The end of the 30 day jail sentence for kitties

I was counting down the hours until I could pick up Jazz & Jayda from quarantine.  When 10:00 am Wednesday finally arrived, I was at the Sembawang Quarantine Station ready to get my furry babies and bring them home.  

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We had visited them twice, and each time, both cats seemed to miss us very much.  They would jump in our arms, rub on us, meow a lot, Jazz even sat in my purse.   The facility was clean, although it did smell a bit.  The cats space  was very much like a cell … windows on three sides, a ledge, and enough floor space for their kitty litter box.   There was enough room for one adult to fit. 

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Well, when we visited … all five of us squeezed into this room.  Imagine the excitement!  Cats carrying on, fur flying ( they desperately needed brushing), some allergy sneezing, my tears, and then all the other cats in the facility crying as well.  We must have looked like such nut jobs on the video surveillance camera, but we didn’t care!  

 Anyhow, when I finally had the cats released to me, after signing many papers, I got the kennels into my van, and off we went.  After the 30 minute drive home with both of the cats making the most terrifying noises, we arrived at the condo, and  after managing to get both kennels in the lift and up to the fourth floor, I opened the doors to the kennel and the cats experienced freedom for the first time since mid-July. 

Their reaction?  Complete chaos.  They freaked out.  Ran up and down the hallway, into and out of rooms so fast they were just a black blur.  Then they ran right into the closet in the master bedroom and hid in the darkest corner.  And refused to come out.  When I was able to drag Jazz out, he ran into the bathroom, and cowered under the sink, where he remained for hours.  They refused to drink or eat, and they seemed terrified of every little noise.   

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Can you see him under there?   poor Jazz.   I decided to lock them in the closet, which was about double the size of their cell, thinking that maybe they needed to gradually get used to big spaces again.  They were good with that, remaining quiet and calm for the afternoon, until the kids came home from school. Complete chaos again.  Fur flying, cats crying.  

Cats crying?  You know what I’m talking about … that loud, alien sounding “MERRAOWL!”  that give you chills.  In our very unfurnished condo, the echos of their crying were unbearable.   They never stopped crying.  They cried, and cried, and cried.  All. Night. Long.  

I spent the entire night cradling the cats like newborn babies, trying to get them to calm down.  Once finally relaxed and sleeping, I would put them in the back corner of the closet, but as soon as I would walk away, loud crying would begin.  This lasted for about 48 hours.  By the fourth day, they only cried when I wasn’t in the same room or when they couldn’t find each other.  

They have been home now for 6 days, and things have calmed down considerably.  Jayda sleeps wrapped around my neck or on my chest.   She gets as close as she can to my head at all times.    If I leave the room, she follows me like a puppy, always underfoot.  When I leave the house, I have to cuddle her to sleep, and then gently put her in the back of the closet, where she now has a nice fluffy pillow-bed.   Jazz is also a bit mental … Trent and I once found him cowering and shaking, trying to hid underneath the comforter on Shanes bed.  

Each day they get a little more secure,   they cry a little less, and with lots of attention and reassurance, I am hopeful they will forget the trauma they endured traveling to Asia.  

 

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Two weeks later ….

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I cannot believe that it’s been two weeks past since my last post.   LIfe here in Sing is starting to get more settled for us here.  As we only arrived with clothes and some personal effects, I had to get busy setting up the condo and making it livable for us.  Fortunately, during Trents three month stay this past summer, he set about purchasing beds and linens for us, and he had them all prepared for us.  After 24 hours of traveling, and landing here in the wee hours of the morning, it was lovely to walk into our condo and have beds ready for the five of us.  Besides the beds, we had no other furniture!  It has taken all my time and energy trying to get this condo set up and livable.

We have completely recovered from our jet-lag, that took about two weeks.  We are 13 hours ahead of Minnesota time, and they say the body adjusts about one hour a day, so 14 days was about right.  For the longest time, we all felt like we were in a fog.

Going to school orientation, the first week of school, learning to drive in very heavy traffic (British-style: on the other side of the car, and on the other side of the road), searching for stores and purchasing furniture, searching for american food in the grocery stores:  all in a jet-lag fog.  We managed to get through it, without any major melt-downs or break-downs.  That in itself is a miracle.  Thank you all for your prayers, we have certainly felt them and it has helped us knowing that so many people were praying for us.

