Back In Blighty, Babeses!!

Blighty rain so not like rain in Langkawi : (

Blighty rain so not like rain in Langkawi : (

Oh my luvs, I hope you didn’t think I had deceasedéd and decomposéd. I haven’t. I have mainly been very busy transforming my personage from Expaterati to Londonati, more specifically Highgate-ati. Highgati? Hmmmm. It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Expaterati, but I suppose it’ll just take time for me to emerge from my chrysalis into the glowing social butterfly I was in Singapore, and christen a new ati.

In many ways, it is quite sweet to be back. The old place hasn’t changed that much. Highgate Village (pronounced vill-aahj) is still the same reassuring cocktail of estate agents, charity shops, pubs, coffee chains, etc, with a few independent shops apparently managing to pay the rent (and a betting shop… What now now??!). In Singapore, places like those little shops are a front for other things I’m told, but surely that couldn’t happen in Blighty, where accountability, democracy, transparency, and social justice prevail over all else.

So the Vill-ahhj does seem to be thriving, despite the conspicuous absence of our celebrité vill-aahj-eurs. The Jude, the Sacha, and all that lot. Word on the street is that they still have houses in Highgate, but they’ve upped sticks to LA or whatevs, which means that loads of the places round here are empty. Seems a dreadful shame because these houses are divine, but if they’re paying their UK taxes then I’m not one to have a go. Maybe they are living the heady expat life that I have had to forgo.

And forgo, I am needing to on a number of fronts since our departure from the gleaming island.

Firstly, I have attempted to wear closed shoes, as the climate tells me to forgo my vast collection of Prada flipflops and Chanel espadrilles. Attempted I tell you, I truly have, but after only 16 minutes in my handmade, extremely limited edition Doc Martz (made in the Yukes, babeses, yes here, not in some factory outside Shenzhen – I have one pair, and there are three or four others kicking around in the world, I believe), my feet were screaming to be rescued from their savage fate… So back to the flipflops I did dash. My toes have on occasion turned a shocking shade of blue, but I’ve made time for a pedi, choosing a shade which both tones with the blueing and enhances my suddenly lingering tan.

[Note to self: add tan to the list of things forgone, in addition to blood circulation in toes.]

Secondly, I have had to forgo the ease of obtainance of Nespresso pods. No longer can I roll out of bed, meet my girlies for breakfast and then loll to the basement of Takashimaya to stock up (or easier still, send the help). No. Now I have to order the damn things! Ridic!! How heavily the Mighty tumble, hashtag very sad face : (((!! Ok so it only took 22 and a sixth hours between makin the call and takin delivery, but that’s 22 more hours than it took in Singas.

And threely, the forgone thing that so sucks the most is my girlies. Missing you, babeses!! Can’t wait to see you in Nov when I come back for the ANZA Melbourne Cup. X X O X

But I’ve got a whole bunch of girlies here to catch up with so it’s like totes cool, right?! Yes, lah.

I should probably unlearn my Singlish. I keep givin it “can” and “cannot” on my calls to the utilities and the TV license and the council for the Maserati resident’s parking permit (yes, I got another one hahaaa! So much cheaper here!! Cheap as chips… Have kept my old silver car too, but I’m not sure classic cars are still cool, are they??).

I’ve found schools for Max and Mills, no thanks to Don as I haven’t heard from him at all and presume he is still in Hawaii with my teenage step-sister.

Everyone said the school thang would be a nightmare, but actually not at allio. I just researched where celebs send their irritants, applied, said some stuff about my proximity to the royal fam, and we were a-go-go. Mixed school for Max, girls’ school for Mills. The Max one wanted to have him “assessed”, so I was like, “wha?!”, but they were like, “ya”, so I did and the educational psych said he’s dyslexic. OMG! So he’s not just a useless moron, likely to follow in his philandering useless father’s footsteps. Turns out he’s got Difficulties and Needs. How cool is that?! Love it.

