Getting Things Off My Perky Expat Chest

I have a couple of things on my perky D-cup chest today that I need to get off it (studies show that anxiety is 253.7% worse for saggage than breast-feeding), and chanting hasn’t helped at all. My morning green smoothie with organic kale, beetroot, coconut water of course, and red dragon fruit did help a bit, but then I got a text from Chantelle*. Hence Thing Number One on my chest.

“Can we speak, Ems? XO”, read the text.

Ems now, is it?! I think I’ve been too convincing about pretending to like her. Ugh.

When I bit the bullet and gave her a call, she said that it’s all getting much worse with my father’s dementia. She told me that he had a few moments of lucidity recently which gave her hope, but then he descended into a “worse place than before”. OMG, that use of the word “place” to describe a state of mind! I’m sure people say it just to piss me off!! It sounds great when I use it to express the beautiful empathic side of myself, but most people, let’s be honest, can’t carry it off like I can. Cannot, lah.

I thought she was going to follow with her usual woe-is-me modus operandi of: I can’t take it that my husband doesn’t recognise me and thinks he’s married to someone else bla bla bla, self-pityage diatribe. But no! Instead she told me something designed purely to upset me.

“Ems”, (puke), “I wasn’t sure whether to tell you or not, but you’ve been so open and giving towards me – offering to have Angel come to stay and all – so I feel like I owe it to you to be honest.”

Babes, I wanted to say, I didn’t offer to take in your waif ‘n stray wayward daughter. You totes guilted me into it!!

Before I could clarify the situation, and maybe even back out of the whole unwanted teenage house-guest business, Ms Chantilly continued.

“The thing is that there was this moment when your dad seemed like his old self again” – yeah, too right, OLD! And what’s a young piece of A like you doing with a rich OLD guy..? Hmmmm, allow me to a’ponder a mo… –

“And he was so sweet. He thanked me for being a wonderful wife, and honestly, I could’ve cried, it’s been so long since he’s been like that. But then he said the most terrible thing. And I don’t want to tell you, but I think you have a right to know, Ems.”

(FFS, woman! Don’t you see that I don’t care what you have to say?! Just stop calling me Ems!!!)

“He said… he said”, Chantelle started sobbing. V much back to her predictable MO, then.

“He said, Ems, that I’ve been a better wife to him than your mother ever was, with all her other men! Those are his words, hon, not mine. I’m so sorry to break it to you like this. But I thought you should know… Oh, wait… but maybe you know already! God, sorry!! You’re so close to your mum, you probably do know! I’m sure she had her reasons… with whatever was happening… all that moving around… must’ve taken its toll on the marriage, and… like you’re always saying, expat marriages can be so challenging, and…”

Chantelle was floundering around like a big fishy flounder, so I took the opportunity to interject. I arose from the silk-upholstered Georgian chaise longue upon which I had unknowingly reclined, and said, “Babes, of course I knew that! You shouldn’t be stressing about it. Yeah, Mum-ski and me are totes BFFs! She tells me everything”.

Chantelle then went into full-on embarrasada mode, thanked me again for “inviting” Angel to live with us, and, praise be to all that’s holy and decent, got the eff off the phone.

So now I know a heretofore unknown fact about yet another person, but a way less fun one than the others. It’s super fun knowing that Michelle is married to a filthy cheater, and that Liz is a husband-stalker with vagenitical cunticulitis; but this new issue of my own mother being a ho…??

I’m totes not sure how I feel about that.

 


 

Pushing the thought swiftly to one side because it’s so horrendously unthinkable, Thing Number Two that I’ve been argh-ing about is this global problem of airbrushed and photoshopped images messing with my little Milly’s head. It is NOT OK that a four-year-old girl falls over in the middle of the night, trying to “work it” with a thigh gap. Not ok at all!!

