Like I Never Left…

So fabulous being back in beautiful SG. It’s one of the few places where life just makes sense to me. Like Disney, and possibly Dubai.

I had a great first day by the hotel pool on Sunday – needed to get a tan before I could see anyone here or I’d have died of shameful pallor and pastiness. I still don’t get this Asian whitening thing. Then in the evening I decided to take a walk down Orchard Road to see what has changed in my absence. The most significant development is that there is now a salad and juice place in Tang’s, opposite Krispy Kreme. So now people can go for a doughnut, feel bad about their dietary choices, and have a quinoa bowl instead. Not being one to suffer the slings and arrows of personal guilt, I stuck with the doughnut. It’s fine because I was up at three this morning so I spent a couple hours at the gym. I thought that the six glasses of New Zealand’s finest would’ve been enough to make me sleep through the night, but jet lag is a capricious mistress.

I got to about 15k on the treadie when the lag did its wavey woaaaah thing, making me instantly unconscious, and next I knew, I was lying face down on the floor, following a minor collision with a cross trainer. I was so tired that I stayed there. What a lovely sleep I had! To anyone observing, it no doubt appeared that my unintentional fall was a deftly executed acrobatic transition between running and rest. As I slept I had a wonderful dream that I was back in my bedroom on Emerald Hill Road, after an awesome night out with my girlies; sleeping the morning away while the help packed the irritants off to school. When I heard, “Ma’am… Ma’am”, I thought sheesh, she still doesn’t know what day to send in Milly’s library book?!! How TF am I sposed to know??

Opening my eyes, I saw the hotel gym guy, looking all flustered.

“Ma’am, are you alive??”

“Thursday is library day, isn’t it?… Oh. Yes, I’m totes alive”, I said, “I was just napping. I always like a nap after a run.”

“But are you ok? I’m sorry, I don’t start til 6am, and I came in and saw you lying here, and I thought…”-

“It’s coolio, babester, I’m all good. I’ll do a few weights and abs and whatevs, and then I’ll shoot off.”

I didn’t really feel like any of that, but once I’d said it, what choice did I have, dear readers? None, that’s what. Hate having to do stuff just because my mouth says I’m going to, partic when I’m on holiday. Damn my integrity.

So after Tang’s, I thought I’d go for a roof terrace beverage. Happily ensconced at the Loof Bar on my own (girlies all on Valentine’s nights out apparently, these dull still married expat people), I was admiring the sky and thinking deep thoughts about active wear, when the very last person I wanted to see showed up: Mrs Doom and Gloom Expat Wifey. She was delighted to see me because she’s so awful at taking hints. I told her about me moving back to London and Don disappearing after his appalling behaviour, which she took as an invitation to recount her entire life since I saw her last June.

“You won’t believe this, EJ, but it turns out that my husband – soon to be ex-husband – is gay!! Can you believe that?..”

I totes could because I’d seen his sneaky airplane snogging, and as I’m a terrible liar, I looked away, pretending to have spotted a rare and fascinating bird hovering above Raffles Hotel.

“Unbelievable, right??! And you’ll never guess who he was having it off with…”

(His male PA perchance?)

“His PA! Who’s a guy!!”

(Right under your nose?)

“Right under my nose!! And guess who told me…”

(Uh maybe Flo, the most illustrious gossip on the island..?)

“Flo told me! What a good friend she is!! She said that everyone knew except me, and I didn’t believe her at first, but she was the only person brave enough and loyal enough to tell me the truth.”

“I’ve just got to go to the loo”, I said.

In the cubicle I practiced what I was going to say, with appropriate accompanying facial expressions, in order to indicate that I for one abso did not know, abso was v v taken aback (surprised face) and felt abso dreadful for what she had been through. Once I’d nailed it, I went back out.

“Well, babes, I for one abso did not know”, ectsetara, etc, and I must have successfully conveyed a sense of concern because she went on with the deets of her drama.

She told me that she is so much happier, without her hus, and for the first time she’s starting to enjoy being an expat. She even thanked me for my brilliant advice on expat divorce, and for my beauty and wellbeing guide (seems she hasn’t read any of my posts about her, phew). As she was talking, I found myself beginning to… like her! What now, now?? No longer a wifey, she was apparently not full of doom about being an expat anymore. Or gloom! She said she has made some new friends through the divorce support group, she got herself a job, she’s been working out, and she has stopped feeling guilty about assigning more of the childcare to her helper and her husband. Go her!!