Mills totes hearts her new uniform, so she’s all good.

I’m thinking about getting another dog. No hound could replace my lovely Froo Froo, of course, but with Hampstead Heath on our doorstep and an amazebobs grooming salon in La Villaahj, frankly it’s churlish not to. Should the poop regulations feel too arduous, we can wander down the hill to Archway and donate droppings liberally, as is the wont of those zed zone Islington people. At least Froo Froo mark two’s number twos will be formed from organic food stuffs, purchased at the Crouch End branch of Waitrose when it re-opens after its annoyingly ill-timed refurb. Were they not informed of my return date? Deeply annoying.

Advertisements

Expat Agony Part One of Two

IMG_5005Forgive me, babeses, for I have sinned against blogging. It has been ten days since my last blog. I can only imagine the profound sense of vacancy and loss you have had to endure through my silence, and for that pain, I am truly sorry. When I tell you though, about the pains I have suffered over this time, and why I have been unable to share, I have no doubt that my torment will replace your own in your hearts and minds. I know how empathic you are.

In the past ten days I have experienced a series of increasingly difficult events, all of which have showered great boulders of loss upon my toned shoulders; loss which other, less toned shoulders might have found too desperately weighty to bear without breaking. Break, I have not, dear readers, nor intend I to do so therefore thusly. One would think that I had had more than my fair share of said shoulder boulders of late, but no. Cruel fate tests even the those who are as hot as I be.

And very hot I have managed to be this week, permanently adorned in my gigantic collection of Sea Folly bikinis and coordinating resort wear. I write to you now from the beautiful island of Langkawi, a paradise of radiant beaches and misty, lush forested hills. Thank goodness I had the foresight to choose this magical place again. I could not have made a better choice. Perhaps deep down in the wisdom of my psyche I knew that I would need a complete rest in the divine arms of the Four Seasons. (And the pesky macaques, but they’re the least of my trials.)

The first of my agonies was our goodbye party. Tanjong Beach Club for the day, then on to the rooftop at Potato Head. I decided to combine both events, so that I could wear an impressive multitude of outfits in the same 18-hour period, which is the hallmark of the genuinely stylish.

It was all just perfect, but by the end of the evening I was beginning to come to grips with the horrid truth that there will be no more days and nights like this. As each awesome Expaterati friend said goodbye and drifted away, I knew that I had to accept this was truly Goodbye. Every departure was more tragic than the last, and I really put my waterproof, bulletproof mascara to work.

By midnight I was down to my last few girlies, and had so fully accepted the sorry state of affairs that I realised I had no choice… I simply must come back in November for the fabulous ANZA Melbourne Cup 2015! It’ll be too sublimely exciting to miss, and I know that because I know who’s organising it, and lemme tell you: that chick knows how to throw a parté. So there on the rooftop, I got out my phone and booked the flights straight away, with the help of a lovely bar man who was able to see better than I could. It does get quite dark on that particular terrace at night.

The following day, there came the next searing loss. I had to say adieu to my beautiful purple soft-top Maserati. Hashtag mega sad face : (!!! I was feeling quite tired because after Potato Head, we remaining resilient few went to Brix for one last hurrah, to drink in the heady cocktail of great chunes, super-friendly Russian ladies, and desperate, horny men. Such an amazebobs time!! So very much amazebobs that I got home around 4AM. I think. I’m not totes sure because my Rolly disappeared from my wrist, and I was too exhausted and starving to fumble around the recesses of my LV clutch for the phone. I had a quick foie gras with wheat-free toast, and crashed out on the downstairs Louis Quatorze sofette.

The next thing I knew, my lips were being kissed in a most unusually licky way. It was different, but not unpleasant enough to shake me out of my slumber. Only when the licking became persistent and furry did I open my eyes to see Froo Froo’s gorgeous little face staring into my gorgeous face, and I noticed the quite disgustingly rank smell of her breathe. I dashed to the loo, thinking I might vom – albeit elegantly – but then didn’t. Instead, I splashed my face with water to immediately restore its youthful glow, and wiped off the traces of encrusted foie gras that had somehow made their way onto my personage.

