[Continued from previous blog: Did we see bugs? (2019/20)]
[Read next part: Mom of the 2 students: another tale (next part)]
When my wife and I were making babies, her idea was to have the babies closer in age ‘so that they grow up together’. I was rather indifferent and had no wisdom to add on such re-creational topic. Moon was even praying hard that we may have twins but luck was on our side! We moved to Singapore in the beginning of 2004 when Alisa was 6 months old, the size of a loaf of bread! In a heartbeat, we knew that our next baby was on her way. Made in Singapore! Second baby gal! Moon was suffering a bit in the hot weather, taking care of one baby while another one was in her tummy. Being a filial granddaughter, Moon travelled daily with her gals to Johor Bahru, Malaysia to visit her semi-conscious grandpa in ICU. She only stopped doing her daily trip after she was told by her gynecologist that she was a little too close to the end of her pregnancy.
I was trying to be a good husband too and I was on her side when Moon was laboring. In between her effort, Moon said: ‘when are we having a third…’ She has been always ahead of herself and never gets tired (we just recently know why she was that way but that will be another writeup). I told Moon: ‘I would be the happiest man in the world with a third daughter if you can promise our next one is a gal but I am OK to settle for being the second happiest man in the world with two…’, which ended the discussion. Arrival of Hana was relatively fast and easy, I was a little sleepy but I did not feel any pain at all. Grandpa moved on with life to a happier place the day after he heard Moon went through a successful delivery safely.
Sure enough, the two young ladies went to the same kindergarten, primary school, high school and pre-university college (A-level). Without too much talent in forward planning in me, our two gals have been having their important examinations in tandem, one after the other! Not easy for them, harder (stressful) on us, the parents!
Alisa and Hana are brave gals, they finished their O-level examinations (2019 & 2020 while they also lost their grandparents in HK) and jump started their UK A-level syllabus without looking back. It was not intentional but this potentially saves them half a year in pre-university and ahead of their peers by one full university academic year as a result. This means that more hard work and more luck is needed to be on their side! Knowing how much my parents treasure education, their blessing is absolutely with them.
Covid-19 came right smack between their A-level examinations. Alisa’s 2020 UK boarding school experience was cut short and Hana’s was totally eliminated! By placing Alisa in a small local school to complete her A-level under a different syllabus and a last-minute cancellation of UK A-level examination meant that her boarding school examination results (efforts) was not counted and she had to go through a total of FIFTY assessments/examinations/tests (usually 1.5 – 2hours for each test/exam) in six weeks’ time between late April to early June (30 school days). That was on average more than one daily while her teachers were still trying to cover the last part of the examination syllabus! We could not had asked for a school with better student support! Don’t get me wrong here, the school was really supportive of Alisa’s crazy schedule. She was lucky! But her schedule, IMHO was inhumane (unprecedented) and I suggested Alisa to take her time and do the exam a year later instead. There was no need to rush IMHO but Alisa made up her mind to press on. Her reasoning was simple; she did not want to redo everything from scratch again and there is no guarantee that she would fare better/worse in 2020 or 2021! Her rationale was right. The name ‘Alisa’ means joy but from a jolly happy little gal she morphed into a stubborn head young lady!
Surprise! Alisa managed to get the needed grades to enter dental school in UK! Dental school was NOT my idea for her! Alisa told me when was in UK, she did a Morrisby test, which I was not familiar with, and the results revealed that her number one career fit was dentistry (and she said that was deep down what she thought she should do). All credits to those who helped her and Moon. My credit? Cheerleading on the side in short skirt (I meant ‘shorts & shirt’… damn autocorrect…)
Meanwhile, Hana went to school with her sister every day and was having a good time, which reflected in her grades, principal & teacher reports and the fact that she chose to join the student council because she believes she can make some difference for the school.
Hana has yet to complete her A-level in June 2022. Hana did not go through a rather major double jaw surgery like Alisa for jaw alignment and airway correction (sleep apnea) issues in 2021. However, I can see that both of them are evolving into two young ladies. From dark skin swimmer days in primary school and 100km weekly runner time in high school, they are now trendy, make up wearing (I simply love it but ladies, please don’t forget your make up remover before snoozing off…), tiktok watching, IG presence young ladies (I did not say ah lian…), who are relatively comfortably multilingual (in English/Chinese mandarin & Cantonese) and with a rather level headed world view of the universe.
Another surprise is that Hana loves the stories (and footnotes too) from her grandaunties (aka Aunty Mae, Helen etc). Decades of time difference seems like a non-factor. Again, credit to my intelligent wife, her wisdom works wonders. I finally understand why my dad gave me my Chinese name ‘Chi-Chung’ (wisdom & intelligence), my dad deep down knew that those are important qualities that I am/was short of! However, I topped it to the brim by having Moon as my spouse. I consider this an unfair long-term advantage (except I have a few more credit cards).
Wait a minute! What I saw in between Moon’s ears is one thing, what lies in front of it is another tale… (to be continued… )