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!

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Revenge Phase Three: Don (Need your help with this…)

Since my twofold betrayal, I have come to realise that I have few truly trusted confidantes other than you, dear readers. Because you are so precious to me, and I value your opinions, I would like your input for Revenge Phase Three: Don.

I have therefore thusly come up with a list of possible ways in which to proceed. Do feel free to add your own ideas. I need a few more, but I’m so busy with all this revenge and relocation business that it’s hard to focus on anything properly. At least tonight I’m taking some time out to hang with my girlies. Oyster Bar Ladies’ Night, yeehaaaaaa!! Hope to see some of you there, babeses!

 

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.”

Expat Marriages Suck, Part Two

Frida would totes feel my pain

Frida would totes feel my pain

Since the nightmarish revelations of the weekend, that my husband is planning to leave me and the children for another woman, and that he and my ex-trusted cousin were an item back in the day, I am finding it difficult to proceed as per usuo with my glamorous life. Despite my amazing resilience and general upbeat attitude, I am feeling profoundly at a loss.

I have had numerous offerings of support and advice from you, dear readers, for which I am eternally grateful. One common thread seems to be that I should take Don to the cleaners and, rest assured, once I’ve got my thinking cap properly installed, I will do precisely that. He won’t know what’s hit him. Said thinking cap though seems not to be currently in my hat cupboard, or if it is, it’s hidden behind a bunch of other stuff where I can’t find it (damn the help! Surely it’s her job, not mine, to keep my storage systems arranged in an orderly fashion).

At least while I am looking for it, I have the element of surprise firmly on my side. As long as Don doesn’t know that I know, I have the upper hand. He left for HK on business yesterday morning (oh really? Are all these trips really business??), so it’s not that difficult to keep my thoughts from him.

The harder part is not contacting Clara to ask her wtf she has been playing at all these years – pretending to be such a supportive, holier-than-thou cousin. And her a psychotherapist!! Ha! So much for all her spewings on transparency and trust in relationships. Bloody hypocrite.

I shall endeavour to keep you updated with events as they unfold. Thank goodness for you, babeses, and thank goodness for WordPress and all things blogging.

Expat Marriages Suck

As is my wont, I had a pretty fabulous weekend. On Friday night we went with our Expaterati gang, boyses and girlses, to Potato Head to catch some awesome reggae grooves on their roof terrace. Afterwards the more staminatic among us, moi included of course (but not Don and a few others), dashed to Zouk for further party-age.

Saturday, I had a lovely long chillax at home, followed by a massage and some detox reflexology. Then Eva kicked my butt into shape before my hair appointment, and later I hit the town again, starting at the Tippling Club for a gorgeous meal with my girlies. (Don had work to do, so he stayed at home.)

Yesterday we had a repeat of an average Sunday avo hanging with my Expaterati crew at the Tanjong Beach Club. I returned home early evening, tired but happy, to find Don staring into his laptop, his face lit up by the glow of the screen in the dark living room. He didn’t see me.

Just as I was heading to the kitchen to make a green smoothie with vodka, there was a blood-curdling scream from the top of the house, and I watched Don running upstairs in nothing short of panic. “Max”, I thought, “But Don’s on it.”

Meandering past Don’s laptop, I happened to see Clara’s name on the screen in the form of an email. You will be shocked, dear readers, by what else I saw. Using my quick wits, I forwarded the email thread to myself, deleting the forward from Don’s sent box (I think).

So here is said thread, if you can bear to read it. I’ve switched the screenshots round for clarity, starting with Don’s mail. Sorry the text is a bit small – you may need to click on the images to get the full horror of it.

Don email

And this was Clara’s reply…

Clara email

 


 

After such a divine weekend, as I’m sure you will sympathise, this was not at all the Sunday evening I had hoped for. I didn’t mention anything to Don. I don’t know what to do. And as for that beep Clara, my cousin and trusted confidante all these years… She introduced Don and I, but both failed to mention that he was sloppy seconds.

Oh, and Max is fine. Just a little charred. Not even first degree burns really, despite what they said at Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

 

Happiest day of my life?! #whatevs & it's not like I've let myself go since then! But see how I am repaid for my hotness...

Happiest day of my life?! #whatevs
& it’s not like I’ve let myself go since then! But see how I am repaid for my hotness…


 

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!!

Are Adults Really Grown Up?

Unknown
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

 

20 Thingses I’ll Miss About Awesome Singapore

coke can

I took a long trip up and down Orchard Road today because cousin Clara the psychologist told me last night that I should. She told me to go alone, given that the Froofster distracts me with inspiration for rap lyrics. The irritants were on playdates and Don’s away, so alone wasn’t beyond the realm of contemplation.

Initially Clara’s words were to, “find a place in nature to just be, and to consider the notion of change from the perspective of plants and wildlife… the natural tendency towards growth and transition as time moves on, whether we choose to embrace the changes or not”.

I explained to Clara that places in nature such as the Botanical Gardens, as lovely as they are, ain’t no Hampstead Heath. Too hot by the time I get up and out, babeses. Macritchie also awesome, but also waaaayyy too hot, and it would take me at least 20 minutes to get there, which surpasses my usual 12 minute travel limit. Plus, as I told her, if we’re talking natural habitat, that’s Orchard Road for me. I know every nook and cranny – every side street, every shop, every bar, every restaurant, probably everybody, and every floor of every mall from Plaza Sing to the Palais Renaissance.

So she said, “Ok, Emma-Jane, take a walk down Orchard, if that’s your natural habitat. If you are leaving, it’s important that you begin to process the losses, whatever those might be. A good starting point is to reflect on what you are going to miss.”

Alora, this morning I started my day by reflectiating on what I might miss, and I made a mental list as I rollerbladed the length of Orchard Road – the sun streaming through my raspberry locks.

Here are the 20 things that I know already I will miss about Singapore:

1. Waking up in the morning to see an army of helpers cleaning the cars parked beneath my window. Such a reassuring sight.

2. Being asked if I have a passion card (worst chat-up line everrrrr – still don’t get it).

3. Amusingly and so coolly peppering my speech with lahs, cans and cannots. It’s so great being able to fit in with a little bit of lingo, and it’s v important to learn the local language as an expat.

4. Walking around looking awesomely hot at any hour of the day or night, and not being in fear of my life. I can walk from the bay to home at 3 AM dressed however I chose without the possibility of later being told by a cross-examining barrister that I was Asking For It.

5. My soft-top Maserati. It’s just not on to flaunt one’s wealth quite so openly in the UK unless one is a foreigner. A bit like that quaint tall poppy thing in Australia.

6. The help. I suppose we’ll have to get a couple of au pairs (but they refuse to wash cars, so we might need to get a driver too), or bite the bullet and shell out £80k per annum for the equivalent wrap-around assistance to which we are accustomed here.

7. Putting tons of clothes on to go inside rather than to go outside.

8. Constantly meeting bundles of like-minded Expaterati types – even if they ditch you when they know you’re off-ski. We’ll stay in touch though, right babeses?! Ya, see you in Bangkok, sweets, or London, or San Fran. Totes!! There’s no bye in goodbye anymore – it’s all just GOOD.

9. Being able to take selfies without feeling #awkz. Euro peeps just don’t get how awesome selfies are.

10. Cheap taxis with such friendly uncles.

11. Sweet Singaporeans who’ll apologise to you if you accidentally crash into them while crossing the road and simultaneously Whatsapping… as opposed to stabbing you, like they do in London.

12. Whatsapping whilst crossing roads (due to afore-mentioned risk of stabbage).

13. Languid evenings of cocktails and Veuve Click on roof terraces all year round.

14. Glamorous holidays sans long flights and jetlag with the irritants. Ok so Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines are all a bit of a blur to me now, but at least I can still name the countries and largely distinguish one hotel kids club from another. (There might’ve been another county, I forget.)

