February 27, 2007

US visa application

The process was quite simple and efficient. All I had to do was visit the embassy website, fill up the online form, make an appointment to the embassy online, make payment at any RHB bank, and get all my documentations ready.

My appointment was at 9.45am and by the time I got there, there was already a long queue. The guard admitted us into the embassy building in accordance to the appointment time, even though there were people ahead of me. Despite that, it still took me close to an hour in the queue before I was finally admitted into the building at 10.30am.

Visitors had to pass through a security scan and have their camera, mobile phone, keys, etc left at the entrance. I then walked over to the main consular building and waited for turn to be interviewed. The interview takes place over the counter and as most of the officers speak into the microphone, every conversation could actually be heard loud and clear. This, I thought, was rather intrusive and impersonal.

I waited for close to 45 minutes before my number was called and thankfully, the interview was painless enough. Having an official invitation letter from US headquarters and a confirmation of employment letter from HR no doubt made the process easier. My visa was approved but I was asked to apply for a new passport before the visa will be issued as there's a slight damage to the front page of my passport, where the cover has kind of separated into two pieces at the edge. The officer said this is to avoid me having any trouble while entering US as the immigration officers at US entry checkpoint may think that my passport is fraudulent.

I went to the Subang immigration office to apply for a new passport as advised, though I still have about three years validity with my current passport. The immigration however, refused to process my application as they do not deem my passport damaged! The officer suggested that I simply glue the cover back in place. I told them of the instruction given by the US embassy but the officer said that if I insist on applying for a new passport, they would have to lodge a case for investigation, as they deemed my passport as still valid. So there I was, caught in-between the requirement of the US embassy, and our local immigration regulations.

I then went back to the US embassy and related my experience at the immigration to them. The officer was understanding and proceeded to issue me a visa, but not before reiterating his warning that I should be prepared to face difficulties that may arise while entering US. My visa would be ready for collection the next day. I didn’t pick it up until just before the Chinese New Year holidays, as the counter is only open from 2 – 3 pm daily and I have been so bogged down with work. So I finally have my 10-year US visa and is now waiting to board my flight; I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed that people at US immigration won't give me a hard time.

February 26, 2007

Mixed feelings about trip to US

I will be flying off to Orlando tomorrow for a meeting, followed by a visit to my company's headquarters in New Jersey. This will be my first trip to the USA and I should be very excited about it as I've always wanted to set foot in the land of plenty. And getting to Orlando on my first ever trip to the USA, with its many attractions such as Disneyworld and Universal Studio, is really something I should look forward to.

However, I just don't feel any excitement right now. Maybe because I have several major activities in March and there's loads to be done. I'm getting very anxious that I might not be able to meet a lot of deadlines to make those events a success.

I also feel very apprehensive as this will be the longest ever I'll be separated from Yiu Yiu. I will only return on March 10 so I'll be away for close to two weeks. Though I've traveled quite a bit on business since Yiu Yiu was born, those are mainly short 3 – 5 days trip. Even though hubby is quite adept at handling Yiu Yiu on his own and the babysitter, bless her, has also offered to take care of her day and night while I'm away, I am still not at peace.

I worry because she will have to take formula while I'm away as my stash of frozen expressed breast milk (EBM) is depleting and will not last her for the duration of my trip. I also worry because Yiu Yiu is getting increasingly difficult at mealtimes and during the Chinese New Year holidays, she never finished her normal portion of porridge or rice. But mainly, I worry about how I'll be able to handle being half-the-world away from her and whether she'll receive me with open arms when I come back. Seems like mummy is the one developing a severe bout of separation anxiety!

February 22, 2007

Valentine surprise

As we have just shifted house and not fully unpacked yet, things are still rather chaotic on the home front. I have also been working very late to try to meet several deadlines before the Chinese New Year holidays. Each night after work, I would reach home at about 10pm and after grabbing a quick dinner, shower and spend some time with Yiu Yiu before she sleeps, I'll again switch on my laptop to work.

I knew Valentine was just around the corner but didn't pay any attention to it as Valentine has never been a big deal for us. I don't subscribe to spending obscene amount of $$$ to have a romantic dinner which would only cost half as much on a normal day; neither will I expect hubby to buy me flowers on Valentine, again due to the much inflated prices. He knows that, and makes up for it by sending me flowers on my birthday; and he has never failed to do that since our courting days.

So when I walked into the bedroom and saw a little box wrapped with shiny blue paper and dressed with a silver ribbon, I was pleasantly surprised! Inside was a chic pair of diamond dress earrings, which I wore to work the very next day. Come to think of it, this may the first ever Valentine gift I received from hubby, though we do buy things for one another on and off. I must admit that this was a nice touch, but I hang my head in shame for not having thought about getting him something on this special occasion.

February 21, 2007

Get paid for blogging

I first learnt about this in MyMomsBest from 5xmom and I was intrigued. I started this blog with the sole intention of capturing Yiu Yiu's growing up moments but thought that jumping onto the bandwagon and signing up with PayPerPost won't do much harm. Nevertheless, when I first visited PayPerPost, I realized that I didn't meet their criteria of having at least 20 posts within the last 90 days as I had not been posting regularly then.

