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Seeing Philip Island in a New Light

25 February to 7 March 2014

Dear Clarice

When in Melbourne, a trip to see the penguin parade on Philip Island is a novelty not to be missed. You were too young then at eight months old for the cold but this time, you’re 4 and a half and up to it. Thankfully, Uncle Frank had a relative who has a beach house on Philip Island. So off we went for the weekend stay.

Honestly to confess, I’ve never seen Philip Island in full daylight. I only came here after dark to see the penguin, so I had no idea it was such a big island. What’s more, it was a hugely popular weekend/ summer getaway resort with many motels and a small town and another island connected to it called Churchill Island. There was even a chocolate factory where you got to witness the manufacturing process of the chocolates with Kalan and Keisha. Another sightseeing spot was the koala santuary where we tried to spot as many koalas as we could. It was truly seeing Philip Island in a new light for me.

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We then took a stroll down the Nobbies bridge where we spotted some stay-home baby (or maybe mummy) penguins. Then when the evening falls, all the crowd came strolling in for the island’s highlight – the penguin parade. I think you won’t prepared for how cold the sea breezes might be when the Antartica winds blew in but it was freezing at night and you were wrapped up like a bak-zang (or rather a baby Eskimo). Cute-looking but you were not so amused with the cold. But I was proud that you braved the cold to watch the penguin came onshore and did not kick up a fuss.

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The beach house we stayed at was a beautiful 2-storeyed terrace house, literally by the beach. The morning was spent simply playing with sand and racing Daddy, Kalan and Keisha on the sand. Ah, the pure simple joy of life.

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Before we depart from Philip Island, we stopped by Churchill Island for lunch and a tour of the last remaining animal farm on the island. You milked a cow for the first time in your life, fed a horse with hay and saw sheep shearing. These are novelties for a city kid but I’m glad you did it for it will not be possible for urban dwellers like us to try these in Singapore.

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It was a great weekend with all the simple joys in life thrown together with nature, animals and human company. No technology gadgets needed. It was all back to basics.

All in all, all good things must come to an end and our 10-day vacation with Melbourne drew to a close on 7 March. Auntie Viv treated us to a beautiful Italian dinner and Keisha took you to Brunetti’s for heavenly dessert. It was sad and hard to say farewell to Auntie Viv for mummy but we had to go home eventually. You did your last trampoline jumps in the backyard, bade your farewells with Speedy the home hamster, Kalan and Keisha, and the red car which ferried us everywhere. We wished Uncle Frank all the best in his new tuition centre venture and set home for Singapore.

On hindsight, we are proud of you, Clarice, on this trip in so many ways. You proved yourself to be so capable of travelling well, adjusting to time differences in a new country, pairing off with your peers, socialising well with the adults you meet and being independent to take care of yourself. You have surpassed our expectations of you and make us so so proud. We hope these skills will come back to you in due course when you need them.

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