I am therefore thusly thinking about using my immense influence as a celebrité blogger to levy a campaign for a “fake scale” rating to be put on images in the meeja (media, babeses). A little bit airbrushed would be a one on the fake scale, and huge chunks cut off bodies would be fake-scaled at five. Genius, right? My idea. I know. Amazebobs.

Only prob is that I don’t know if I really have time to take on a global initiative of this magnitude. Probly, I spose. But will it interfere with my gruelling self-maintenance schedule??

Arghamundo, it’s so tricky being a parent, and a mentalist thought has just popped into my lovely, mysterious brain that maybe I should put my daughter’s needs before mine… Would that be coolio?? Has anyone else had that ground-breaking thought? Relate much??

If I’m going to do this thing, I can’t do it alone. I’ll need all of you – yes, everyone in my (philandering) mother’s aqua aerobics group, and the scrabble group too, and beyond! – to help me launch the campaign. If you’re in, please drop me a line in the comments or email me. Click share on the post if you know anyone who’s up for an awesome mission. I think we need a fab logo and catch-phrase, and I’m happy to use hot pics of myself to really draw a crowd. Hot pics that are only slightly airbrushed, and I will of course apply the fake scale to myself : )

I’m pretty lucky though. I really don’t need a lot of fake to bake. I’m sizzling already! This pic is a zero on the fake scale, my loves. ZERO.

 

Zero on #thefakescale

Zero on #thefakescale

 

 

 

* She’s my father’s trophy bride, FYI.

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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.

 

 

New Parenting Happenings For a (Chinese) New Year

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It’s Chinese NY and – although I totes can’t relate because we’ve already had a new year, so it just feels wrong – I have made an effort to get into the spirit of things. I’ve been to China Town to get lanterns, bought oranges for the neighbours, and had my nails arted-up with gorgeous tiny goat figures on them.

For the holiday, we’re off to Penang tomorrow, to stay in a spa hotelee (with kids’ club!) and to buy some awesome paintings and whatevs. I spent most of yesterday trying to pack, but didn’t really get much done because I had to go to Pilates, and get a wax, and do the nail-art. And I had a lunch with Anastacia, and a dinner with my gay BFF and his amazebobs fun-tastic crowd.

Late last night when I got home, I heard a loud thud from Milly’s bedroom. I went up to see what all the kerfuffle was about, and there was Mills, looking quite distraught. She was wearing a bikini (which, might I add, I did not buy for her), and lying in a pile of clothes, magazines, and handbags, next to her full-length mirror.

“What happened, Mills??”, I asked, in the most motherly tone I could muster at that time of the evening on a tummy full of Chinese food and Sauv Blanc.

“I fell over, Mummy. I was thinking about what to bring on holiday, and looking in the mirror to see how I could look thinner. So I was all bending and stuff, and trying to get a thigh gap. And then I fell over. And I couldn’t even get a thigh gap!”

Argh, what now, now? What does my little tub of Mills want with a thigh gap? How does she even know what that is??

A strange feeling of intense disquietude came over me, and I realised that it was something I almost never feel. It was sadness. (Ugh, hate that!) Then came another astounding revelation: I felt sad because Milly felt sad! Now we all know that I am hugely empathetic, having done a six-month counselling course, but feeling sad because my daughter felt sad?! That’s a new one on me. She cries all the time, and generally it’s just irritating.

“But what do you want a thigh gap for, darling? You’re so beautiful as it is”, I said, shocked to find that I had a tears in my eyes, and that I truly, for the first time ever, saw that my little girl is beautiful.

[OMG, but this parenting mellarky gets emotional!! Why was I not warned about this?]

Mills pulled out one of the magazines, and, pointing at page after page of photos, said, “No, Mummy. I’m not beautiful. They are. And they have thigh gaps”.

Next on my roller coaster of emotions, a different feeling crept up, though I’m not sure what it was. (Must ask Cousin Clara.)

