My family’s been blessed with my brother coming back to Singapore not just once this year, but twice. And what made it even better was him being home for Christmas. It’s been a while so I know that his presence this season has made Mum so much the happier.

Back in August, Kor’s friend Alice was also visiting so I didn’t spend much time with him at all. This time, with him being back about 2.5 weeks, we’ve managed to find a bit more time to hang out. It’s especially refreshing since back when I was living at home, we’d both be in the same house when he visited so I’d take it for granted that being under the same roof equated to spending time with each other. Obviously not.

Last week, just before Christmas, Kor and I met up and since he’d never been to Gardens by the Bay, we decided to go together and check out Flower Dome which had been decked out for the festivities. We entered the dome only to be greeted by beautiful fir trees wearing shiny baubles large and small, as well as blossoming red poinsettias.

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The Christmas area complete with a little open log cabin perfectly made Instagrammable, as well as Santa’s worktable and more Christmas trees were essentially the centrepiece of Flower Dome this month. But around the centre, it was business as usual for the existing flora.

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I’m no flora buff and I cannot for the life of me name more than 3 kinds of trees and 5 kinds of flowers, but I can definitely appreciate nature’s beauty when I see them. And I have to say, there were plenty to admire here!

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I made sure to capture a #wefie of us Tan siblings with more fir trees decked in Blue and Silver Baubles!

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This one below is one of Flo’s favourite flowers because it looks like an elegant ballerina in her tutu.

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There was a very cool display set within a teepee-inspired structure and amongst the spherical ornaments suspended from the top were little terrariums within glass baubles. Very cool indeed and one of my favourite displays just because it all looked so magical and pretty.

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In terms of themes, since there were different areas set with different themes based on continents, I especially enjoyed the desert one where there were a myriad of cacti. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I managed to kill my cactus in less than 2 months many aeons ago, so I’ve refrained from adopting any more lest they suffer a similar fate. However, I still have this fascination with cacti. Even in their prickly state there’s something so enamouring about them. To me at least.

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Ok, so these wormy ones aren’t exactly the kind I’d like to have but there’s something about them that make them seem more alive. And yes, they are alive but perhaps alive isn’t so much the word than dynamic? They kind of remind me of sea cucumber.

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And I have so much love for the round, bulbous cacti. So cute!!

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They had a bit of an Alice in Wonderland theme going on here with giant mushrooms – Magic(al) Mushrooms perhaps?

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Oh oh!! And this tiny tree not only bears an uncanny resemblance to ginger root, it also looks like it could have come out of a cartoon! And it looks like it’s doing the boogie.

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Another cool looking flower.

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And right at the end of the top level, you have this awesome wood sculpture of a dragon — Guardian of the Flower Dome I assume.

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Can you see meeeeeee?

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After we walked the dome, we took a slow walk towards Marina Bay Financial Centre to meet Flo for dinner at Din Tai Fung. Also, the Friday before Christmas, we had Kor over for dinner and then played a long round of The Settlers of Catan, which was really fun! It was great seeing Flo and Kor get along, and just eye-opening for me to see how my brother and I have grown so much from our years as children jabbing each other in the ribs (Ok, more like me jabbing him in the ribs), squabbling with each other over the computer as teenagers, and now, becoming friends who’ll always have each others’ back as adults.

When we were young, my aunty, Mama, used to ask me whether I loved my brother. I thought that love was too gross and mushy and would answer her with a stubborn ‘NO!’. One day, Mama told me that she always asked my brother that same question too and he would tell her that he loves his little rebel of a sister. This is something that’s always stuck with me. In the last 10-12 years, I’ve grown so proud of having Kor for my brother. I look back and see how much he used to give in to me, how protective he was of me in his own quiet way, how much he has always cared about me.

Sure, Kor has his quirks, just as we all do, but he is kind, and thoughtful, and generous; gentle, and dependable, and quietly confident. Having spent more time with him the last week or so, I am certain that he deserves to meet someone who treats him well and makes him happy. Of course, that is only if this is his desire too. So I guess if Mama were to ask me the same question she used to ask, I would tell her “Of course I love my brother. I only have one brother in this world and I’m glad that out of all the brothers I could have had, God blessed me with this one.” 🙂 And that would of course be true.

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