“Wow, hon, that’s just amazing!”, I said, without having to practice because I really meant it, “You’re like a glowing exemplary to expat divorcees everywhere!! I’m so freakin’ happy for you!”

“Oh”, she blushed, “You’re always so sweet, EJ… But that’s not all! The best part is that a publisher read my blog about my experiences of living in Singapore, and they want to publish it!! As a book! Isn’t that awesome?!”

I looked up to find the imaginary bird again, but all I could see was my imaginary self about to jump off the Swissôtel.

“Oh golly, I seem to really need the loo again!”, I said.

Staring into the bathroom mirror, I tried some meditation techniques, focussing on my breathe, feeling the rise and fall, and visualising the ocean washing gently against the shore, calmly ebbing in and out. Rise and fall… Ebb and flow… Then I thought, “That f***ing smug c***, getting her blog published! Well my hus may have had his little dalliances, but A) At least he’s not gay, and 2) He came back to me, and I get to move to Bishop’s Avenue!! So there! So what if she’s here in the sun, with a live-in, having fun times, while I’m getting rained on in London, making packed lunches and wondering why there’s no home cooking in my house. So very what exactly?? She had clearly taken advantage of my empathic nature, and pushed me over the edge. To think I’d reached the point of actually liking her!! What a B. These expats are so damn self-satisfied. (Except the ones who are my friends, of course.)

Returning to the table with my composure intact, I said, “You know what, I’m really suffering the lag, so I think I should probably go…”

“Are you sure? I’m with the ladies over there for an anti-Valentine’s. The divorce support posse. You’d like them. In fact, you probably know most of them.”

She pointed round to a dark spot near the bar, and there I saw a bunch of my girlies – the ones who’d said they were out with their husbands tonight.

“Oh, that would’ve been soooo nice, but really I should take off. I’ve got this gig on Wednesday, and I need to practice. Yeah, I was into blogging, but now I’m more about the public speaking. I just think it’s a way cooler medium for sharing my life*. Wow though! It’s been a-maaazing to catch up with you. Congrats on uh things and stuff. I’ll see you soon…”

“Yes, see you soon! We’re coming to your gig actually, so see ya then! Can’t wait!!”, said non-D or G expat non-wifey. She kissed me goodbye and I noticed that she had finally absorbed the correct protocol for expat lady air-kissing, which she was always so shit at.

 

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The Loof Bar

 

 

* Didn’t mean it, dear readers. I only said it because the other thing my mouth had queued was, “I knew all about your gay husband”.

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Expat Divorces Suck Too

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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.”

Win a Night Out With Me & My Expaterati Girlies!!!

To celebrate my birthday month, I am inviting one awesome reader to join me and my Expaterati girlies at the Hard Rock Hotel Singapore venue, the Coliseum, to see my London Queen Charli XCX (you know, that Boom Clap song), on the 22nd of April. Boozeness in this lovely intimate venue is on moi! For a chance be That Person, contact me at emmajane.austenjones@gmail.com, or tweet @expatEJ, telling me why you are the babester, guy or gal, that I should pick.

The deadline to apply for this incrediblé fun-ness opportunity is the 15th of April, so get those fingers typing! For dear readers who don’t live in Singapore, I’m so soz, but flights and accommodation are not included : (. I will, however, pick you up from the airport in my soft-top Maserati, bring a mahusiv welcome sign with your name on it to the arrivals gate, and shower you with a magnum of Veuve Click.

Can’t wait to hear from you!!

EJ x

(NB. This is a genuine offer, but you must be willing to have a wild night out with a fictional character in a red wig and her non-fictional friends.)

Expat Friendses & Not So Much Friendses

I got back to Singapore today, with two cases full of fabulous London fashion, hot off the racks. Ok so I was somewhat stung on import tax, but as long as I don’t tell Don, it basically didn’t happen. Am I right, Ladeez? Yes, I am right.

It was lovely to see Max, Mills, and Don after my week away, but even lovelier to wave them off to their respective daytime occupations, and then slink elegantly back to bed. Jet lag can be such a killer. It could take me days to return to a normal sleeping routine – possibly even weeks! I have only my lucky stars to thank that I felt sufficiently together to rise in time for a high tea with my Expaterati girlies.

What I did not expect about said tea was that both Liz and Michelle were there. But you betrayed us and got a job, Michelle ma belle, so what the hell are you doing at a high tea?! You don’t even drink Veuve Click anymore, babes, due to the whole being a “recovering” alcoholic thing (can’t last). Very bizarro.

