Toodlepip, My Loves! It’s Been REAL!!

Want to say a mahusiv thanks to everyone who came to my gigs last week, and for the three people in the whole expat wife community who didn’t make, I’m sure you had a good excuse (like husband away and helper sick). So for you, I’ll put the clip in this post.

I was meant to leave Singapore on Friday, but a series of rather wonderful occurrences occurred, so I thought HEY, why not just stay?! Hotels don’t give you the bill until you leave, right? So all I have to do is stay long enough to make some major cash (somehow), and then I’ll be able to afford the Raffles invoice.

Given that Agent Provocateur (the brand of my trademark sunnies) didn’t come through with the $2bn sponsorship deal I put to them, I’m pretty sure that Chanel (my new glasses) will be up for it. I’m happy to negotiate because hello, this is Chanel we’re talking about, so I could probably meet them at $1.9 or even $1.75bn. I’ll leave it up to them. They seem to know what they’re doing, so they’ll figure out what’s fair here.

That was my plan A, and then… Then I did my second sell-out gig from my sell-out tour of the whole of Asia but only in Singapore, at Chijmes. A lovely audience member tweeted this pic of me extolling the virtues of Grant Property, and now I’m thinking that they would most likely also love the opportunity to sponsor me as an emerging Asia expat (sort of) talent (totes).

Grant Property

 

Armed with Plans A and B, I also realised that I didn’t get to finish my second Tekka Market joke at the Blu Jaz, so I really need another shot at that. Plus, it has been so amazing hanging out in the sun that it just made zero sense to dash back to London.

Then the most incrediblé thing of all happened…

So you know that I met up with Mrs Doom and Gloom Expat Wifey last week, and that she is none of the above anymore, and that I actually started to like her because she has turned into a proper person with sensible values like partying and handbags, but then she said she’s getting her blog published, and mysteriously I didn’t like her anymore and considered throwing myself off the Swissôtel (I’m a complex person, as you know, dear readers).

Well. Crazy upon crazy, she came to my first gig and she brought a friend with her who’s a talent agent, and he loved me!! Not only that, but she showed my blog to her publisher and… He loves me too!!! OMFG!!!

So I’m like WOW, I have at least a gazillion reasons to stay in Singas, and only a few little crappy ones to go back to London, not counting the irritants. They’re fine with Don. He knows where their clothes and schools are, and has apparently hired a housewife I mean housekeeper. Oopsy, it’s just too easy to mix those things up, isn’t it?

Over the coming months, I need to assemblé my past posts into a book, as requested by the publisher, so I’ll be too busy to blog. Hashtag sad face. I’ll miss each and every one of you, and I know the feeling is mutual, despite you missing me more.

I might pop up occasionally, but it’s best I keep a low profile, in case Don thinks I should come back, and what with being on a tourist visa and all that.

I think, dearest readers, that I might be experiencing an epiphanification. I used to believe that I had worked hard to get where I was, to be an expat wife – like my mother before me, and her mother before her. Now that I have suffered the torture of repatriation, and returned to my spiritual homeland of warm nights on roof terraces, weekends in Bali, the peace of separation from family, the eternal transitions and exciting losses, the shopping, the laughter, the wonderful quicksand of the Unknown and Unknowable… Now I realise that this is where I was born to be. Not an expat wife, but a free soul: embracing the now, leaving behind that which no longer serves, and taking lots of selfies along the way. Descartes was wrong when he quotheded “I think therefore I am”. Or maybe not wrong, just not right anymore. Here, today, I have likes and followers therefore I am. There are 7.4 billion people in the world today, but I am somebody. And some people are more somebody than others.

 

This was my diary.

Love love love

EJ xx

IMG_4558

Eyes, lah ; )

 

 

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On Non-Awesome Mothers (of the Repatriated Expat)

When I returned from my divine time in Disney, I had to drive straight to Mummy’s Holland Park abode to collect the irritants. From the way she had told me to hurry back to Angleterria, I was anticipating a scene of the utmostest calamity and devastation at her place, but none did I find. All cool: Max hiding in a wardrobe with his iPad so as to avoid his grandmother’s ban on Minecraft, and Milly, somewhat thinner than I remembered (but people always do seem thinner after a sojourn in the northern Americas, don’t they?), half-heartedly doing a jigsaw at the kitchen table, underneath which she held her phone, Whatsapping away with her little friends. They’re so cute at this age. It really is incrediblé how fast five year-olds can type. She has barely learnt to write, but wow can she Whatsapp! That’s my girl : )

Mummy was at the Aga, making juniper berry venison with Jerusalem artichokes and unfeasibly small onions (I do love her cooking! I wish we had more home cooking at my house hashtag sadface.)

She insisted on telling me absolutely everything that the children had done over Xmas and New Year’s – went to Auntie this, saw cousins thems. I wasn’t in the least bit interested, but her focused obliviousosity gave me the chance to message Phil, and to catch up on all the important Facebook news I’d missed during my journey back. I refuse to pay for wifi on planes. Upper Class tickets are expensive enough as it is! I’m not going to subsidise the poors in Economy a penny more than I absolutely have to.

The next thing I heard was Mummy saying, “blablabla-bla-bla-bloo, so you’d be wise to leave now, before the traffic gets bad”.

“Oh”, I replied, “I thought we ought to stay the night. I’m really rather jet lagged, and my chi is flip flopping all over the place, as you can imagine. And you’re doing my favourite sups: juniper berry venison… with Jerusalem artichokes… and unfeasibly small onions. So it would be nice for you if we stayed to keep you company…” –

“Emma-Jane, have you heard nothing I’ve been telling you? I have someone coming round later for dinner. Which is why you’d better get the children’s things together, and go home. You know what the traffic’s like. Or have you forgotten? Not quite the same as Singapore!”

[Ha, like I didn’t know that! I had just spent millennia getting through customs and driving from the airport in the pelting rain. Had it been Singapore, it would’ve taken me half an hour from the time the plane landed to be lying in my rooftop pool with a bottle of Veuve Click. Like I didn’t know!! How totes dare she?? Rub salt in the wound much, Mum-ski?! What a b***h.]

Not one to take things personally, nor blow matters beyond reasonable proportion, I said, “Fine!”, and stormed off to gather the irritants’ paraphernalia, apparently quadrupled in volume due to Xmas presents. They had quite enough stuff already, without people bloody giving them more! There’s nothing for it: we’ll just have to move to a bigger house. I’m sort of running low on money (dunno where that vast sum my father gave me went, though I should really know given that I did an online accountancy course when I sacked my accountant), but I could just get a job or something.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that it isn’t easy to fit three people and shedloads of luggage into a Maserati, but given that needs musted (Mummy was not d’accord with me leaving the gifts or even one of the children at hers), I had little choice, did I, dear readers? As we squeezed into the car, I informed her in a completely not passive-aggressive way that, by demanding our immediate departure, she was risking the lives of two of her precious grandchildren, and her only daughter (apart from the other one, my sister), whilst simultaneously depriving said daughter of much-loved juniper berry venison with Jerusalem artichokes and yes, unfeasibly small onions… Which basically fed into and compounded every other moment of deprivation, disappointment, and dreadfully dire mothering she had perpetrated against my person from conception onwards. As I made sure to let her know.

We said goodbye – well, she said goodbye to the kids – and I sped us home, at least enjoying the roar of the fine engine and the appreciative glances from gentleman drivers. The open road reminded me that I was free, and in spite of Max and Milly’s protestations, I put the top down. With the wind in my fiery locks and Beyoncé blasting loud, I felt myself to be on Orchard Road again (somewhat chillier, of course), recalling the days of cruising from one happy, warm place to another happy, warm place.

Then the car in front came to a halt, as had every car beyond for as far as my azure almond eyes could see. It was really cold. I turned the music down, and flicked the switch to raise the hood. It took almost as long to cross London as it had to cross the Atlantic. I say “almost”, only because I am not prone to exaggeration.


 

Thanks to Mummy’s salt rubbing, I am now missing Singas more than ever.

Leafy Orchard Road

Lovely leafy Orchard Road

 

Bankers on Roof Terraces

Bankers on roof terraces

 

Botanic Gardens

Sunny days at the Botanic Gardens – Hampstead Heath is so much chillier

 

Nikoi

Paradisical retreat weekends on the island of Nikoi, after a long five days of gloriously exhausting social mayhem

 

Fun times

Fun times wid my girlies

 

Laundry

& laundry hanging out of HDB windows in 100% humidity

 

So this was me after last night’s gig in Soho. I’m doing my happy face like a true pro, but inside my extremely awesome biker jacket, my heart was sobbing, “Take me back to Singapore!”

Potential repatriates take note. It’s not great.

 

Blue Post

 

 

Netflix and Chillin’ Wid My Disney Prince Charmin’

What a tremendously long bloliday!! (That’s bloggers’ technical termificology fyi, you’re welcome.)

Babeses (for the Expaterati)/ Dahlins (for the Brits), where to begin?? Xmas was an amazingly spiritual time of giving for me, hence my blogging hiaticus, and it has been a crazybobs delicious whirlwind. The previous occasion when I lay down the annals of my life for you, I was in Disneyland Florida, as you will recall. So I’ll begin with now, work backwards, doing some bits in the middle, then proceed to the end of the beginning bit. Or no, I’ll just start with Disney.

Given that life just made sense there, I decided to extend my stay beyond the kids’, and popped them on a plane back to London with Clara. They were having an awesome time, but Chrimbo is really so much nicer for irritants to spend with their grandparents, isn’t it? In the afore-mentionsed spirit of giving, it felt only right and proper for me to forgo my selfish maternal needs, and that Max and Mills returned to the bosom of the extended family. Plus, an incrediblé thing happened out there in Florida – even more incrediblé than the Burberry and LuluLemon prices at the outlet mall: I met my Prince Charming! Literally.

After a brief fling with a Mickey Mouse guy (it just didn’t work out; there was such a distance between us due to the immenseness of his ears, and frankly his attempts at reassurance, saying, “All the better to hear you with, my dear”, quickly became tiresome and creepy), one day I was watching the parade at the Magic Kingdom for the 87th time, and there was a chap on a float, playing Prince Charming. As our eyes met through the adoring crowd, he held my gaze, doing his charming waving posing thing, and in that moment, time stopped. Suddenly it was as if only he and I existed in the universe, while all around us became just a blur of… of other stuff going on, and stuff.

It must only have been a matter of seconds, though it felt like a lifetime, and then, I knew. So, long story short, I shacked up with Phil, once the irritants were departé, checking out of the resort, as it would’ve been unethical for a Disney employee to be fraternising with a guest, and I didn’t want him to put his character career at risk. My principles just wouldn’t allow me to do that, and also the whole place was booked solid. I located a very droll motel next to a highway, and made that my HQ for the remainder of the trip. It was hilarious because it was just like the motels you see in films, and one half-expected to be awoken in the middle of the night by a Quentin Tarantino villain in possession of a suitcase full of automatic weapons. So fun.

