Saturday, August 24, 2013

15 Days in Melborne - the drama beforehand and the thanksgiving

I planned and prepared very much in advance for this trip, or so I thought.

Since the end of 2012, we researched the best dates to go, taking into consideration school holidays, Daaling's term and Melbourne weather.

So we finally decided on the August Raya break so the kids would skip only 2 days of school for a whole 2-week break. This would also be at the beginning of Daaling's term and a less busy and non-exam period. I actually wanted to go in late September to see spring flowers but it would be too near joseph's exam. So August it was and in the end, Joseph did not skip school at all.

I bought our air tickets in early February, about 6 months before the trip, when fares were on offer. Later on, I did see fares slightly cheaper but unavailable for the dates we wanted. 

Once air tickets were settled, I booked the accommodation I had so painstakingly researched. I decided on CityEdge apartments because of its strategic location, very reasonable price and the amenities provided.

With flights and accommodation settled, I planned our itinerary to ensure we visited various attractions at off peak times with maximum savings on entrance fees and transport. So I knew we had to visit the farm on the second Saturday of the month and the zoo had to happen on a weekend too. The snow trip on the other hand should happen on a weekday because weekends are peak periods. 

A month before the trip, I dug out the winter clothing, sorted them and washed them in batches before packing. 

A week before the trip, I called MAS to reconfirm our seats, bassinet and child meals.

So I thought everything was in order.

And then...

Four days before we flew, Daaling printed the e-tickets and told me, "Do you realize your name on the ticket is Pxxxxxxxx TAN?????". My immediate response was, "And.....what's the problem?" 

It took a while for me to realize the at magnitude of the problem - tan is my husband's surname. My surname is Chan and that meant that the name on the e-ticket is wrong and I would not be able to get on the plane. OMG!!!!! How could I have been looking at the ticket for the past 6 months and not realize my name is wrong?

Daaling rushed home from work, picked me up and dropped me off at the LRT station and the rushed home. We left Isabel sleeping home alone for about 15 minutes. I went to the MAS office in KL Sentral to sort out the problem, hoping to plead a typo error but they didn't buy it. In the end, they reissued my ticket with a USD30 fine. Thank God it was not too hefty. 

The second incident was at KLIA. We arrived early with plenty of time to spare because I wanted to have sufficient time to check in and then feed the kids a proper dinner before getting to the gate by 9pm. At check in, the guy took quite a while and then he asked for Joseph's visa. Upon inspection, he showed me that the wrong passport number had been keyed in for his visa. His passport number is xxxx3988 while the one in his visa is xxxx3888 and that means his boarding pass cannot be issued and he can't get on the plane. OMG!!! 

I blame myself for not checking earlier and trusting the travel agent entirely. The MAS officer had to send a message to Canberra and wait for a reply. He told us to return in 10 minutes because there was nothing he could do in the meantime. We prayed hard while waiting and thank God, Canberra approved the change and Joseph got his boarding pass.
By this time, I just wanted to get on the plane and hope that the rest of the trip would be smooth sailing.

Thank God there was not much drama for the rest of the trip. The children were great on the plane and dealt with minimal jetlag with minimal fuss.

Thank God for a problem-free pregnancy. I had some worries that Australian immigration or the airline might stop me so I had the necessary gynae’s letter but nobody even bat an eyelid at my tummy and nobody asked for any document.

Thank God for his strength and protection at all times. It was really no joke bringing 3 young children and a big belly around the city using public transport. Joseph was really helpful especially in watching Isabel and following her around the various playgrounds and climbing up and down with her.

The day before we were to fly home, we were at the Albert Park playground when Joseph decided to be a superhero and jump from a platform about 1.5m off the ground. There was a fireman pole but he thought it would be more exciting to jump. Boys…. So jump he did and on the 3rd of 4th jump, he curled up in pain and said his left foot hurt. He hopped on one foot to a nearby bench whereby I examined him.

Seeing that there was hardly any swelling, I concluded that there was no fracture and whatever sprain/injury he had could wait till we got home. Thank God – by the time we landed in KL, he was fine and able to jump and kick his sister.

All in, I thank God for a great holiday and 15 wonderful days of spending 24/7 with my children. I will always cherish the memories of bringing them to all the lovely parks and the lovely picnics we had.  



  1. Wah really drama leh. Thankfully everything worked out for you guys in the end. Which reminds me I better double and triple check everything. What would you have done if Joseph's visa couldn't be sorted out?

  2. If the change not approved, just have to apply fresh visa on the spot. Pay money only lor...