I found myself sitting opposite Liz, with Michelle to my right, and gorgeous (actual friend) Flo to my left. Liz would not stop talking about how clever she is, trying to discuss some bit of whatevs she’d read in the NYT. Something to do with women being made to feel bad about their bodies, so that people can make money out of fixing the source of badness. What now, now? I wasn’t aware that we feel bad about our bodies. What’s to feel bad about, as long as you dedicate every waking hour to looking super hot until you draw your last breathe?? Mystery to me.

Liz, though, totes agreed with the story, and went on and on, quoting verbatio: “Show me a body part, I’ll show you someone who’s making money by telling women that theirs looks wrong and they need to fix it”. Could she not just send us all the link and be done with it, rather than bore everyone ridic?? God, she thinks she’s all that. She annoyed me so much that I got my iPhone 6 out of the beautiful McQueen Heroine tote I that bought last week, and, cupping the phone discreetly, I showed Flo the photos I have of Liz and her enormous snatch. Hilariously, bless her, Flo gasped and tried (failed) to raise her eyebrows, but kept right on listening to Liz’s NYT monologue, as if nothing had happened.

Next Michelle piped up, having apparently also read the article. (Don’t these people have LIVES??) She said that even though she’s in the business of pubic beautification, i.e. vajazzling, her work is “very much a celebration of femininity… a centuries-old adornment practice by women, for women”, yada yada yada. I switched off at that point because it occurred to me that I’m over-due for a Brazilian.

“So although I agree that the media and the increasing need to up the stakes, as it were, in the face of images that were only recently considered to be pornographic becoming mainstream… I still believe that there is a difference between internalised misogyny and a woman’s own desire to celebrate her body”, continued Michelle.

Having put an alert in my phone to schedule a wax, I started listening to that last bit and thought, “Oh yeah, sweets, well you’re so bloody knowledgeable about internalised misogyny and all that, but how much exacto do you know about your husband?!”

It’s all very well getting the full digital subscription to global news publications to make yourself look like a smarty-hottie-pants, but if you don’t even know what’s going on under your nose job, then HELLOOOO!!! Can I drop you a bone here?!

So that’s when it came to me. A stroke of pure honeyed genius. Manuka, babeses. Sweet, sweet Manuka.

As I thought about how profoundly irritating both Liz and Michelle are in the depthses of their beingses, I realised that I hold important news items about both of them. News that is not available via subscription. I know that Liz is a psycho husband-stalker with an acute case of vagenitical cunticulitis, because I have photographic evidence. And I know that Michelle’s husband Will is a serial player, because last year I experienced first-hand an attempt by him to assault my marital dignity.

So while the women were playing Who’s the Cleverest?, I came up with a divine win-win plan. I <3 win-wins. I decided to message Will asap with a polite request to tail Liz at times of my choosing, in order to find out wtf she’s up to. If she is sending these naked photos to Don, she may well be doing the same with other husbands, whose wives are probably less emotionally robust than me. I am all about the giving and the rescuing, so I cannot – nay will not – stand idly by while this woman attempts to wreak her nasty havoc on otherwise blissful expat marriages.

As part of my polite request, I’ll tell Will that, should he fail to comply, I can happily forward to Michelle screenshots of his flirtatious communications with me*. I might also inform her that I saw him last year with a petite Asian girlie, whom I realise now was most definitely not his half-sister.

Good plan, babeses and dear readers? Yes, lah. Amazebobs plan : )

I’d better go now because I only have a tiny slot of me time between the high tea and my evening date with a brand new BFF I met on the flight. You won’t believe what happened!! I can scarcely believe it myself. On the flight back from London, I was sitting next to a Russian chick. Yes, of course, I had spotted her from a mile off when we were both at the Terminal Two branch of Gucci, but the totes crazy thing is that we got chatting on the pihengi (that’s the phonetic pronunciation of airplane in Korean, spelt like this: 비행기, and you’d be wise to learn some Korean, babeses, don’t ask why, just trust me! They’re taking over the world, these Koreans!!), and…

I LOVE this Rrrrra-shon girlie!!!

Who’d have thought that I could fall in friend luv with someone so #bogan #newmoney #marriedtoabillionaire #yellowjeans #bling?!! I know, right??! But when we got talking, we just had so much in common! To the extent of spooky!!

