So Choked Up For You Singapore Hashtag Proppa Sadface : (

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A

Whole

Lot

Worse.

Missing you,
EJ xx

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

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

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Blighty Blueses, Actually, Babeses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hellish Hells of Relocation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How could I part with this beauty, babeses??

Breaking Up Is Never Easy, I Know

(OR How to Tell The Help That You’re Leaving)

Ok, so it does now seem that we are most probably definitely leaving, at any time in the next four to twenty-four weeks. Or more. Or less. I don’t totes know. Don said I need to inform the help soon, in order for her to make arrangements and stuff. So I was like, yabbut what do I tell her? How do I tell her?? He was like, just tell her! So I was like, oh ok. Can. Maybe.

I happened to awake early enough today to witness the helper getting Max and Mills ready for school, and it was weird because I’d never noticed it before, but there was this… this… tenderness, for want of a better word.

Then in the afternoon I looked out the window when she went to meet them off the bus, and again, it was like watching a movie about people who cared about each other. OMG, how mentalist!!! It was as if I was seeing my kids coming home all happy to see me, but it wasn’t me! Hashtag crazy, huh?? I had to laugh because it was hilarious that the irritants were just as happy to see the help as they would’ve been to see me. Probably more so LOL!! I heart how adaptive children are.

Anyhoo, it occurred to me that while my children probably feel v little deep-down about our helper, she may feel a great deal about them. Therefore thusly I found myself concerned as to how I might tell her that we are (maybe definitely soonish) leaving these sunny shores. So I will use this post to explore various possible avenues for informing the overly-attached helper that she needs to seek new employment.

 

1. Tell her straight, as soon as you know. No, there could be crying. Don’t do that.

2. One night when she’s babysitting, tell her just as you’re running out the door, and hope that she’s all done crying when you get back from your fabulous evening. If she isn’t, tell her you were just kidding and proceed to option 10.

3. Book a last-minute weekend trip to Bali with the hus and kids, and leave her a nice note in the dishwasher, explaining that you unfortunately didn’t have time to tell her in person. Also remind her in that note not to put plastics in the lower section (for like the bajillionth time).

4. Get her a lovely cake for her to share with her friends on Sunday, and have a message baked into the middle layers saying she needs to find a new employer pronto. Hopefully she will have completed all five of Kübler-Ross’ stages of grieving by the time she gets back. If not, as per previously above, tell her you were just kidding and proceed to option 10.

5. Go out all day Saturday with your hus, and have the kids tell her.

6. Give her a year’s salary in cash and then tell her. If there’s crying, at least you’ll know that you’ve done all you could to ease the blow.

7. Place post-its around the house that subliminally suggest the benefits of finding a new employer.

8. Be really unpleasant and hope that she leaves of her own accord. This could backfire though because she might leave before you want her to. Plus it’s not really lawfully permissible to be unpleasant to the help in Singapore, and you could also damage both your chi and your karma.

9. Pretend to yourself that you’re not leaving at all, and then you needn’t worry about telling the help, or anything else related to moving. I am, as dear readers will be aware, not a supporter of self-deception in any form (except if it makes you happy, or other people happy, or it’s 100% justifiable on whatever grounds you yourself deem appropriate), but sometimes there is no other option for the preservation of sanity.

10. Wait until the shipment date, and suggest she spends the previous evening and all the next day with a friend as a treat. Then when she returns to the house, everything and everyone will be gone, therefore thusly bypassing the need for any #awkz conversations or goodbyes. This is by far the best modus operandi for people who are too divine to taint themselves with the complications of raw human emotional expression.

 
While I was writing this post, I found my complex brain making musical connections with a couple classic chunes about separation and abandonment: Paul Simon’s Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover

 

and Flight of the Conchords’ Carol Brown

 

So I’m wondering what the depths of my unconsciousness are trying to tell me. Most bizarro. I mean, I totes heart those songs, and Jemaine will ALWAYZ float my boat, but those ditties are about the loss of real relationships. The help is just the help to me, and Don, and the irritants. She does her job, and we do ours. Super crazybobs that my immense powers of thought and reflectation conjured up tracks like this. It probably just means that I need to get out the Flight of the Conchords box set again. OMG, I could watch that at my own funeral and feel happy!!

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.

Ass IF Don Would Do That!

If you recall, some weeks ago I asked Will to follow Don at a convenient time. Not in a nasty way, and of course I totes trust my husband, but I felt a tad disconcerted to find naked pics of Liz on his iCloud. The convenient time was last night, and this is what Will just messaged me (ignore the first bit – that’s from when he started ignoring me after my amazebobs feminist mission):

image1

Knowing the dangers of the screenshot, not trusting Will, and fearing that anything I type could one day be used against me in a court of law, I had no choice but to connect by actual speakage on the phone.

Will told me that it was a swinging party – what now, now??? – and added the gruesome detail that he witnessed this unutterably unspeakable act occurring.

At that, I had heard enough. I thanked him for his assistance in the matter, re-confirming that absolutely no blackmail had taken place on my part. Threatening to tell his wife about his cheating ways does not count as blackmail because he is totes in the wrong anyway.

Despite my shocked and delirious state, I somehow found my way to the wine fridge and then to the roof terrace, where I lay in the pool, drinking Veuve Click from the bottle with a tremendously long straw (only alcoholics shouldn’t drink in the morning). Immersing my hot self in the cool waters, and staring up at a care-free sky, my mind tried its bestest to find a way out of this emotional quagmire.

It’s Don’s birthday today, and the party is tomorrow. Liz will be there. Her loser husband will be there. What, precisely, is the decorum in this situation, I asked myself, and I ask you now, dear readers. For I know not, and I grow weary a-wondering. My chi is very much in a bad place this day : (

Ass if Friday the 13th hadn’t already taken its toll, while I wondered lonely as a cloud on the roof terrace, an iCal alert pinged on my phone: “Angel arriving 1pm”. Argh!! With so much happening in my life, not to mention this fresh hell, I totes forgot that my Australian teenage stepsister is coming to live with us because her ridic mother can’t cope… Today!! It so crept up on me! I can’t bear it! Why didn’t I try harder to be less nice, and back out of the arrangement??? WHYYYYYY?!!

While I ran, arms flailing, to the rear-wing room I was supposed to make into a bedroom for Angel weeks ago, I questioned for the gazillionth time how on earth, in a six-bedroom, six-bathroom house one could possibly accommodate another human being. There’s no way I’m giving the help the helper’s room, ie the storage space off the laundry room. No way! If I did that, it would utterly scupper my online campaign for a second helper* because Don would say there isn’t enough space in the space. So she has to keep one of the real rooms, to share with potential Help Number Two.

I got to the room ear-marked for Angel, and miracle of miracles, it had been transformed into… A totes appropes bedroom for a teenager! Posters of One Direction and airbrushed celebs up on the walls and everything. The help must’ve done it. I put it in the house diary some time ago, but who knew she’d go all out like this?

I’ve must dash now, to make myself AHAP (as hot as possible) for stupid annoying irritating p-in-the-a Angel’s arrival. Gotta show the teenagers where hot is at!! iCal also told me that she’s joining us for dinner tonight, to celebrate Don’s stupid annoying irritating p-in-the-a birthday. Mega-hotness therefore required from moi.