Phil and I had a simply divine time, and it’s extremely true that at Disney, dreams really do come true. We did some serioso Netflixing and chilling, let me tell you!! Mostly Disney films. He’s an actor/ dancer/ singer/ model on a one-way trajectory to Hollywood (of that I am certain, and as you know, I have yet to be wrong about anything), and apart from my British accent and fabulous physical being, he adored the fact that I am distantly related to the Royal Family, and that I have a ton of media contacts worldwide, and a boatload of fans in my own right. We just clicked, you know? Therefore thusly, it was with some considerable annoyance that I received a call one sunny afternoon while he was at work, and I lounged by the motel pool (imagining myself in Gone Girl), from my mother. She rudely demanded to know when I would be flying back to “attend” to my children, which I thought was pretty rich given that she was failing horrendously to attend to my needs as her child, by interrupting this special period in my life. Just like that, I went from Gone Girl to Girl Interrupted. The painful irony was, of course, entirely lost on her.

What could I do, babeses, as a doting mother, but dash back to London as soon as very possible?? So that’s what I did, after a few more beautiful days with Phil. He was just perfect for me: he smiled and waved, and smiled and nodded, and was completely charming all the time. I wondered how my life would have been, had I married Phil rather than Don, all those years ago. Unlike Max and Milly, our children would’ve been (could still be!!) a cosmic combination of my searing intellect and his smiley, wavey charm. How far they would go in this world, with those qualities!

In my excitement, I told Clara about Phil and she must’ve been in a bad mood (why are so many women in such a bad mood all the time?!) because her less than enthusiastic response was, “EJ, do you really think that’s the basis for a mature, lasting relationship?”

Why I had expected her to be happy for me, I do not know. Too often people delight in the misery of others, I observate upon reflection, rather than in their joy, and that explains a great deal about the human condition and the state of the global economy and just goes to show that everything Plato and Buddha said was true. They’d back me up here, no doubt.

Coming back to non-Disney London has been a shock to the system, I won’t deny it, but I’ve been rushed to the bone with my performance work. Thanks for your support, my loves, Expaterati or otherwise. Below are some fab pics  – thanks to these mega cutting edge film peeps for helping me with the stills – of me doing a full-house performance at the London Comedy Store. It was a weird one because how it works is that a whole bunch of freebie comics show up (obviously I’m not a comic, more of an edicator, sharing the message of my glamorous life, but let’s keep that to ourselves) to get judged by the first rows of the audience, and the first rows are the ones who bagged their seats early, so they’ve had some loooong drinking time. Super smart business model, and if I ever wore a hat, I’d take it off to that venue; but I don’t wear hats because they suck the chi from my fiery locks.

So I said some important stuff

So I said some important stuff

Yes it IS

& made some valid points

Tee hee

& it was all going great

Rap

But then I did my Chrimbo rap (available for download as a ringtone, so ping me because you won’t want to be without it next Christmas!)

Seriously??

& suddenly my time was up… Without even getting to the dog in a bikini or my camel toe issues!

Not sure about putting the clip on my YouTube channel, as the compere repeatedly used the C word shortly before my set (not with reference to me, por supuesto), and there’s just no way to stop children getting on the Internet. Could cut that bit out, I guess…

Finally, I’m very excited to say that I’m planning my visit to Singas next month!!!! It does depend on childcare arrangements as I appear to have somehow lost Mummy’s willingness to assist, but Don has turned up… Yes, he has! Will save that for another post, even though I know you’d love to read another couple thousand words from me right now. Sorry!! Delayed gratification is a good thing though, for many people (not me), so I’m doing you a favour.

What with my visit, I am urgently wanting to contact a hot Aussie chap by the name of Jonathan Atherton, as it would be way cool to do some performance while I’m over there. If anyone knows him, feel free to put in a word on my behalf. Just say hi or guarantee him a sell-out night at the Blu Jaz Café, or just hi.

Sending lots of love. Xx

Well, Happy Holidays, Babeses

Magic Kingdom

I’m having the best xmas everrrrr at Disneyland Florida, babeses! It’s crazy to think that only a year ago I was busy having a sh**ster time being persecuted by my mother, and then suffering the terrible pain of two weeks in Boracay (Boragrad), holidaying sans help in extreme heat.

I see on Facebook that my glamorous Asia Expaterati girlies are having awesome sauce times on various beaches from Bali to Bondi, but are they fully engaging in family life the way I am, and thereby experiencing the deeper meaning of this holiday period..?

No, I think not. They’ll be checking their kids into wrap-around childcare, to indulge in every pleasure available chez the fabulous Four (Seasons – I call it the Four due to my intimate acquaintance, but not everyone can do that). And the ones without irritants, or whose irritants have stomped from the nest: they’re having spa treatments with hot stones and gongy tunes, doing ridic fun stuff on boats, drinking cocktails and chatting cool bants from glowing red sunset into the starry night. Never cold, even in a bikini… Toes sinking into white sand, washed clean with each new warm wave, as every year comes to flow over us, offering redemption…

Renewal

Opportunity

Possibility…

But anyway, regardless of what my girlies are getting up to, Disney is great because there are lots of rides (for Clara to take the irritants on), and because dreams really do come true (I keep hearing that and why would Disney lie?), and because the Orlando Premium Outlet Mall has Burberry cashmere jumpers and hot Lululemon gear at a fraction of U.K. prices (haven’t yet worked out which fraction, but it’s definitely a fraction).

My ex-accountant rang me this evening, which was odd because I thought I’d dismissed him given that I’ve done an online accountancy course, and have been therefore thusly managing my considerable fortune autonomously. I was unable to take the call as I was experiencing character dining with each and every Disney princess. There are an awful lot! They’re such great role models. They’re pretty, they’re passive, they wave, and they’re just looking for their Prince Charming to complete them. How sweet is that?!

Clara, au contraire (I think she might be a communist) says Disney sells an “oppressive myth that a woman can’t be complete without a man, and encourages women to subjugate themselves as servants or beautiful objects, rather than existing as equals “.

Yeah, Clara, that’s why you’re single.

A Glorious Few Days

It has been a glorious few days in leafy Highgate, since the cold weather has abated. Difficult, nonethelesssomuch, to think that my Singapore Expaterati girlies are right at this moment lounging poolside in bikinis or taking air-conditioned shelter in malls, gyms or places of work, if work is their thing. So difficult to imagine… It’s not that I’m jealous – no, not at all because jealousy exists only in the unrefined mind and I think you’ll find that my mind is refined. As dear readers will already exclusively be aware, of course! (It’s the newcomers I’m addressing here, given my burgeoning UK following, who will not, at this early stage, be capable of fully grasping the deepest dichotomies of my psyche.)

The gloriousness is due to the fact that I have at last located appropriate staff!!! Thank bejesus for Shahira! Bless her, she made it over here somehow and is super keen for work at Singapore helper rates, so I was like, “When can you start, honey??” Praise the Universe for bringing us together in my time of need.

It’ll be awesome because I’m soooo over my mother and cousin Clara hanging round the house. Seriously, don’t they have their own lives?? (I did mention they keep coming over, right?… Did I not mention that?)

Also glorious because I have finally found the BEST nail place in the region (on the Holloway Road, so it’s edgy as well as amazebobs), and at the same time simultaneously I’m luvvin preparing for my second sell-out gig next Tuesday!

 

Over shoulde for post 27.11r

 

I’ve been thinking about Don reaching out to me, sending me the link to Adele’s Hello. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if I should get on Tinder. He has shown me zero respect, so I’m thinking wtf, I should just get out there and meet someone who actually deserves me and my awesomeness. Am I right, babeses?? Please let me know in the comments because otherwise I just won’t know.

 

 

Max here

Mum left her compurter on and went owt so I will tell you stuff about mum. (Lol she hats wen I call her mum not mummy lolol)

1. She is a big lyer
2. We dont live in Highgate we live in Archway and that is not the same place becos rich people live in Highgate not in Archway.
3. Dad is not in Hawai he is in England. I know becos he calls me on my mobile some times.
4. Mums hair is not reel she dies it
5. Granma is reely nice and looks after us a lot but mum is not nice to her. Aunty Clara is reely nice too.
6. Mum is a big lyer so dont beleave what she sez ever and also she is not very clevur which you shud know by now

She wont even notice I rote this on her blog becos she doesnt know how to chek her stats even or any thing. And dont tell her or I will get in trubble and that will be ur folt.

Whose a irritant now Mum?

 

Mentirosa 2

2 face mentirosa. I cant spell but at leest I know langages like all expat kids

PS I am not adicted to Minecraft I jus really like it.

Plz So Stop With The Guilt Trip

I’ve a bone to prick with you, dear readers, and prick it I will now, as follows.

After all I’ve done for you over the past year plus, keeping you a-nipple of the fascinating twists and turns of my life, generously sharing my deepest thoughts, and providing you with hot pics of my hot self, as well as seemingly endless reams of expert advice on Singapore, beauty, fashion, expat marital bliss, expat marital disaster, and a whole bunch of other stuff – after ALL THAT, this is how you repay me??!!!!!

Really?

Really??

Really??? (I heart this repeated “Really?!” thing. Dunno where it came from, but long may it prospiferate. Let’s all keep doing it. A lot. Forever.]

You repay my generosity by making me feel guilty every waking hour for not having enough time to blog hashtag sadface. Weeeeell, that’s very nice, isn’t it!!?! So than-Q awfully muchly indeed. I didn’t expect this of you, loyal readers.

It’s not that anyone has exactly pacifically said anything to this ends, but the fact remains that I do feel constantly wracked with guilt for not being able to write, given the lack of suitable support staff (yes, we don’t all have 24/6 help you know, over here in the West! Sheeesh!! So spoilt, you are…), and I can’t possibly blame myself for this feeling, so whose fault is it, if not yours..? I hope you feel proppa ashamed of yourselves.

OK. Now that I have gotten this off my perky chest, not wanting the misery to seep into my chi, I’ll tell you what I shall do for you: I shall take your profound apologies as a given from this moment henceforward, and babeses, I hereby forgive you : ) x

So we’re fine now! It’s all good.

That’s called mindful conflict resolution. If only there was more of it about in these turbulent times.

Now that I do in de facto have a spare moment to write, I will enlighten you about my “gig” (it was an educative lecture and rap really, but no one beyond us need know that) what I did this week. In case you’re not a Liker of my Awesome Facebook Page, you can watch it here. [Um, but why aren’t you a Liker?? Get likin’, honey! You might miss something and then you’ll feel super hard-done-by.]

As you will note, I successfully got my message across to the vast audience, and they were fooled into thinking that it was comedy, which means they actually listened and no doubt learned a great deal. Singapore Expaterati readers will be gratified to know that at least eleven people in London now realise how much cooler Singas is than here, and how awesome it is to be an expat. These London people are, I’m certain, v interested in the glamorous lives of the Expaterati, appearing to know not a whole helluva lot about the subject; and the poors among them know v little about glamorous lives, period full-stop. They know what they see of the Kardashies and the Kate and Willsies, but ffs, that’s not real! So I gave a wonderful gift to the sell-out audience that night, be them poors or not so poors. I gave them the gift of Real.

IMG_3896.PNG

Blurry but awesome

 

To everyone who has offered their support and appreciation re the “gig” on my Awesome Page (did I mention I have a Facebook page?), you are truesomely the wind beneath my thighs, and I thank you whole-thighedly, and I know you just thank me right back, to which I reply: You’re. So. Welcome. And in your cases, I totes retract the first part of this post. Just ignore it. Pretend it never even happened.