Just like moi, she lives a glamorous life in Singapore, on the same iconic street as me (where has she been hiding?!), her kids are the same age as mine, her husband smokes Siglo VI Cohibas at the same cigar bar as Don, and we are both life-long dedicated yogis with an intense fondness for the tree pose. AND her d.o.b. is the first of April 1976, too! Unbelievable spookinesco.

So I’m meeting up with her in an hour to test out our unlikely friendship. Her name is Anastasia Jovakova. I think it’s a great testimony to my cultural objectivity that I am opening my friendship doors to a blingy Rrrrrra-shon. Don’t you agree? That’s what’s so awesome about expats: we totes connect with people who we might otherwise have seen as trash. Go, us! Viva La Expaterati!!!

 

* From last November. Pretty flirtatious, wouldn’t you say?…

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“Expat Wife Looking For Affair Singapore” & Other Awesome Search Terms

Because I am highly technified (I’d call myself a geek, but everyone’s doing that these daisies, right babesies?), I take great interest in search engine optimisation. As part of my knowledge optimisation in search engine optimisation, I like to keep track of the search terms that bring delightful new readers into my online life, and I am going to give you an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse at my current collection.

(For those unfamiliar with WordPress – other website platforms are available – the following images are screenshots of the statistics function in the app. So where it says “Search Engine Terms”, those are the little groups of words that people type into Google or whatevs when they’re looking for stuff on the webby.)

 

1. What do you think… Should he be worried??

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2. There are a LOT of people out there Googling “footsie”

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 3. Ummm, why??

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4. Love this one. Must be REAL wives!! Not fakee wives.

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5. Surely not!

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6. Likeee : )

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7. Google this, babeses… 

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8. Expat women are NEVER bitches, and expats are NEVER selfish (note: another footsie search!)

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9. So sweet! This is presumably something to do with Valentine’s Day. Wonder what he came up with.

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10. And here it is!! Was this from an affairy wife, or from someone seeking an affairy wife?

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I’d like to dedicate this post to my oldest girlie friendeee for her bday – not oldest in person years, but oldest in friend years – who lives in the state of VA. She is in a permanent state of VA: Very Awesomeness. Luv ya, babes mwa mwa. Xx

Shocking Expat Unfoldments, Part One

Three profoundly disturbing things have occurred this week:

1. My father, now in a home for peeps with dementia, has got himself intimately involved with another inmate, and apparently the two of them believe they have been happily married since 1968.

2. The loo brushes. I now know who the culprit is, and it’s not pretty.

3. I found some rather unpleasant material in the photos on Max’s iPad, which is synced with Don’s iCloud. There must be some mistake, though, because Don and I are the perfect example of expat marital bliss.


Paradise, lah

Paradise, lah

It has all been too much, so I’ve had to take myself off on a retreat to Nikoi Island, to meditate and drink Veuve with my girlies. They have all gone to bed now (well, they went somewhere, anyway), so I am allowing myself to percolate these horrendous issues, little by little. I am writing to you from a white sand beach, about my troubles in paradise.
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A Tale of Two Dogs?

I’ve had some requests recently from people who want to know more about the Froofster. I’m all about giving my adoring public what they want, babeses. People luv dog photos, right? Much hilariation.

So, here are a few pix of her.

This is her right before she peed on the chestnut Chesterfield:

This is her right after she peed on the chestnut Chesterfield:

This is her at the Tanjong Beach Club:

As you can see, she’s a lovely dog really. I have decided to send her on an assertiveness training course next year, so that she can find strategies for managing Milly’s behaviour towards her. Now that I have found a solution, I feel much more relaxed about the whole thing. Phewy : )

On another phewy note, you will recall, dear avid reader, that I ran into Will last Saturday in the lift at Marina Bay Sands. I just played it cool, taking group selfies of me and the hot mummies who came to Milly’s bday after-party. Once we got to the 57th floor, Will said, “EJ, could I speak to you for a second?”

So as not to look dodgy in front of the mummies, I replied loudly, “Yes, we do need to discuss your firm’s sponsorship of the next event for the Singapore International Women and Trailing Spouses’ Association”, and excused myself from the ladies.

We found a quietish table at Ku Dé Ta, and Will proceeded to tell me that he felt bad about blanking me the other night, and he hadn’t wanted to do that, but Michelle, his wifey, has turned a corner with her drinking and they’re working on their marriage. Sweet, I thought. That’s nice.