Thanks to my extraordinary strategies of resilience, I will get through this day. I will say nothing to Don, and continue to be an awesome expat wife until I have all the facts.

I will now apply a Korean pig-placenta mask (not tested on animals, maybe), meditate for a full twenty minutes in the presence of my Buddha water feature, accompanied by a nice burn of Nag Champa, drink 500ml of green smoothie; and then, all will be well with the world. Will is obviously a liar, angry at my snubbage, and jealous of my marital bliss.

(As if people actually do that!! How ridic.)


* Not looking so good : (
I need 1,000 likes on my FB post, and I’m not even at 100. Babeses, HELP MEEEEEEEEEE!!!! First world problems are totes still problems. Click on the pic and share like your life depends on it!!

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Only Alcoholics Shouldn’t Drink in the Morning

After my transformational parenting experience the other night, I bounded into Milly’s room on the morning of our trip to get her dressed, for the first time ever on a non-Sunday, and to help her finish packing. I wanted to reassure her that she is beautiful despite not having a thigh gap, so I was a bit disappointed to find her room empty, completely tidy, and her suitcase all packed.

“No mattery!”, I thought to myself, being the tremendously resilient person that I am, and off I cantered downstairs to make breakfast for my sweet children – another first for a non-Sunday, go me!! I was in such a good mood that I decided to make pancakes, of all things! I know!! Ambitious, but that’s me all over, as you know, dear readers.

I could see from the state of the kitchen (argh! So not Downton, babeses!! Cannot get the staff, lah) that the helper had already made pancakes; and there was apparently no one in the house other than Don, up in his office. I waved charmingly to him through the windows off the courtyard, but he didn’t see me as he was engrossed in the screens on his desk. He works so hard, bless him. Even on days that are technically holidays. Of course he’s being stalked by another bird. Who wouldn’t stalk a man like Don?

I rang the helper and discovered that she had taken both kids to the skate park off Orchard for a scoot. “Oh well, no mattery”, I thought again, “I can still… umm, I can still”… And that’s where I totes drew a blank. I had yet another weird, as yet unidentified feeling, and the strangest thing popped up in my pretty head: the empty space in our glamorous ensuite bathroom from a few weeks ago. That awful emptiness where, as it turned out, my designer loo brush had been (since then, happily replaced with even lovelier water closet ware). What now, now? Why would that vile thought invade my so sane brain?

To exorcise the unpleasant image, I walked from room to room for a while, looking for something useful I could do. Something motherly perhaps. Drawing a mega zero, I found myself by the wine fridge, and although I would never dream of drinking at 9.37 in the morning, I realised that it was a day of celebration. Chinese New Year! Gong Xi and all that!! So I opened a bottle of Veuve to toast all those gazillion nice Chinese people out there, particularly our Chinese hosts in lovely Singapore. Rude not to, and we weren’t leaving for Penang until the afternoon.

Sitting in our rooftop pool with my champers and my Facebook newsfeed for company, I stopped feeling all those ugh feelings. What’s the big dealio with morning celebrational beverages anyhoo? Nothing, right babeses? Anyone who thinks there’s a problem is ridic and crazybobs, and must have a drink prob themselves. It’s pure projection, which is v nasty stuff.

I must’ve dozed off on a lounger (due to my late night of being a great mother) because the next thing I knew, the helper was standing over me, saying, “Ma’am, Sir is looking for you. We are leaving now on the vacation”.

Argh!! I sprang into action (concealing the empty bottles in the ornamental pool towel cupboard – the helper can be so judgmental), threw the last few bikinis and lippies into my ludicrously expensive Rimowa suitcase, put on my gorgeous travelling outfit (it’s important to look one’s hottest when travelling, particularly as a celebrité blogger), and sloped elegantly to the front door, just as the limo cab was pulling up outside. I’m so good at travelling. I can do it like the back of my hand.

We really had a great time in Penang. This trip, unlike Chrimbo in Boracay, we took the help with us. I told Don that if he stuck to his “family holidays are for family” policy, Froo Froo Dog might well poop in his car. Accidentally, of course. That dog is so bold now, since her amazebobs therapy session : ).

We came back today on an early flight – early enough to attend a fab free-flow lunch date at the Westin with our Expaterati crew, and everyone was enthralled by my tales of our super lovely hol. I do totes heart Malaysia. I can see where they’re going with the whole “truly Asia” thing. I think it’s a little misleading though, because increasingly it’s more “truly Middle East”. Which is also awesome because I totes heart Dubai too.

 

Where we didn't stay in Penang.  Anyone with a proven track record in marketing, PLEASE contact these chaps.

Where we didn’t stay in Penang.
Anyone with a proven track record in marketing, PLEASE contact these chaps.

 

 

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.

Shocking Expat Unfoldments, Part Two

As you will be painfully aware from Part One of my shocking unfoldments last week, there remain a further two shocking unfoldments of which I must divulge myself.

The upshot of the first is that my teenage step-sister Angel will be moving in with us in the near future. How exactly that came about, I do not totes understand, but Don is all for it. Between him and Angel’s unhinged mother, I am officially outnumbered : (

And so to item two: the toilet brushes debacle. I was not alone in thinking that it was the helper who had taken all of my designer water closet ware and sold them via the Real Singapore Expat Wives Classified Facebook group – was I, Momma’s View? No, I was not.

The helper did seem to be behaving particularly shiftily when I raised the issue with her, but I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. I’ve been listening to the Serial podcasts, and I felt I could do well to adopt the journalist presenter’s argh-I-just-dunno attitude; if only as good practice in the event that I go into investigatory journalism. I would be fab at that, given my legal background, and there must be a ton of stuff happening among the Expaterati that I could delve to the bottom of.

So during my presumption of helper innocence, and my consequent investigations re other possible suspects, I made myself get up unusually early last Friday, in order to gently probe the pool guy. He comes twice a week, but I rarely see him as his visit coincides with the irritants getting ready for school, which is a stress that I prefer to avoid.

My strategy of subtle probing with Mo, said pool guy, was to force him to drink three cups of tea in rapid succession, and then suggest he use the guest lav (the one where the single, much cheaper temporary replacement brush is now stationed). What I intended to do next was to nonchalantly apologise for the un-stylish toilet brush that he would no doubt have clocked, and closely observe his unconscious reactions. A tick, perhaps. A sudden flinch. Indirect eye contact. A powerful desire to change the subject, or just general defensiveness.

As I stood in the kitchen, waiting for Mo to emerge from the loo, I happened to notice that Milly (four-year-old daughter, not thus far under suspicion) was running out the door to catch her bus, in possession of a brand new baby Burberry’s handbag.

“Wait, Mills! STOP!!“, I called after her, and dragged her back out of the bus, our helper in my wake.

“What precisely is that, and where on this earth did you get it from?!”, I demanded in, like, quite a low-key way.

Milly looked nervously at me, then at the helper, and then at me. And then at the helper. And then at me.

“Auntie got it for me”, she said, pointing at the help.

Ah ha, I thought so!! It was her all along! So much for presumed helper innocence. It was only 7.56 in the morning, and already I had cracked the case. Take that, Serial!! (There’s a second season, and it’s not solved yet?? What now, now?!)

“Off you go then, lovely Mills”, I said, giving my little girl a huge motherly hug (that I got a nice pic of to put on FB to show how amazebobs I am at this mothering thing).

