The year was 2005, the Lim family decided to spend a year in Pittsburgh where papa Lim was to do a one-year postgraduate study.
It turned out to be a year which I would always remember. The year which outsiders would expect it to be a bed of roses but I could assure you that it wasn't easy. In fact, it was tough, tremendously difficult. The year which I proved to myself that nothing was insurmountable if the family stayed together.
I could still remember the shock of staying at home to look after two toddlers. The younger one was one going to two. At this stage of his life, it was termed the terrible two for a good reason. Yet, he was also so clingy, so loving and always melted my heart at the end of the day. The elder one was obedient, very teachable and always spellbound by my little history lesson and also science through observing the world around us.
It took a while before we settled into the routine. We looked forward to our weekend grocery trip at the Strip District. We would stop by Lotus - a Chinese departmental store - to buy our oriental cooking needs such as soy sauce, jasmine rice, kaya and stuff. Next would be Wholey's for fresh produce, and also lunched at the second storey where the in-house cafeteria was. We savoured the freshness of the fish and chips and creamy soup. There were also free sculptured balloons just for kids.
My very considerate husband would come home early once every mid-week and brought us out to Freeport Road where the restaurant was Ponderosa. It was to be my break from housework and it coincided with the restaurant's family promotion so kids would well get free sculptured balloons. My two boys would be so excited and would just go to the balloon guy to get more balloons.
Sometimes, we would go to King's restaurant - a restaurant similar to our local Swenson - with ice-cream, yet distinct in its own way. One of which was the building which was single storey with a rooster north arrow atop.
Besides food, we also visited the parks. Our favourite spot was Lakepoint Shelter which was near our place. The scenery changed alongside the season. Autumn was the most beautiful with the vibrant hues of red, rust, yellow and gold. Winter looked solemn with the bare trees covered with snow.
I have now started my journey to detail more our one-year stay when I have the time. Little by little, they would piece together the precious memory that we have together.