“So”, he said, standing up and holding out his hand to shake mine, “That’s it. Friends?”

I shook his hand, and gave him my pretty Kate Middleton smile, saying, “Oh abso totes! Friends!!”

Because of my high empathy quotient, I saw that it was really difficult for him to talk about our relationship. And anyway, nothing actually happened or ever would have. I was quite clear about that, right, dear readers? Yup.

So, I was a little taken abackski when, later that evening, I saw him deep in conversation with a woman I didn’t recognise. An Asian woman. Then I remembered that he has a much younger step-sister who is half Chinese, half American. She has probably come to stay with them for Christmas. It’s that time of year, right?

Mummy’s visit is going really well, despite her continued fraternisation with the help. I am looking forward to our trip to Boracay (Mummy’s coming too) because we are very much not bringing the helper – no need as the kids’ club at our hotel is world-renowned for never having to spend time with your kids – so that I can have some quality time with la Mammita.

Bikini Party, Babeses!

Hotness

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GEE, peeps!
I had the MOST amazebobs Thursday, when I went to this seminaked competition at a totes coolio groovalicious clothes shop on Orchard Road. Guess who won, babeses… Yes, moi!!! YAY!!!!!!!!

99 other people also won, but given that there are 5.47 million bods in Singapore who are perfectly capable of wearing bikinis, I think I can safely say: NAILED IT!!!

Hells-ya, I did!!

It wasn’t that easy, actually. I had to get up at ridic o’clock to arrive by 7 AM (I’m only a five minute walk away, but I had to straighten and pouffe my hair.) I chatted to lovelies in the queue, made some new besties (super fun buff gay guys, and finally, more local friendsies!!), and suddenly it was time for the shop doors to open. Then we had to run round in our tinies, choosing clothes. The choosing bit was almost as tricky as getting up before 9 AM! Their clothes are so me, and I looked incrediblé hot in literally everything I tried on. Literally. Totes literalmenté.

New local gal pal

New local gal pal

Anyhoo, I eventually chose something fab, and fought my way through the paps clamouring for my attention (maybe I should become a celebrity instead of a child psychologist, writer, historian and life coach), to the exit. One of my new gay BFFs, CJ, was standing outside looking awesome, and he said, “Like, let’s grab some lunch, bitch!”, and I said, “Like, totes let’s, bitch!”

So, like, we did! And his besties came too. We went to PS Café Ann Siang Hill which is my new fave hangout. CJ is hilarious! I had the best time, just chatting, chilling, and drinking rosé and berries sangria. Then I checked my ludicrously expensive watch – I was just admiring how it glints so nicely in certain light, not looking at the time – and saw it was 6 PM. OOOPSY. I had told the help I’d be home by midday.

While I was having sucho mucho fun times, Mummy’s flight landed. I think around 9.30. Annoying timing, Mutha! I did tell her to change it because Singapore Air is never late, but she said she didn’t want to “go to all that bother”. (Selfish.)

It wasn’t a major inconvenience though because the helper got the bus to Changi, with a sweet sign the children made: “GLAMMY GAMMY” in big letters, so that Mummy would recognise her.

Once I realised how late it was, I gave my new GBFF lots of air kisses and dashed off home. I tried to think of a good excuse for my absence, but then I thought WHAT?? I’m not a kid anymore! Just because Mummy flew 5,000 miles to see me, it doesn’t mean I need to curtail my sosh activities from a prior engagement. Plus CJ knows TV people, so that’s my career we’re talking about.

Besides she’s really coming to see the kids, and they were home before I was, so no prob.

I walked into the house, expecting to find jet-lagged Mummy reclining on a chaise longue in the downstairs front living room, but instead I was greeted by the sound of raucous laughter from the upstairs rear living room. From Mummy, and, get this, the help!! What now, now?!

So, there was my mother with her G & T and chamomile tea chaser, Max playing Minecraft, and Mills asleep on the Froofster (who looked too traumatised to move), while the helper laughed uncontrollably at whatever stupid thing Mummy had just said. Thankfully, I was so overjoyed to see Mummy after such a long time that I was able to ignore the gigantic boundary transgression which was happening under my own roof. I thought she understood about not fraternising with the help!! She had thousands of staff in her expat days.

The helper disappeared as soon as I arrived, looking embarrassed, and off she went to wash the car and clean the shoes. Too right!