“Have a gorgeous day! Super handbag by the way, babes!”, I added for good measure, as the bus door closed.

WELL. As you can imagine, dear readers, I had to have some very strong words with the helper that morning.

Taking everything I know about police interviews, I asked the helper to sit opposite me at the kitchen table, and proceeded to simultaneously embody both good cop and bad cop, as follows.

“So. Milly says you got her the Burberry bag. But that can’t possibly be true, because with my eagle eye, I noticed that it’s not a fakee, so there’s no way you could afford it on the pittance we pay you*”, I said as good cop, continuing, “and anyway, I know that you are a very honest woman. You will, of course, tell me the truth. I have some cake here for you that I will give you just as soon as this matter is resolved”.

“Ma’am”, she stammered, guiltily, “I’m sorry… I am not the one who gave the bag to Milly… I…” –

At this point, I cut her off because I needed to switch to bad cop. I stood up to my full towering 5’10 height and said, “Ok, you just tell me where she got it from then because from where I’m sitting… standing… this isn’t looking so great for you! All I have to do is call the MOM, book a cab to Changi, and you’re outa here, babes! You know that, right?!”

With irritating predictability, she started to cry. Yes, dear readers, with only a single round of good cop bad cop enacted dichotomy, she was putty in my hands. Ugh. I wish people would stop crying at me.

“Ma’am, I’m so sorry, I didn’t get the bag for Miss Milly. She said you gave her money to buy! I only went with her to Paragon.”

My expert knowledge of body-language told me that the help was speaking the truth, but I wasn’t going to let her off that easily.

“Well, where did she get the money from then?!”, I demanded, harshly, but fairly I think, under the circumstances.

“I think… I don’t know, but I think… Maybe she sometime uses the Internet..? Sometime maybe on her iPad Mini, maybe at friend’s house..?”

In my agile mind, the pieces began to fall into place. I could literally feel the network connections sparking inside my awesome brain (thanks to the two-year neuroscience MSc I audited), and I knew immediately what I had to do.

I went onto the classifieds page where I had seen my loo brushes for sale – when I was too distraught to notice details, which is because of the shut-down that transpires in the amygdala in the event of extreme anxiety – and there on the screen was the name of the vendor: Milly Austen-Jones. O.M.Geee.

It’s a few days later now, and I have yet to raise the issue with the Millster (she’s an exorcist head-spinning nightmare when she’s upset), but I had such a super nice weekend on Nikoi Island with my girlies that maybe I won’t bother. So what if I nearly had the helper jailed or deported? My chi is in a fantastic place today, and Milly is loving her bag. I have to say that she has impeccable taste, and her entrepreneurial spirit is commendable . She not only created a Facebook profile, at four years of age, but she got herself onto a group too! That’s my giiiiirl!!

Maybe she’s not so irritating after all.

Part three of my expat unfoldments is somewhat less palatable. But the nice thing about it is that it can’t possibly be truesome.

Photo credit: www.bergdorfgoodman.com

Photo credit: www.bergdorfgoodman.com

 

* Not that we do pay her a pittance. We pay her twice the going rate. I’m not having any staff of mine going round the island saying they’re inadequately waged!

Is the Helper Selling my Designer Toilet Brushes Online?

Photo: http://www.shopdecor.com/designer/selab-design/wc-royale.html

Photo: http://www.shopdecor.com/designer/selab-design/wc-royale.html

A majorly odd thing has happened in our beautiful exclusive home this week: the luxury toilet brushes that I ordered from Italy have disappeared.

I noticed our en-suite looked different on Monday morning, while I was lying in the bath, contemplating the lovely day I had ahead of me at Flo’s Australia Day lunch. Well, I didn’t exactly notice. I saw a space next to the loo, felt weird, and thought, “Hmmmmm, that’s not a very nice space… It’s like… just an empty space… with nothing going on there.”

That thought made my mood plummet like you wouldn’t believe, dear readers. Emptiness is all good and cool when I’m meditating, but otherwise, I don’t like it. I’m not having it, I tell you.

So I got out of the bath and tweeted about this strange empty space to Kim Kardy, Chris Lilley, Mindy Kaling, and a few others. Within seconds, my tweet had been favourited multiple times, and I’d had a ton of reassuring replies. That made me feel much better, and off I went to the salon for a blowout, totes forgetting the dreadful void.

After the amazebobs party with an awesome group of Expaterati girlies, I got home and, super silently but gracefully (Don was asleep), I went for a shower. Despite my super silent creeping aroundness, a bunch of stuff fell off the bathroom shelf (how, I do not know; that keeps happening to me late at night), making a bit of a crashing noise on the marble floor. Don burst through the door, asking me very rudely what the hell was going on, adding, “You do know it’s one o’clock in the morning, don’t you?? And you do know I have a flight to catch at five?!”

Such an effing drama queen.

I told him it’s way not my fault that we have such slippery shelving. That’s the landlord’s responsibility, not mine.

Don then proceeded to relieve himself in my presence – quite unsuitable, I feel, even after 12 years of marital bliss. When he was finished, instead of apologising for making a scene and having a pee right there in front of me, he pointed at the floor next to the loo and grunted, “Didn’t there used to be something there, in that empty space?”

“Whatevs, babes, go back to bed. How am I supposed to know?!”

Just by pointing it out, he single-handedly destroyed my chi and ruined my entire fabulous day that I had worked so hard to have. Ugh, marriage is such a difficult thing. Alain de Botton was absolutely right with all that guff he wrote about how marriage is basically promising to disappoint each other. “Big time”, I’d have added, had I been his editor. (Which I could’ve been, but I think he didn’t return my calls because he realised I’m so hot that I’d be a threat to his own marriage, should we work closely together.)

The empty space issue stressed me out so much that since then I’ve been making a gargantuan effort to ignore it, with the help of chanting, sexily doing the frog pose (yoga, babeses, if there’s anyone left in the world who doesn’t partake), and intensely studying every post on the Real Singapore Expat Wives’ Facebook group, as well as their fab Classifieds off-shoot. None of that helped : (. It made it worse, in fact, because today, on the Classifieds I saw…

My goddamn loo brushes!!!!!!!

All six of them!! You can imagine how distressed I felt at that point, as I ran screaming from bathroom to bathroom to bathroom to bathroom to bathroom to bathroom. I felt for sure I was losing it! How could this be?? All six!!

I immediately rang cousin Clara the psychologist (it must’ve been 4 AM in the UK, but she gets up early), and she calmed me down. She told me to try to put it in perspective, that they’re “only things”, and why didn’t I go for a really time-consuming nail art manicure, or something else that would get me out of the house and stop me looking at my phone.

Most of what she said made zero sense, but the manicure idea was a great one (which I could’ve come up with if I’d spent a gazillion years and a bajillion £s training to be a therapist). So I did that, and it totes mega helped!

Then I met up with my one friend who isn’t on Facebook – so bizarre – and I haven’t told her yet about the awful events because I don’t want to raise the spectre into the now. I’m typing this while I’m with her, but she doesn’t mind. She just chats away, bless her.

I’ll get to the bottom of this nightmare though, if it’s the last thing I ever do. I’ve texted the helper to tell her to buy a substitute brush in the meantime. Just the one, mind you. No point wasting money on non-designer household items.

(It couldn’t be the helper who’s behind all of this, could it?…)

Just the Usual Expat Hol in Paradise

A spot of beach art, where the other half (3/4? 7/8?) lives.

