleys. Later that night, we dragged Lionnel out to have a short midnight supper at Boon Keng Hawker Center. Thanks Gareth for the supper treats and ferrying me around!

The next day, I went to accomplished the work that brought me to Singapore. Just before I headed out to the airport, I went to visit my dear old-&-pretty friend Joanne at Ogilvy Singapore. Just like my family, it took Joanne quite a while to get used to my new rugged look. Anyway, who cares. I was there for the free lunch treat!

Finally, time’s up! I spent my last 3 hours at the airport, ferrying my little boy around the airport on the trolley. I made a couple of calls to a couple of good friends who I couldn’t meet up. When it was time for me to depart, Felicia and Elkan gave me a cheeky farewell at the viewing gallery on the 2nd storey. No goodbye tears this time as they knew they will see me again in another 4 weeks.

This was a very fulfilling and meaningful trip. I left with so much love and happiness. It was as warm and beautiful as the departing shot I took up in the air.

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