I had a lovely catch-up with Mummy, hearing about her aqua aerobics gang and her online scrabble shenanigans. Mega-LOLs. While we were trying to talk, Max and Milly kept interrupting, showing her their artwork and their Mandarin homework. Egotistical little irritants!!

I’m just happy that I’ve signed them up for an awesome speech and drama holiday camp during part of the break, so that they won’t completely monopolise Mummy’s limited time here. My Harvard friend who is some know-it-all about childhood development and stuff recommended it. She says it’s the best way for kids to learn, and this place is fab. Whatevs, sweets. If they’ll take the irrits off my hands for a few days, let’s do this thang, babeses.

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P.S. (not the café lol) As you know, I’m never one to blow my own trumpet. I just wanted to let you know that I made the national paper here. I’m a page three girl! Go me!!!

From yesterday's The New Paper : )

From yesterday’s The New Paper : )

More hotness

More hotness

EJ’s Expat Musings

As a blog aficionada, I am an avid follower of blogs. I follow 839 blogs, all of which I read regularly, and write fascinating, witty comments to make their content more interesting. You simply have to if you want more traffic to your own blog. No choice.

So, I came across one which made me feel a little sad. Copied it to share and explore with you, dear readers, but now cannot for the life of me remember which blog it’s from. Anyhoo.

It was written by an expat blogger in Singapore, and is about the tourists who come here, specifically the older peeps:

“I’ve seen these over-tanned couples here on vacation. Tons of them in their 60’s and 70’s. They sit in the bars and restaurants, with bags of shopping during the day, and wearing the shopping at night. They mumble to each other. They stare at each other and then look away. She catches him eyeing up a young woman who looks just like she did, not so long ago. It wasn’t so very long ago, was it? He notices her noticing him and moves his head, pretending he was just taking in the panoramic view around him, not at all entranced by the girl who his wife used to resemble. Not at all disappointed by the woman he now finds himself chained to for all of eternity.”

Now, apart from the crappola prose and inconsistent use of commas, I am v curious about what the blogger was getting at. Since reading it, I’m now seeing these couples everywhere I go (megannoying! like having Daft Punk’s Up All Night on a loop in my head!!), and have even been “panorama’d” myself. Gross!! It’s like being checked out by your much older brother!!

I can understand it though, partly because I’m so hot, but also because, as hard as these older ladies try (boob jobs, Botox, hairdos, facial waxing), they just ain’t got it. Soz senior sistas, but no, just NO!

So, I feel rather sorry for these chaps, and I feel like the blogger is exploiting their misery to generate content. Which is really low.

This situation will never happen to Don and me. I don’t age like most women do, thanks to my punishing self-maintenance schedule and the chanting. So girlies, get chanting before it’s too late!

That said, I had to skip meditation today, and also had no time to chant because I was so busy. Ages ago I asked the helper to do the xmas shopping on Amazon (tax schmax!) for the folks back home, and then discovered this morning that she hasn’t done it because she wasn’t sure what to order! What now, now? What do these people do normally, to not know what gifts to buy?? So, after she had stopped crying and regained some composure (I hate how she does that crying thing just to piss me off), I told her she should get fun stuff for the kids and the men, toys and gadgets, and pretties for the women. Easy!! How hard was that? Where’s your initiative, helper woman?

What she fails to understand is that I am so swamped preparing for Mummy’s arrival tomorrow, and Milly’s bday party on Saturday. She doesn’t seem to realise that I am constantly on the go, and that just because I am lying on the sofa staring into space, I am nonetheless engaged in vital reflective processes.

Maybe I need to get a second helper.

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Quick shout-out to my girlies back home: Happy Birthdays, Rina and Debs!!! When are you coming to Singas to parté avec moi?! LOVE YA. Mwa-mwa.

My Worst Night EVERRR as an Expat

Hmmmm, well dinner at Luke’s was most defo not a lovely evening. (Other than the food, of course, which was fabbo as always.)

A number of not good things happened, ranging across a spectrum of mega-odd to mega-crap.

Will did not try to sit opposite me, nor did he speak to me at all, or make eye contact at any point. He even talked about Mrs Expat Singapore with Don, and when I tried to join in with the boys’ banter, Will cut across my words and acted as if I was invisible. What now, now??

Then he finally did dart me a look, as he told Don about “some woman making a fool of herself, objecting to the commodification of expat women, taking her top and everything!!”.

That was the only time he looked at me all night.

