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.)

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Expat Marital Bliss & How To Achieve It

Marriage

As I have previously mentioned, marriage among the Expaterati is a notoriously tricky business.

My explanation for this phenomenonamo is that most expat men are a bit crap, but Cousin Clara the psychologist thinks it’s because, “for the nomadic couple, a tremendous strain is exerted upon the marital bond”. We were Skyping in the course of my research for this post, and she said that, “throughout the upheavals and transitions, the joys and the losses, the only other adult who remains a constant is the spouse. So it is that one person who is consistently present to mirror back aspects of the other’s self, while both individuals’ identities go through intense periods of flux… not dissimilar to the challenging transitional phases experienced during adolescence. As such, the relationship – or the third presence in the couple, as I like to look at it – has to hold the difficult process of two separate personalities simultaneously undergoing extreme environmental and emotional changes”.

Now I have no idea what she was on about, but I also read a bizarre story by a ditched expat wifey, and that basically supports my theory. That said, Clara is supposedly the one with all the professional qualifications and experience, so I am willing to humour her (although we all know that my more direct beingness in the Expaterati trenches, backed up by my six-month counselling training, is way more valuable). So it remains a matter of conjecture, why exactly it’s harder to stay married as an expat than as a not-expat, but the fact is that is just effing is. Trust me.

I am therefore going to impart my expert knowledge on how to achieve expat marital bliss, by addressing seven key issues.

1. The spouse travelling a lot
For many corporate roles, frequent travel and spousal absence is a given. The best way to deal with this, in pursuance of marital bliss, is to see it as a great gift from heaven. When your hub is away, ladies, this is an ideal opportunity to be that young woman you once were at university, but now you have tons of cash to really get out there (which I did at uni anyway, but not everyone did, I am told). Your life is your own once more, especially if you don’t work and you have full-time help. You can knit, if you so choose, or you can go out dancing all day and night with your crew. Whatever you want!

2. If you have a job too
Should you find the time to have a job, you fall into a special category, in that I’m afraid you will be required to work triple-hard at expat marital bliss. You will, of course, have two helpers (lucky you!! I want a second helper so badly!!), but you will also need an executive assistant to book date nights, buy gifts for your husband, order your new season lingerie from Agent Provocateur, and so on. Unfortunately not all EAs in the workplace are amenable to taking on personal chores. I would therefore suggest that you get yourself on oDesk – other online freelance platforms are available – and hire a remote assistant located in the Philippines or India. They’re an absolute steal!

Once you’ve got that covered, you will have more time to address the other, more important issues, such as items 5 and 7 below.

3. The spouse being at home
Far worse than the hus being away is when he comes home. During these trying times, the wife needs to adapt to having another child in the house. Some husbands expect to eat dinner with their wives and families when they’re in town, so it is best to find endurance strategies, rather than wallow in resentment. Wallowing will only cost you more in Botox, and will irreparably damage your chi. So my advice is that when he is home, exploit your daytime freedom as much as you can, and, should you be called upon for wifely duties, use the following mantra:

This is only for today. He will be gone again soon. 

Additional chanting, meditation, yoga, and wine are also very helpful to counter the stresses of spousal presence.

4. Going on holiday
Holidays can be a highly anxiety-provoking time for the expat wife, and therefore constitute a major obstacle in achieving marital bliss. My counsel to you is, if at all possible, take the helper with you. Borrow someone else’s too. Take as many helpers as you can.

Unfortunately, Don believes that “family holidays are for the family”, so I’m a little screwed on that front. If you share my horrific predicament, I have three words for you: kids’ club, and babysitting. Go there, babeses. Find hotels with lots of kiddie services. Child-friendly cruises are also an excellent option. If you don’t, you will be overwhelmed with 24/7 irritant-duty, and thusly, the “third presence in the couple”, ie the relationship, will inevitably go down the scheister. Not only will you have an awful holiday, but you may well be metaphorically signing your Decree Absolute.

No helper and no kids’ club? Wave b’bye to your marriage right now, or don’t go on hol. Unless you have no kids, in which case, go you! Have a fantastic trip!!

5. Looking hot
To subsist – nay, thrive – as a member of the Expaterati, it is important to maintain a high standard of self-care (you can check out my complete guide to expat wife beauty and wellbeing here), and this has a dramatic impact on marital bliss. As a wifey, other expat husbands need to be looking at you and thinking, “DAMN, she’s hot!”. If nothing else, you owe that to your husband. You took the vows, baby! So you have to put your a** where your mouth was. Do everything in your power to look as hot as humanely permissible. If you can dream it, you can be it, Ladies!! (I know, I should be a life coach. I just don’t have time! There is way too much pressure these days on women to do it all!)

6. Intimacy and stuff like that
There is an abundance of threat to the sexual relationship of expat couples. Most men have not been vaccinated against yellow fever, and when they encounter – day in, day out – these predatory petite Asian girlies telling them how handsome they are, they really start to believe their own press. As a wifey, there is very little that we can do to change the behaviour of these women, but what we can do is keep our husbands grounded, and withhold sex when necessary. They’ll thank us in the long-run. So remind your hus that he is not all that and a bag of chips. Let him know that you’re there for him despite his rapid physical decline, except when you’re out having fun, or busy reading all the posts on the Real Singapore Expat Wives FB group.