I was heading to bed when I passed the 206 year-old grandfather clock in the east wing (one of Don’s many hideous family heirlooms), and saw that it was just before 9 o’clock. Argh!! It flooded back to me that the car was being collected at 10AM and I absolutely positively had to take her for one last spin down Orchard Road. I didn’t have time to change, but the leopard print mini dress from the night before looked damn fine, and totally gelled with the Beyoncé, Katy Perry, et al playlist I had planned for the excursion. I drive better when I’m a little hungover anyway and it’s even more #awesomefunness (I’d never drive drunk though, so don’t be all up in my face, haters, you get me?!).

I did the Last Drive with my approx 12 auditory disciples (they would be if they knew me, right?!), and as I was turning into Emerald Hill Road, Alicia Keys’ Girl On Fire came on. I don’t really know what happened, but all of a sudden the exhilaration turned to grief – knowing that these were the final moments I’d have with my beloved Mazzer. I pushed my foot down on the accelerator, swerving around the jutting pavements (sheesh, those traffic calming measures on EHR really make it difficult to drive fast!!), narrowly missing a lamppost, a silver Bentley, and a whole entire shophouse. As I careered onwards, I sang out, “Nobody knows that she’s a lonely girl, and it’s a lonely world, but she gon’ let it burn, baby, burn, baby”, at the top of my voice.

Then, through a glaze of tears, I saw my helper on the side of the road looking like she’d just discovered she was going to be deported, and I felt a dull thud against one of the front wheels. The help let out a blood-curdling scream, which alarmed me so much that I stopped the car.

“Froo Froo!!!”, she shrieked, “Nooooooo, Froo Froooooo!!”

Somewhat shaken, I opened the car door to exit, most unfortunately falling face-first onto the cobbles which is v much not my modus operandi. (I know how to get in and out of all variety of cars that matter – even in movement-restricting outfits – due to personal experience, but also thanks to an intense period of training I undertook in my late teens.) It was the shock of the situation that threw me. Quite literally. Again, I must have known that what had happened was a dreadfully dreadful thing. My intuition is incrediblé.

And so it was, dear readers, that my sweet Froo Froo left this world, and left me. She left me at this very difficult time, when I needed her the most in fact, and clearly there is only one person who bears responsibility: the helper.

As she, the help, was wailing, I crawled my way to the rear of the car, and there I saw what I already feared to be true. Horrifically, I scraped my fresh be-flip-flopped pedi on the ground to the point of ruination, but worse than that… my Froo Froo. It was unbearable. Excruciating. How could any loving omnipotent deity allow this to happen to me?! Take Don, take Clara, take me (yeah, no, maybe not me), take the irritants, take the help! But not little innocent Froo Froo!! She never did any harm to anyone.

It felt so wrong, and it still does now, days later, as I watch the ocean waves pound the shore and work on my pre-London tan. I almost wish that I hadn’t put myself through telling the tale because my chi is getting thrown back to that moment of The Thud.

Dios gracias, I have a three-hour treatment booked in. The buggy will be here any minute to take me to the spa. Hard times…

Are Adults Really Grown Up?

Unknown
Annoyingly, yesterday I had a gazillion things to do, but couldn’t do them because of the irritants. It was their last day of school, so I had to go to their respective parties. Not really kosher to wriggle out on this occasion given the actual final finality if we’re leaving. Plus, I’d offered to bring a few kiddie canapé selections, and I had to give the teachers their gifts. That meant that a large part of the previous day was also eaten up by the same cause. Had to collect said canapés, before popping into Tiffany’s to pick up the engraved bracelets, times four including classroom assistants, argh spent a fortune, but had no choice given our financial stature. Anything else would’ve been frankly embarrassing.