15. The tropical bird sounds at dawn and dusk. Think it’s just magpies in London now, with the occasional flock of parakeets south of the river, should one foolishly choose to venture in that direction. Not my scene, no matter how much I might miss Singaporean birdsong.

16. Geckos. Froo Froo will miss those more than I will, but I greatly prefer a gecko to its British counterpart, the slug.

17. The proximity and fabulous ease of Changi Airport. No further explanation required. Changi just rocks. We all know that.

18. Having a tan. All. The. Time. Hashtag sadface : (!!!!!

19. Countless amazebobs bars and restaurants within 10-20 minutes of anywhere on the island. In London it’s always, “See you in an hour…”

20. The expat wives’ social media groups. I’m probably going to have to start watching more TV again, or Dios help me, even get involved with the dramas of our extended families. Ugh. Just ugh. Kill me now.


So those are the 20 things I’ve come up with thus far thereinly. My fear is that there may be many more to compound my woes, should the nightmare of repatriation actually occur. I can only cling for now onto Voltaire’s conclusion that all is for the best in the best possible of worlds. I’m totes about that. Hashtag yeah baby. Everything will be alright.

Expat Wives = Swans

Because Milly’s birthday party last year at the casino on Sentosa was such an amazebobs success, I’ve been stressing my gorgeous head off for a way long time about Max’s bday, coming up next month. So the coolest thing has happened, and Seth is defo right about the universe being wise and all that.

Yesterday I went to a beauty workshop held by one of my BFFs here, about Guasha. Now, Guasha itself is incrediblé. It’s basically this little curved tool thing that costs $15, and you put an ocean of coconut oil on your face (or wherever – you can do derrières, arms, legs, the whole caboodle; if you can dream it, you can Guasha it). So you run the thing over your skin, paying particularness attention to wrinkles, should you be in the unfortunate position of possessing them, and by stimulating the lymph you literally rub out said wrinkle-age. The mentalistest thing is that…

Babeses, it bloody works!! 

Ridic, I know, and I wouldn’t believe it had I not done it. Totes truesome though. Insania.

Anyways, so at the Guasha thing I met some really awesome ladeees and I so felt the ladeee luuuuuv goin down. One of them was a horse whisperer who used to be an astronaut. How cool is that??

Another ladeee was something to do with yachts (all these expat wives with jobs!! If I knew we weren’t repatting, I would definitely get one). I’d heard there’s a lot of yacht stuff here, but as I’m an Orchard Roader at <3, I rarely feel the need to venture water-wise, unless I’m on one of my fabulous holidays. Froo Froo and I are crazy about the Tanjong Beach Club, but I like to stay close to the bar and the DJ so the actual water is more of a backdrop. Like The Truman Show.

Anyhoo, yacht chick made me think that we should totes have Max’s party on a yacht!!! That would just kill all the other parties at Polliwogs, Port of Lost Wonder, or at the condo pool. Expat wives can be SO competitive (like a few months back when there was this who-has-lived-in-more-countries jam-shackery), but I choose to rise above all of that by just being a mahusiv lot better. More creative. More expensive. More awesome. That way there’s no need to compete.

So I have to get busy planning. As if I didn’t already have nuff on my plate!! I know that you, dear readers, appreciate the lengths I go to in sharing my glamorous life with you, and that takes up a lot of my time. Don, au contraire, so doesn’t appreciate. He thinks I just swan around from brunch to pedi to Pilates to high tea to cocktails to dinner to activating my hot moves on the dance floor. He doesn’t seem to get that there’s a great deal going on under the surface. He doesn’t realise that I, like most expat wives, am a swan; elegantly gliding through choppy waters, whilst underneath I’m working my hot a** off just to stay afloat.

Here’s me working my hot a** off with my personal trainer, Eva. It’s surprising how stunning I can look during a workout.

 

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What Are Riches? #baffed twice in one week

Image credit: http://michellejoni.com/vajazzling/

Image credit: http://michellejoni.com/vajazzling/

When I was in bed on Sunday, recovering from my fabulous social exertions, I read an article in the NYT about v wealthy wives in NYC who don’t have jobs and are basically, the author writes, “a lot like mistresses – dependent and comparatively disempowered”. I found it pretty interesting because I too am a glamorous SAHM and, like these women, I have had a ton of education, I don’t have a paid job anymore, I am extremely well-maintained, and I have kids and help. Don isn’t a billionaire, though, so maybe we’re not totes similar. But I do get annual bonuses, and why tf not?? Equation as follows:

Don gets bonuses
> we’re married
> half of what he earns is mine
> he gets a bonus
> I get half of it.

Problem = ????

#baffed

As dear readers will know, I wanted to be an expat wife like my mother before me, her mother before her, her mother before her, and her mother before her who I’m not sure about, but did v little with her life. But that doesn’t mean that I have not made sacrifices for the good of our family. Yes, I gave up my career. I am schooled in English law, not Singaporean law. And Don’s job just happens to be in a field that is more lucrative than mine (oopsy, my bad as those nice Americans say), particularly given the opportunities for German motorway-like overtakings offered by a spell in Asia. We can’t all be experts in money laundering. So that’s totes been a sacrifice on my part.

As dear readers will also know, I have considered taking a job (though that would mean giving up my position on the board of the Singapore International Women and Trailing Spouses Association, which does wonderful charitable work throughout the region), and have simply not had the time to follow through. One of the reasons I was thinking about getting a job is that a whole bunch of other Expaterati women seem to have them all of a sudden. Sometimes it feels as if we’re dropping like flies, we brunchers, lunchers, and ladies’ nights goers. If I had a job, I would at least have an excuse not to spend most waking hours of every day of every week of every year with the irritants, like Don has. The excuse would be that if I had a job I’d have money and power, and those are the most important things, right? Obviously, because that’s what the author of the article said, and hers was an anthropologicalised study and therefore thusly truesome.

I was running all of these ideas through my mahusiv, thoughtful brain today during my vajazzling session. Michelle, the owner of the Vajaz salon, came over to say hello, and we got chatting. (We’re sort of friends, and abso nothing happened with me and her hus, as you know.) I told her about my whirlwind weekend of awesomeness, and about how we might be repatting. While I was saying how deva’d I feel about leaving Singers she made this little choking sound and told the vajazzler lady to go and check the schedule for the next customer. “I’ll take it from here”, she said.

She got in between my legs, and silently resumed the careful, decorative placing of Swarovski crystals. I felt droplets of liquid falling onto my fanny area (British fanny area; I don’t presently have the American fanny area done as I am concerned about sit-down-age), so I looked up (thankfully my honed stomach muscles are such that I can raise my head quite high) and saw that poor Michelle was crying into my said fanny area.

“Babes!!”, I exclaimed, being the spectacularly empathic person that I am, “What’s the matter?? It’s ok, I’ve done a six-month counseling course, so I’m completely non-judgmental. Feel free to talk to me. I’m listening.”

“We’re relocating!”, she said with a sob, “And that should be fine because I should be used to this after so many years of being expats, and Will has been offered a really great role, but this time… This time I finally felt happy that the kids were settled, and I could go back to work. So I opened this place, and I’ve worked my ass off to make it what it is today. Of course, I’m not earning anywhere near what Will is, so sure, it makes sense to go to the next job where he’ll earn even more. But everything that I’ve invested – not the money – I mean the time… the relationships… The relationships with my staff and my customers… All of that… Gone. Zero. And it’s not like Will even loves his job! He’s just grateful for the next step up, like I’m supposed to be grateful about him earning more money.”

“But, babes”, I said, super-sympathetically, “Him earning more money equals you earning more money! It’s a win-win!!”

“It isn’t, EJ, it really isn’t. Because I go back to square one, though at least with the experience I’ve gained this time, so I am grateful for that. But he continues on his trajectory. And if he decides one day, like we see so often over here, that marriage isn’t much more than a social construct, how stupid was I to prioritise his career over mine? Or how stupid was I to accept that him earning more was better for our family because more money meant more opportunities for our children?”