Best go because tomorrow morning I have my first 1:1 boxing training session, so need to be tip-top. I’ve found this incrediblé lady who looks like a killer in her online pics, but is really v sweet. I’ll tell you about her some time. Thought I should take up a fighting sport now that I’m back in Londres. Sh** goes down here, you know? Toto I’ve a feeling we’re not in Singas anymore…

One last thing, in case I’m not back for a while (and don’t make me feel guilty for that, ok lah?!). I’ve been chatting more to my neighbour whoms I told you about in the last post, and he’s def going to come with me to Nike Town Oxford Circus to sort out my camel toe issue. I’ve now discovered that his name is Montgomery Nugent. I looked him up on the dark web (I know how to access that because it’s how you get the best gigs) and OMG, this guy!! Nothing weird or nasty, but if you’re on the dark web too, check him out!

So Choked Up For You Singapore Hashtag Proppa Sadface : (

Oh my loves over there in Singas, my beloved girlies (you know who you are), my beloved stalkers (you know who you are), beloved general members of the Expaterati, and all the gazillion people who find me from googling “footsie” or weird Brix questions (yes, you too know who you are):

I am SO utterly deva’d for you, going through such horrors with the haze. That PSI is up in the hundreds, I see, and the schools are closed – am I right!? I feel so v sad for you that I have cancelled a rare night out with my London Honeys to write a post, and let you know that I’m totes thinking of you, and hopefully cheer you the heck up at a time which must be frankly a bit sh**. I shall do my utmost best. I mean actually like I also couldn’t get a babysitter so I sort of had to cancel anyways, but it’s the thought that counts, ya?

As many of you noticed, I posted the London skyline header on my awesome FB page, and thereby thusly I heard more about the horrors you are experiencing, comparing my blue sky here to your smoke. Rest assured though, it’s not always that blue, and if it makes you feel any better, in a few weeks’ time when your pollution is gone, you’ll be basking poolside and at glamorous roof terrace bars, while I’m freezing my behind off and getting rained on. The waterproof mascara I used in the Sing humidity is already not holding up here on rainy days and I have looked like a drowned badger, albeit a v hot drowned badger, on quite a few occasions over the past month. (How can it only be a month??)

There now, hasn’t that made you feel happier?! I do hope so. I’m so empathic and generous still – maybe moreso now, I dunno – you must be missing my caring presence whilst I am less able to write. And it’s such a shame for you! As if the haze wasn’t bad enough, but also plagued by loss of me… Again, my heart goes out to you, kisses mwa mwa.

From all the FB posts on the Formula One fun-ness, I really thought your air pollution woes were over. It’s bizarro that the burning stopped or the wind changed exactly before the F1 and then it all came back exactly after it was over. Is it a God thing, je me demande..? A divine intervention that made Singapore’s air clean while the eyes of the world’s press were upon it..? I guess so, but in that case, how come God didn’t sort out the torrential rain last year. Robbie Williams was a great sport to get all wet like he did, but it wasn’t ideal, let’s face it. My Lebouties from that night were so soaked and caked in mud that they were ruined. No point in even keeping them. I had to selflessly donate them to the helper.

I do rather miss the helper, as I think I may have mentioned. Well not miss her, so much as miss all the stuff that magically got done for a mere $1,000 a month. In pounds over here, that gets me 42 hours of cleaner or nanny. 42!!! That’s what Hilda cost me for THREE DAYS!! Ugh. I must be mad (or just super caring) feeling sorry for you lot, given the predicament I’m in. Ok so my father gave me a ton of cash and Disappeared Don is plonking regular chunks into my account, but the salaries here for domestics are just too high! It’s ridic. So until I know where I stand financially (I’m doing an online course in accounting because I abso refuse to spend money on someone who tells me how to spend money, but it’s all still as hazy as Singapore), I am keeping my out-sourcing to a minimum. Hence only two days of having a cleaner, and a nanny on Saturdays. Sounds like nothing, doesn’t it? Poor me. Needs must though because I will not, nay cannot, compromise my status as a fashion icon, so shopping is far more important than having a tidy house.

Now that I don’t live walking distance from the Lulu of Lemonia, etc., I’ve been doing rather more of my shoppage online. It has been necessary because, despite joining an awesome gym in Crouch End, I have started running into town. Yes, outside! It’s akin to my previous rollerblading along Orchard, but as that’s too hazardous here what with narrow pavements and occasional cobblestones and rain and stuff, running will just have to suffice. I do the seven K most days once the irritants have gone off to school (get a taxi back) – mainly to escape the chaos of my unbearably messy house.

It’s much chillier here than Singapore, as I believe some people may be aware, so I have had to order a whole bunch of new gym kit. Only prob is that this means not trying things on of course, therefore thusly if the need arises to return anything, one does have to stand in a queue at the post office alongside the normal people. So today I had to do just that, because one of the four pairs of Nike trainers (Americans! That means sneakers!) I’d ordered didn’t fit. Argh! I needed four new pairs because I had to get some medium ride muddy ones for Highgate Woods and the Heath, some sexy indoor ones for the gym, some super mega high-spec Air ones for the Street, and some just plain cool ones for general everyday dashing about.

The post office queue had like a million people in it, and I didn’t see a fast-track option for people who are rich and therefore by rights deserve speedier service, so what could I do but stand in it?? Appalling, really… I’d heard the Royal Mail was having some issues, but this was alarming in the extremely. Can not the Syrians come and work in the post offices for a pittance? They’d love it, surely!! It would be a well-deserved break from their hardship.

The good thing was that I got chatting to a nice lady behind me, which passed the time while I jogged on the spot to kill two birds with one stone (i.e. kill the exercise bird as I was too busy today to go to the gym or for a decent run). She had a baby with her, asleep in a grimy pushchair, so I pretended to admire it (and it was genuinely somewhat sweet, given that it was sleeping), telling her all about my “babies”, now growing up, and how arduous it is to look after our little ones. I gave her the benefit of my wisdom on child-rearing (gleaned, as you know, from my six months’ counselling training which included rigorous, in-depth exploration of developmentalist matters), and on how vital it is that we, as mothers, strive for balance with our self-care. She looked so knackered and whithered (and no tan! Cannot get used to this no tan thing!!) that I knew she would benefit hugely from my beauty and wellbeing advice. Then, to demonstrate to her that I truly understood what she was going through, I told her about how awesome Singapore is, how much I miss it in the inner core of my being – despite looking so hot on the outside – and about how horrendous it is for me to be a single mother without a live-in. Knowing that live-ins are an entirely unfamiliar entity to the London working classes (a member of which she defo was), I had to go into great detail to enable her to understand the extent of my loss and pain, whilst utterly empathising with her position. So hilarious though because it turned out that the baby was her grandson! No wonder the baby had more of a tan than she did (I so heart this inter-racial thing we got goin on in this city) and that she looked so haggard! But she told me she was 41!! What now, now?! That’s only slightly older than me and she looked at least 60. She takes care of the irritant while her daughter does shifts as a prison officer. Sheesh, well TF for grandmas.

Allst I can conclude, Expaterati babeses, is hang on in there. It could be

A

Whole

Lot

Worse.

Missing you,
EJ xx

If nothing else makes you feel better, surely this will, babeses

If nothing else makes you feel better, surely this will, babeses

Blighty Blueses, Actually, Babeses

Well, sweet to be back, my non-fat a**!

You will no doubt have noted my tragic absence from the Internet, which I’m afraid is due to having far too much stupid stuff to do that I am simply not accustomed to doing. Singapore expats, hear me now: wherever she is when you are done reading my riveting words, grab your helper(s) and give her a hug (or a good firm handshake if you’re British, and therefore thusly more knowledgeable about appropriate boundaries with staff), to thank her for attending to the mind-numbingly boring minutiae of daily life, such as loading the dishwasher and child-rearing. Honestly, I had no idea how much Thingie did (what was her name again..? Hilda? I think Mummy said it was Hilda) until now that nothing seems to get done! My old cleaner can only come once a week, and I’m sure anyone else will rob us, given that this city is full of criminals. I’d heard life as a London single mum was hard, but this much hardness?? Hashtag shear hell.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve interviewed 74 nannies, wasting precious time when I should be at the gym (it’s a miracle that I’m still so toned and hot, but I am), or working on my social life and my as yet unidentified meteoric career path. The shocking upshot is that none of them are willing to put in the hours that Hilda did (it was Hilda, am I right?… do you recall??), let alone bother to wash a few windows, and do a bit of ironing or whatevs while the irritants are at school.

All I’m asking is that she gets the kids ready in the morning, does the school run (I didn’t even know what that was! I’d heard tell of it, but it sounded so ridic dreadful I thought it must be some kind of religious allegory, or maybe even a joke), spends the day helping around the house a teensy bit, picks the kids up, and does dinner, homework and bath-time. Then I take over to read them a story, or better yet, go through my FB newsfeed with them because that builds our relationship in a way that books just can’t. After that, she does the next hour or three of them d**king around and not going to sleep, so that I can get on with other more important things or go out. Come on!! Is that really too much to ask? The work ethic in this country is truly appalling.

I can’t wait for the Syrians to arrive and get stuck in to the job market. Surely a nice desperate Syrian wouldn’t be as pernickety as my 74 fails. All this immigration nonsense leads me to utter dismay! The Politicos can’t sort it out, but if they gave me a ring, I easily could. The solution is so obvious. I need a Syrian or three… they need me… what’s the problem?? I can put a summerhouse (well, a shed probably) in the garden (well, it’s more of a yard), or I have a lovely little basement which is mostly dry. There’s even the loft. Ok, so it’s a bit poky and has no windows, but in idyllic Singapore these people live in bomb shelters and they don’t even have a fear of actual bombs, unlike Syrians. So one would think, would one not, that as long as no actual bombage occurs, the absence of windows would be a tremendously minor issue… particularly in terms of post-traumatical stress syndrome.

I must go now because I need to maximise my usage of the irritants’ sleep time until I have recruited a Syrian. I need to do a tree pose, a frog, and a few down dogs, plus have a bath with a drop of NZ’s finest. It’s not quite the same as lying in the pool on the roof terrace at Emerald Hill Road accompanied by my girlies and Veuve Click, but it’ll have to do. Anyway, I wouldn’t be on the terrace today even if I was there. Poor Sing is enveloped in smoke from the Indonesian burning. Feel awful for my Expaterati babeses. Fingers crossed and lots of namastes that it’ll end soon. Weird that, as the wealthiest country in the region, the Singapore government does nada niente to counter the problem. Surely they don’t have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo despite the impact on the health of their own population. No way, man! A governmentification not taking care of its own people? That would just be nuts. Crazybobs. Wouldn’t happen over there or over here, trust me.

I’m using an old image because I haven’t had time for new ones. Miss you, Singers! XOXX

It was so cool hanging out with the locals and eating their weird food.

It was so cool hanging out with the locals and eating their weird food.