“Milly”, I told her, “These pictures aren’t real! You know about photoshopping, right, because you learn it at daycare, ya? These pictures might as well be cartoons! They’re just Frozen without the nice songs”.

I helped her into her pyjamas, dried her tears (mine too!), and tucked her up in bed.

“You’re real, and you’re lovely just as you are, and every day you get lovelier and lovelier. Now you have a good sleep, and some sweet dreams, and tomorrow you will feel better. It’ll all be ok.”

Then I did something I’ve never done – golly, what a day of firsts! – I sat with her in bed, stroking her hair, and I sang little songs until she fell asleep.

I probably haven’t mentioned it, but I do have an awesome singing voice.

I went down to our ensuite to get ready for bed, and yet again, a ton of products fell off the slippery shelves, crashing onto the floor. Why does that always happen to me?

When I got into bed, Don was awake – due to the slippery shelves – and asked if something was wrong.

“No babes, everything’s fine. Sorry about the noise. I’ll phone the landlord in the morning about the shelves. It’ll all be ok.”

Expat Friendses & Not So Much Friendses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I LOVE this Rrrrra-shon girlie!!!

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

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

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

 

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

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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!

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!”

O
EM
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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.

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

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

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

Hells-ya, I did!!

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

New local gal pal

New local gal pal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From yesterday's The New Paper : )

From yesterday’s The New Paper : )

More hotness

More hotness

Hanging With My Expaterati Crew on an Average Sunday Avo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

Expat Kid Bday Party

It’s Milly-Moo’s fourth birthday party next weekend. Her actual birthday is the week after, but I needed to schedule the party for a weekend when Don’s away, so that he feels guilty about missing it. I am having to work mega-hard to make it the best party in her class, and there have been a few tough acts to follow already this school year.

Because we don’t live in a condo and the Port of Lost Wonder is booked solid, the pool party option is out. So, I decided to hire the kiddie section of the casino at Marina Bay Sands. There’s no actual gambling, of course. They use sweets instead of chips. Adorablé, right?! There’s also a dance floor with VIP area, and for the $20,000 hire fee, they throw in the DJ, which is nice. I was thinking of doing it myself, to practice my mixing, scratching and mash-up skills, but then I realised I would be too busy looking hot.

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Marina Bay Sands Casino

I’m getting a pink limo to pick up Mills, me, and some of her little besties, with their mummies. Cocktail attire, natch. No shorts and flip-flops at MBS, sweetie! (Please would someone tell David Beckham that!! Save him from himself!)

Food-wise, it’s sushi (healthy AND Asian; my genius idea of course!), 100 Krispy Kreme donuts, and one of those totes trendy cakes made entirely out of fruit. All the Expaterati kids’ parties have them, so you just sorta hafta. And what happens is hilarious! The kids get so excited when they see the colourful cake, and then they realise it’s all fruit, and their little hearts break right there on the spot! Haha!! I can’t wait for that bit. It’s the highlight of most birthday bashes I’ve been to with Max and Mills.

For the bevs, I’m doing mocktails: alcohol-free Singapore Slings and Piña Coladas. I’m also getting a few cases of Mini-Me Möet. It looks just like the real thing, but contains no booze. I think it’s so clever of these drinks companies to start embedding the drinking norms of our society as early as possible.

I am still working on the activities and games, probably including a piñata and pass the parcel, with samples of beauty products inside. I’ve been speaking to Mac and Stila about sponsoring the event. We’re haggling over the finer details because I want them to provide a make-up artist for the little girls free with the sponsorship package, but I also want waxing and ear-piercing thrown in and they’re just not responding well to that request.

Anyway, it is all in hand, and thankfully the gift is sorted. I got her a three-foot tall Expat Girl Doll. So cute! She has a little LV suitcase (I chose that over the North Face backpack option), gorgeous mini-Prada shoes (I chose those over the Doc Martins), and no sense of identity whatsoever on her sweet perma-grin face. She talks too! In four different languages, she says, “I love you”, “Where’s the airport?”, and “Bali again?!” LUV IT!