“I don’t know”, she continued, as my stomach muscles began to tire, “If he was a great artist who passionately loved his work and made the world a better place, maybe that would be worth the sacrifices. But he’s just a slightly rich person making other very rich people even richer. And those people don’t give a crap about us or anyone. So in the grand scheme of things, really, where is the meaning in all of this? I’ve found meaning in my day-to-day work with satisfied staff who have perfected their craft, and clients who leave here feeling better than when they walked in. Ok, so it’s not rocket science, and it’s not deep, but this is a place where people can get together – yes for the purpose of intimate adornment – but also to talk, and share, and relax. And that’s important. Forget power and money, what we do here is about relationships. And that’s worth something! That’s meaningful!!”

#baffed again, but because she seemed so upset I just nodded, and let her continue talking.

“And now…,” she went on, “Now I have to close this down, say goodbye to it and move on again. To the next place. Do all of that settling in stuff again. And once we’re in the next place, what then? I start again, set up another salon, and yes, I will do that. But all the time I’ll know that sooner or later, it’ll be over again. More goodbyes, more endings. It’s just tiring, you know?”

“Babes”, I said, “I do know. And it’s been so lovely that you’ve shared your thoughts with me. I totes appreciate that. But I have to run now because I have a late lunch, and then I have yoga. So why don’t we just go out for a drink some time, with the girlies. A few glasses of Veuve Click can do wonders with goodbyes and endings… Oh wait, argh, so sorry I totes forgot that you’re a recovering alco. Doh. Hashtag awkz!! How’s that going by the way? Actually, I’d better go before I’m late!”

I pulled on my clothes and ran off to pay. Busy busy busy!!

Do Expat Wives Heart Alcohol Too Much? (& if so, WHY?!)

FullSizeRenderI’ve been reading a super interesting new weekly series on women and alcohol by an awesome health and fitness guru hottie here called Aimee Barnes. I personally don’t have a prob with the devil drink, as you know, but I am told that it’s not unusual for excess drinkage to occur in our Expaterati community. It has shaken me up a bit though because I thought only alcoholics shouldn’t drink in the morning. Aimee’s point in last week’s piece is that “alcoholic” shouldn’t even be how we’re thinking about this. And now that I apply my massive brain to the matter, I’m thinking, actually like, yes Aims babe.

As you also know, I’m not one to say no to a beverage on a night out with my Expaterati girlies, or at fabulous parties, and occasionally I do like a bit of Veuve Click on the roof terrace. Purely at times of celebration, of course. Or commiseration, of course. Or, when all else fails, because all else has failed, of course. Apart from that, I can totally take it or leave it.

I have, howsoever, known some Expaterati ladies who are far worse than me, and the thing is, as long as you know at least one person who’s worse than you, you’re good to go. Aimee didn’t exactly say that (at all), but I’m putting my own expert spin on this. Otherwise I’d just re-blog her stuff, right?! And what would be the point of that??!!

The v sad thing about said drinky-ers is what Babe Barnes writes re lost potential. I believe that’s a majorly good point because when I think about the expat boozers I have known – partic the ones who gave up their careers to become trailing spouses – it makes me wonder about what they’d be doing with their time, in the absence of alcohol. That said though, therefore thusly, they are often having an amazebobs time and tons of laughs, and I am v much in support of that.

I think.

This evening I was thinking about all this over a few glasses of NZ’s finest, and I got myself into a bit of a pickle. So if it’s true that expat wives like a drink a little too much, but it’s making them feel happier than they would be otherwise, what exactly is so wrong about that? I decided I needed to speak to cousin Clara the psychologist, even though she told me quite categorically not to contact her at work. It was just a quick question or two.

I Whatsapped her, saying, “Babes, soz, just a quickie! It’s kinda important for expat wives everywhere. EJ x”.

“Ok, I have 15 mins before my addictions group”, came the reply.

Once we were speaking, I put my first question to her: “Why do expat wives drink, if indeedy they do?”

“Alright, Emma-Jane, I’ll do my best to answer your question this time, but please, in future, stop trying to contact me at work unless it’s an emergency.”

“Yes sure, babe, but it kind of is an emergency because it’s quite an important issue, don’t you think? There are like a bajillion expat wives who need clarification on this, and I’ve Googled it and Bing’d it, but not much comes up, you know, so we need answers, and fast!! I need to get to the bottom of this!”

“Ok…”, Clara did the long pause thing, as these patronising psych people are prone to do, and then finally said, “In answer to the why, you could equally well Google alcohol use disorder in general, and then apply it more specifically to the population you’re talking about. The issues are the same: unprocessed or unmanageable loss, anxiety, and sometimes also past trauma. In the case of expat spouses, those issues can be compounded and re-enacted with each transition, when very real losses occur and recur. So you know as well as I do that if there is a transition every few years, that equates to a potentially serious build-up of unprocessed material, which in turn becomes increasingly unmanageable. It’s particularly difficult if the person is a parent, because then they’re likely to prioritise their children’s emotional wellbeing over their own. And you also know that expat marriages can be more challenging than those among stable populations, given the upheavals, uncertainties, frequent separation, and the fact that the couples really only have each other as the consistent adult presence along the way. So whilst that can have a strengthening effect in many cases, it’s still a significant source of anxiety, and it’s common that one party will end up carrying the anxiety on behalf of the other.”

That last bit made sense because I was feeling extremely anxious on Saturday, and Don just seems to be going about his business, totes relaxed, like he always does. I told Clara about that (she doesn’t read my blog because she’s too busy, which is like completely fine), and said that could be why I had maybe a little too much to drink after my turbulent emo journey with the Angelina Jolie looky likey.

“But”, I added, “That doesn’t mean that I have alcoholic usage disorderedness, right, because I was going out anyway, and I had a really great time with my girlies. So, you know, having a really great time made me feel a ton better, and we all had a lot of fun, and just because we were drinking… I mean… So ya, we got a bit tipsy and stuff, but it was a laugh. What’s the big deal, really? That’s kind of my other question: if it makes you happy, why the hell is it so bad??”

I heard what sounded like a sigh from Clara, but she’s all upset about the election result, and about how the National Health Service is going to be destroyed, yada yada, so it was probably about that rather than about our chat. I can’t understand why people don’t just get private health coverage, like in America. It works great there, right?? Oh everything is better in America. My turn to sigh LOL!!

“Emma-Jane”, Clara said, “I have to go and do my group now – while there still are groups available on the NHS for people who need so much and get so little – but I hope I’ve answered at least part of your question. Alcohol use, or use of any mood-altering substance or behaviour, is a way of managing difficult feelings. I like to see it as the psyche striving for balance, albeit in a distorted way, which unfortunately takes its toll on the individual and everyone close to them in the long-run. So if you take nothing else from our conversation…” –

I was v interested in what she was saying, but at the same time there was a Mega Thread happening on RSEW* in the form of a hashtag anonymouspost by a lady whose hus (presumably a FMAWG) had run off with a petite Asian girlie and wanted nothing more to do with said her, so I couldn’t completely concentrate on Clara’s words. I tried, believe me that I did!! But with every passing second there was a new and exciting comment. OMG, people were all over it!! I used to watch pay TV with a glass of wine, but here, with the Facebook groups, I can sit back in my roof terrace jacuzzi pool and see great drama unfolding for free!!

I got so caught up in the thread that I only realised I was still on the call with Clara when she shouted, “Emma-Jane!! Are you there? I have to go now!”

Argh, these psychologists can be so precious about their time.

“Ok, babes,”, I said, mostly wanting to return my full attention to the Mega Thread, “I’ll let you go. So interesting and I think you’ve really nailed it there, sweetie. But I need to run too. Speak soon! And babes, ffs cheer up about the stupid government stuff!! That’s my advice to you! You’re welcome!! Byeee!!”