Expat Agony Part Two of Two

I still have a couple more woes to share before you are up to speed with my glamorous life, but you’ll be happy to know that I am at least feeling a whole heck of a lot better. Having spent a lot of time at the amazebobs hotel spa, I am now both grounded and uplifted, and I look fabulous from the tip of my toes to the top of my flaming locks. I have been: scrubbed, stroked, kneaded, nurtured, massaged, manicured, pedicured, pampered, emphatically lymphatically drained, and my Kundalini has been repeatedly activated. All rather marvellous, so I am today sufficiently restored to continue with my tale.

After the leaving do, saying goodbye to my Maserati, and then the terrible tragedy, the packing process began. Because of our enormous collection of furniture and art, and my equally vast wardrobal contents, it took five days to complete the move, with a total of 572 boxes. Argh! It was like slowly tearing off a plaster from an open wound. I’ve said it before, but I’ll reiterate: how much pain can one person endure?! Endure it, I did though. What choice did I have, given that Don prioritised his career and his own wishes over me? Zero, babeses, zero nada niente 没有.

What was good though is that we had less stuff than was estimated for the shipment, so I popped out during the week to buy more. I got a few bits of furniture from Timothy Doulton (love that shop!!) at Dempsey, and some odds and ends from Crate and Barrel. It all just went into boxes straight away, so was quite easy.

Of course, everything was done for us by the twelve strong chappies from the moving company, but that doesn’t mean that it was stress-free for me. Quite the contrary. Watching my life being dismantled bit-by-bit was shear hell. Until they did the roof terrace, I could at least take myself up there for a Veuve Click and a lounge. I was in fact engaging in that very pursuit when the time came for the packers to dismember the area. I heard clinking and realised that, for some unknown reason, there were at least twenty Veuve empties concealed behind the ornamental pool towel cupboard. Extraordinary. I do recall putting one or two back there when I forgot to take them down for the recycling, but that many?! Must not have been me. No doubt the help has been drinking my fizz all these years without me noticing. That woman! Can’t wait to see the back of her. (Though what to do with the irritants until I have a nanny in London?… Am somewhat worried about that, as 16-hour a day staff may be too pricey to justify. So unfair that there isn’t cheap help in London.)

Anyway, the next thing I knew, all of the empties were being carefully wrapped and put into a box. Ooopsy! They’re just so wild and impetuous, these moving guys. If it’s not nailed down, they pack it.

On the fifth day it was finally over, and although I felt exhausted and devastated, it was a relief to see all of the boxes gone and to close the door on my beautiful Emerald Hill Road home; and on the past. Well, I say “close the door”, but I personally wasn’t there for the final goodbye because I had a late lunch with my girlies. The children weren’t there either (they were at Camp Asia), but it doesn’t matter, I’m sure. Kids are so resilient, particularly expat kids. It was only their home. It’s not like they won’t have another one.

Boxes

My lovely life in 572 boxes…

We moved to a serviced apartment on Orchard Road as we weren’t due to leave for Langkawi until the next day. That night we all went to Andre’s for dinner to celebrate Angel’s seventeenth birthday and mark the end of the move, but it wasn’t the most fun evening everrrr despite the venue. Don seemed like he was on a different planet – very strange and distracted. The irritants were chaotic and even more irritating than usual. Even Angel was off-key and not her normal “I’m so hashtag young and hot and cool like Cara Delevingne” self. It was dull enough that afterwards I took myself off to meet Flo for a few beverages as a consolation.

The next morning, I was a bit tired and didn’t wake up until after 10 o’clock. Milly took it upon herself to pull me from my dreams, dashing into the bedroom and saying, “Mummy, where’s Daddy? Cannot find him, lah. And where’s Angel? Wasn’t she coming to the airport too? She’s going back to ‘Stralia and we’re going to Langkawi, but she was coming to the airport with us. Is she gone already?”

I got up and went to ask the helper where Don was, but she hadn’t seen him since the previous night. Not very helpful, helper. I phoned him, only to find that his phone was switched off. So, I decided to just go about my day and get ready for the holiday. I had a shower and was brushing my teeth when I noticed that Don’s wash bag wasn’t there. Nor was his toothbrush or anything else belonging to him. Then I looked in the wardrobe on his side of the bed, and it was empty. Starting to feel alarmed, I ran arms flailing to the desk. Laptop not there. Nothing of Don’s anywhere. In a horrible flash of realisation, I dashed into Angel’s room. Also empty. WTF??? I didn’t know what to do or think, dear readers. What could I do? I completed the preparations for the holiday, told the children that Don and Angel weren’t coming with us, and off we went to Changi.

So here I am a few days later – bruised and confused, but unbroken. I have heard nothing from Don, and his Singapore phone has now been disconnected. Next week when we’re briefly back in Sing (before heading to Phuket for an awesome party), I think I’ll contact Clara to see if she knows what’s going on. In the meantime, I will just focus on Me Time, and keep getting my spa on.

Expat Agony Part One of Two

IMG_5005Forgive me, babeses, for I have sinned against blogging. It has been ten days since my last blog. I can only imagine the profound sense of vacancy and loss you have had to endure through my silence, and for that pain, I am truly sorry. When I tell you though, about the pains I have suffered over this time, and why I have been unable to share, I have no doubt that my torment will replace your own in your hearts and minds. I know how empathic you are.

In the past ten days I have experienced a series of increasingly difficult events, all of which have showered great boulders of loss upon my toned shoulders; loss which other, less toned shoulders might have found too desperately weighty to bear without breaking. Break, I have not, dear readers, nor intend I to do so therefore thusly. One would think that I had had more than my fair share of said shoulder boulders of late, but no. Cruel fate tests even the those who are as hot as I be.

And very hot I have managed to be this week, permanently adorned in my gigantic collection of Sea Folly bikinis and coordinating resort wear. I write to you now from the beautiful island of Langkawi, a paradise of radiant beaches and misty, lush forested hills. Thank goodness I had the foresight to choose this magical place again. I could not have made a better choice. Perhaps deep down in the wisdom of my psyche I knew that I would need a complete rest in the divine arms of the Four Seasons. (And the pesky macaques, but they’re the least of my trials.)

The first of my agonies was our goodbye party. Tanjong Beach Club for the day, then on to the rooftop at Potato Head. I decided to combine both events, so that I could wear an impressive multitude of outfits in the same 18-hour period, which is the hallmark of the genuinely stylish.

It was all just perfect, but by the end of the evening I was beginning to come to grips with the horrid truth that there will be no more days and nights like this. As each awesome Expaterati friend said goodbye and drifted away, I knew that I had to accept this was truly Goodbye. Every departure was more tragic than the last, and I really put my waterproof, bulletproof mascara to work.

By midnight I was down to my last few girlies, and had so fully accepted the sorry state of affairs that I realised I had no choice… I simply must come back in November for the fabulous ANZA Melbourne Cup 2015! It’ll be too sublimely exciting to miss, and I know that because I know who’s organising it, and lemme tell you: that chick knows how to throw a parté. So there on the rooftop, I got out my phone and booked the flights straight away, with the help of a lovely bar man who was able to see better than I could. It does get quite dark on that particular terrace at night.

The following day, there came the next searing loss. I had to say adieu to my beautiful purple soft-top Maserati. Hashtag mega sad face : (!!! I was feeling quite tired because after Potato Head, we remaining resilient few went to Brix for one last hurrah, to drink in the heady cocktail of great chunes, super-friendly Russian ladies, and desperate, horny men. Such an amazebobs time!! So very much amazebobs that I got home around 4AM. I think. I’m not totes sure because my Rolly disappeared from my wrist, and I was too exhausted and starving to fumble around the recesses of my LV clutch for the phone. I had a quick foie gras with wheat-free toast, and crashed out on the downstairs Louis Quatorze sofette.

The next thing I knew, my lips were being kissed in a most unusually licky way. It was different, but not unpleasant enough to shake me out of my slumber. Only when the licking became persistent and furry did I open my eyes to see Froo Froo’s gorgeous little face staring into my gorgeous face, and I noticed the quite disgustingly rank smell of her breathe. I dashed to the loo, thinking I might vom – albeit elegantly – but then didn’t. Instead, I splashed my face with water to immediately restore its youthful glow, and wiped off the traces of encrusted foie gras that had somehow made their way onto my personage.

I was heading to bed when I passed the 206 year-old grandfather clock in the east wing (one of Don’s many hideous family heirlooms), and saw that it was just before 9 o’clock. Argh!! It flooded back to me that the car was being collected at 10AM and I absolutely positively had to take her for one last spin down Orchard Road. I didn’t have time to change, but the leopard print mini dress from the night before looked damn fine, and totally gelled with the Beyoncé, Katy Perry, et al playlist I had planned for the excursion. I drive better when I’m a little hungover anyway and it’s even more #awesomefunness (I’d never drive drunk though, so don’t be all up in my face, haters, you get me?!).

I did the Last Drive with my approx 12 auditory disciples (they would be if they knew me, right?!), and as I was turning into Emerald Hill Road, Alicia Keys’ Girl On Fire came on. I don’t really know what happened, but all of a sudden the exhilaration turned to grief – knowing that these were the final moments I’d have with my beloved Mazzer. I pushed my foot down on the accelerator, swerving around the jutting pavements (sheesh, those traffic calming measures on EHR really make it difficult to drive fast!!), narrowly missing a lamppost, a silver Bentley, and a whole entire shophouse. As I careered onwards, I sang out, “Nobody knows that she’s a lonely girl, and it’s a lonely world, but she gon’ let it burn, baby, burn, baby”, at the top of my voice.

Then, through a glaze of tears, I saw my helper on the side of the road looking like she’d just discovered she was going to be deported, and I felt a dull thud against one of the front wheels. The help let out a blood-curdling scream, which alarmed me so much that I stopped the car.

“Froo Froo!!!”, she shrieked, “Nooooooo, Froo Froooooo!!”

Somewhat shaken, I opened the car door to exit, most unfortunately falling face-first onto the cobbles which is v much not my modus operandi. (I know how to get in and out of all variety of cars that matter – even in movement-restricting outfits – due to personal experience, but also thanks to an intense period of training I undertook in my late teens.) It was the shock of the situation that threw me. Quite literally. Again, I must have known that what had happened was a dreadfully dreadful thing. My intuition is incrediblé.

And so it was, dear readers, that my sweet Froo Froo left this world, and left me. She left me at this very difficult time, when I needed her the most in fact, and clearly there is only one person who bears responsibility: the helper.

As she, the help, was wailing, I crawled my way to the rear of the car, and there I saw what I already feared to be true. Horrifically, I scraped my fresh be-flip-flopped pedi on the ground to the point of ruination, but worse than that… my Froo Froo. It was unbearable. Excruciating. How could any loving omnipotent deity allow this to happen to me?! Take Don, take Clara, take me (yeah, no, maybe not me), take the irritants, take the help! But not little innocent Froo Froo!! She never did any harm to anyone.

It felt so wrong, and it still does now, days later, as I watch the ocean waves pound the shore and work on my pre-London tan. I almost wish that I hadn’t put myself through telling the tale because my chi is getting thrown back to that moment of The Thud.

