Smashing Tea Time with Smurfs

LITTLE EM LOVES “tea parties”… here’s one she “hosted” for the Smurfs, and another for her friend, the monkey.

A good hostess in the making? She loves the Smurfs and they love her back; tea with monkey. (Photos taken on 29 Sept 2011 and 29 Oct 2011)

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Happy Memories of “Neskuchny Sad”, Moscow

“NESKUCHNY SAD” IN Russian Нескучный сад is translated as “Fun Garden”. The park was previously an estate home for the aristocrats and royalty; today is it the property of the Russian Academy of Science. Some of its structures dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries – summer houses, pavilions and bridges – are still found on the large estate.

Every now and then, we’d head there for an evening stroll or a weekend walk, and also to enjoy the serenity of Moscow River that flows by it. The park provided me plenty of fond memories over the four seasons to reminisce over.

I love its autumn colours and walking on the crisp dried leaves (link). I especially look forward to winter when we went sledding on the snow-covered slopes! I don’t particularly like spring there as the wet grounds would be swarmed with worms the size of spaghetti – some dead, many still alive! Summer was a good excuse to get out of the apartment and enjoy the outdoors (link).

For me personally, Neskuchny Park lived up to its translated name. While one end of the park is adjacent to the well-known amusement Gorky Park, the “fun” derived from Neskuchny Park is of a different kind. The endless walks we took there were simple pleasures, unhurried, peaceful and inspiring…

Still plenty of snow at the start of spring. (25 Mac 2006)

Still plenty of snow at the start of spring. (25 Mac 2006)

The snow is gone, but the sun is here, plenty of it! (4 May 2006)

The snow is gone, but the sun is here, plenty of it! M jumps with joy near a stone bridge which subsequently became one of our favourite spots. (4 May 2006)

(Bottom, L-R) By the “Swimmer” sculpture; another sculpture and fountain next to an entrance to Gorky Park; our favourite stone bridge. (13 May 2006)

(Bottom, L-R) By the “Swimmer” sculpture; another sculpture and fountain next to an entrance to Gorky Park; our favourite stone bridge. (13 May 2006)

The girls are happy by their mommies, but are happier riding on their daddies. (30 July 2006)

The girls are happy by their mommies, but are happier riding on their daddies. (30 July 2006)

Little friends M and F walking home after playing in the park on 16 Sep 2006 at 7:26pm.

Little friends M and F walking home after playing in the park on 16 Sep 2006 at 7:26pm.

Back at the park to enjoy the gardens. (20 Sep 2006)

Back at the park to enjoy the gardens. (20 Sep 2006)

Another visit the following week. (28 Sep 2006)

Another visit the following week. (28 Sep 2006)

Lured back to the park despite the cold… someone had to feed the ducks! (20 Dec 2006)

The winter of 2007 brought abundant of snow. We returned to Neskuchny Park numerous times in February.

Photos of my favourite spots taken on 5 Feb 2007.

Photos of my favourite spots taken on 5 Feb 2007.

It was still snowing when we went there on 10 Feb 2007.

Lovely snow-covered trees and branches, and snow-covered table-tennis tables too! (10 Feb 2007)

Lovely snow-covered trees and branches, and snow-covered table-tennis tables too! (10 Feb 2007)

The next day, we woke up to a bright lovely day, clear blue skies and abundant of snow glistening in the sunlight. We returned to the park to see the surface of Moscow River frozen! (11 Feb 2007)

Scores of people also went to enjoy the lovely day and snow-related activities. The kids had fun sledding. (11 Feb 2007)

Less than two weeks later, we returned, once again armed with our snow mobile, sled and spade. The kids and adults had a field day sledding down the slopes, and M had great fun burying F in the snow! (20 Feb 2007)

Less than two weeks later, we returned, once again armed with our snow mobile, sled and spade. The kids and adults had a field day sledding down the slopes, and M had great fun burying F in the snow! (20 Feb 2007)

Recently I read in The Moscow News (link) that a woman was found murdered there on Monday, 27th May 2013 and by Friday, the police had arrested a suspect. A rather scary thought, a place so peaceful and serene is now also a murder scene!

Time To Pack and Leave, Again…

THIS WAS THE THIRD time… packing and moving across the continent, this time to return home. The packers took two days to complete the task (which is normal) of boxing up “our lives” into some 200 boxes – big, small and flat.

I felt a little “empty” when the boxes were finally taken away, yet relieved that the major task had been accomplished (after many many MANY sleepless nights). At least, after that I was able to sit back and enjoy our final days in this “little” island that gave us vast memories to look back on (and cry some more!)

Little Em thought packing was fun, till she realised all her toys were gone!!!

Little Em thought packing was fun, till she realised all her toys were gone!!!

(Top and Bottom) The living room at the end of the first packing day, with very little living space (28 Sep 2010); (Bottom, R) On the second packing day, M returned from school after celebrating Cultural Day in school. (29 Sep 2010)

(Top and Bottom) The living room at the end of the first packing day, with very little living space (28 Sep 2010); (Bottom, R) On the second packing day, M returned from school after celebrating Cultural Day in school. (29 Sep 2010)

We returned “home” one last time on 6 Oct to check the mailbox, and with the house keys in hand, we might as well just go in one last time!