 

 

 


* Real Singapore Expat Wives Facebook group. Over 8,000 members since last Autumn, go them!! The original group, Singapore Expat Wives, from which the RSEW admins were expelled, must be quaking in their 11,000 member boots. Hahaaa! As exciting as the Melbourne Cup and fox-hunting all rolled into one!! Thank goodness sanity will hopefully prevail on the latter when Cameron brings it back. I really don’t get what all the fuss is about! It’s just a bit of fun!!

Expat Ex-Wife Flying Solo

1408995526zolbvDespite being the incredibly resilient woman that I am, I’m really feeling quite miserablé about the prospect of returning to the UK. There is a triumvirate (thanks again to M in India for that awesome word!) of reasonation for my woes.

Firstly, the weather. London, of course, has its own micro-climate which makes it that much nicer than the rest of the country, but it is still quite crappy compared to Singas. I can’t get my head around not just chucking on Chanel flip-flops every day as I sashay out the front door, dodging clamouring fans and tourists who want in on my glamorous life. (The lack of clamouring is also not so appealing, which makes me think we should move to a house with one of those lovely blue plaques from English Heritage. I suppose we could just get the plaque made ourselves. I’d quite like one that says Charles Dickens. That would be way cool.)

Secondly, but related to the weather, is the issue of snot-ridden children. As dear readers will know from previous posts , I cannot abide by snot, and like I have said before, Crouch End is positively awash with the stuff. If Max and Milly become one of those children, I don’t know how I am going to cope. I’m all for unconditional love of our irritants, but vile effluvia raises a v real obstacle to that IMO.

Thirdly, and this the the most worrying part of my dire situation: no live-in help! Never mind my ongoing quest for a second helper, at home they have these awful laws about minimum wage and how many hours a person can work which prevent us from having even one live-in. ARGH!! And yet I have two children to look after! It’s terribly unfair because it means that either I do literally nothing else besides irritant and home-related tasks, or I squeeze in other things such as a rewarding job, a social life (which would be a fraction of what it is here), and my gruelling health and beauty regime, in which case I will be perpetually exhausted. I certainly won’t have the time to continue sharing my glamorous life with you, beloved babeses, as I will barely find the time to have a glamorous life : (

I was thinking these thoughts today at the hairdressers, and before I knew what was up-ski, I felt a big sad tear running down my cheek. I must have looked truly tragic because the expat ladeee seated next to me took pity on me, handed me a tissue and asked if I was ok. She was super sweet and reminded me of Angelina Jolie, smiling beatifically as she goes about her charitable missions. It made me think that maybe I should abandon my Kate Middleton smile and channel Angelina instead. Because Angelina is also hot and has a hot hus, so perhaps that would be a good transition for me as part of the repatriation process. I could even switch to her hairdo. Make a fresh start. Become a new repat EJ through being Angelina-ish. Ya think??

The woman told me her name was Katie (LOL #weirdness!!), and said she’d be at the salon for a while, in case I needed someone to talk to. I guess I must have because I started telling her about my life as an expat, my marriage, and my dreadfully difficult predicament of now having to return home against my wishes. The words just tumbled out of me. I even told her about when I thought Don was having an affair, and that now I think he probably surely isn’t, but actually I only probably surely think that because he said I was being ridic.

Katie listened and smiled sadly, saying, “Something quite similar happened to me actually, with my ex-husband. He met another woman here, and said I should go home with the children. I was lucky though, much luckier than some, because my business was going well, and I had just managed to get my own Employment Pass. If I had still been on a Dependent Pass, I would have had no choice but to leave. Tim didn’t want the kids cramping his style with his new relationship, so he did everything he could to persuade me not to stay. It was hard. And hopefully your husband isn’t doing that, but it sounds like what you’re going through is very difficult.”

“It so is, babe!”, I said, “And I really appreciate that you get where I’m coming from. It’s just so hard to talk to my actual friends because, you know, we’re all mainly having an awesome time all the time. And if Don is having an affair, well, that’s just… that’s just… humiliating!! What does it say about me?? Where does it leave me..? What if this whole repat thing is about sending me and the kids home, and he’s secretly planning to do a u-turn and say we’re leaving, but he’s staying?…”

When I started crying again, Katie got up from the chair, her head full of foils, and gave me a hug.

“How did you do it? How did you cope with being so massively humiliated and so horribly dumped… cast aside, like a disgusting old piece of rubbish??”, I asked, sobbing elegantly into her neck.

She gave me another tissue and sat back down, pulling her chair and the head-heater thingie closer to me.

“You will be ok, whatever happens, and you just have to believe that. If he is seeing this other woman – Liz, did you say? – then it’s really not about you as a person, it’s about him. It’s about whatever has changed inside him, not about who you are. And you will get through this. If I did it, anyone can.”

“Ok”, I faltered, unconvinced, “What did you do?”

“I moved to a smaller place with our kids, switched them to local schools, and I worked 70 or even 80 hours a week, for a long long time. Thankfully I was able to keep our wonderful helper. She is like the co-parent for me. Tim has a baby now with the other woman, and he sees our kids every few weeks, but only because I’ve insisted on it. He has only ever contributed the bare minimum, so I really didn’t have much choice. The choice was between going back to a place I hadn’t lived for years, taking the children away from the only home they knew, and seeing their father maybe once a year, as well as me losing the business I had worked so hard on, or doing what I have done. But now it’s a few years down the line, and I’ve been able to hire some people, so work has eased off. I get to spend much more time with the children. And I can even get my hair done once in a while!”

She grinned as she said that, and I wondered what my hair would look like if I could only get it done “once in a while”. As well as what I would feel like if I lived in a tiny flat, and worked for 70 hours a week. Seven zero!! That seems rather a lot.

I was deep in reflection when Katie began speaking again: “But you know, I have learned things about myself through this experience that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. There were days when I thought I couldn’t go on, when I wondered if it was really worth it… when I had a hard time believing that it would all be ok. And I wondered if I had made the right decision, or if I should’ve left. But now I see that it was the right decision, not because it was the easy one, but because it was my decision. No one else’s. I made sacrifices, but they were worth it. For me and for the children. I look at my three little girls, not so little anymore, they’re teenagers ha!… I can’t believe it!!… I look at them and I see three strong, independent-minded, thoughtful young women. And that makes everything we went through worthwhile. So you’ll be ok. Just believe that.”

My hair was finished and my mani-pedi was dry. I wanted to stay and talk to Katie some more, but she said apologetically that she had a conference call, and I thought I had better not cancel my girlies’ date for high tea at Raffles. My hair looked frankly stunning, and thankfully my bullet-proof mascara had not suffered unduly from the emotional journey I had endured with the lovely Angelina doppelgänger.

Facebook Drama!!

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Babeses, a shocking thing has occurred. The week before last I posted a few gorgeous photos of myself on my awesome Facebook page, and one of my “likers” made some unkind, and frankly totes untrue, comments about my physique. So I hastily took steps to remedy the situation and expelled the commentator from my awesome page. I did this in my quest for justice, not at all out of desires for revenge. I’m a lot like Ghandi in that respect. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, and stuff. The intention behind my endeavours is always benevolent and giving, with no expectation of getting anything back. My aim is to generously share my fabulous life, and offer v wise advice from my expert expat perspective. I have never asked for anything in return for what is effectively voluntary service to the Expaterati of Singapore and beyond.

So. Imagine my horror when the expelled commentator (let’s call her Beyoncé – not her real name, but she obv thinks she’s Queen Bee) took it upon herself to set up her own Facebook page, and recruited my haters in retaliation for her expulsion. Yes babeses, I have haters : D! You know you’ve made it when you have haters!!

Her page, “The Most Awesome Expat Page in Singapore”, has grown at an astounding rate, which just goes to show how much I’ve made it if I have that many haters! Go me!! I know this is thusly therefore the case because I have read Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick’s The Art of Social Media.