7. Follow your own bliss
As men frequently tell each other, “Happy wife, happy life”. I have heard various interpretations of this phrase, but the one I choose to adopt is that, as wifeys, our main priority is to be happy. We have made the ultimate sacrifice in travelling a bajillion miles away from our friends, families, and often our careers (albeit to awesome places with awesome weather and cheap staff!!), so we thereby earn a free pass to focus on Number One.

So, Ladies, see this time as a beautiful lull between youth and the menopause (and beyond, if there is a beyond), when you can fully self-actualise. Have nail art mani-pedis whenever the urge takes you. Stay on top of the fashion news, and shop accordingly. Do some delightful charity work with the needy. Or get a job. Some of my Expaterati girlies have got themselves jobs recently, and I’m starting to wonder if I should get one myself. I could buy an awesome Hermés briefcase.


There you have it, dear readers: my ground-breaking study on how to achieve expat marital bliss. Follow this advice, and I guarantee that you too will remain a happy, fulfilled expat Mrs for many years to come.

No need to thank me, babeses, but be a love and click one of the share buttons below. All my share counts reset to zero when I upgraded my site, so I’m in need of some bliss myself on that front. I know, right?! Poor moi! First world problems are totes still problems.

Hanging With My Expaterati Crew on an Average Sunday Avo

Considering that weekends are the worst time of the week for an expat wifey, this one hasn’t been too shabby.

I got a good chunk of time at the gym and by the pool yesterday, because Don took our spoilt little people to see Penguins of Madagascar at the Platinum Suites. Unfortunately, he forgot to take jumpers for them, to counter the fierce A/C, so even with the duvets, Milly got frostbite in one of her toes (which has curtailed her kicking of Froo Froo dog, so it’s not all bad), and Max came home with a nasty runny nose. UGH. I cannot stand snotty children. That was one of my reasons for wanting to exchange London for Singapore’s climate: so many snotsville children. Crouch End is positively awash with kiddie nose juice.

One problem with this climate though is the sweating. I don’t do it myself, of course, but lots of people do, most notably FMAWG*. Their petite Asian girlies don’t seem to mind, which is v odd because:

1. They don’t sweat themselves. Even in my Bikram class (that’s hot yoga, to my dear non-yogi readers).
2. Asian blokies also don’t do it.

So, I am serioso at a loss because why would you want to cross over to the FMAWG team, when your own team doesn’t do the disgusting sweating? Wait. Oh yes, silly me… KA-CHING!!! Haha, what was I thinking : )?!

Anyhoo, so in the evening we left Max and Mills with the help, dashing quickly out the door amidst sounds of hysterical crying from Milly about her toe, and sneezing from Max. Crikey-O-Riley, it was good to get out!! We went to Din Tai Fung for dinner – my current fave food go-to. I think I’m addicted to dumplings!! I can’t get enough of them (hence the extra gym time, babeses). I might need to spend a week or two at a detox farm in the Philippines next year, to de-dumpling myself!

In the last two weeks, I’ve been to every branch on the island at least once. I was a bit bummed at the Sentosa one though. They charge for water! Bit of a low blow, given that Singapore has such amazebobs tap water.

Then yesterday after Max’s golf and Milly’s ballet (golly, it was an uphill struggle forcing her into her point shoes with that frostbitten toe!), we went to the Tanjong Beach Club with our Expaterati Crew. Every expat should have a crew to hang out with, preferably several different ones, but one really solid one will do. We rocked up early enough for the family slot, and then when the pool closed to kids (3PM), our respective helpers arrived in cabs to schlep the irritants back home. We don’t always ask the help to work on Sundays, but this was an exception and she was handsomely rewarded, so she was more than happy to forfeit her day off. Thank phewy, as well, because after swimming for hours, Max’s cold was even worse. More snot!

Once they were gone, we hot mammas changed into our raunchiest cut-up swimsuits lah, switched from diet coke to margaritas, and got our Ibiza on!! Ya, baby! That’s how we roll at the T Beach Clurb on an otherwise average Sunday avo! Suck that up, rainy Londrés!!

Don left to get ready for his trip tomoz, and Liz had to go too because she ate some dodgy pepper crab last night, but otherwise the crew was out in full force (except Michelle and Will… WTF is up with them?). Take that, you volleyball-playing twenty-something posers! What we lack in skin tone, we make up for with our vast experience of long term hotness, and our amazebobs dance moves. You can’t get those 90’s moves vicariously. You had to be there!!

The more margaritas I had, the better I looked, and my groove got more and more smokin’.

So, I got home around 11 tonight, and opened a Veuve Click for a bit of a catch-up on Facebook. I can do that kinda thing because I’m off-duty tomorrow morning. Nothing until pilates and a late lunch date. One of my girlies had posted this super coolio thing that’s happening this week:

FullSizeRender

I’m totes thinking I should go, having looked so great today. I could win that thing, right??

 

 

 

* FMAWG: Fat Middle-Aged White Guys (but my discussion on this topic includes the non-fat ones too)

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.