As soon as we got back from New Zealand (like, at the airport) we met Suzanne for her visit to Singapore. I've known Suzanne my whole life, but Kyle had only met her once at a pre-wedding party at home. She'd just spent about a month in Thailand getting her English and a Foreign Language teaching certification. We missed her by a few hours in Phuket back in December, sadly, but when her classes were done and we were back from New Zealand, she met us at the airport to hang out for a while.

I'm not sure how much fun we were, since we were recovering from the trip in terms of work and laundry and everything else, but we did get to initiate her to a few Singaporean specialties:

Like durian:

I believe that's the universal facial expression for "don't like!"

She went to a special Chinese New Year dinner that the Baba at the Peranakan place invited us to (we brought him two mandarin oranges each). When we went there for dinner last week, he asked about her, very concerned that she was doing well. I think he had a little crush. 

We took her to Chinatown and had balls of joy (yum!), claypot rice, and finished up with snow ice. Mango strawberry snow ice went over much better than the durian.

(Thanks to Germaine for the picture!)

And of course I had to take her to a fish spa. It's my favorite thing to do to with guests.

She also came to church with us, came to a Hamish appointment with me, and cooked for us a LOT. She made a chili dinner for our whole DG (it was our turn to host while she was here), great Southern food just for us (corn pudding, mashed potatoes, yum!), and an insanely good homemade caramel sauce for DG dessert that was enjoyed by all. Especially Kyle:

She and Amanda and I also went to Little India one afternoon to finally see Thaipusam.

[Heads up: these pictures show pierced bodies. There is no blood, but they've definitely got metal rods in their skin. FYI]  

This is our third year to be in Singapore for Thaipusam, but I've always missed it because it happens in the middle of the day, usually during the week (it's on the 10th full moon of the Tamil calendar). But this year we made a point of going, getting a yummy Indian lunch, and watching a bit of the parade of people.

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival dedicated to the Hindu god Subramaniam, son of Shiva, the deity of youth, power, and virtue. It's a time of repentance and devotees perform extreme acts of penance or thanksgiving by carrying a kavadi or burden from one temple about 4 km to another.

The kavadi often involve pain, are extremely elaborate, and look quite heavy. The devotees prepare beforehand by prayer and fasting and they are accompanied by family members that help them get suited up and walk with them on the journey.

In Singapore there are a lot of rules about Thaipusam to keep the festival as safe as possible, but people still pierce their bodies with skewers, walk barefoot or on shoes made of nails, or hang lemons or limes from hooks on their backs. Women often carry (less painful) offerings of flowers, fruit or pots of milk.

Besides the piercings, Suzanne's visit was pretty low key. Kyle and I had to work and she was job hunting and taking a break after her course. She stayed with us for a week and a half before she left for more adventures in northern Thailand--just long enough to land her dream job and make sure we missed her terribly.