Birthday Post Number 1

Today is my birthday, which I am very proud to say I share with Bill Clinton. My son, Erez, likes to point out to me that my sharing my birthday with Bill Clinton is nowhere near as cool as him sharing his birthday (November 25) with Joey Chestnut, the world hot dog eating champion. And I’m guessing a number of you would agree. But I have been a huge fan of (read infatuated with) Bill Clinton ever since he arrived on the national political scene. (I am equally as big a fan of – and some would say infatuated with- Hillary Clinton, by the way.) Tipper Gore’s birthday is also August 19th and I have always been resentful of her encroaching on my shared birthday with Bill, especially back in the days of the Clinton/Gore administration when I imagined them celebrating together in the White House along with Hillary and Al.

We were thinking of doing a day trip to Malaysia for my birthday (that sounds weird even to me), but since Moshe and Erez don’t yet have their employment and dependent passes yet, it would make it more difficult with respect to the visa process. I already have been issued my employment pass, however I was “randomly” selected when I applied for mine to get tested for HIV and TB, which meant that I had to go to a medical clinic once here in Singapore to get a blood test and a chest X-ray. I, of course, became very paranoid at first when I realized that not everyone was required to get these tests – in fact, no one else I knew of who was applying for an employment pass had been required to get one, including my college freshman daughter or my domestic partner, Moshe. In some perverse way, I was flattered to think that Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) had some reason to think I was more likely than anyone else to have contracted HIV. Fortunately, I found out I passed both tests, but not after a very confused and scary phone conversation with the doctor, who told me that she thought I had better come in to see her in person to discuss my results. It turned out she had the wrong file in front of her and thought she was talking to some Polish woman who had come in for a completely different type of blood test. For a few moments there, I was pretty pretty nervous.


Moshe on the TreeTop Canopy suspension bridge

Waiting for the bus to go to the rainforest preserve, not yet completely drenched in sweat.

Instead of the Malaysia trip, I requested that we go to the TreeTop Canopy walk in Singapore, which we did. It was actually great, but very hot and sweaty. We did a 9km walk. For those of you who, like me, are still not facile with the metric system*, that is 5.6 miles, which is not that far, except when you are sweating profusely and have run out of water and are thirstier than you have ever been in your life. Plus there were a lot of steps to climb. Part of the walk was on a suspension bridge that is at the level of the treetops so you can see what is going on in the canopy of the rainforest. Once you enter the bridge, there is no turning back. There are also no bathrooms, refreshment stands, park rangers, or anything else along the way. So you bring your own food and water and hope that you don’t have to go to the bathroom. (Yes, I actually requested that we do this on my birthday).

Nothing between him and me except my iPhone – and he would have grabbed that away from me if I had gotten any closer.

The best part of this experience was the monkeys. They live in the rainforest preserve and you can see them running around and swinging from the trees. They are pretty aggressive too about approaching humans. At the seating area in the photos below a bunch of monkeys kind of overtook the place. This one young European woman seemed to have no fear of them until the big guy pictured on the right (the monkey, not Moshe) jumped up on the bench next to her and tried to grab her backpack. Another smaller one grabbed her sunglasses away from her.

Since it’s getting kind of late here in Singapore and I had one glass of Prosecco at dinner which is enough to knock me out, I’ll post about my birthday dinner tomorrow when it will still be my birthday in the US. I kind of like this concept of stretching out my birthday by celebrating it in different time zones.

* Speaking of the metric system, whatever happened to that whole initiative they introduced when I was in 3rd or 4th grade where the US was positively definitely going to switch over to the metric system and we all had to learn it? I still have some kind of slide rule converter they gave us in school that has all this propaganda on it about the big metric system switchover. When was it decided that we weren’t going to do that? Does anyone else remember that whole thing?  I recall feeling miserable about it, knowing that I might someday be able to calculate the conversions more easily (this was before we had an app for that), but would never really have a good concept of how long a meter was, or how heavy a kilogram was. And I was right.


  1. Sounds like it was a great way to spend your 29th birthday. I don’t know if the picture does him justice, but he is one of the ugliest monkeys I have ever seen. No Curious George. Anxious to hear about your dinner when you awaken

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