The living room after the boxes were gone.

The living room after the boxes were gone.

A final look out of the window of the view that greeted us every morning.

A final look out of the window of the view that greeted us every morning.

M pointing to a building near home which is also a place “close to our hearts”… that was where Little Em was born.

Related post: Home 2010 (link)

Autumn Walks in Neskuchny Park, Moscow

WE WERE FORTUNATE there was a huge park located just across where we used to live in Moscow. In fact Neskuchny Park (in Russian it is Neskuchny Sad, translated as “Fun Garden”), located along Leninsky Prospekt on one side and along Moscow River on the other, is said to be the oldest park in the Russian capital.

Neskuchny Park holds a lot of fond memories of my time with Kathrin and our girls. On this date in 2006, Kathrin and I took the girls for an evening walk in the park.

Wonderful autumn colours and crisp dried leaves. (28 Sep 2006)

Wonderful autumn colours and crisp dried leaves. (28 Sep 2006)

We were there just the week before to feed the ducks. (22 Sep 2006)

We were there just the week before to feed the ducks. (22 Sep 2006)

We were last there for a walk and picnic on 4 May 2006.

We were last there for a walk and picnic on 4 May 2006.

We returned there on 20 Dec 2006…

We returned there on 20 Dec 2006…

And again on 5 Feb 2007.

And again on 5 Feb 2007.

 

Trip to Macau, 2010

WE MADE A day trip to Macau back in September 2010. While we had been to Macau on numerous occasions, this was our first family trip there as well as Little Em’s first trip out of Hong Kong where she was born. The hour-long ferry journey from HK to Macau was also Em’s first ferry ride.

The ferry ticket stub for M; little Em travelled free.

The ferry ticket stub for M; little Em travelled free.

Our first stop was Kun Iam Temple, one of the most active Buddhist temples in Macau. We went on to visit Lou Lim Ioc Garden, the only Chinese-style garden in Macau, the must-see St. Paul’s Ruins, Church of St. Dominic and the Museum of the Holy House of Mercy on Senado Square, and A Ma temple. We went up to Penha Hill for a panoramic view of Macau city. We ended our trip at The Venetian where it is perpetually day time, and headed home in the evening.

Kun Iam Temple (1627), Macau

Kun Iam Temple (1627), Macau.

Around the terraced gardens of Kun Iam Temple… (Top, R) Standing next to a historic site/relic – the stone table at the back of the temple, on which the first Sino-US trade and friendship treaty was signed in 1844.

Around the terraced gardens of Kun Iam Temple… (Top, R) Standing next to a historic site/relic – the stone table at the back of the temple, on which the first Sino-US trade and friendship treaty was signed in 1844.

Lou Lim Ioc Garden, Macau.

Lou Lim Ioc Garden, Macau.

Lou Lim Ioc Garden, a former private property that was presented to the government and turned into a public park. It is the only Chinese-style garden in Macau, specifically classic Suzhou style. Beautiful landscaping with zigzag bridges over a lotus pond, lush greenery and interesting rock formations make it a gem in the city.

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St. Paul's Ruins, Macau

St. Paul’s Ruins, Macau.

Historic buildings on Senado Square include St. Dominic’s Church, the oldest church in Macau built in the 1550s with yellow façade and green doors and windows (L) and Museum of the Holy House of Mercy housed in a white building that was built in 1569 (R).

Historic buildings on Senado Square include St. Dominic’s Church, the oldest church in Macau built in the 1550s with yellow façade and green doors and windows (L) and Museum of the Holy House of Mercy housed in a white building that was built in 1569 (R).

Mid-autumn festivities in the air at Senado Square.

Mid-autumn festivities in the air at Senado Square.

(L) Hubby showed the girls the building that previously housed the Portuguese Institute of the Orient (IPOR) where he spent one summer doing Portuguese language in the 90s; (R) In front of A Ma Temple, the oldest temple in Macau completed in 1488.

(L) Hubby showed the girls the building that previously housed the Portuguese Institute of the Orient (IPOR) where he spent one summer doing Portuguese language in the 90s; (R) In front of A Ma Temple, the oldest temple in Macau completed in 1488.

(L) M next to a stone marker near A Ma Temple, that marks where the sea was before the land reclamation; (R) Inside A Ma Temple.

(L) M next to a stone marker near A Ma Temple, that marks where the sea was before the land reclamation; (R) Inside A Ma Temple.

Lovely view of the central area of Macau from Penha Hill, a popular tourist spot.

Lovely view of the central area of Macau from Penha Hill, a popular tourist spot.

On Penha Hill with Macau Tower in the background.

On Penha Hill with Macau Tower in the background.

The Venetian, Macau

The Venetian, Macau.

The sisters in Macau.

The sisters in Macau.

Em’s precious expressions!

Em’s precious expressions!