Milly’s was in the morning, and I took the help with me so that she could ferry Mills home again. I was as least able to join my girlies for the tail-end of a champagne brunch.

Then Max’s was in the afternoon. Everything was coolio until the end when Max was saying bye to his friendses. The strangest thing happened. Some sort of out of body experience, I suspect. I was watching him chatting away to the other kids, hugging goodbye and being all sad and stuff, and suddenly it was as if I was whooshed up into the air, hovering over the half-eaten canapés, the piles of empty cake bowls, and the assembled group of little people. Instead of seeing Max and his cohorts, I saw myself as a six year-old girl, and the faces of my childhood buddies, just as they were when I last saw them, so many years ago.

Hovering over to the window, I looked out at the other side of the school and saw the older kids, the teenagers, also all saying goodbye. And again, there was me and my teenage gang. The word “goodbye” started to echo more and more loudly in my beautiful mysterious brain, until I thought, “OMG, EJ babes, you’re like totes losing it!! Keep it together, hot stuff!!!”

And with that, I de-hovered, landing elegantly on the cushions in the reading corner. I noticed that my face was wet with tears, so I made a dash for the loo to make sure my mascara was holding up. Once there, I looked at myself in the mirror (mascara all fine, phewee!) and the weirdness resumed. My face was as it was when I was six. I blinked a couple times, and suddenly the person staring back at me was me at sixteen. Then twenty-six, then six again, and then as I am now. I had the strangest thought: that I’m older, but only in years. I realised that essentially, I am the same as I’ve always been. I don’t feel much older than when I was six, or sixteen, or twenty-six. It’s only the world that tells me I am. Like that moment when people stop calling you Miss and start calling you Madam. (I decided to stay TF away from France for that v reason, incidentally. One year it was Madamoiselle, and the next, it was Madame. Of course that only happened recently as I look so awesome for my age, due to my excellent beauty and wellbeing regime, and my genius anti-ageing techniques.)

Sheesh, I thought to myself, what was in that Vietnamese food I had last night?! The mushrooms did seem a tad off-key…

Anyhoo so I managed to get a grip, partly because I am incredibly resilient, and partly thanks to the mini bottle of Veuve Click I happened to have about my person. I just love those tiny bottles – so dinky!!

I flounced merrily back to the classroom, delighted the teaching staff with their gifts, eventually dragged Max away from the crying morass, and sashayed to the car. With the top down on the Mazzer, I cranked up the Jessie J to let everyone on the CTE know that “it’s not about the price tag, just wanna make the world dance, it’s not about the ba-bling ba-bling”, etc. I <3 that song!!! It’s one of my personal anthems. 

Later I took some time to hang with my thoughts on the roof terrace. What happened at school brought to mind a conversation Seth and I had right before I stopped going to the same yoga classes as him. I guess maybe I forgot to mention that to you, dear readers. It wasn’t a big deal or anything. Just that I needed to change my schedule.

The last time he and I spoke, I was talking about our relocation and that it’s kinda sad and stuff. As always, he totes got where I was coming from. Not sure exactly how it came about (probly another one of these freaky out of body experiences! Argh!!), but I got a bit emo, and said, “The thing is, with this moving stuff and all… I don’t think I can do it. Not again. It’s too much, too hard. It’s too… grown-up! And I know I should be a grown-up, but I really don’t feel like I am. I’m supposed to help the children get through it. How can I do that if I’m still a child myself??”

Hearing the words that were coming out of my fabulous full lips, I felt kinda ridic for a sec, but Seth didn’t seem to think I was ridic. That was nice. It was right then that I realised I had to change my yoga schedule and not go to the same classes as him. Those times just weren’t working for me.