Now that’s all well and good, because I respect everyone’s right to have and express different/ wrong opinions, and I am not one to belittle the work of others. What I take issue with is the content of her ridic page. Beyoncé basically uses everything I post, and either copies it or shares it like it’s her own (she has blatantly stolen my Mannequin Shenanigans concept), OR, and this is the kicker, she screenshots my material to her page, and attempts to make fun of me!! Of me!!! Mega-LOLs. Or not… She has even started a blog that parodies mine, and every time I publish a new post, she writes her own post about my post!! What now, now?! Hashtag too much time on her hands!, am I right, dear readers??

I, au contraire, have v limited time because I am busy living my glamorous life rather than mocking the lives of others. That’s just not my modus operandi.

As a quick update on said glamorous life, it looks like we are repatting, but still dunno, and am totes not sure how I feel about this. Can life be as glamorous in London? I don’t recall…

Don is also v busy, travelling a lot, and returning home to the irritants like a hero from the battlefields, with gifts and promises of staying up late, and of trips to Universal Studios.

Max’s Minecraft addiction continues apace, and he now does pretty much nothing else. Which is fine because it means we don’t have to worry about keeping him occupied. I heard this fascinating radio prog about kids and Minecraft (apparently it’s a thing in the UK too! Who knew?!), and that’s basically what it concluded too, I think: that if you just give the irritants free-reign with the game, we parents no longer have to suffer the burdensome responsibility of entertaining our children. So that’s great.

Neither Max nor Mills are now kicking Froo Froo dog. It’s partly because of the amazebobs dog therapy she had, and partly because the Froofster and the Millster are currently engaged with their respective modeling careers. High self-esteem is running rampant in our house these days! Froo Froo is doing some fantastic work with Oh My Beagle and Milly decided she wanted to get her career started too, given that she is halfway to five years’ old, and I completely support that. If I had started earlier, I would no doubt have been a super model, and I would’ve saved the photo editors a ton of time because I don’t need a lot of Photoshopping to look hot (as even Beyoncé knows, if she’s honest).

Angel, my step-daughter house-guest, has also been approached to model, but she says she wants to get on in her “own way”. Something about having her own plans?? To do with a thing called YouNow..? #baffed again. Oh well, she seems happy enough, so I keep out of her way. Her mother, Chantelle, is not making much progress it would seem. She still can’t accept the fact that my father has replaced her with a nice old dear in the home, to whom he thinks he has been married for decades. The old dear is a way better match, but Miss Chantilly just doesn’t get it. She’s hanging desperately onto the past as if that would make it come back. Never happens, babeses, am I right? Move on!! That’s my excellent advice.

The helper is acting a bit strangely, and her underwear on the washing line is getting racier by the day. I keep out of that too though. It’s not like she’s my responsibility or anything.

And me, I’m just doing my Thang, having beautiful times, staying hot, being a caring mother and wife, brunching, lunching, dinnering and partying with my Expaterati gangs. Next week I have a modelling job (yes, me!!), and I’m going to the ANZA ball. It’s all go! I’m also super-excited about the elections. Hopefully those nice Conservatives will get in again. I just loved what they did with our income tax rate. Maybe they’ll lower it even more, once they’re in!! And after a few fab years with them, I reckon Boris is a dead cert to be PM in the not too distant. Cannot wait for that! He really is a man of the people. Well, my people anyway.

The Limbo State of the Expat Wife

As expat wives assuming the trailing spouse position (which can be compared to luuuurv positions, but the individual context determines which one), over the years we say stuff like this a lot: “We find out next week/ month/ year what’s happening”. A move will be “on the cards”, or “highly likely”, or “potentially possible” for a long time, and then it will suddenly become REALITY. Or, equally suddenly, the expected location will become an entirely different location. From one day to the next.

So this means that we have a whole bunch of simultaneous arghs and yays going on, colliding with each other, and competing for space in the saner parts of our minds. Some of those arghs and yays don’t make it over to the saner parts, and wreak all kinds of havoc in the insane parts. Yes, babeses, let’s just take a moment to honour the insane parts. Just because we’re hot, it doesn’t mean we’re not human!

First, there’s the horror of losing our friendses: our Expaterati gang. The ladies and dudes who have made our lives fabulous while our husbands have been away, while our irritants have driven us to drink even beyond Veuve Click, while our helpers have baffed us, and while the stresses and strains of maintaining Skype relationships have proven too much to bear.

Then there’s the awful practical matter of the inventory, when you realise how much totes essential stuff you have accumulated, and you’re loathe to part with. Do you really need those brightly-coloured hippie baggy pants (in the American translation, not the Brit) you bought in Vietnam, when you had an awesome tan and all the world was groovy?? Hells ya! But the more you keep, the more you have to account for on that effing list.

In amongst that, for those with young irritants, is the tragic saying goodbye to their clothes and toys. So that’s like knocking another nail into the coffin of galloping ageing and eventual death. No point taking it with you if you’re not having any more kids… But to have to decide that all at once now, and have it sink in, at the same time as everything else..?! That’s hard core loss stuff, dear readers.

And then there’s the next location. We can get so swamped by the practical issues that need urgent resolution (which property, which area, which gym, where the best pedis are, which school, etc.) that we forget how deva’d (devastated) we are about leaving the previous place behind. If that’s how we roll, and so often we do, the deva kicks in 6-12 months down the line, and we find ourselves in the supermarket or at home in our new house, in floods of tears, thinking, “I hate this place!!”

If the move is a move “home”, to the place you lived before and where your passport says you’re from, you are officially a Repat. Don’t expect any sympathy. Other than from me!! I am here to give you tons of sympathy because when you repat, you might not slot right in where you left off, and I totes feel your pain.

When you get to the next place, you will be in a big hurry to settle in. My awesomest advice is: slow TF down. The sooner you think you’ve arrived, the worster you’ll feel if the downer kicks in. Best to anticipate the downer, and everything else is a win.


It’s not easy to feel out of control of your own destiny. Yes, we trailing spouses – male or female – make it look easy. But that is because we make it a daily practice. All trailing spouses should develop a mindfulness-based meditation practice, preferably in the presence of a Buddha water feature and a nice nag champa burn. This approach should be combined with having as much fun as possible at all times, and realising that we, we polished gems, know that this too will pass. Everything now is gone in the tiny whisper of a breathe. Savour each breathe, babeses.

So are we leaving or repatting? Argh, I dunno yet! Don continues negotiating with the gods. I’m off to do thousands of burpees with Eva, and tonight I’m heading out with my girlies. What better way to spend the limbo?

Image: http://www.records.fruityfamily.com/?p=55

Image: http://www.records.fruityfamily.com/?p=55

The Horrible Horrors of Repatriation

I haven’t been able to sleep for the past few nights, since reading the frightening article on the Expat Wall Street Journal site about repatriation blues. It’s partic awful for me right now, given the ongoing unknowingness that is occurring re Don’s job. When I have slept, it has been in fitful and anxious bouts, interspersed with dreadful dreams about rollerblading through Waitrose (Americans, that’s a high-end grocery store; Australians and others, you’ll know already, yes lah?) in a g-string bikini, with a faded tan and a woefully unkempt Brazilian (wax, not person from Brazil). As I round the corner from household to bakery, I fall over, but no one understands the language I am speaking, calling out that my legs and heart are broken.

It got so bad last night that I literally became delirious through sleep-deprivation. I found myself on the roof terrace, in a state of panic that April’s delivery of Veuve Click was already exhausted. How could that be???!!

FullSizeRender

The only option I had was to phone cousin Clara the psychologist, and beg for her help to get me out of this wretched head space. I really need my sleep because tomorrow I’m kickin’ it with Charli XCX at her pre-concert meet and greet, and then I want to be 110% grounded in my awesomeness to enjoy her concert in the evening.

So I phoned Clara and I instructed her assistant to tell her that I was v upset, and I might do something stupid. (I just meant I might buy something hideous from Marc Jacobs. Dunno what she thought I meant.)

Within minutes, Clara called me back, bless her : ) Therapists have such good hearts.

I explained to her about what I’d read, and that I’m totes terrified about the repat blues if we have to go back to London soon-ish. And that I’ve run out of Veuve Click.