Dios gracias, I have a three-hour treatment booked in. The buggy will be here any minute to take me to the spa. Hard times…

The Hellish Hells of Relocation

I am desperately sorry for neglecting you, dear readers. It has been suuuuuuuch a busy time. I’ve had to do so many dull things related to the move, not least finishing the insurance inventory for the shipment. Counting clothes (and, on a separate not, what happened to the Counting Crows?) takes an increbibé long time! Apparently, I own 325 pairs of shorts, and for the sake of precision I wanted to sub-categorise each type of garment, so I didn’t just put “Shorts x 325”. No. I sub-categorised into Hot Pants, Elegant Shorts, Resort Wear Shorts, Boho Glamour Shorts, Long-Ish Shorts, Short-Ish Shorts (excluding hot pants), and Tiny Shorts (also at the exclusion of any of the afore-mentioned categories).

I did this with all my other clothes, accessories, and shoes too. I have hardly slept for days. And at the same time, I’ve had a whole ton of other stuff to do. I’ve needed to liaise with the dreaded relocation agency re booking into serviced accommodation next week; AND I’ve been finalising our last-minute Asia trips before we return to miserable weather. So next month we’re going to Langkawi – staying at the Four, of course – and then to a fabulous birthday party in Phuket. It’s for one of my Expaterati Girlies who I haven’t seen for yonks, and it promises to be quite fabulous, as she herself is beyond fabulous. It’s a shame that the irritants are coming (not to mention Don), but the help will have moved on by then. We lose her in a couple of weeks. There’s another thing that’s been v stressful: constantly speaking to her potential new employers and having to be all Nice. The first few times, I told them about my suspicions that she has some sort of online business which involves her wearing racy undergarments, but then I realised that was just causing me to have to speak to more annoying people, so I stopped.

Angel’s flight back home to Oz is all booked, thanks to moi. Why can’t a sixteen (almost seventeen!) year-old woman book her own flight? Since when did human beings take so long to grow up?? Ridic. I mean, I out-sourced it to my remote assistant in the Philippines, but that still involved sending an email.

I’ve also been doing some high-value shoppage, as a means of obtaining cash. Handbags and such. I acquired a divine one last week from the Burbster. The point of my endeavour is to buy things and then sell them on in order to build up my cash reserves, but the Burb one in particular, I’m not sure I can bear to part with… Perhaps I’ll keep it. Surely just one can’t hurt.

I’ve been Skyping with Mummy lately because I will need her help with the irritants if we are definitely returning to the UK. Yes, I’ve had to be the grown-up there and swallow my pride about her terrible treatment of me last Christmas. Honestly, how much can one person take?! Even a person as highly resourceful and resilient as me. At least Froo Froo dog is taking all this in her stride. She seems to be oblivious to what’s going on. She’s happier than she has ever been, in fact. How dreadfully sad that her life is about to be utterly changed without her having any control or say in the matter, but I suppose it’s a saving grace that she is blissfully unaware. Oh, to be a dog!

Speaking of dogs, before I get back to my busy tedium I will share with you that I have scheduled my confrontation with Liz for the end of this week. I can hardly contain my excitement. You will love it, dear readers, and I promise not to spare you any of the gruesome details.

FullSizeRender

How could I part with this beauty, babeses??

Rest & Relaxation from Revenge & Relocation

The world was my oyster, not so long ago...

The world was my oyster, not so long ago…

Last night I went to find some respite from the incrediblé stresses of revenge and relocation. Some R & R from R & R, har-dee-har. Lots of my Expaterati girlies were there, except the ones who’ve abandoned ship for the summer. It was Ladies’ Night at the Oyster Bar, Collyer Quay, with an ocean of free-flowing bubbly. A word to the wise though: if you want to eat like a expat wife as well as drink like an expat wife, bring your own greens to this joint. It totes ticks the high-protein box, but for vegetables to compensate for the drink-age, I suggest you BYO. Or order rocket (for the love of god, make sure they put the dressing on the side!).

Super fun times were had by all, and everyone, particularly yours truly, looked serioso hot. It’s impressive that I can maintain such high levels of hotness, despite the trying circumstances under which I currently labour.

I had hoped Liz might be there so that I could put laxatives in her drink, but no such luck. Instead I decided to just have an awesome time, and not let bitter thoughts enter my beautiful complex brain.

As the hours wore on though, I was chatting to Flo, and I found myself thinking about what’s happening in my life. The fatigue of a long day must’ve loosened my tongue because I told her about Don’s affair and how shocked I was to discover the emails between him and Clara.

“I just can’t believe it, Flo!”, I sobbed, my emotions getting the better of me, “How could he do this to me? And with that woman? What’s she got that I haven’t??”

I expected Flo, as one of my closest expat BFFs, to offer some support. I was sorely mistaken.

“Don’t be so naive, Eeeej! Everyone’s at it!! Come on, even you! I do read your blog sometimes you know, and I recall a not entirely innocent thang you had going with Michelle’s husband last year… Then there’s Seth of course, with his ridiculous hair! What’s that about?? You’ve decided to go back to the same yoga class as him, I notice…”

“What?! Seth is just a friend. A very nice man who has very nice hair, I’ll have you know. The photo just doesn’t do it justice… Anyway… What do you mean, everyone’s at it?! No they aren’t!”

“Oh please! Look around!!”, she said, pointing at women in the assembled crowd, “See her over there? At it. And see her? At it. And then there’s her, of course. At it, but it’s pretty obvious from that outfit. And her. And her. And her.”

“No, Flo, no, Flo, NO! I don’t believe you.”

“Believe it, sweets. We have our own Facebook group. You won’t be able to find it because it’s secret, but I’ll add you if you want.”

WE?? You mean you too?!”

Flo seemed exasperated.

“EJ. How long have you been an expat for? Yet you act like you’re fresh off the boat! Of course me too. You’ve met him tons of times. My personal trainer. I got lucky there. Not gay and not married, so none of those annoying complications. A rare combination on these shores.”

There was a crashing sound from a distant table, glasses shattering. Young bankers, no doubt. So absorbed with swiping right on Tinder that they’ve lost all other hand-eye coordination.

I looked out towards the bay. Such an orderly view of exciting bright lights.

Revenge Phase One: Clara

Apart from all the bad stuff (of which I can’t even think of offhand right now, so it can’t be that bad), the Internet is by far the bestest thing to have happened to humanity everrrrrr. One of the things I totes <3 about it is how easy it is to find people. Isn’t it great? People put everything online! We just throw ourselves up there, which is a wonderful illustration of mankind’s generosity of spirit. What’s awesome as well is that, if someone has a really distinctive name, it’s even easier to find them, without needing to know anything about their life.

Take, for example, the name Chilly Mallone. That’s a very unusual name, right? Right, babeses. It’s the sort of name that one can remember, over the rolling waves of years. I have remembered that name.

One Friday evening in June, about 12 years ago, I hooked up with Clara for drinks after work. We met in the City because that was the most convenient for me and Clara knows how I feel about taking the tube for more than a few stops, especially in the summer when it’s sweltering down there (why can’t the tube be more like Singapore’s MRT? Can it be so very difficult to just scrap the whole thing and start again??), and quite extraordinarily odiferous. She arrived uncharacteristically late and flustered, so I was already on my third wine. Not sure what I was doing… These days I’d be ploughing through the Facebook newsfeed, but then… Who knows?! Sudoku maybe? Wtf did we do with our time back then??

She plonked a bundle of files onto the table just as I was lifting my glass, and therefore thusly a collision was caused wherein my drink toppled over, and wine poured hither and thither. In an effort to save her bundle from wetness, she clumsily grabbed the files, sending pages cascading onto the floor. She didn’t apologise for spilling my drink, nor did she thank me for helping her to pick up her stuff. Looking back, I should have seen her true nature then. The trouble is my own caring, positive qualities – always preferring to see the good in others. As I gave her what I had collected from the floor, I happened to see a page of case notes, with the header “Chilly Mallone, Age 7”.

“Golly”, I said, “What an unusual name! Is that one of your patients?”

“Emma-Jane, please just give me that. You know I don’t disclose information about my work”, came Clara’s reply. She has always been so very precious about Her Work.

“Yeah sure cool, chillax babe. I know you don’t. All’s I was saying is that Chilly Mallone is like a pretty funny name. But you must see some pretty funny kids, I guess, at that clinic. I don’t know why you never tell me anything. I might be able to help with some ideas. I’m awesome at keeping secrets.”

“Funny? Funny?! Is that what you think?! There is absolutely nothing funny about children with emotional and behavioural difficulties caused by horrendously traumatic experiences that you can’t even begin to imagine.”

I must’ve looked very hurt indeed by this insult to my powers of imagination because Clara softened, saying, “Look, it’s been a long, stressful week, and I’m sorry to have kept you waiting. There was a bit of an emergency. But I’m here now, so let’s just have a chat… talk about something other than work. How are your wedding plans coming along? Did you get the venue you wanted?”

I had managed to book the fabulous exclusive venue that very day, for 13 months’ time, and as she was clearly so interested, we spent the rest of the evening talking about my wedding, my dress, the eight bridesmaids’ dresses, the honeymoon, and of course, my hen night. Clara was agog. Which, with hindsight, was a bit strange. Why would she have spent hours listening to me when I was preparing to marry the man she had so recently given up? Bizarro. It’s completely confounding that anyone would dedicate that much time listening to another person – even a person as fascinating as me – with no gain whatsoever to themselves.

So last week, while I was getting over the terrible shock of Email Gate, that evening in the City came back to me, bringing with it the name Chilly Mallone. It resounded in my beautiful brain, over and over, as if my subconsciosity was trying to send me a message. Then I realised what it was telling me. I hopped online to Google Chilly, and voila, there he was. Very easy for someone as resourceful as me. I contacted him to present him with a proposal. Offering him a large sum of money (I have started selling my valuables and am doing rather well), I suggested that he make allegations about Clara and a number of “inappropriate acts” with him when he was her patient. Chilly was a little reluctant at first (a little chilly in fact, mega-LOLs), so I offered him a larger sum and that resolved his ambivalence in my favour.

Now it’s just a matter of time before Clara gets suspended pending investigation. Where kids are involved, the UK authorities are normally pretty swift, and a witch hunt against a child psychotherapist is a cause that captures the proles’ hearts and minds, no doubt, even one with Clara’s untainted reputation. Moreso, in fact!

So that’s done. Next to Liz. I spent most of the weekend pondering Phase Two. I think I am nearly there.

Medea. There's a chick who knew what to do about betrayal.

Medea. There’s a chick who knew what to do about betrayal.

Expat Divorces Suck Too

broken-heart002
Having decided what to do about Clara (deets to follow, but suffice it to say for now that I’m going to take away the one thing she cares about: her work), I feel much calmer. My chi is returning to a more balanced state.

Don got back yesterday evening, so I decided to have an early night, thereby thusly avoiding the necessity of seeing him. I slept deeply, for the first time since this hell emerged on Sunday.

Awaking clear-headed today, I set about finding myself some support. The wise women of the Real Singapore Expat Wives FB group pointed me in the direction of a network for trailing spouses going through this awful awfulness, and so this morning I attended a meeting offering practical and emotional guidance. OMG there are a lot of us!! The room was full. I thought it was just my torment concluding that expat marriages suck, but it turns out that I am spot on.

The facilitator was very nice. She’s a therapist – but not a patronising hypocritical Clara-type therapist, I hasten to add – who has been in Singapore for yonks. She went through a messy expat divorce herself, so she (unlike Clara!) really knows her onions.