A spot of beach art, where the other half (3/4? 7/8?) lives.

Following my completes crappola Chrimbo (who would have thought it would’ve sucked so badly that morning when I was making my Expat Exmas Message, like Her Maj?), we are now on our fabulous holiday in Boracay. Boragrad, if you must know, babeses, LOL.

Another top-notch hotelee por supesto, to wind away all the stresses and strains of my equally fabulous life. That said, even with the kids’ club, I’m rather wishing we’d brought the help along. I had forgotten the full horror of the tedium that bath and bedtime can be with Max and Mills. I am having to do it myself!! And I don’t mean supervising! So, after a full day of lounging in the sun, and attending to my rigorous health and beauty regime at the gym and spa, I then get myself all worked up on the few evenings we don’t hire a sitter, thanks to the irritants. Well happy bleeping holidays to me! Don, as always, said that bringing the helper was “unconscionable”, and that holidays should be just the family. Hmmmmm. This means that I don’t really have a holiday!! Which leads me to conclude that:

Paradise – Help = Almost Hell

Gandhi said something very similar when he observed that, “Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as”… I’ve lost the rest of the quote, but the skinny is that it’s totes ideal for me to depend on my helper because she depends on us for her livelihood; and it’s totes reasonable for me to have a bit of a sh** hol without her.

As if things weren’t bad enough, guess, dear readers, who is here. One of my all-time least favourite members of the Singapore Expaterati: Doom and Gloom Expat Wifey. Ugh-amundo. I know you feel my pain.

On our very first day here, I noticed Mills in the pool, playing with another little girl who looked vaguely familiar. Returning my attention to my iPad edition of Vogue, I heard a kerfuffle from the pool, as an adult waded in – yes, D & G Wifey – telling Milly to stop pulling the other girl’s hair. Oh Lordy, Mills! Being the responsible parent that I am, I had no choice but to put down my iPad, and dive elegantly into the pool, to pretend to reprimand Milly. Poor kid. The other little girl, Janine, has obviously inherited her mother’s dour looks and tote lack of humour, so I’m sure she got nothing more than she deserved, but what else could I do??

Once I’d forced Mills into a half-arsed apology, I then had to make polite conversation with D & G: how lovely to bump into you, what a coincidence (yeah, right), how’s your hol, are you having a good time, ra ra ra.

She was apparently gagging for someone to talk to, because she launched straight into her standard doom and gloom diatribe. I noted from her lack of woven resort bag (only available to the upper echelons) that she must not be staying in one of the villas. Probably in the main cell block. In the timeless words of Beyoncé, “Sucks to be you right nooooow”. Wise woman, that Queen Bee.

“Oh, I suppose I’m having a good time…” she began, her dull preamble warning of so much worseness ahead.

“I wanted to go home for Christmas, or maybe skiing, but Fred’s PA couldn’t take much time off, so Fred decided we’d better not go too far away. And they’re flying back before me and the kids anyway.”

“But, babes”, I told her, “Skiing is just so wet and cold, and accidenty. And England is totes miz right now, with the yucky climate, and all that economy stuff… still… I think… Here we’ve got the beautiful relaxing beach, and the lovely weather… Um, apart from the whole tropical storm thang, but that’ll pass”.

“Yeah, I know….,” she said, and for a moment I thought she might shut up, so that I could dash back to my sun bed. Alas, alack, and mega-bummer, I was profoundly mistaken. She went on.

“It’s just that we’ve been on so many of these trips: Bali, Langkawi, Krabi, Koh Samui, Yogyakarta, Hoi An…”, she continued, as I switched off and admired how smooth my freshly waxed Brazilian was looking.

“Bla bla bla, fa ba na noo fa bla, and at this point, the whole of Southeast Asia has just merged into one big blur of white sand, palm trees, and resorts. When I look back over the years, I can barely distinguish one holiday from the next. How sad is that?!”

I re-engaged with her bla when I noticed that the gel nail on my thumb was lifting, and much as I loathe nail-biting, I found myself gnawing at it.

“And what really gets me is”, she droned on, “I’m getting so tired of being the well-off Westerner, surrounded by locals calling me Ma’am, who bow and scrape in the name of good customer service. I can’t relax when I know that the people around me are so much worse off. It’s the inequality of it all! What does it teach our children?”

[OH GOD, kill me!! JUST KILL ME NOW!!!, I thought prettily.]

“And Thailand! Just awful. We were there last year for Christmas, and I heard such incredibly devastating stories about the tsunami. Whole families, wiped out. Babies, children. I thought, how can I sit on this idyllic beach, knowing what happened right here, just a few years ago? Horrendous.”

I tasted thick saltiness, and looked down at my thumb to find that it was bleeding. The woman was boring me so much that I had actually started to bite off my own hand. Enough was enough.

“Darling sweetie babes”, I managed to say, following a quick check-in with my higher power, “The fact is that without us well-off whities coming and spending our spondooli, these nice people wouldn’t even have jobs. We’re doing them a favour! The least we can do is have a good time, honey. Don’t we owe them that much?!”

I hoped that my impassioned words might turn the situation around, but she got her mouth straight back in there: “That’s a ridiculous argument! The fact is that our spondooli, as you call it, is because of disproportionate salaries, earned through the exploitation of people just like the ones working in this hotel, borne out of their disadvantage and our good fortune. We did nothing to deserve this, any more than they deserve the poverty they come from!”

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I found, then, that I was sucking my (half-eaten, bloody) thumb – something I haven’t done since childhood. Doom and Gloom Expat Wifey woman, I shouted silently in my head, it’s only Day One, and you have RUINED my holiday.

Gott sei dank, D & G’s helper suddenly appeared from nowhere, saying, “Ma’am, I am the one to take Janine for her nap?”

D & G nodded, “Yes please, Reyann”.

“Well, that’s lovely anyway!”, I chipped in, determined now to either lift this bleeping woman’s mood or get the bejesus away from her.

“At least you have the help with you!! Lucky old you, babes! Don never wants to do that, and frankly it’s a nightmare come truesome!”

“You say that”, (oh ffs, despite my awesome adorableness of niceness, she was finding a way to persist), “but the thing is that I knew she would have a better Christmas here with us than lonely in Singapore, while all her friends are working, or if we sent her home to her family. When she goes home, she comes back a stone lighter, and completely exhausted. Do you know what she does when she has a holiday at home?”

It was patently clear that I didn’t give a rat’s bottom, but evidently the woman has none of my empathic or intuitive skills when it comes to observing the responses of others. Instead of noticing that I was desperate to get back to Vogue, she…

Kept.

On.

Talking.

“She works on the family farm! For fifteen hours a day, every day! Can you believe that?! And not only that -”

While she was talking, her husband’s PA sauntered over, a vision in white linen.

“Mrs Davis,” he murmured – golly, such a treacle voice for a man! how divine!!, “Mr Davis asked me to tell you that he and I unfortunately have work to do, and will be gone for some time. He’s so sorry. He booked you a few treatments at the spa, and I’m awfully sorry I didn’t let you know earlier, because the first appointment is in five minutes. There’s a buggy waiting for you at the lobby. You should probably hurry. Have a great time!”

And with that, the delightful cloud of a man floated away on the honeyed gusts of his own voice.

