So it's been over three months that we've made The Big Move (which will be unceremoniously but very fashionably shortened to 'TBM' from this post onwards). It's a good time to take stock of the good and the bad.

I'll start with the bad.

1. I don't have my old friends. I feel blessed for my new ones but my friends, many of them, I've known for over ten years. Some go back to my kindy days. I feel naked without them, by the very virtue of them having seen me with gel-ed up 'wave' fringe in the 80s (and still love me) and will always remember me 100lbs thinner. I really, REALLY miss you guys.

2. I don't have REAL nasi lemak and SS2 chicken rice. There are substitutes and I can very well cook my own but I can't cook very well!

3. I don't have instant coffee (my Davidoff, to be exact). There's only one brand of instant coffee in Starbucks land and it costs two to three times as much as brewed coffee. Monopoly!

4. I don't have my parents, especially my mom. Having spent a year with her (she was helping me with Skyler – and I hadn't lived with my parents since like forever), I really miss our nonsensical talks. And she's come to really see me as an adult, which is a very new experience for someone who's more than shortchanged her parents the aspirations they had for her. Miss you, mom.

5. Help. I used to have a maid to clean for me. Washing dishes. Mopping the floor (now it's vacuuming the carpet). Cleaning the bathrooms. Now all these chores fall on me, being the Housewife. My hands are all chapped and dry from the cold weather and rough work, which no amount of lotion seems to be fixing. It costs like $100 PER CLEAN here. Hmm. Maybe I should start a cleaning service…

6. I am jobless. It still feels very insecure for me to have no income. Although we are in okay shape, being Asian, you always ask, "What if this isn't enough? More is better than less!". I've come to appreciate, though, that what I'm putting aside now is emotional investment with our kids. Still, kiasuness is built in, so…

Okay, enough of the bad. Now the good!

1. I've had much more quality time with the kids simply because I am jobless now. We have outside play hour and music hour and art hour and quiet time together reading (thank God!). Feel blessed to be able to really be home for the girls. They are growing up WAY too fast for me not to be here, documenting every single thing or move they make. Plus they are doing SO well (minus the E.coli incident) adapting to the weather, the strange new faces, the culture and language, school etc.

2. I've learnt to become a much better mom, understanding my kids better, learning from the wonderfully attentive, educated and well-informed American moms who are just amazing with their kids. Their methods for raising independent, emotionally-secure, mature children may take a little more work but it's worth it because I see how Rae's school friends are so much more these things than her. And the whole cooperative preschool experience is so enriching not just for Rae, but for me (maybe even more so!). Feel very, VERY blessed for that.

3. I've learnt to cook! Well, I used to be able to make two really good dishes. I've always suspected I had it in me but because I never really had the time, I never fully developed this 'talent' (waseh!). Let's see how far it goes…

4. I've lost weight! Yea, doing housework and raising children will do that to you…

5. There are clothes my size! You don't know the pleasure of being able to walk into stores again just knowing there is XXL (REAL XXL, not just a label when it's really just XL!). And sometimes, even XL can fit because I've lost a little weight.

6. Fresh food. The fresh produce here is just amazing. I'm eating strawberries at $4 per a really huge box and veggies and seafood.

7. More important than fresh food, is all the convenient household gadgetry and MICROWAVE delights! I love those MW subs and Hot Pockets and pizzas. Not exactly gourmet, healthy food but it's convenient that I can just pop them in for a quick snack when I'm out of time. I have both a microwave AND a traditional oven in our rental home and it's just great. Love it.

8. Cheap and fast Internet access. Blazing through webpages and games and downloads. There are still hiccups sometimes but unlike back home, there are REAL choices here so if our current provider does cock up one time too many, we know where else to take our business!

9. Plenty of really good thrift and second-hand book stores. And they are REALLY cheap.

10. And of course, the lovely weather. Sometimes, it gets really cold and there's the trouble of always having to dress up fully when going out, but I'm really getting to like the blistery climate, especially when Spring is already here. Beats sweltering, humid heat anytime!

There. In summary, things are looking up for TBM. Seattle isn't home just yet, but we're getting there.

Slowly, but surely.