I was practically in tears, and she must surely have felt my pain, so I was totes blown away when she laid into me!!

Check the diatribe, babeses!:

“Emma-Jane. If you want to know why it is that expats suffer when they return to their home countries, I will tell you. You won’t like what I am going to say though, so I will ask you now, do you really want to know my thoughts on this?”

Because of my desperate state combined with my general intense curiosity about psychological issues, I said, “Um, ya, ok lah.”

“Some people become expats because they are unable to reconcile existential human givens. Givens like the fact that existence might be meaningless and that we are all just tiny fragments in the universe, simultaneously unique and insignificant. They can’t bear their feelings of insignificance, of feeling like nobody, so rather than staying put to reflect on those anxieties and learning how to process them, they run from their fears. They run to the next big adventure, and then the next. It’s as if they think they can escape from themselves or become somebody else, if they only run fast enough to new and different places. And then if they do go back home, there are all the fears and anxieties, right where they left them. And now they’re older, and have a new set of fears, like ageing parents they have to face again; as well as their own ageing, and retirement. So, for someone in that position, repatriation will be a huge loss: a loss of adventure, a loss of expectation. A sudden coming down to earth with a bump.”

“But babes”, I interrupted, feeling quite battered and baffed, “You’re actually totes making it worse! I don’t want to come down to earth with a bump!! Why me?? Why should I have to? I just want to feel better, so that I can sleep better, so that I can hang out with a pop star on Wednesday! Can’t you be a bit more supportive here, and get me through this?! That’s why I called you!”

“EJ, as your cousin, I would like to support you. But you have called me at work, and I too have worries that keep me up at night. Worries about patients, worries about funding cuts, worries about my family. And I am not going to just reassure you in order to maintain your current patterns. Coming down to earth is actually a good thing. It’s an opportunity to finally be still enough to explore the losses, fears and anxieties you have been trying to run from. So if you are coming back, yes, it’ll be hard for the first year or maybe longer. But then it will get easier, and hopefully you’ll find a way to feel at home in yourself.”

She paused.

“Look EJ, I have to go now. I have a patient waiting for me.” We said byes.

To feel at home in myself. Hmmmmm. I decided to contemplate that with a G & T, and as it turned out, the idea really did help. By my fourth glass, I was fast asleep on the roof terrace sofa. I had a lovely dream about living in a house overlooking the ocean. It was only when I woke up drenched that I realised the thunder storm wasn’t just part of my dream. As I got ready for bed, I thought that Clara may be full of sh**, but the house on the ocean did look pretty nice.

Free Anti-Ageing Techniques, For Expats and Non-Expats

I believe I may have mentioned once or twice, that expat wives can be very competitive. Cousin Clara says it’s about, “establishing a hierarchy in a mixed environment, wherein cultural norms such as class system are less clear-cut than among static populations”; but I think it’s more like Froo Froo at Tanjong Beach Club. She does that sniffing thing all dogs do. I won’t degrade her by going into details, but I think you know what I mean.

Anyhoo, today I was lunching with my Expaterati girlies – some friendses and some not so much – and a discussion emerged about personal anti-ageing preferences in the facial region. My totes babesome BFF Flo has had a fair old whack of interventions: regular meet-ups with Lady B, a touch of collagen, a few teensy implants, a little eye-lift, and some other minor bits and bobs. She is gorgeous. Trust me. Hot as.

Au contraire, Doom and Gloom Expat Wifey (why does she still get invited to our lunches??) shuns all beauty enhancements, and instead chooses the Abandon All Hope approach to physical signs of ageing.

As loyal readers will know, I espouse the Ladeee Luuuuuv view, that we ladies should be free to decide what, when, why and how we do whatevs we want with our appearance, as long as we look and feel our utmost hottest at all timeses. And we should totes support each other in those decisions, rather than put sistas down.

Me and the gals were therefore thusly being super supportive when we said to D & G that maybe she should consider doing something about her face; at least opting for waterproof mascara, given the realities of this climate (she seriously looks like an owl and I’m seriously not joking TBH). I feel mahusively sorry for her because I secretly know that her hus is heavily involved with his male PA (I’ve only told six other people, including Flo), so we were doing her a favour by trying to force her to make an effort. For her own sake, you know?! It’s what her Guardian Angel would have wanted.

In a way, we were just being the earthly embodiment of her Guardian Angel. At the time, I even formulated an intention to chant for her in my meditation space with the Buddha water feature and a nice Nag Champa burn, offering up these words: May the Universe throw forth eternal blessings to make Mrs Doom & Gloom look a lot better so that she can be a bit hot, namasté.

So I was serioso horrificated when D & G said to Flo, “I completely respect what you’ve done to your face, and your right to choose that. But I choose not to do those things, so you should respect my right not to. And no offence, but you don’t look your age, or anyone’s age, you just look like someone who has had all kinds of stuff done to your face. You basically look like everyone else who has Botoxed, collagened, and whatever elsed their faces beyond recognition. I don’t even know what you really look like!! Do you?!”

Weeeeellll, that was a step too far, babeses.

I was shocked (Flo was too, though you’d have to know her deep down to see it, due to the lack of facial cues), but I remained sufficiently in retention of my verbal and empathic skills to intervene.

“Hon”, I said, with my sweetest Kate Middleton smile, “Just because you choose to pay zero attention to your appearance, despite the fact that you’re probly pushing 49, and you’ve obviously had way too much sun on your face during your youth, it’s really quite unfair to judge others, ya get me? Partic when they look way hotter than you, and their husband isn’t screwing his dude personal assistant”…

Oopsy!! It just came out! Oh dear. All cool though because almost everyone there (except D & G herself) knew about it anyway. So that was fine.

D & G stared at me, with the weirdest look. It was like a combination of, “I hate you and I want you dead”, and “OMG, babes, thanks so much for letting me know!”

More the latter, I felt, so when she stood up to leave, it seemed right for me to give her a great big hug. People need warmth and intense suffocating closeness after hearing difficult news. I know that because of my six-month counselling training.

After my lovely hug, she left, and I was happy for two reasons: 1. I felt secure in the knowledge that I had done all I could to boost her self-esteem. And B) I wanted to get back to my pastrami Reuben – my only carb and mayo shots this week. No way I’m not going to enjoy that!

Once she was gone, we normal happy ladies had a nice chat about how we manage to look so young. I shared with them two of my amazing anti-ageing gems that are 100% free. Because I am v generous, I will share them with you too, dear readers.

The first one is to think of a beautiful female celebrity who’s at least ten years older than you. Fully appreciate that a ton of work and cash has gone into how she looks. And know that she will always be SO VERY MUCH older than you.

And that’s it! It’s basically my reformulation of Einstein’s theory of relativity, applied to ageing. You’re welcome!

My other genius tip is to say that you’re older than you are. For centuries, women have been making the ridic error of claiming to be younger than they are. Whyee?? If you say you’re younger, people are more likely to be looking at you, thinking, “Yowzer, she looks rough!”. Say you’re five or ten years older though, and they’ll be thinking totes the opposite, begging you to reveal the secrets of your amazebobs youthfulnessification. A great thing about this technique is that after you’ve said it a few times, you will start to partly believe it, so you can fully embrace the positive feedback you receive.

Then, unless you develop an as yet unclassified mental health disorder of believing your own age lie, you’ll also partly still not believe it, which will remind that you’re really 35 not 45 (or 50 not 60, 60 not 70, you get the pic). That’ll keep you totes aware of how young you actually are, in contrastation with the age you’ll be a decade from now.

All my girlies agreed that both ideas are incredibly wise. So it’s fair to say that this proves beyond reasonable doubt that if you follow these strategies, along with my previously provided beauty advice and my fashion go-tos, you can be as hot as me for many years to come. If only D & G read my blog. It could save her marriage. There’s just no helping some people. Shame.