What a charming chappie, I thought, and how fortuitous that:

A. D & G’s sweet husband had booked her a pile of fab treatments,

and

2.) She was gone, and I wouldn’t have to listen to her hideous whining any longer.

 

I got back to my Vogue, but promptly fell asleep. I must have been plain plum tuckered by that woman’s chi. Assaulted, I would say. I have had to do a veritable sh**load of chanting since then to cleanse myself.

Merry Expat Exmas Mega-Fiasco

Image: gracialouise.typepad.com

Image: www.gracialouise.typepad.com

Well, dear readers, members of the Expaterati, Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope you had a Merry Chrimbo, because I am sorry to say that I totes did not. Despite all my efforts to be good this year, and to give my family a lovely day, Santa basically dropped a bag of flaming poop on my doorstep.

The helper had the morning off, so I made everyone a beautiful breakfast of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and mimosas. Well, I supervised. Even though he is almost 7 years old, Max is still miserably bad at cracking eggs, so he got a lot of shell in the mix. Then he had the heat turned up too high, which made the scrambled eggs into murderous lumps of orange fishy sponge. Ugh.

Mummy was in charge of the mimosas. She opened the champagne far too brusquely, and the pop made Froo Froo dog pee all over the floor. Mummy then proceeded to pour herself and Don huge measures of champas vs orange juice, but gave me only the tiniest bit of bubbles, with mostly pulp. Not only that, she insisted on making fresh OJ, which meant that I had to spend several hours of my Christmas Day cleaning the juicer! I had been hoping to bust a chill after breakfast, maybe catch some rays and a swim on the roof terrace. Thanks for ruining that, Mummy!

Max and Milly were of course completes over-excited about opening their presents, and their awful noise also scuppered my chill plans. By midday I was worn out, so I went back to bed while Don sloped off to his cigar club, and Mummy and the help took the irritants to church.

When everyone got back, we did our obligatory Skype sessions with the family back home. I could really have done with more sleep, but I made the sacrifice, in keeping with this season of giving.

I don’t know why I did though, because all I got in return for my efforts was a ton of grief about the presents the helper had ordered on Amazon. I told her quite plainly to get pretties for the women, and toys and gadgets for the children and men. That’s pretty clear lah, ya?? Ya, lah, you agree, of course!

Apparently, my instructions, when translated into Tagalog, became crotchless underwear for the ladies (including my sister who we all know only wears huge off-white pants), and a selection of these for the men… and for the children! ARGH!! What now, now?? So instead of nice thank yous, I got repeatedly blasted, with each Skype sesh! Well ho bloody ho to you lot back in ole Blighty! As if the children had any idea what an Eva is!! Please, peeps. It has only just come out. Most adults don’t even know about it. (I certainly didn’t.) Cousin Clara the psychologist was the only person who didn’t completes lay into me. She said that my “gift-giving process was fascinating in a perverse way”. So, the best feedback I got was being called a pervert. Fab.

After the calls, I had no choice but to strongly reprimand the helper, and true to form, she immediately burst into tears. That A. Pissed me off, and secondly, made Milly start kicking Froo Froo. Mummy (oh SO empathic, aren’t you?!) grabbed Mills and the helper, and took them away to the upstairs back living room to do god knows what. Max didn’t notice any of it because he was totes immersed in Minecraft la-la land, and Don didn’t even look up from his Economist.

Now one would think, dear readers, that that would be sufficient ruination of my Chrimbo; that I had suffered sufficely from the slings and arrows of outrageous expat exmas fortune. Hells to the NO! Turns out that I had not!!

For the evening meal, I had gone to the major trouble in October of phoning Raffles Hotel to book a fabulous table for their buffet (incl. free-flowing Veuve Click), for Mummy, Don and I. It truly is a gorgeous-amundo setting, and it was supposed to be the perfect ending to our special family xmas.

That, it was not. Mummy was in a foul mood and hardly spoke. Until, that is, she was on her third glass of VC (after two G & T aperitifs), which is when all hell broke loose.

Raising her glass, she began to speak: “Well Emma-Jane, and you too, Don, I would like to say thank you so much for a truly delightful Christmas… For your wonderful generosity of spirit, and your warm hosting…”

“Oh Mum-ski”, I blushed prettily, like Kate Middleton, “There’s really no need to thank us…”

“No, what I was going to say is that I would like to thank you, but in actual fact, I am utterly appalled by the two of you. As if this trip wasn’t bad enough, Hilda has told me everything, and I’m absolutely disgusted!”

[WHAT?! Who the eff is Hilda??!]

Fighting through my shock at Mummy’s bizarre and totes unexpected outburst, I looked at Don to see what he was going to do to defend me. He stood up and went to the buffet.

“What on earth are you talking about, and who the bloody hell is HILDA??!”, I managed to say, after a quick touch-base with my higher power.

“Hilda, stupid girl, is your helper! She has a name, you know?!”

Oh! Hilda!! Right, that’s her name. Of course. Lololol!! In those moments I was terribly worried that Mummy had dementia too, that she had invented a mystical all-seeing being, and that I would have to get Don’s PA to find her a home too. Twice in one week! That would have been pushing it with the PA’s goodwill – even at this time of year.

“Yes, ok, I know who Hilda is. But I still have no clue what you’re on about, Mother. And I find it humungously ungrateful – even deeply abusive – that you would attack your daughter like this on Christmas Day!”, I told her, firmly but kindly.

“It’s just rude, Mummy. Rude!”, I added for good measure.

“Is it?? Is it really, Emma-Jane?”, she continued, insisting on using my full name just to be a big B.

“Hilda has told me about your drinking, that you’re drunk virtually every day and night, that you’re never home with the children, and that you SMOKE! Smoking, Emma-Jane?? Grow up!”

While I was putting my side of the story across, explaining that it’s terribly stressful being a trailing spouse and expat mother, constantly straining to adapt, she had the nerve to keep spewing.

“You are a terrible mother! Milly has serious anger issues, Max is addicted to Minecraft, and Don!! Do you even know what your husband is up to, while you’re swanning about?!”

By this point, I had been rendered speechless, for possibly the first time in my 38 years on this planet. I think even my hair had de-pouffed.

“I’ll tell you what Hilda said, shall I? Not only does Don have a drawer full of un-mentionables, but he is involved with another woman, at least one other woman. Where do you think he disappeared off to today? The cigar club wasn’t even open!!”, she hissed at me.

“Did you know that, Emma-Jane?? Did you? So, you are a terrible mother and a failed wife. Thank goodness you have your career to fall back on… Oh, no, wait a minute, you have no career either!! Look at yourself! On the brink of 40, and this is all you have to show? Very little, Emma-Jane. Very, very little.”

At last the tirade came to a close. I stared into space, as sweetly as I could, given the trying circumstances.

Don came back from the buffet.

“More champas, Glammy Gammy?”, he asked.

“Yes”, replied Mummy with a smile, “Yes, I think I will. Why not? It is Christmas, after all.”

“Cheers!”, Mummy said, once the champagne had been poured.

“So Don, my darling, Emma-Jane and I have been having a little chat in your absence, and we’ve come to the realisation that I’ve been away too long, and the rest of the family need me to go home. I won’t be coming with you to Boracay, very unfortunately, but I hope you have a lovely time. I’ll be leaving in the morning. I’ve decided to stay here at Raffles tonight, so as not to get under your feet for any longer than necessary. I’ll pop by tomorrow to say goodbye to Hilda and the children.”

