What a difference a year makes! A year earlier, we had been navigating the cobblestones streets of Aleppo, Syria, bracing against the cold weather and experiencing an Orthodox Christmas on the same streets where Saul of Tarsus (St. Paul) once tread. This year we celebrated the holiday in the tropical suburbs of Singapore, in Choa Chu Kang. Our holiday revelry began two days before Christmas, with a celebration with our next door neighbors, as Peter Tan and his family came over for a pre-Christmas celebration.
guests arrived shortly
after seven, and observed the
local custom of leaving their shoes at the door. Pretty easy to keep a
clean house with guests like these. From the entryway, everyone
to the terrace for the festivities. The Tan clan included about
sisters, nieces and nephews. When Peter realized there was "room for
more," he went out into the driveway with his cell phone and started
calling more friends of theirs -- loved that!
The Tans brought bee hoon (a wonderful noodle dish), as well as a delicious chicken curry, and jellies. We barbecued vegetable brochettes on the grill. Poniah showcased what she learned living with a Chinese family for nine years, whipping up her special noodles and baked fish (pomfret) in a lovely sauce. Tracy rounded off the meal with her stupendous fudge-iced brownies, a guaranteed crowd pleaser! No one left hungry. The picture to the left gives one a sense of the patio at night, while to the right, Peter's son, Terence (a Singaporean policeman) helped Tracy serve her killer brownies.
course, what is Christmas without children? To the right
the three younger revelers paused from their game of "choo choo train"
to play with some balloons, while on the right Tracy shares a joke with
Peter's daughter and her cousin; both are experiencing chocolate
thanks to Tracy's brownies. What a kaleidoscope of colors and sound;
and adults, Mandarin and English, all set to the background music of
Following our dining and socializing on the terrace, we retired to the living room, as Terence had asked to hear Tracy's CD. We played excerpts from her solo and trio CDs to a most appreciative (she says, "captive"!) audience. After this impromptu "concert," we opened our Christmas present from the Tans. (To see it, you must click on the photo to the right) We also took a group picture of the Tan family, our gracious guests. They really brought the Christmas spirit to our house.
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