Last week, I realized that I've met their criteria and promptly signed up. I encountered some problems as I was informed that someone has registered using my email address, which is quite impossible as I am using my work email address which is unique to me. I'm not exactly sure what the problem was. Anyway, I wrote to PayPerPost and they were quick to resolve the issue. I could log in to PayPerPost within three days and registered my blog. I didn’t place much expectation as I read in MyMomsBest some members had difficulty getting their blog approved. To my surprise, I saw an email from them three days later informing me that my blog has been approved. So I can now start earning $$$ from my blog. The next big questions are, will I find time to capitalize on opportunities offered and will my posting be good enough to be accepted? And I've just read from Shopping Mum that most opportunites in PayPerPost now require our blog to have Alexa rating. I did some research and discovered that only blogs hosted on individual domain will have an Alexa rating whereas those hosted by Blogger and other free domain will not. So will I ever get paid for blogging? Only time will tell.

February 20, 2007

Pink nen-nen

As sis was away in Cambodia for a few days, mum and Yihao stayed with us over the last week. At 27 months, Yihao is well-versed at pointing out different colours. The other day while I was nursing Yiu Yiu in the bedroom, I played the usual "What colour is this?" game with him.

Me: What colour is this (pointing to the bedsheet)?
Yihao: It's grey.
Me: What colour is this (pointing to the cupboard)?
Yihao: It's white.
Me: What colour is this (pointing to the curtain)?
Yihao: It's yellow.
Yihao: (pointing to my pink t-shirt) This is pink, pink nen-nen

I couldn't stop laughing!

February 17, 2007

Monster in the shower?

We installed a water heater with build-in pump in the bathrooms on the first floor of our house. And pump being pump, when the heater is switched on, there is this monstrosity of a sound generated. As Yiu Yiu can now bathe standing up in the shower, we did the same after shifting over to the next house.

The first day, while she was in the shower, my nephew, Yihao stood outside and she busied herself paying peekaboo with him while I bathed her. However on the second day, to my utter dismay, when I switched on the water heater, she was terrified of the noise and started crying. She clung on to me for dear life and simply refused to let go despite reassurance from me and hubby. In the end, hubby had to hold a screaming toddler by the arms tightly while I gave her a quick shower.

We've since not had another chance to bathe her in the shower again as weekdays at babysitter, she'd be all ready by the time we fetch her. And we are now in Kuantan at my in-laws place for the Chinese New Year holidays. I hope that terrifying episode was simply a one-off thing and she'd be OK when we bathe her next.

February 13, 2007

Disintegrating plastic bag

As with most households, we kept a substantial amount of plastic bags of various makes and sizes in the house. I had two huge black garbage bags that are filled to the brim with plastic bags. As I was packing to move into our new house and needed some large plastic bags, I rummaged through the stock pile to look for one. To my surprise, I found some J*sc* plastic bags having disintegrated among the stock pile. They've became really brittle and turned into pieces at the slightest touch. I can't even lift a single piece of the plastic bags out and they literally became a mass of dust inside the black garbage bag. I dismissed the incidence and thought that they must have been produced among a poorly manufactured batch.

I experienced it the second time when packing a set of new bed sheet which hubby bought at J*sc* Card members' sale last year. We've kept the bed sheet aside in the original J*sc* plastic bag after purchasing it as we planned to use it only at the new house. When I lifted the bed sheet, the plastic bag crumbled into pieces. Two incidences within the same day don't make a co-incidence, does it?

February 12, 2007

Busy like a bee

The last few weeks have been such a busy period for me. Never since 2003 when I was launching a new product have I been as busy. It has been a non-stop whirlwind of activities both from the domestic and professional front. I have also not been able to log onto my favorite forum MyMomsBest for almost a month now.

On the domestic front, we moved into our new house last Friday. Understandably, the last few weeks were spent chasing after various contractors and vendors to ensure all renovation works are completed on time. We also spent the last weekend packing stuff from our home into boxes. Hubby bought the condo we were staying about seven years ago as a bachelor and I've never quite figured out how he managed to amass so much rubbish, in my eyes anyway! Things from the store room and display cabinet alone filled up almost 15 cartons, gigantic size cartons at that! All in, we carted over 30 gigantic cartons over to the new house, and then some. The fact that we have a lot of giveaway baby stuff which we never used didn't help.

We also went back to Ipoh on Thaipusam holiday to wrap up the marble dining set from my maternal home. Mum has a particular attachment to the dining set and since we only go back to Ipoh once in a while, mum suggested that we bring the dining set over. As she may be moving in with us later, we obliged just to make her happy.

On the work front, I'm again given the task to launch a new product so I've been really caught up with work. And the saying "When it rains, it pours" can't be more apt. Everything seems to happen all at once and every deadline seems to fall at the same time as well. There's a meeting almost every day and by the time I start to work on my daily plan, it's almost evening and I end up staying late in office and still bring work home. I feel like I'm caught in the quicksand and trying desperately to grasp on to some life line.

I anticipate this situation will continue even after Chinese New Year, and I hope I'll have my sanity intact! Speaking of Chinese New Year, I've not even starting my shopping. Looks like Yiu Yiu will have to celebrate Chinese New Year with no pretty dresses.

February 06, 2007

Another new recipe

I tried another new recipe for Yiu Yiu yesterday Рchicken casserole. I basically cubed some potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and skinned chicken breast and saut̩ed them till fragrant with some onions. Add enough water and let it simmer till soft. Before serving, I boiled some alphabet pasta and added into the casserole to make a yummy meal. Yummy to mummy at least coz what Yiu Yiu couldn't finish went into mummy's tummy.