Don laughed hysterically, like Will was the funniest person on earth. A-hole. He can be so sycophantic towards Americans. Why do people do that??

So that wasn’t nice at all. I decided that Will must have gone mad or something, and that, for the sake of my chi, I should concentrate on advancing my writing career with Liz, and my book on male trailing spouses.

Every time I started talking to Liz though (I didn’t manage to sit next to her, she was diagonally opposite, facing Don), she was laughing away with the boys’ banter, or staring into space, with a totes smug smile on her face, like the cat who’d got the cream. It was so strange that I remarked on it quietly to Don. He was struck by it also. So struck that his foot stomped down on the floor as he agreed that Liz’s expression was indeed v odd.

It got worse though, dear readers. As it turned out, Sarah, the pant-wearing wife was “Betty”, Mrs Competitive. I thought her name rang a bell. So there I was, sandwiched between drunk Michelle (full of anger about coming second at Mrs Expat Singapore), Sarah, who wanted to tell me repeatedly how much more of an Expaterati Somebody she is than everyone else, and her heart-stoppingly boring husband, Zach. For most of the night I ended up pushing macaroni cheese around my plate (no you carbs! still just NO!!,) and listening to Zach woffle on about how lovely it is being a stay-at-home dad, and how Facebook is stealing our privacy so that it can sell it back to us, and some whatnot whatevs about an app he’s working on in his spare time. Sweetie, I felt like telling him, you’re a kept man!!! It’s all spare time!! Grow a pair.

All in all, I can safely say that it was the worst night I have ever had since becoming an expat. Ever ever ever.

Be-Will-Dered

Today am feeling flummoxed and bewildo’d. Be-Will-dered, in fact, lol. But no, not lol, because I am not laughing. After our amazebobs evening, which may or may not have been a dream, I messaged Will to say thanks for his support, and for a lovely night. Now I know he is sometimes busy, but he is v responsive with his phone, so I think it’s a bit odd that I haven’t heard back from him. It has been three days argh. I hope there hasn’t been some sort of problem with him getting home so late afterwards : (

Or maybe I really did dream the whole thing..? If so, it was a v vivid dream. This doesn’t usually happen to me.

If it did happen, he probably didn’t get home much before 5 AM, and that’s not a good look for a married man. Then again, Michelle was no doubt unconscious, in a booze-soaked oblivion following her success at Mrs Expat Singapore. I saw on the event website that she came second!! Ha! Pipped to the post by a younger woman. A divorced younger woman, at that, so I don’t know how she was even allowed to take part. Not really a Mrs, pageant people! Argh, how embarrassing for Michelle. Beaten by a divorcee… Thank goodness it was beneath me to take part. If I had won, with Michelle as runner-up, I am not sure our friendship could have survived the brutal truth.

As it is, I feel we may be on shaky ground. Not because of anything I’ve done, but because I know now what a nasty person she is. Deep down, behind all that outward Angelina loveliness. I’m just not sure we can stay friends. I totes know too much! It’s a real worry because later this week we’re all going for dinner at Luke’s (YUM!).

Liz organised the night out, and although I don’t much want to hang with Michelle, I do want to go so that I can show Liz my impressive authorship portfolio. She must have a lot of contacts from her days in publishing, and I’m sure she would find my writing stimulating; full of exciting possibilities for my future media career.

Don is around this week, so we’re both going. Will and Michelle are going, I can see from the FB event attendance list. Liz is bringing her husband, Matt. Then there’s another couple I haven’t met. Sarah, I think her name is, and her husband. I don’t know much about them, but from what I hear, she wears the pants and he’s the trailing spouse. So, that will be interesting! I never really meet those types of couples. I seriously wonder how that affects his manliness. Is he active on the mums and tots scene?? Mega-LOLs. What a sight that would be. If he’s a bit of a hottie, does that mean all the mums are drooling into their bubbas’ muzzies, and neglecting the little ones while they fawn all over him and his weird new-age metrosexiness? Hahaha! Luv it!! Can’t wait to meet that couple.

Upon reflection, it would be a great project for me to write a medley of interviews of these men. I feel certain that the world would like to understand how they can possibly agree to that lifestyle. I, for one, have zero clue why they would, so I am the chica perfecta to communicate it to the Global Expaterati. And beyond.

What I’ll do at Luke’s is position myself between Liz and this non-pants-wearing chap, and lob metaphorical idea balls back and forth. I’ll be both Hermes and Zeus, extracting the data from him, and delivering it to her, filtered through my spontaneous creative processating abilities.