“What a shame, Gammy!”, Don said, like he had just lost a few quid on the horses, “We’ll miss you awfully. But of course, needs must!”

Yes, I thought, in the cab back to Emerald Hill Road: needs bloody well must. Thank phewy that judgmental, insensitive, helper-loving woman won’t be joining us on our fabulous holiday in paradise. Branjelina and their brood stayed in the exacto same sea-view villa we’ll be in this time tomorrow, so you go home, Mother, and enjoy your lovely rainy New Years in suburban London. Needs must, sweetie Mum-ski. Whatevs.

So, merry flaming poop in a bag expat exmas, Expaterati peeps. May all your dreams come true.

Part Awesomeness, Part Mega-Notness

Today was a day of two halves. Half sugar, half lemon. In the morning, Mummy and I went for mani-pedis at the Forum, and massages at the Hyatt. The children are off school and in need of constant attention, so I just about managed to pry Mummy away from the helper. They went off to Universal Studios. Helpers love that place as much as the kids do.

While getting our nails done, we discussed my father’s shenanigans, and I gave her the skinny on the calls I’d had from Chantelle about his mysterious disappearance. She agreed that he must be up to his old tricks, but thought his alibi of meeting his Guildford school friends was a little odd. Even now, she credits him with using his brain to think! Totes unworthy of it, if you ask moi. She even said, get this, that she feels sorry for Chantelle, wasting her youth on an old man. Mum-ski!!!? So sweet, but so completes naive. The girl is basically on an annual salary she could never have earned off her own back (though evidently doing just fine on her back UGH disgusto), and given my father’s age, all she has to do is hang around long enough for her shares to vest. Golden handcuffs? Golden suspender belt, babeses, hahaha!! Vom.

Not only that, he’s supporting her 16-year-old daughter, Angel (it’s actually Angelica, people! And she’s no angel, I’m sure), including paying her private school fees. Angel was at a crappy public school until my father showed up with his white stallion and gold card, and Lordy only knows what those public schools are like in Australia. I’ve seen Summer Heights High. I know what the score is. (LUV Ja’mie!!! Can so relate!)

Mummy’s insistence on empathising with Ms Chantilly was starting to push me over the edge, to the point where the nail girl told me to make my toes to stop shaking. It megannoyed me because I know very well that almost no one is more empathic than I am, so when anyone pretends to be, I just think, “Shut UP! Don’t even try to go there or you’re ridic!!”

I didn’t want to say that, of course, because Mummy is so obvioso clueless about a truckload of relationship issues. I’m not going to be the one to burst her mahusiv bubble. Not my modus operandi, and most defo not good for my chi. I decided to let it go, make peace with the matter, and have a big chant about it later, over a few glasses of sauv blanc.

Then we met my fab local friend Audrey Lim for lunch. Mummy so wanted to meet some Singaporeans, and go to a traditional sort of place, off the beaten track. So we went to Dempsey. Jones the Grocer. Mummy looked a bit disappointed. Dunno why. What’s more traditional than that?!

Next, we cabbed it back to Orchard, to skip around the malls, and indulge in one of my favourite sports: Rrrrra-shun spotting. I thought I was good at it, but Audrey is AMAZEBOBS!! She can spot them from two miles away!!!

Mummy was a bit of a spoilsport though. She said she didn’t find it funny, that it was racist, and that she wanted to go home. Ex-cuuuse me?! Firstly, Bling isn’t a race, and B. I am the least racist person in the universe. My mother can be so insensitive and judgmental towards me. I really regretted not telling her to shut up earlier in the day.

So, I let her go home, and Audrey and I went off to the Loof bar for cocktails. She told me about this super cool dance marathon thingie she’s going to next month, and I’m totes thinking of going too. Dancing hotly is one of my greatest skills, and I just don’t do enough of it in public places.

When I got home, I was ready to hit the hay. The irritants were tucked up in their beds (so cute when they’re unconscious, that’s when I love them most ardently/ at all?), Don was at a work thing, and Mummy was eating nasty Philippino fish head soup with the help, both of them squawking away in Tagalog. I was just about to get in the bath when my phone rang. Ms Chantilly. She was super upset and sounded like she had a runny nose which made me feel sick to my stomach, and I nearly hung up. I was trying to steel myself against the nausea, while fumbling with the headphones to plug them in so that I could splash my face with cold water.

Then, as I prepared to click IPhone_calling_screen copy , I heard her saying, “ssptltifhhbjsur and the doctor said that your father has dementia”. What now, now???

I felt I was about to fall over, and edged towards the bed to make a graceful landing.

“What?”, I asked, “What did you just say??”

She repeated herself. Oh. Yes. Yes, that’s what I thought she said.

“Chantelle, I’ll have to call you back”, I said. Her distress and runny nose had impacted me in a big way, and I could totes feel myself rocketing* to Planet Panic: I can’t go to Australia! I’m too busy! I don’t know anything about dementia! It’s too ugly! I don’t have time for this! I can’t possibly HELP!!

For seven minutes, I did my pranayama breathing, in one nostril, out the other, but that didn’t help. I did the crow pose twice, and then a few tree poses, but that didn’t help either. As the panic started to rise, I ran, arms flailing, to the wine fridge, and downed two glasses of New Zealand’s finest. That helped. I knew then what I had to do.

I went to my meditation corner, bathed myself in white light, and spontaneously experienced a connection with my higher power. In that moment, these words appeared in my mind’s eye:

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I felt immediately better, so I called Ms Chantilly back. When she picked up, I could tell she was crying, and I knew I had to be kind, but firm.

“Where is he now, Chantelle?”, I asked, using my awesome skills from the half-day conflict negotiation training I once did. She sobbed (UGH UGH and UGH again, why must people cry at me all the time just to piss me off??) that he had been admitted as an inpatient for his own safety.

“Perfecto!”, I said, “Best place for him. I’ll get Don’s PA to find him a nice care home in Noosa, and he can go there as soon as he’s been discharged”.

I made some digital-effect blurpy- blurp robot sounds (my DJ experience really paid off there!), and said, “Sweetie, you’re breaking up”.

The last words I heard her say were, “But Emma-Jane…”.

But me no buts, baby. But me nooooo butts.

I really need to do a long treadie session tomorrow, espesh if I’m going to be on Fit For Fashion next year. I was looking at my behind in the mirror tonight during the panic yoga, and I think the Din Tai Fung dumplings might be taking their toll. It’s so tricky fitting in enough gym time, what with Mummy here : ( BUT, of course, it’s totes abso lovely to be surrounded by family at this beautiful time of year, and I am so super blessed.

* Check this awesome Kate Spade rocket clutch. Likee. Wantee.

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Mummy’s Expat Visit

Well, it has been an idyllic few days, now that Mummy is with us, in the bosom of our happy little family. Except Friday, that is. Her first full day here, I was really terribly ill, so I had to stay in bed until dinner time. I totes don’t know what was wrong, but I was completes knocked for sixes. It can’t have been the sangria because nothing red ever disagrees with me due to the de facto fact that red things synergise with my hair. Perhaps it was a 12-hour mini-bout of the dreaded mycoplasma. I just don’t know.