“Welcome, ladies… and gentlemen. Good to see you again and I see some new faces. I’m sorry to see you in a way, because it means you’re embarking on what’s likely to be a difficult journey… But I’m also glad that you made it here today, that you’ve reached out. So I’ll do my best to share with you what I’ve learned from my own difficult journey, and we are all here to support one another.Part of what makes this so hard at the beginning, I think, is the shock, and the torturing self-questioning, “How did this happen? How did I get here?”… We are rarely objective about intimate relationships, including marriage, so if things unravel, there can be a deep sense of shock and denial.Even in a good enough marriage, there may be days when we look at other people’s relationships, seeing theirs as better, and ours as lacking something by comparison. But the breakdowns and adultery that have brought us all together today can happen to anyone. We can’t control the people we love. And the point is, in a loving adult relationship, we don’t want to. We certainly don’t want to have to feel that we need to.”

She said that there’s a mounting body of evidence* to show that expat life plays havoc with existing marital problems and also creates new ones because of the strains put on the relationship.

She talked about an article in the WSJ Expat blog, quoting it to say how some people approach the decision to move abroad when their marriage is facing problems: “To have a totally new experience in a totally different culture – maybe this will turn us around and change the situation.”

Then when it goes wrong, also from that article, “If you live abroad and your relationship breaks apart, you lose much more than just the partner. It’s everything – because you went that far for him.”

How truesome!! We all agreed with that, and my heart totes went out to the other women (and the two guys, but less so). I thought my life was a mess, but some of these women are going through even worse stuff. Husbands telling them to leave the country even though it’s their home; or preventing them from leaving and imposing that everything, including what happens with the kids, is going to be on his terms; or that they won’t support the wife despite her having been out of the job market for years raising the children, and not being able to get a work permit here. Argh, the list goes on and on.

My head was spinning by the end of the session. It was a welcome relief when the facilitator told us her own story of how she made it through her divorce. She mentioned a writer called Martha Beck, and read out a section from a piece on recovering from heartbreak. I’m not really there yet, I guess, because I’m still figuring it all out. Like I said, I know what to do about Clara, but next on my list is Liz, the woman who has stolen my husband. Then, of course, there’s Don himself. That’s the hardest part.

Plus at the same time, I have to get my head around what I want to do. And what I actually can do. Hmmmmmm. Maybe that’s the hardest part.

Resources For Expat Trailing Spouses Facing Marital Breakdown

Groups:

Counsellors and Psychotherapists:

Legal Advice: 

Recommended Reading: 

Kennedy Chamorro, A. 2013, Own Your Financial Freedom: Money, Women, Marriage and DivorceMarshall Cavendish International (Asia) Pte Ltd, Singapore.


* Yvonne McNulty, associate faculty member at SIM University in Singapore, (2015) “Till stress do us part: the causes and consequences of expatriate divorce”, Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 3 Iss: 2, pp.106 – 136
Found at: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/JGM-06-2014-0023

From the abstract: “Findings demonstrate that expatriate marriages end in divorce for two main reasons: first, a core issue in the marriage that exists before going abroad (e.g. alcoholism, mental health problems) and which continues while abroad; and second, when one or both spouses is negatively influenced by an expatriate culture to such an extent that a form of “group think” results in polarizing behavior that is counter to how they might behave “back home” (e.g. infidelity, sexual misconduct). The consequences of divorce for expatriates are immense and include bankruptcy, destitution, homelessness, depression, psychophysiological illness, alienation from children, and suicide.”

A Dish Best Served Cold

I woke up this morning feeling somewhat the worse for wear. To be precise, I woke up first at 3AM on a sun lounger on the roof terrace, clutching a bottle of Click and feeling like death; but once I re-awoke in bed a few hours later, I was merely the worse for wear. I think it’s the haze. Environmental pollutants do tend to affect my highly sensitive internal ecosystem. Most probably because of my elevated empathy quotient.

The stress I have been under these past few days seems to be taking its toll. I haven’t even been able to have a pedi – you should see my poor neglected toenails. I am having to wear Chanel espadrilles every day (sometimes last season’s for the sake of variation which is downright humiliating), despite the searing heat, to hide the woeful mayhem that lies beneath.

Because I can’t wear flip flops, and it takes that much more time and effort to put on actual shoes, I was a bit too late to see Max and Mills off on the bus to summer camp today. I therefore thusly deemed it a foregone conclusion to stay in bed, though I did make it to the window, opening the lovely Peranakan shutters almost in time to wave them off. They wouldn’t have noticed anyway, but at least I know that I did all I could to be an excellent mother under the present arduous circumstances.

I felt so down at the mouth and frownful (argh, must pull myself sufficiently together to book a Botox sesh ASAP) that I had to cancel Eva. I just couldn’t handle being yelled at in that trans-pan-Atlantic-continental-European accent she has. Some people love that sort of thing (I’m aware of that from a Japanese film studies course I once did), but for me right now, not so much. Thank Dios she let me off with just a text, and didn’t phone me back to shout motivational quotes at me like, “Do zumzing today zat your future zelf vill zank you for!”

I closed the shutters and tried to go back to sleep, in the hope that I might dream of the lovely flaming crown I encountered yesterday at yoga. Instead, my wakeful tormented mind offered up thread upon thread of emails between Don and Clara (my cousin who he apparently almost married!! Wtf?!), and Don and Liz (the lowdown husband-stealing C word he’s apparently leaving me for), each one more disgusting and daemonic than the last.

Around midday I gave up on sleep perchance to dream, babeses, and went downstairs for a lemon water and a green smoothie. Whilst perfecting the latter with a shot of something or other (which is fine because all the good stuff far outweighs the bad stuff cancer-wise, and that’s totes scientificated because I read about it on the Internet and why would anyone lie on the Internet?), I had the help run a bath, liberally tossing in essential oils of lavender, bergamot and lemongrass. Sending her back to her quarters, I sank my hot self into the fragrant bath, working hard to ignore the hell of my toenails which emerged all too often into view, and drank the green smoothie.

The next thing I knew, my phone was making that Skype ringtone sound. So distinctive, that tone! Well done them for making it so darn unique!! These tech companies are truly awesome. Fumbling for the phone, I observed that I was now in bed, wearing some of my most prized Agent Provocateur. I clicked to accept the call, and realised that the departing image my consciousness was replacing with reality was of Seth; his afro gleaming and his smile beaming.

Seth

Seth

“Hullo?”, I said, as elegantly as I could muster.

“EJ hi, it’s me, Clara.”

Upon hearing her voice, I felt organic kale, spinach, strawberries, red dragon fruit, chia seeds and other stuff rising up from my stomach, as if I was about to spew forth the bile of my rage. I paused though, thinking about Eva’s annoying quote.

“Oh hi, Clara babes, how nice to hear from you. What’s up? To what, precisely, do I owe the pleasure??”

(If I can’t mince my words now, when, dear readers, can I?!)

“How are you, love?”, came the vile traitor’s reply. Little does she know that her head will soon be metaphorically speared on a spike at the Tower, as far as I’m concerned.

“I’m great, sweets. You know, just doing my thang. Hanging with my girlies, racing around Singas in my soft-top. Brunching. Lunching. Shopping. Working out. Looking hot. And I’ve written another amazebobs rap to follow on from the first one. Expat rap is seriously scaleable, I’m told.”

“That’s good, love, I’m glad you’re doing fine”, the traitorous C replied. (When did she start calling me “love”?? Oh right, just now, silly moi.)

On she went: “I’ve been thinking that it might be helpful for you to consider how things will be if you’re coming back to England. There’s a very good chance of that, right? So I’m wondering how you can start the transition process now, for your sake, but also for the kids. I loved your post on having a rehab for expats, and actually I think you might need a bit of a rehabilitative intervention when… I mean if… you do come back.”

“Yes lah, honey, you’re SO right. As you always are, izn’t it??”

Clara of course didn’t appreciate my fabulous Singlish, but you know what: F her.

“If you mean schools and stuff, lah, it’s all gravy”, I said.

“My remote assistant in the Philippines has sorted that sh** out. Asian Tigers and the company relo peeps will fix everything else, so it’ll just happen like clockwork. Oh but wait… Hmmmm… Maybe you’re talking about my emotional transition. Yeah, I bet that’s what you mean. You just luuuuuurv talking about that stuff!”

“Yes, Emma-Jane”, replied the C, “That is what I’m talking about. You seem to be quite settled in Singapore, and I feel anxious about your readjustment when, I mean if, you come home. So I want to help, if I can. It may be a difficult time for you and the children. But I’m here for you. I want you to know that.”

“Yes, hon, it probably will be a difficult time”, I humoured her further, “Which is why I’m sooooo happy to know that you’ve got my back. Where would I be without you, huh?! Look, sweets, I gotta go. Stuff to do, peeps to see…”

“Of course, love, I’ll let you go. I know things must be hard for you right now, but this too will pass. You’re a strong person. You’ll find a way through this, whatever happens.”

Yeah, hashtag whatevs to you too, cousin Clara. Always pretending to give a crap when, behind it all, you’ve betrayed me as much as Don has. More, perhaps.

So you can cry me a river, you sad effing nut job pathetic excuse for a cousin.

Since the call, I haven’t had time to start looking for a lawyer. I’ve been way too busy thinking about what to do to Clara.

IMG_4533

No more Mister Nice Guy

Boring Well-Off Wifeys Who Do Charity Work

I don't need to be no Mother Teresa to justify my existence

I don’t need to be no Mother Teresa to justify my existence

Annoyingly, the landlord wants us out of our fabulous Emerald Hill Road shophouse by the end of July because apparently saying we’re not sure if we’re staying doesn’t cut it. What now, now?? Is chivalry and general politesse truly so dead? I mean, the guy must own half of the island so like, what’s the big deal…?

The implicationses of this are that we’ve been forced to accept viewings of the property. I abso hate having strangers – even Expaterati strangers – traipsing around my inner sanctum, delving into my most personal nooks and crannies, and checking out my vast collection of shoes and such. Can’t bear it. And some of them want to come before midday! Imagine!! It’s very stressful for me, as you will no doubt sympathise, dear readers, and it interferes quite intensely with my roof terrace relaxation and meditation.

I got the time of a visit wrong yesterday morning and was faced with an horrific rush to stash the Veuve empties behind the ornamental pool towel cupboard, pour the remainder of a glass into my fabulous bourganvillia bush (utterly wasteful and I loathe waste when so many people in this world have so little – even if my bush is the finest on the street), and shimmy into some elegant resort wear. I’ve only my sharp wits and perceptiveness to thank for my rapid response. Otherwise I can’t think how embarrassing it would’ve been for the potential tenants, particularly the wife, to stumble upon me in all my hotness.

Anyhoo, today we had another couple round and on this occasion, I knew exactly when they were due to arrive. I’m almost certain that the reason I got it wrong yesterday was because of those pesky relocation people not telling me. Don says it was my mistake, but he says that about so many things that it can’t possibly be truesome.

They seemed nice at first – loud American wife (loud in that lovely way that only Septics can truly carry off) and beige Belgian hus. They really liked the house and she asked me lots of questions about the neighbourhood and living in Singas. Little did she know how privileged she was to be picking the complex brains of an expert expat and celebrité blogger. Some people don’t know they’re born, honestly. As a kind soul though, I was happy to give her the benefit of my wisdom. I even gave her a cup of tea. Apparently they drink Earl Grey now, these Americans… Funny that, after all the hoo-ha they made about our tea.