LIfe here in Singapore is TOTALLY different from anyplace we have already lived (Pittsburgh, St. Paul, Chicago suburbs, and rural Hudson Wisconsin), and it has been a bit of a shock.   We Blinkmans are in the minority in this land, and we see very few Americans.  In fact, we see very few non-Asians.  We chose not to live where all the Americans live, and we don’t regret it.  In our housing, there are people from all over the world:  Brazil, Kenya, France, Belgium, Australia, Hawaii, to name a few.

Most surprising to us is that while the kids are enrolled at the Singapore American School, and there are very few Americans there!!  I don’t know the exact percentages, but I would bet only 30-50% of the students are Americans.  The rest are Chinese, Indian, or other Asian.  I know of one German & one Japanese boy as well, both are seniors and swimmers.  Most of the teachers are Australian or American.  Marias spanish teacher is from Minneapolis, no kidding.

I will go into more detail about the kids school later, as I do have many items to post about if I am to keep this journal up-to-date.  I will try to post at least every other day until I am caught up.

Trent is traveling this week  (he is in China) and since I don’t sleep well when he is gone, so I’ll use my late nights to get caught up on interesting topics I want to journal about!

18 Suitcases!

I know, I know!  I haven’t updated in a while.  I’ve got lots to post about, as we have been living in Singapore for not quite a week now.  We officially landed on this island last Thursday, August 8th, at 2:00 am.   That’s Wednesday 1:00 pm Central Zone time. Confusing, right?  We made a quick jump to 13 hours ahead in time from our home in Hudson.  

Let me back track a bit.  Our last full week at home was all about swimming.  We had the Minnesota State Swimming Championships at the University of Minnesota one weekend, and then the following weekend we traveled to Topeka Kansas for the USA Central Zone Championships.  Once we got through those two meets and traveled back to Hudson, we had exactly 18 hours until our scheduled shuttle pick up … we had a flight to catch!!  

Eighteen suitcases.  That’s how many I packed.  

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Needless to say, the logistics of three kids with 18 suitcases was a bit complicated.   We checked 13 of them, and we each lugged a carry-on bag and it worked perfectly.   Once in the shuttle, I snapped a pic of one of the boys taking one last photo of Hudson from the 94 bridge. Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our last few moments at the airport, prior to boarding our flight with one-way tickets, brought different emotions to each of us. Trent was relieved and ready to just get his family settled, as he needed to concentrate on his new job.  Maria became quiet and introspective, I imagine she was thinking of her friends she was leaving behind.  The boys were giddy with excitement, like just before kick-off for a Steeler Super Bowl, which made them hungry, which then warranted a last minute top-off at Subway.  I frantically made a last minute phone call to my parents, and got the reassurances that I needed from them, that I was in fact, making a move that would be good for my family and that things will be okay.

I know my sweet parents didn’t want me to take their grandchildren to the other side of the world,  and I could hear the emotion in their voices, which brought me to tears.   I managed to embarrass Maria a bit, which of course is my job, but when the child looked at me and said, “Let’s Do This!!” when they called for us to board, I dried my tears, gathered up my gear, and shuffled onto the plane.  

 

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And so we have now been Singapore residents for FOUR complete days now.  It has been wonderful, exhausting, exciting, emotional … you get the idea right?   I think because of all the stress & exhaustion, I came down with the sickies, but thankfully I had a Z-pac from my physician-sister Rachel packed that by some miracle I was able to find. I’m confident that in a few days I’ll start to feel better.  

On Saturday our air-shipment arrived  ( with very little damage ) and I’m working on getting it all unpacked and setting up the house.  

The kids had school orientation on Saturday, which lasted nearly the entire day, and school started for Maria yesterday, today for the boys.  All three kids at school today. 

 

Now you see why today is the day I found time to update this blog, right?  All three kids are at school today!!! 

 

Thank you for your prayers, you all have been a huge blessing to myself and my family as we continue to settle into our new country.  We pray for continued health for my family,  that we all relax and let go of our anxieties,  I pray that the kids make new friends and feel comfortable in their new school, and that Trent is able to let go of his worrying about me & the kids and focus on his job.   Love you all!!