I am not sure where I would like Will to sit. Opposite would be intriguing, but I don’t think I could keep a straight face if there was a repeat of the footsie night. So, much as he will probably try to sit opposite me, I plan to avoid that.

Between talking to Liz and non-pants guy, hopefully it will just be a lovely agenda-free evening of bloody steak and nice expat chat.

(Hmmmmm, where is he??)

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I <3 Feminism

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You may or may not be aware that I am a feminist. I have long been an active supporter of women’s causes across the globe, as well as a member of the Fawcett Society, on a rolling annual direct debit. That means I am definitely a feminist, fyi, should there be any unlikely doubt.

I think it’s awful that feminists are so often viewed as moustachioed man-haters, as this is not at all the case. I know some v beautiful feminists, many of whom opt for Brazilian waxing, and that’s ok, right? Of course it is! No one likes being hirsute down below.

I fully support a woman’s right not to have children (god knows, some days I wish I hadn’t!), as well as to choose when the best moment is, or is not. Let’s face it, there are far too many dangerous and stupid people born on this planet every day, and if it is women who ultimately control that, then we must do what we can to take a stand.

I also think that we sistas must not rely on men to take care of us. We must not let them steal our autonomy, and leave us for younger fools when we become post-menopausal angry old prunes. No!

The only reason I am not currently working is that I have to make sure the helper is looking after the children properly, while maintaining my figure and my spirit (for me) via a rigorous and time-consuming schedule of physical training, chanting, meditation, and socialising. Also, with Don’s job and the whole glass ceiling thing, he earns more than 99.99% of women in a similar role, and certainly more than I have ever made. So, you know, what’s the point??

Because of not currently working, I am hoping to join an amazing organisation here called AWARE. A friend of mine (who went to Harvard! Clever girl, you!! And gorgeous too, grrrrrrrr! So unfair!) says they do some v awesome work with women, and that there’s tons of interesting volunteer stuff going on with them (ok, I’m paraphrasing, but she went on and on about how great it is while I was trying to think of fun things to post on Twitter; I really need to raise my profile there).

The only prob is that I am SO busy, as I’ve already said. And a big part of that is educating Milly in feminist principles, so maybe I am already doing my bit for The Cause. Does charity start at home? I dunno, maybe. I am teaching her to stand up to Max and Don, like I do. Perhaps kicking Froo Froo Dog is a form of positive self-assertion practice. Mills certainly is v assertive, on that front.

The Froofster is still mumbling to herself in dark corners, but if it’s all for the good of developing Milly’s sense of autonomy, then the dog’s sanity is, I suppose, a small price to pay. I do feel sorry for her though. I just love that dog. Hard choices! This life is full of them : (

Argh, that feels like a bit of a disempowered downer note to end on, and that’s just not me. So, I want to add a new thought I have had before saying ciao-ciao (is it still cool to speak Italian?).

Alora:
Having discovered that I missed the deadline for Mrs Expat Singapore, I realised that I am entirely against this kind of grotesque objectification of women. I will not have it, dear reader. So, with The Cause firmly in heart and mind, I am planning a demonstration to protest against it. The time slot clashes with lovely Vikram’s yoga class at the Hyatt, but I will just have to make that sacrifice.

¡Hasta la semana proxima, Vikram! It’s always cool to speak Spanish : )

What You Should Know From the Get-Go

I will have you know this: I have worked extremely hard to get where I am today.

I worked hard at school, at university, and then as a solicitor in London. I have learned eight languages, written countless books and articles on many subjects including law, green juicing, child psychology, anti-ageing products and procedures (advertisers, contact me! Freebies accepted under duress LOL), and travel, of course (I’m all over Trip Advisor reviews, but under a nom de plume); and I am an accomplished poet. My poetry has been compared to Rumi by my most literate friends.

Surprisingly (I am still surprised now, all these years later), I did not sashay my way through my Law degree as everyone said I would. It was actually quite difficult, and required my full attention; which I gave it, once I got to the final year. After my LPC I went into criminal law, and let me tell you, I have met some real characters.

So now, here I am, after all those years of blood, sweat and tears. I am finally where I always wanted to be. I have reached my zenith.

I, dear reader, am an Expat Wife.

I am an expat wife, like my mother before me, her mother before her, and her mother before her. Her mother before her, I am really not sure about, but I think she did very little with her life.