Then she started to get all personal and up in my face! Gently at first, so I didn’t even notice. She said, “Soooo, Mrs Austen-Jones, God I love your name!! It’s so British! So cute!!! Kinda royal, and classic! But so loooong. Is it ok if I call you Emma?”

“Errr well it’s Emma-Jane really, so I’d prefer EJ… You know, like your OJ or your PBJ and stuff…”

“Sure Emma, sure. I hear you. EJ it is!”, she said, and I thought gosh I really love Americans.

“So Emma”, she continued, “You’ve been here for a few years now. What’ve you been up to? I mean, I know you’re a mom, which wonderful – I’m a mom too – and I understand from your husband that you used to be a lawyer. Me too! Funny, huh?? And I’m thinking about what I’m going to do with myself here if I’m not practicing, so I’d love to know how you’ve spent your time.”

“OMG, you’re a lawyer too! It’s like totes contagious among corporate expat spouses… law and accounting. Bizarro!! Ummmm, well what I’ve been mainly doing is taking some time out to explore, and you know, get to know the real me, who I am as an awesome person.”

[At that point, I did a moving rendition of the song, I’ve been to paradiiiiiiiise, but I’ve never been to meeeeee. It was a beautiful moment.]

The woman, Kelly, appeared alarmingly unmoved, and asked, “So what have you actually been doing?”

“Well, as a life-long yogi and dedicated meditator, that has taken much of my attention. Plus I go to the gym a lot, and I work out with my personal trainer. And I think it’s important to look one’s best in flip flops, so regular pedis are essential. Very time-consuming. And it’s totes vital as an expat wife to have a strong social network, so I meet up with my Expaterati girlies as much as poss… And I write a blog… Maybe as a newcomer you haven’t heard of it… You should check it out. Diary of an Expat Somebody. It’s all about sharing my glamorous life and the profound insights I have with the universe and beyond.”

“Oh, ok”, she said, and this is where it got nasty, “So you don’t have a job, you’re out all the time exercising or partying” –

I had to cut her off, “No babes, I’m at home sometimes, being a really great wife and mum or having me time so that I can become a better wife and mum.”

[This mom sh** has to stop. But it won’t!!! It’ll only get worse! It’s being adopted everywhere I look. Even the Aussies ffs. What would the Bard have thought about the systematic slaughter of our language?!]

“Sure, Emma, I get what you’re telling yourself, but we’re moving here from India, where I had the chance to be involved in some incredible charity initiatives. We really did some amazing work, so vital. Now ok, maybe here there’s less need, but I’m sure there are plenty of volunteering opportunities. Don’t you think you could’ve used your time here a little more… constructively?”

Enough was starting to become very much enough. This complete stranger was sitting in my kitchen, interrogating me about how I live my life! Rood. She didn’t even know what a generous, giving, hugely-empathic person I am. Hold my tongue, I no longer could.

“Well, Kelly, it’s really super-nice that you did all that helpy stuff. Super dooper nice, and you obviously find yourself to be a more important person because of it so it’s just marvellous that a few orphans or whatevs gave you the pleasure of being holier than thou. Now, what did you say your husband does for a living again? Oh yes, he’s a banker – yes, aren’t they all? So effectively, babes, as the wife of an evil capitalist, sustained by a system that exploits and robs the less fortunate, all you’ve been with your do-gooding is your husband’s conscience. It happens all over the world, spoilt rich wives consoling themselves with a supporting role, pretending that fannying about in soup kitchens will compensate for the social crimes to which they themselves are accessories!”

I was on a roll! Words were pouring out of my mouth in a stream so amazebobsly smooth and coherent that I even surprised myself!! I suspect I may be a gifted orator. And I seem to know a whole bunch of stuff I didn’t even know I knew! I’m a gorgeous mystery.

She tried to interrupt, but I was havin’ none of it.

“And an accessory is precisely what you are in this life – just another gaudy bauble – so don’t you forget that. Don’t go thinking that your tiny contribution to poor people has any more value that a tacky piece of costume jewellery. Your husband’s, and therefore thusly your, contribution to everything bad in the world faaaaaar outweighs the feeble attempts you’ve made to give back. It’s a drop in the ocean. All you’ve really been doing is making yourself feel good about YOU. And that, my girl, is a shameful and narcissistic thing to do.”

I paused, and then added, “So there!”, to further emphasise the power of my oration.

Kelly looked blank, and asked, “And what does your husband do exactly?”

“He’s a banker. Of course. But that’s on him. Unlike you, I am my own person. I don’t need to be his conscience. So that’s why I don’t do charity work. I’m no hypocrite. And anyway, actually I have done a bit of volunteering in my capacity of Events Chair with the Singapore International Women and Trailing Spouses Association. We raised a ton of cash for Ebola last year thanks to moi. But I did that as a favour to a friend who positively begged me for my skills, not because I needed to feel good about myself.”

The beige evil capitalist then entered the kitchen with the letting agent.

“I think we should go now, Stephane”, said Kelly, “This woman is insane. I could never live in a house where she has lived.”

Good. Now GET OUT, I thought.

Flying Long-Haul With Irritants, ie. Children

Picasso's Guernica aka What it's like to fly with children

Picasso’s Guernica aka what it’s like to fly with children

It’s that time of year again when a bunch of the Expaterati are pootling off, hitherly and thitherly, on glamorous holidays or paying the piper back home. For many of us fab folk, this brings up the inevitable question of whether perhaps the children are now old enough to fly unaccompanied, or even stay behind for the summer with the help. The latter creates its own ramificatory problemations (because the people at home want to see the kids and the kids want to see the people at home), but all options suddenly become viable when faced with the hideous reality of flying for ten+ hours with our irritants.

Under these potentially traumatic circumstances, we could be forgiven for looking back longingly at our younger, child-free days, when flying was basically an airborne bar/ cinema (though even then some of us complained about how exhausting long-haul flights were), after which we would arrive at our gorgeous destination, and do exactly whatever TF we pleased. No whining, no incessant chatter. Just lovely lovely niceness. Mmmmmmmmmm.

So as much as I am loathe, dear readers, to pull you from that reverie, I am afraid that I have a duty to tell you:

THOSE DAYS ARE OVAAAAH.

Soz.

(Unless they aren’t for you, in which case whatevs and all, because oh kids are so cool and great, and stuff.)

Having been quite harsh with my insistence upon reinforcing realitification (cousin Clara the psychologist says true friends discourage self-delusion in one another, and I consider my readers to be nothing less than true friends), I can at the very least hereby thusly provide you with my tried and tested expert advice on the best ways to approach these dreadful issues.

Option 1: Fly Separately

a) Unaccompanied minors are still able to fly, as they were in the Glory Days of expat history. I believe there are now more restrictions, but cannot advise further as I do not work for an airline (I’d be awesome at that though). So you just get a different flight and meet them somewhere at the other end, or send a driver to pick them up from the airport.

b) Have your spouse fly with them. This is an excellent route, provided your spouse has no qualms about it, and will not use it in future as a source of poisonous resentment. Before pursuing this approach, I strongly suggest that you read my post on expat marital bliss and how to achieve it.

c) Have your helper do it. This is way better than 1.b) as you will be able to travel with your spouse, thereby strengthening the marital bondage, free of irritants, and you will not have to endure the hell at all. I do not personally know the practical ins and outs of this. I am not an immigration service. They have a very clear websites and you should look at them yourself.

Option 2: Sit Separately

Kids in Econ, you in Business or preferably First because it’s further away and therefore so worth the extra moolah. Sitting separately can be achieved by:

a) Bringing the help. Again, it’s not my place to advise on this or any other legal matters. I’m so over all that law stuff.

b) As once happened to moi, an airline which shall remain unnamed took Don aside during check-in and offered him, but not his family, an up-grade. Do not dismiss this offer. After an hour in the air, no jobsworth steward will dispute switching seats between spouses for touch-tag childcare. If they do, I have it on good authority that a few notes changing hands will remedy the situation (but this is, I stress, entirely hearsay).

c) Bite the bullet, buy one seat in the highest class you can afford, and apply the parental turn-taking strategy as per above.

Option 3: Fly and Sit Together, argh!!!

This is the most horrific option, but for many, the most difficult to avoid. If you want to arrive at your destination with your sanity intact and without the burden of a criminal record, I will now give you – entirely free of charge – the means to do so. You’re welcome, babeses.

a) Phene… phen… something, I’m not sure what it’s called, but it’s an anti-allergy med that causes drowsiness in some children. I reiterate some because it can also have the opposite effect (as it does on Max and the Millster : ( hashtag bummer), and so must be tested in advance. Clara says we should never ever medicate our children to meet our own needs, nor to placate our anxieties or guilt as parents (and that American psychiatrists and drug companies are doing a number on young people today by over-prescribing bla bla yada yada… Clara should really chill out and have more fun, away from her job; she should totes become an expat and realise that there’s more to life than facing grim reality all the damn time). But Clara hasn’t been on a plane – five hours in, eight to go – with two wired irritants, and a hangover. So she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

b) As close as possible to the time of your flight (and overnights are best), take the kids to a crazy-making place like Universal Studios. Put them on every ride they’re tall enough to go on, regardless of protestation. Multiple times, if nec. Give them ice cream and highly-coloured frozen beverages. When they say they’re all funned out, keep sending them on the rides. Then go catch your flight. Once up in the air, feed them carbs and watch them fade. At most, it’ll be four nightmarish hours before you can switch to me time, for a few Veuve Clicks, and a couple movies that you’ve been meaning to see for ages.

c) The draining path of actually engaging with the irritants and “journeying with them”. Oh yawn. I got the text below from Doom and Gloom Expat Wifey’s blog (sheesh EVERY f***er has a blog these days!), and I can’t find the link right now, but it’s really not my job to promote other bloggers, right babeses??

So here are her recommendations. I can’t recall the name of her blog. Expat something-ish, I guess. Ok, I’ve sort of stolen it, but no one is going to enforce copyright law for blogs anyways. Ridic.

I have done many long-haul flights with our children from when they were tiny babies until now that they’re four and eight. Most of those flights, I’ve done alone because my husband is so busy with his work. I am definitely not an expert, but I’ve found things that worked for me, so I want to share them and hopefully hear from other people how they handle flying with kids. It’s hard, right? There’s no one single answer.

[Sheesh again, it’s so nauseating that she does that blogger thing of pretending to be all sweet and sharey, when actually she just wants to go viral with a popular topic, and get a publishing deal. Vom!!]

The easiest time to travel was the early months. My babies just slept and ate throughout flights, and I know it’s a bit scary for new parents, but honestly, while they’re infants, it’s fine. Hold them as much as they need, and feed them on take-off and landing if they’re awake. If they’re really upset and you feel ok about administering a painkiller, that might be the best thing to do because their ears could be hurting.

Once they can walk and are within the toddler bracket, it’s much tougher for parents. Take them for walks in the aisle and remember that, although some passengers might prefer not to be disturbed, many love young children and will welcome the opportunity of engagement that your toddler is seeking.

