Like I Never Left…

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

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

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

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

“Ma’am, are you alive??”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(His male PA perchance?)

“His PA! Who’s a guy!!”

(Right under your nose?)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Unknown

The Loof Bar

 

 

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

Advertisements

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:

IMG_3601

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.

PXRU5309_974-1