 

Froo Froo in her dokini at Tanjong Beach Club. Even the dog is hotter than Mrs Doom & Gloom.

Froo Froo in her dokini at Tanjong Beach Club. Even the dog is hotter than Mrs Doom & Gloom.

 

Expat Parenting Musings on Bintan

We’re having an amazing time on Bintan. Don and I aren’t really speaking to each other, but we’re still having an amazing time. The irritants are loving the kids’ club, and Angel has found some teen buddies via Yik Yak (what now, now??), so it’s all awesome. The pedis here are just incrediblé. You’d think a pedi is just a pedi… But come here (I won’t mention the name of the hotel spa because I refuse to ho myself), and you will find that Pedicure takes on a whole new meaning. Not just a meaning… an unending promise of a divine lifestyle via feets. All that, captured in a rapturous hour and a half of bliss, experienced as a wave of unforgettable communion with one’s soul and true self. Yes, babeses. Yes.

Apart from that, in my free time, I’ve been thinking about how annoying children are.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m totes in heart with Max and Mills. But I was reclining hotly in the sun today, tossing ground-breaking ideas around my powerful brain, as I often do, and I found myself scrolling forward a hundred years from now. I thought about how women are already not that into staying at home to look after the little people. We carry them for nine months (almost ten in my case: Max was like, “No way I’m going out there”), have our bodies naturally ripped to shreds or unnaturally sliced to pieces, and then choose to breast-feed or not, co-sleep or not, baby-led wean or not, with a bunch of people telling us that what we’re doing is SOOOOO the wrong thing, regardamento-less of what we actually decide to do.

And I am starting to think that some time soon, when parents stop lying about how hard this parenting lark is, having children will become a job. Like it always has been for the default parent. I’m lucky enough to have full-time help, so there is no default parent in my case, thank eff. It sounds awful!

You may well doubt my words, but I predict that by the time our babies are fully grown, privileged peeps will start to realise the full extent of the major hell of having children. There will be the stalwarts who elect voluntationally to reproduce – they will be the exception – but beyond that, parenting will be a career which few will choose, and not everyone will be entitled to sign up for. And truesome, not everyone should be entitled to sign up for this job. Despite being an amazebobs mother myself, if I’d been tested for my commitment to child-rearing in advance, I am not totes certain that I would’ve passed. Even me!! Which is cool because some days I just want to board a plane for Vegas and have nothing else to worry about. I dunno, babeses. Maybe it’s just me.

It can’t just be me though because there’s some weird stuff going on with kids, parenting, and prevarication.

No one tells a first-time pregnant woman what it’s really going to be like, am I right? We all just smile, congratulate, and talk about the gooey stuff.

And once the kids are here on Earth, no one would ever ever EVER think they wish their kid hadn’t been born – let alonio say it ffs – except in We Need to Talk About Kevin, and that’s like one million % fiction. So no, that thought would never occur to ANY parent, no matter how delirious they are from their infant’s non-sleepage, or how tortured they feel by their teenager’s general demeanor.

So, of course, we wouldn’t wish the irritants gone once they’re here. I just wonder if there might be a huge vault of private struggle around raising kids that was never talked about in our parents’ generation (I have a vague recollection of hearing my mother blaming my father for me “being born at all”, but surely it was a dream); which those in my more open-minded peer group are now discussing. Well, I say discussing. I mean Googling. It’s all being written about on the Huff, so there’s really no need to enter into potentially embarrassing conversations about parenting in person, particularly with close friends. Best not to jeopardise close friendships by revealing too much about our children’s humiliating failures.

It’s all of this that leads me to the de facto conclusion that, pretty soon, young adults will just want to get on with their lives on Instagram or YouNow or Vine, or whatevs those things have evolved into; and they’ll be so busy with that stuff that they won’t want to have kids unless they’re paid for it. No point otherwise! Like how the increased availability of porn (not a good thing!) has resulted in a drastic reduction in teenage pregnancy (a good thing!). You and I, dear readers, are very young and in-the-now ourselves, but the mindset of these web-fluenced floozies we are raising is a separate quagmirification from whence we emerged.

I for one am not going to roll over and play dead. I’ll be hiring a team of teenage girls and boys as my social media informants when Milly hits 12. She’s four now, so in the meantime I’ll get on with my gruelling self-maintenance schedulepartying with my crew, and doing exactly what the hell I want to do, whenever I want to do it. Selfies and all other manifestations of what cousin Clara the psychologist calls “narcissism” are only stupid when kids do them. Just ask Frida Kahlo, Clara says. (No idea what she means.)

Bisous from Bintan XXX

A place to let the mind wander NAMASTE

A place to let the mind wander
NAMASTE

Five Top Tips for Becoming an Expat Wife in Singapore

Moving country can be a difficult gig, but Singapore is one of the easiest places on the planet to move to as an expat wife. Here are my amazebobs tips, based on my expert expertise, and that of my genius Expaterati girlies:

1. Join the social networking groups as soon as you know you’re coming here

The Singapore Expat Wives group, or SEW, is the stuffier group, but it has a gazillion members. So as long as you’re asking for mundane advice (and please use the search button first to avoid roastage), you’re good to go.

The Real Singapore Expat Wives group is a bit grittier. It also has a gazillion members, and you can #anonymouspost about anything intimate or awkz.

Be warned though, sweet innocents, if you post something controversial on either page, you may be inviting upon yourself a sh** storm of biblical proportions. You won’t even necessarily know it’s controversial until it’s too late.

There are many many other awesome FB groups and pages, such as Woman Abroad in Singapore (interesting and quirky content that you won’t find elsewhere), Stork’s Nest (supportive and informative espacio for mothers), and Singapore Expat Women and Business (for um, women in business). Tons of fabulous FB stuff out there. Where oh where would we be without the book of the faces?

2. Forget everything you think you know about pricing

This is particularly true of cheese and alcohol. If you allow yourself to recall prices of such items in Europe, Oz or the US, you will find that guilt obstructs enjoyment, and that is simply unacceptable.

You must wipe from your brain all knowledge of non-Singaporean pricing. Should you agonise over ways around this problem, you will only be inviting more wrinkleage upon yourself. And Botox, ladees, is pretty damn pricey here too. So cut out the middle-woman. Practice pricing acceptance as part of your daily meditation regime.

If all else fails to justify freedom of expenditure, glut thy sorrows on the Seoul expat wife. Cheese is even more expensive there. Like f crazy expensive. Manchego?? Wave b’bye to the soft-top Maserati if manchego is your staple in South Korea.

3. The helper issue

It is not uncommon to arrive on these shores convinced that one will not engage live-in help; only to find oneself, some months later, engaging live-in help. If I had a Sing $ for every time that happened, I’d be even more fabulously wealthy than I already am. At least two Louis Vuits per season richer, and as dear readers will know, I am not one to embroider factualisation.

Despite the doubt you might arrive with that it cannot be virtually impossible to cost-effectively hire part or full-time help who live out, I’m afraid that it is indeed virtually impossible. The cost of a decently-salaried live-in equates to approx 15 hours per week part-time (wow, so many dashes in one sentence! I am rocking those dashes!!). Even if you’re thoroughly rolling in cash and bathing in Veuve Click, I think you’ll find that you might want to bite the bullet.

4. Get yourself an Expaterati gang

Living so far away from our family and old-school friendses, each and every one of us needs a gang. Several gangs is even better. We need babeses who are there for us in our moments of need, and lots of expat ladees are awesome at this. All you have to do is reach out, and before you know it, there will be babeses needing you right back.

Your gang will hook you up with other gangs (if they don’t, this is not a good gang), and raise new possibilities for you to spread your wings. Kite-surfing, gaming, knitting, pole-dancing, volunteering, kick-boxing, wine-tasting, writing, swinging, chess, yoga-zumba-lates, getting trolleyed with your girlies just because it’s Wednesday… An endless stream of undiscovered potential awaits your embrace.