My absence was no prob though. It turns out that Mummy, too, has a new BFF: our helper! Argh!! Embarrassando!!! I hope it won’t get out among the Singas Expaterati. (I can see from my WordPress stats that I have almost no readers in Singapore, so I’m sure it’ll be fine.)

Although Mummy visited us twice previously, it was when we had our old helper, Maria, so she hadn’t met the current one. Unfortunately, we had to let Maria go. The problem was that Milly’s first word was “Maria”. Lordy knows, I tried to overlook the matter, I really did. I thought for a long while that Milly had a speech impediment (inherited from Don, presumably), and that she was trying to say, “Mummy”, but it kept coming out as, “Maria”. Eventually it became clear that this was not at all the case. So Maria had to go. I didn’t tell the children (or Maria, until the cab had arrived to take her to the airport while Max and Mills were at school), and I immediately hired a replacement who met my requirements, including lactation. I can’t bear the sight of clinging, crying children. It super upsets me.

Anyhoo, back to the now.

For some reason, Mummy had reverse jetlag, and woke up on Friday morning full of beans, and raring to go. Once the children were packed off, Mummy asked the helper if she could give her a refresher tour of a few places: China Town, Arab Street, and Little India. They also did the fab boat ride from Robertson Quay down to the Merlion, and somehow managed to squeeze in lunch at… wait for it… a Philippine restaurant at Lucky Plaza!!! Utter weirdness, given how many fabulous eateries there are here. She hadn’t let on, but apparently my mother has been learning Tagalog in her extremely ample free time. What now, now?!!

So the disgraceful upshot is, she and the help are bezzie mates, which I find mega-inappropes, and I know you’ll agree with me, dear readers (comments always welcome, PLEASE I AM BEGGING YOU TO COMMENT. WHAT DO YOU WANT, BLOOD?!!). I only heard about all of this when I sashayed down the stairs in my negligée on Friday evening, to find the two of them and the children in fits of laughter, speaking Tagalog! Mummy started to reel off the details of their day, and I told the helper, in no uncertain terms, to get back to work, and put Max and Milly to bed immediately. Froo Froo dog looked as relieved as I felt, once the irritants had been spirited away to the upper floors. I couldn’t have all that loud laughing and speaking helper-lingo. The adjoining courtyards in shophouses create a noise vacume, and we have highly auspicious neighbours on both sides because that’s the type of person who lives in my area. What would they think??

I considered having a word with Mummy to explain that this new found friendship of hers is totes not on, but then she produced all the stuff I’d asked her to get me from Harvey Nix, and I remembered what a sweet and doting mummy she truly is. I suggested going out for a slap-upski dinner somewhere, my treat, but bless her, her reverse jetlag had re-reversed itself, and she said she needed to get her beauty sleep. And from what I saw, she really mega did.

We finished our lovely chat about everything she had brought for me – we bond so well over Alexander McQueen – and she tootled off to bed in our Shangrila guest room. I wasn’t tired though, and the mini-mycoplasma had miraculously cleared up. I checked Facebook and saw that CJ was at a bar on my street (he’s an avid FB poster, which I LUUUUV), so I popped on some slap and killer heels, and off I went for another night of the usuo awesome fun-ness. I knew I couldn’t be out too late because of Milly’s birthday party the next day, but I can totes hold my bevvies, so two bars and a pool party later I can honestly say that I was FINE when I got home at 4. About 4. It was probably 4.

Mills’ party in the kiddie area of the Marina Bay Sands casino was nothing short of the best Expaterati kiddie party everrrrr. All of my genius fantastico plans worked out exactly as strategised, and the glam mummies in attendance so obvioso knew that the bar has now been raised to FEEERGET IT, IT’S IMPOSS TO BEAT THIS, BABY!!!! It was written all over their faces. Who says that botulism prevents authentic expression?? I’m so intuitive and empathic though, perhaps only I could have picked it up. (If I become a celebrity instead of a life coach, will all my wisdom be wasted? Shame, as my beautiful mucho-loved South African moved to Canada friend would say. Mwa Mwa, luv ya!)

The party was amazebobs, and probably the best one of the decade past, as well as the decade to come. At 6 PM the children (and my mother) got shipped out in limos and SUVs, so that the mummies could have a proper chat about helpers, husbands, handbags, and holidays. I’d booked an after-party table at Ku Dé Ta, which, according to my sources, was supposed to be next to where David Becks was dining. The Beckster was nowhere to be seen, but who should I encounter in the lift up..? The doors swooshed open at the 33rd floor, and there stood Will.

I’m so exhausto now that I can barely type. I’ll have to get back to you about what happened Sat night. Plus Don just got home from his trip, so I’d better go be the wifey. You know what I’m saying, Expaterati ladeeees!!!!

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Bikini Party, Babeses!

Hotness

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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.

Ugh! Helper’s Menstrual Calendar Has Synced With Mine

Please don’t ask me how I know this, but the helper’s menstrual calendar has synced with mine. That whole syncing thing women do is, frankly, disgustingly primitive, and I would prefer to have no part in it. IMHO, it harks back to a time when men had their harems, and raced around simultaneously impregnating every woman in the vicinity. I am thankful that today we women have found ways of curbing this sort of revolting behaviour, using threats of financial ruin and custody battles over the children. In the current economic climate, men just don’t have the resources to call bluff on those threats. Except maybe in the Middle East and Utah.

The thing about men is that they just cannot help themselves. I know it’s a cliché, but clichés are true. That’s why they’re called clichés. As wives, we have a responsibility to protect them from their baser instincts. That said, if they’re too base to be saved, we must not bend over backwards or sacrifice our self-respect to stop them messing around.

If they’re surrounded by bitches in heat though, it’s not really their fault. There’s only so much we can do. Ultimately, Ladies, if you married a scumbag, then I’m afraid that is what you signed up for. Sorreeee!! Reality munches.

What with my whole menstrualness I can’t get my writing juices flowing today, so I think that’s all for now. I spose even Tina Fey and Sheryl Sandberg have their downer days.

Actually, one more effluvia-related topic. Froo Froo Dog’s anxiety about Milly asserting herself (kicking Froo Froo Dog) has now gone beyond muttering, to incontinence. Ugh. She has completely ruined the upstairs chestnut Chesterfield : ( That was a wedding present, you foul hound!

(Still no response from Will… Well, we’ll see what he has to say for himself at dinner on Friday.)

Weekends Are the Mega-ly Worst Part of the Week

The weekend is abso the v worst time of the week for an expat wife. The awfulness kicks off first thing in the morning, when you have to get up megaly-early, or it looks like you’ve been having lie-ins all week. Saturday is bad, but with the helper’s day off, Sunday is soul-destroying.

A big part of the problem is having to spend too much time with the children. Well, Max tends to keep himself to himself, but I mean Milly really. The most annoying thing about Milly is that, for a three-year old she is extremely self-centred. She probably gets this from Don, but I suspect that there is also a link with the breastfeeding. Until she went on to solids, Milly was exclusively breastfed, and since then the only milk she has is still lady milk. Not from me, of course, but from the help. That was on my list of requirements when we hired her:

1. Must not eat spam
2. Must not be too hot
3. Must currently be lactating

It was a horrible shame, but I had to stop breastfeeding after five weeks because I just wasn’t seeing Milly often enough for her to rely on me for food (and pumping is too disgusting to persevere with unless you have a really great party to go to).