For the toddler years, the key to success is preparation and breaking the time down into manageable, repeatable sections, so that you feel in control. It’s about being fully aware of your own time-frame and the children’s routines, so that you can minimise their excitement of being in a different environment.

For kids that age, one important component is to bring with you a “Magic Bag of Fun”. I like to think of this as a little like a Christmas stocking, full of fun, interesting objects they haven’t seen before. Gradually offer items from this magic bag throughout the flight – interspersed with aisle walks – and eventually the toddler will shift from exploration to relaxation, and then to sleep.

Once your kids are around the age of three or four, they’ll begin to enjoy the flight experience of watching TV and see that as a treat, in addition to time on devices, should you choose to offer that.

From there on out, it’s plain sailing, or plain flying tee hee. As they get older, they are able to stay in their seats and entertain themselves. My kids are still young, but what I hear from parents of teenagers is that it’s not about the flight anymore (that part is easy), but what it represents, be it a happy or a sad departure. I can’t speak to that, personally.

That’s what’s worked for me. Happy flying, and above all, enjoy!!

So that’s her advice and it sounds pretty reasonable (albeit incrediblé dull), if there is truly no alternative to flying with your offspring. Based on my personal expertise, I would summatively conclude that parents encountering the troublesome trouble of travelling with their irritants employ any means necessary to ease their immense burden.

I hope that I have provided effective solutions, and in exchange for my outstanding assistance, it is surely no biggie to request your ongoing support with my campaign to get a second helper by clicking here. Come on, I gave you all that for nuthin!!

How Much You Spend On Your Kid’s Birthday Equals How Much You Love Them. End Of.

I’ve been feeling quite Maxed out (LOLs, pun totes intended!) after the weekend, which is hencely why I couldn’t get around to writing until now. Yes, my little Max turned the big Zero Seven, and the birthday yacht party organised by moi (and two remote assistants in the Philippines) went down like a house on fire aboard the Titanic, amped up on Veuve Click and Spotify, without the tragic sinking business. As I said before, I knew I had to push the boat out to match Milly’s fabulous yee-haw at the casino in Sentosa last year. And push that boat out, I soooooo did! Go, me!!!

I hired a mahusiv glamorous yacht and invited a few of Max’s little friendses (well, only the ones whose parents I know like to parté), as well as all my Expaterati girlies and our general gang. The catering was a hush-hush high-end arrangement, by one of the awesomest restaurants in Sing (can’t say which because they don’t want to dilute their brand by doing private events, and only did mine as a personal favour because I’m so hot). I flew in a Taiwanese DJ to rock the dance floor and, at Max’s request, had a Transformer costume theme. Because I was doing the donkey work, it seemed only fair that I amend the theme a teensy bit to Bikini Transformer costumes. Lord knows I heart a bikini party!!

So the result, as anyone who was there will testify, was nothing short of

EPIC.

It got to 3AM, and all the kids had fallen asleep on their iPads (which just goes to show that children can exercise self-regulation with Minecraft, contrary to recent flawed findings), but us grown-ups, we were just getting started! I was in Katy Perry heaven, doing my shockingly impressive Transformer moves all over that floating dance floor. Oh yeah, bring da beat back!! It’s amazing how much a little bit of practice can do. I only spent between six and 20 hours last week watching Transformer YouTubes, and yet my physical embodiment was alarmingly on the money. It was like I actually was an actual Transformer, dancing my vehicular behind off on a yacht. I know, incrediblé, isn’t it? My talents do seem to be limitless, but you know that already, of course, dear readers. My gratitude for your appreciation is almost as boundless as my talents.

There were two sliiiiiiightly sticky moments that marred my enjoyment of Max’s party. One was when Angel, our teenage house guest (my step-sister), approached me while I was rolling out my hottest Optimus Prime grooves and said, “Um, EJ, your C-string bikini is getting pulled sideways by your Transformer truck bit, and part of your um, vajazzling is kind of hanging out and it’s… sort of… dangling…”

I was quite annoyed by her abrupt interruption of my dancing, but it occurred to me how hard it must be for her; just a young girl, thrown so recently into a new environment, away from her mother (who can’t cope, hencely me selflessly taking her in), and everything she’s familiar with.

Then I thought, naaaaaaaaw.

So I told her, “Babes, eat some food ffs so that your brain can function properly, grow tf actually up, and get some life experience before you start lecturing adults on how they look. Because yooooo, honey, do not have a cloooooooooo!”

And that made her go away.

The other irksome thing (not that the interactification with Angel was irksome – I just told it like it is, I proclaimed my truth) was Liz. I noticed that, yet again, she was sniffing around after Don. Whenever she went to the bar, there he was. Whenever she went to the loo, there he was. Whenever she went up on the romantic fore-deck, there he was. She was constantly seeking him out, like a plague of husband-devouring locusts. Vile-scented locusts, at that, as you will know if you have read all my posts.

As a practitioner of gratitude and a dedicated yogi, it was not impossible for me to rise above this woman’s persistent, assaultative, uninvited attentions towards my husband, but I did have to take time out from dancing to do some chanting in a private place. Thusly I will forever resent her for taking me away from my only son’s seventh birthday in order to cleanse myself of her disgusting heinous intent. This will no doubt surface in her own chi and, relying on the universe to sort her out, I gave myself up to continuing to have an amazebobs night. Haha, I bet she didn’t! She didn’t even come in costume. So un-classy!

Image credit: http://makinbacon.hubpages.com/hub/transformersmoviecharacters

Image credit: http://makinbacon.hubpages.com/hub/transformersmoviecharacters

Are Adults Really Grown Up?

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Annoyingly, yesterday I had a gazillion things to do, but couldn’t do them because of the irritants. It was their last day of school, so I had to go to their respective parties. Not really kosher to wriggle out on this occasion given the actual final finality if we’re leaving. Plus, I’d offered to bring a few kiddie canapé selections, and I had to give the teachers their gifts. That meant that a large part of the previous day was also eaten up by the same cause. Had to collect said canapés, before popping into Tiffany’s to pick up the engraved bracelets, times four including classroom assistants, argh spent a fortune, but had no choice given our financial stature. Anything else would’ve been frankly embarrassing.

Milly’s was in the morning, and I took the help with me so that she could ferry Mills home again. I was as least able to join my girlies for the tail-end of a champagne brunch.

Then Max’s was in the afternoon. Everything was coolio until the end when Max was saying bye to his friendses. The strangest thing happened. Some sort of out of body experience, I suspect. I was watching him chatting away to the other kids, hugging goodbye and being all sad and stuff, and suddenly it was as if I was whooshed up into the air, hovering over the half-eaten canapés, the piles of empty cake bowls, and the assembled group of little people. Instead of seeing Max and his cohorts, I saw myself as a six year-old girl, and the faces of my childhood buddies, just as they were when I last saw them, so many years ago.

Hovering over to the window, I looked out at the other side of the school and saw the older kids, the teenagers, also all saying goodbye. And again, there was me and my teenage gang. The word “goodbye” started to echo more and more loudly in my beautiful mysterious brain, until I thought, “OMG, EJ babes, you’re like totes losing it!! Keep it together, hot stuff!!!”

And with that, I de-hovered, landing elegantly on the cushions in the reading corner. I noticed that my face was wet with tears, so I made a dash for the loo to make sure my mascara was holding up. Once there, I looked at myself in the mirror (mascara all fine, phewee!) and the weirdness resumed. My face was as it was when I was six. I blinked a couple times, and suddenly the person staring back at me was me at sixteen. Then twenty-six, then six again, and then as I am now. I had the strangest thought: that I’m older, but only in years. I realised that essentially, I am the same as I’ve always been. I don’t feel much older than when I was six, or sixteen, or twenty-six. It’s only the world that tells me I am. Like that moment when people stop calling you Miss and start calling you Madam. (I decided to stay TF away from France for that v reason, incidentally. One year it was Madamoiselle, and the next, it was Madame. Of course that only happened recently as I look so awesome for my age, due to my excellent beauty and wellbeing regime, and my genius anti-ageing techniques.)

Sheesh, I thought to myself, what was in that Vietnamese food I had last night?! The mushrooms did seem a tad off-key…

Anyhoo so I managed to get a grip, partly because I am incredibly resilient, and partly thanks to the mini bottle of Veuve Click I happened to have about my person. I just love those tiny bottles – so dinky!!

I flounced merrily back to the classroom, delighted the teaching staff with their gifts, eventually dragged Max away from the crying morass, and sashayed to the car. With the top down on the Mazzer, I cranked up the Jessie J to let everyone on the CTE know that “it’s not about the price tag, just wanna make the world dance, it’s not about the ba-bling ba-bling”, etc. I <3 that song!!! It’s one of my personal anthems. 

Later I took some time to hang with my thoughts on the roof terrace. What happened at school brought to mind a conversation Seth and I had right before I stopped going to the same yoga classes as him. I guess maybe I forgot to mention that to you, dear readers. It wasn’t a big deal or anything. Just that I needed to change my schedule.

The last time he and I spoke, I was talking about our relocation and that it’s kinda sad and stuff. As always, he totes got where I was coming from. Not sure exactly how it came about (probly another one of these freaky out of body experiences! Argh!!), but I got a bit emo, and said, “The thing is, with this moving stuff and all… I don’t think I can do it. Not again. It’s too much, too hard. It’s too… grown-up! And I know I should be a grown-up, but I really don’t feel like I am. I’m supposed to help the children get through it. How can I do that if I’m still a child myself??”

Hearing the words that were coming out of my fabulous full lips, I felt kinda ridic for a sec, but Seth didn’t seem to think I was ridic. That was nice. It was right then that I realised I had to change my yoga schedule and not go to the same classes as him. Those times just weren’t working for me.

Then last night I headed to Club Street with my Expaterati ladeeees. Still in a reflective mood, I gazed around, taking in the scenes I may soon be leaving. It was the usual crowd: young puffed-up male bankers out-numbering a cluster of equally young female counterparts. There were also the FMAWG* (I’ve noticed lately that some aren’t fat, and some aren’t white, but they’re all middle-aged, which for men is 40-65 apparently) with their petite Asian girlies (though I’ve also noticed that they’re not all petite or Asian). Now I’ve always tended to think of these chappies as utter scum, but I had a flashback to my earlier out of body experiences, and the thought occurred to me that maybe there are good reasons why they do what they do. Maybe they feel like they’re still twenty-six, and in that case, it makes sense that they’d have a young girlie looking back at them; rather than the middle-aged woman who’s been looking at them for decades, reminding them like a mirror of their crows feet each time they see hers.

So with my amazebobs empathic capabilities, I found that I forgave all those FMAWG and daft old Donald Trump and silly mentalist Hugh Hefner. I realised the elegant logic behind their behaviour, and it has already had major repercussions on my chi. I have felt a new peace with the world since last night, and I see now that we are all only as old as we feel.

Of course, I’m not excusing these dudes’ shenanigans. I am merely saying that there are explanifications and that I have heretofore thusly figured them out with my powerful mind. I am sharing them with you, dear readers, for your edication and edification. You’re welcome.

“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”
George Orwell

Mir, als ich klein var

Mir, als ich klein var

* Fat Middle-Aged White Guys