You also need your gang(s) because you must not put all your eggs in the husband basket. This WSJ article just proves what I’ve said time and time again, that expat marriages are a tricky biz. Should your marital investments start to go offshore, identify one or two truly trusted sistas (not the whole gang) to confide in.

5. Work, don’t work, be a SAHM, or be a M who doesn’t SAH much

The choice is yours, and yours alone. Don’t let anyone tell you which path is the right one, or make you feel less of a humanoid hottie for what you decide to do with your time. But FFS, do what makes you happy (yes, I should be a life coach, but I don’t have time right now).

If you choose to brunch, lunch, pedi, and sun yourself by the pool, do it with gusto, not guilt. Particularly as mammasitas, guilt is a killer, so while you’re doing your utmost to be a good enough mum/ mom to your irritants, get out there and be a good enough sista to yourself. Own it!! Irritants grow up, you know, and when they do, we must not have become dried up anxious old prunes with no other passions. In the timeless words of Voltaire, tend to your garden, babeses. That applies to belowdecks too. Tend to those gardens. Vigorously.


As a brief précis, that about covers the essential points. There are 64 others in my full draft version, but the ones above will pack neatly into your ludicrously expensive carry-on Rimowa, and serve you well while you’re figuring out the rest. Good luck, stay in touch, and viva la Expaterati!!

Join the Expaterati

Expat Wife Fashion Go-Tos

I was thinking a few days ago that I should become a fashion consultant for expat wives in Singapore (and beyond!), if only I had the time, which I do not : (.

I would be great at it though because I am constantly being stopped in the street by strangers who tell me how hot I am, and ask where I got my outfit/ accessories from. Having done a weeklong course on iconic looks for tropical climates some years back, I thusly know all that there is to know about floaty versus fitted. Also, I possess an abundance of relevant experience as an expat fashionista who dresses herself daily, and I have many gorgeous Expaterati friendses who really know their onions. Unfortunately (boo!!), I defo do not have time to launch this new career, so I thought the least I could do is create a bespoke, boutique, artisanal written work, detailing the hottest expat wife Looks, and how to achieve them.

So, dear readers and babeses, here it is:

Every expat wife is unique in her own special way, but I will present below a state-of-the-art assemblage of awesome Looks that we generally espouse, in order to attain maximum hotness, even in challenging climes.

1. The Labels Look

This expat wife wears sizzling designer gear from head to toe, hairpin (vintage or diamonds) to handbag. Could be mistaken for a Rrrrra-shon, but distinguished by the fact that she would never knowingly wear a yellow jean. (Though how can we be sure what colour we’re wearing anymore, since #thedress??)

To achieve this Look, it is not necessary to buy entirely genuine items, however you will need a certain number of key realees. For example, you must purchase at least one handbag per year priced at US$ 2,000+, and a few bits from Chanel, the Gooch, the Chooster, Loubouties, and Givenchy, albeit at discounted prices. Intersperse those key pieces with fakees, and you’re there.

2. The Asia Boho Look

Likely to be seen in either v flowing or v fitted silks and cottons, purchased on fabulous regional trips, or custom-made by some amazebobs tailor she found on RSEW. ABL will team a cheap bracelet from the Krabi night market with a $20,000 Cartier watch, and throw something freakishly tall (I just heard that from one of my American BFFs – apparently it means expensive) around her ankle for good measure.

In achieving this Look, it doesn’t matter to the unpracticed eye whether you’re combining Asiana market chic with realees or fakees. But babeses, to be honest and stuff, it seriously won’t work with only fakees, and why make a spectacle of yourself if you can’t afford realees? ABL can only be fully achieved if you have access to realees. Otherwise you just look like a hippie. Not to dis hippies, but they were a bit sloppy, and that’s not an adjective that any self-respecting member of the Expaterati should aspire to.

3. The Mainstream Look

This sweetheart shops at Zara and Banana Republic, and orders from Boden. She wants to be a leeeetle bit out there, but would die if anyone thought, “OMG, what’s she wearing?!”

To reach the un-dizzying heights of the ML, shop at the aforementioned, or any of the mainstream outlets on Orchard Road. The Gap is also great for that stuff. Take note though, ML ladies, if you followed the guidelines from the previous categories, you would be way hotter, and your hus would be less likely to develop the dreaded yellow fever. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

4. The Mutha Look

Ladies of this ilk either have no helper, or persist in the charade of mothering like they would at home, should they have been in the desperate situation of being unable to afford a nanny. Or cleaner. Or driver. Or cook. They seek out squashed banana stains and bad hair days, purely to substantiate a sense of dedication to their irritants.

In the unlikely event that you would wish to achieve this Look, wear whatevs. Just please make sure you have your breast pads properly installed so that they don’t fall out as you wave b’bye to your husband.

5. The Worker Chic Look

This is the most challenging Look of all, due to the need to present oneself as simultaneously powerful, assertive (but sheesh forbid aggressive!), and femininely hot; and all this while moving from freezing cold A/C to hair-crazying 35 degrees.

The method in this madness is as follows, sweetses: layering. So I have these babelicious lacy bustiers I bought while spelunking at Aber & Fitch, and I pair them with a shear Marc Jacobs top and an H & M (yes, go there! No one will know!!) pencil skirt, finalising the project with killer Loubouties… And there you have it! A Do Not Mess With Me outfit. Add a realee Rolex and a gigantic Alex McQueen bag, and you’re a-go-go.

Additional sub-category: The Gym Bunny
Among these five main categories, the Gym Bunny is a consistent apparition, regardless of age, race, creed, or how sexy one looks in exercise apparel. All expat wives will, at one time or another, show up anywhere in their finest gymmies, and LuluLemon will undoubtedly feature highly. It is a truth universally acknowledged.

So there you have it. It has not been easy to categorise the fashion go-tos of the expat wife, but I think you’ll find that I have reached an epiphany with this exposé. Should you wish to add another Look, please do so in the comments.

(Don’t forget the hot undies, babeses! These are from H & M, but tell no one.)

What To Do When…

…there are compromising images of another Expaterati “Lady” on your husband’s iCloud. (I wanted to put that as the whole post title, but it was just too long – argh! – and I couldn’t get hold of my friend who writes punchy innuendo-laden headlines for a nasty UK newspaper.)

As you will note from last week’s shocking revelation, I found some rather disgusting photos of Liz on Don’s iCloud. There is no point in addressing the matter with Don, because it is clearly an error, but given that I am not one to rest wanly on my laurels, I have taken prompt action. This may well happen to you also, and I therefore wanted to give you the benefit of my expert knowledge on the subject, gained by bitter experience.

1.I kept one well ok, maybe a few, of the pictures of Liz. You never know when you might need that filthy stuff.

2. I had a photo shoot, so that I could get some beautiful tasteful photos, to show the world what a real woman should look like. I had to do a bit of a blur job myself because, unlike Liz, I don’t want my flesh all over the internet. Have you seen the internet lately?! Stuff can really get around.

3. I have jetted off to London to plunder the Spring collections of Alex McQueen RIP, Vic Beckham, et al. Singapore shopping is way fab, but for British designers, I would advise that you go directly to the scene of the crime. After a lovely, irritant-free flight during which I drank champagne and watched Gone Girl again, twice, (that film just mystifies me!! One day I’ll understand it, if I watch it enough times), I got to Heathrow before dawn, and headed straight to Mayfair, to hook up with some of my London Queens*. They’d all come from their early gym sessions, and ditched work for the morning, just to have breakfast with little ole moi. Love yous, babeses, XOX!!

Then off to the shops we went, and I got a few amazebobs pieces. Nailed it, and it was only Day One. I rock at shopping, I really do.

 

What a real woman should look like, babeses

What a real woman should look like, babeses

 

 

* I TOTES love that song, London Queen!! It’s just me all over. I’ve bought some tix to see Charli XCX in Singers in April, and I haven’t released details yet, but I’ll be inviting one lucky reader to join me and my Expaterati girlies on an awesome night out. Yup!! Watch this space!!!