Max, au contraire, was only ever breastfed by yours truly (we didn’t have full-time help in the UK), and he has really turned out far nicer than Milly. Whereas she takes after Don, Max is totes more like me in most respects, beyond his passion for Minecraft. I feel certain that there is an interesting piece of research to be done there, to determine whether excessive breastfeeding – or the wrong type of milk?? – can turn a child into a nasty little dog-torturing turd. I think I should pursue it, as part of my future studies in child psychology.

Another problem with weekends is that the husbands just swan around, from golf to tennis to the cigar bar, and the wives have to take up the slack around them. They never want to come to social/ whole family engagements that either they or their assistant didn’t arrange. They don’t trudge the kids birthday party circuit, year in, year out. Yet, all of a sudden they’ll come up with the brilliant idea of taking the children to Universal Studios or something (UGH), and hey presto, they’ve won the best parent award.

Then it gets to the evenings, and we either have to go out or, worse, stay in. Nightmare. You hear all this self-pitying “flying solo” tripe from the single expat mothers (and I think you’ll find it should be flying solA, girls, didn’t you pay attention when you holidayed in Spain?), but frankly babeses, what you’ve got right there is a breeze.

Expats Can Be Such Totes A-Holes!

Most of us are awesome and lovely, but I have to say that some expats are incredibly rude, self-centred, and self-important. If locals ever develop a negative opinion of us, perhaps sometimes it is entirely justified. Today I witnessed an appalling example of this, while in a lift at the Ion, and I would like to share the incident with you, dear readers (wow, I definitely no longer have to say reader, single! Thanks, Mummy, for telling your scrabble group!), so that you can join me in my expression of outrage.

Ok. So. There are a ton of malls in Singapore, and generally they have a lotta lifts (elevators, lovely Americans, elevators. But your word is cooler : D), serving a lotta floors. Often the lifts can get crowded, and might take a while in transit between floors. Today I got the lift down from the PS Café (who knew they had a terrace? Well, my gorgeous NYC friend who I met for lunch knew! Yay! She asked not to be named) to B2, and then back up again to exit. I was too stuffed after over-indulging in the truffle fries (love love LOVE those fries) to get the escalator.

When the doors slid open at B1, there were these two blonde women standing there, and the one with a gigantic pushchair (the kind that there’s plenty of room for on the wild plains of Hampstead Heath, but here, darling?? I don’t think so), looked quite unattractively frazzled. The one without the pushchair forced her way into the lift – where honestly there was absolutely zero space – and began imploring the existing liftees to make room for her friend. Ex-kuse me?? We were here first, honey. Entonces mi amores, myself and the rest of the liftees had to squash together (lucky for her we were all completely unimpaired, unencumbered people! I mean, what if we had been wheelchair-users or we had had pushchairs too??).

During this cringe-worthy unfoldment, Pushchair Bird said, “I’m really sorry, but I have been waiting for 15 minutes to go up one level because I don’t feel comfortable taking the pushchair on the escalator with a small baby, and all the lifts have been full. I’m sorry to squash you, but if anyone is able to take the escalators, I’d be really grateful.”

She looked like she was about to cry, but thankfully we were all able to avoid eye contact, ignore her pleas, and be-grudgingly make enough room for the silly woman and her stupid baby. A guy at the back said, “There’s really no room!”, and I thought, “Ha, you tell her, sunshine!”

OMG. In those moments, I was truly ashamed to be the only other non-local present. How abso toteso embarrassing. I just wanted to curl up and die right there in the basement of the Ion. Yowzer. Who did that Pushchair Bird think she was?? Disgraceful behaviour. And that’s why it is no wonder if sometimes our hosts view us with negativity. The minority spoil it for the majority.

Now, my cousin Clara says that this kind of thing is an illustration of what happens when Caucasians move to certain countries, notably those with a colonial history, where they are easily physically identifiable as being foreigners. The specific words she used when we spoke today (I didn’t tell her about this exact incident, but this is what she said in general about the expaterati) were “inflation”, “narcissism”, and “being a big fish in a small pond” (um thanks, Clara, for that patronising use of metaphor, but you’ve completes missed the mark there because Don was a big fish at home; so you may need to check back in with your textbooks, sweets).

Anyhoo. After the Ion, I stopped off at Marketplace at the Paragon to get sushi for Max’s dinner, a Waitrose ready-meal for Milly (she loves those and the helper is busy washing the car and cleaning the shoes tonight, so I thought I’d give her a break), and the next stock of organic f and v for my green smoothie tomoz. Incidentally, Don’s out tonight, so I won’t be eating. Not after all those fries.

I get to the till and the check-out minion starts putting my purchases into plastic bags, as per usuo. Then I notice from my peripheral vision that the (obv expat) woman behind me has produced her re-usable bags, and is giving me the full-on evil eye! (the “hairy eyeball”, as Kath & Kim would say, so much LOLOLOL). So, I’m like, “What, now, now, now??”

Not being one to avoid conflict (bottling it in is not good for my chi), I turned right around to face that B – while flashing my Passion Card across the reader – and said, “Sorry, do we have a problem here?”

And you will not believe what that hoity-toity B-face said…

She said: “Do you know how long it takes for those bags to degrade? It takes from 20 to 1,000 years for every single bag, and a lot of bad things happen to marine wildlife along the way. I totally understand if today you’re just in a hurry, or you forgot to bring a bag, but you can have one of mine if you like.”

For the second time in one day, dear readers, I was just dumb-founded. The arrogance of these people! As a Brit, and therefore a Servant and an Ambassador of Her Majesty, I am always polite, even in extremely tense situations like this one (given my astounding composure, I should become a hostage negotiator. I would be amazo at that, and I could defo turn those ISIS peeps around. Tweet me, Barack and Dave). So I said to the B, “Thank you, that is really immensely kind of you, but the checkout girl has already packed my things, and it would be an insult and a burden for her to have to re-pack them. But thank you. Really.”

As I spoke, I gave her my very pretty Kate Middleton smile.

Ha! That told her!! Her high-horse clearly wouldn’t let her waste the time of a lower worker. Haha!! Own-goal there, dearie. Hahahahahaha : )

The fact remains, though, that non-expats can also in addition as well be total a-holes, too. Take, for example, my cousin Clara.

[Abso no offence Clara, but during our conversation today you were a complete C to me, and you really had no right to talk to me like that.]

When we were skyping earlier, I was telling Clara that I thought my helper’s bras were a little risqué (I see them on the washing line if I am ever in that part of the house), so I am thinking of ordering her to dispose of said items and buy more conservative breast support-wear. Clara responded that I have “no right to dictate what she wears under her clothes” (wtf?), and even when I expressed my concern that she may have a hot skype paypal business (why else would she need these garments? Surely she doesn’t have a boyfriend… that’s not allowed here), Clara took the help’s side against mine! She said that my helper “is an adult and can wear whatever she chooses, if it doesn’t affect her employment with me”.

Oh, Clara. You seem so knowledgable/ know-it-all, but I am beginning to wonder if you have any clue what the real world is like. No offence. Mwa Mwa, cuz xox

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P.S. Clara, your page about On the Skype Couch has only had a couple hundred hits in the last few weeks, so I decided to remove you from the page name. It’s much more impressive with just my name, and I’ve already noticed a surge in hits since I cut you out.