Then last night I headed to Club Street with my Expaterati ladeeees. Still in a reflective mood, I gazed around, taking in the scenes I may soon be leaving. It was the usual crowd: young puffed-up male bankers out-numbering a cluster of equally young female counterparts. There were also the FMAWG* (I’ve noticed lately that some aren’t fat, and some aren’t white, but they’re all middle-aged, which for men is 40-65 apparently) with their petite Asian girlies (though I’ve also noticed that they’re not all petite or Asian). Now I’ve always tended to think of these chappies as utter scum, but I had a flashback to my earlier out of body experiences, and the thought occurred to me that maybe there are good reasons why they do what they do. Maybe they feel like they’re still twenty-six, and in that case, it makes sense that they’d have a young girlie looking back at them; rather than the middle-aged woman who’s been looking at them for decades, reminding them like a mirror of their crows feet each time they see hers.

So with my amazebobs empathic capabilities, I found that I forgave all those FMAWG and daft old Donald Trump and silly mentalist Hugh Hefner. I realised the elegant logic behind their behaviour, and it has already had major repercussions on my chi. I have felt a new peace with the world since last night, and I see now that we are all only as old as we feel.

Of course, I’m not excusing these dudes’ shenanigans. I am merely saying that there are explanifications and that I have heretofore thusly figured them out with my powerful mind. I am sharing them with you, dear readers, for your edication and edification. You’re welcome.

“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”
George Orwell

Mir, als ich klein var

Mir, als ich klein var

* Fat Middle-Aged White Guys

 

20 Thingses I’ll Miss About Awesome Singapore

coke can

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Cheap taxis with such friendly uncles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Our Mahusiv Shipment

I have discovered an interesting and disturbing phenomenonema in re the situation of possibly leaving: people treat one as if one has an incurable and highly contagious illness.

I popped into Burberry For Kids to get more socks for the irritants today – how’s it possible for feet to grow so quickly?? – and found myself chatting away to the shop staff. It was only when I got a text from Eva my personal trainer saying, “where tf are you, EJ?”, that I realised I’d been in the shop for over an hour. I had been so engaged in our conversation (discussing my glamorous life, possibly moving, early childhood experiences, Jungian vs Freudian theory, and Burberry’s summer colours) that time had run away from me. So I dashed off to meet the slave-driver, and during my dash, I wondered how I had entered into such deep chats with a stranger. Now of course, my glamorous life and my complex brain are fascinating to everyone, but I don’t normally plunder the depths with shop assistants. Not even in exclusive shops. If I did, my daily shoppage excursions would leave little time for anything else!

Having embarked on the workout, it was during my 87th lunge that the realisation hit me. It took me so much by surprise that I dropped the kettle bell, only narrowly missing my toes. Thank goodness it missed because I had a pedi yesterday. The universe is truly wise and benevolent.

What hit me was this: I am lonely today. And I have been for some time now, I think, because my Expaterati girlies have hardly been in touch at all of late. No wonder I was spilling my guts out in Burberry’s! I needed to talk to someone. Poor moi : (

Therein thusly lies the notion of leaving being like an illness. Once people know that you’re probably definitely maybe relocating, they want nothing more to do with you. They prefer to invest their friendship dollars elsewhere. Until recently, I have been an expat monarch of all I survey in this intimate kingdom of Singapore. I have daintily trod the terrace of Sky on 57, looking out across the city, knowing that I am a part of this place and it is a part of me.

Now though, it’s as if I have wandered inadvertently to the other side of said terrace, my face turned towards the sea with its village of boxy floating palaces… The container ships – one of which will soon, in all likelihood, carry the contents of our beautiful Emerald Hill Road shophouse away from these gleaming shores, gradually dissolving my past into the azure layers of two oceans and seven seas.

SONY DSC

(As you can imagine, dear readers, we have a truly gigantic shipment, commensurate with our station. It seems a callous and capricious thing that loneliness can befall anyone, regardless of the size of their shipment. Hashtag baffed.)

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!!

What Are Riches? #baffed twice in one week

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

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

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

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

Problem = ????

#baffed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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