Lastly, but in no way leastestly, Mummy arrives next week, in time for Milly’s party. I haven’t seen her since August, so it’ll be fabbo to hear all the goss from her aqua aerobics group and her online scrabble crowd. She’s terrif. The kids are so looking forward to seeing “Gam-ma”, (or Glammy Gammy, as Don calls her). I’ll have to fill her in on the situation with my father and that woman.

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.

Awesome Fun-ness

I can’t write as much as I want to today because I am virtually on my knees from the mad social whirl of it all. This is such a busy time of year for the expaterati. It’s this period between Autumn (that’s Fall, Americans) break and Christmas when people aren’t travelling, and the “Social” section of my iCal is just bursting at the seams.

Hence my exhaustion and hurry! I went to an amazO brunch yesterday which lasted for 13 hours!! So I’m rather the worse for wear now, and have to dash off shortly to a pool party with Max and Milly. (OMG I haven’t told you that I resolved my stressful pool towel issue!! I ordered some from Orla Kiely in the UK. Awesomeness! More original and quirky than Lacoste, but still identifiable as premium designer goods by those in the know.)

Well, I say people aren’t travelling, but Don is, of course. Cape Town. So he missed my fabulous Halloween party. Which I KNOW you’re dying to hear about!! And I’m dying to tell you! But I’ve totes got to run, so I’ll give more deets mañana. Just a quickie highlights summary now.

So: I can quite comfortably say that the party was a ma-husive, unmitigated, rip-roaring success. Everyone said I did an amazing job. I got a ton of glowing feedback, and every time someone told me I was great, I did my really pretty Kate Middleton smile for them, and said that it was all down to my team. Bullshit of course. Those post-menopausal do-gooding hags were utterly f’ing useless. Especially Michelle.

The money we raised with the raffle surpassed my wildest fantasies. We had some lovely prizes which my team had extorted from their husbands. Canadian Cathy got us two nights in one of the Four Seasons at the Maldives worth $25,000 (flights and breakfast not included); American Amy donated a whole street of properties in Detroit, Michigan; and half-Lebanese Lana wangled first class flights with Emirates to Abu Dhabi. The ones with the onboard child-care! Whoop-whoop : )

After the raffle, we had this super interesting live interview with a guy in Sierra Leone who runs an Ebola call centre. I was able to tell him how much money we raised, and to reassure him that a vaccine is well on its way, thanks to me.

The best part of the night though was spending time with Will. More on that later, chaps!!

I <3 Feminism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Tale of Two Husbands

Another stressful couple of days, dear reader(s).

One of the yoga places I go to that I really rate (and my rating should not be under-estimated in its value, given that I am an accomplished lifelong yogi, and can do the crow pose) is on Orchard, not far from my house. It’s one of those very earnest and spiritual, but warehousey-cool places (so cool they don’t provide any means of drying your hands after using the loo – I love that nonconformity!), where the atmosphere is befittingly sombre and dignified. I can’t stand it when people don’t take their practice seriously.

I really needed to go this evening because it has been a serio stresso couple of days. As it turned out though, even the yoga was mega-stresso! There was a girl there, late twenties/ early thirties, all skinny and dressed up in her Lulu Lemon, like she has even the faintest idea of what yoga is really about. It’s not about the clothes, honey!!

When we were doing the tree pose she kept peering at me, like, can you hold this as long as I can? I held it AND I closed my eyes, which is a very difficult thing to do, as any experienced yogi would know. I flickered them open occasionally to check out how she was doing. Haha, lo and behold she was trying to close her eyes too, but kept losing her balance. Oh you silly girl! It takes a lot of serenity, loving karma, and oneness with the universe to achieve the closed-eye tree pose, sweetheart. Stupid b****.

So anyway, yes, serio stressoso time right now.

Don got back yesterday. The children greeted him like he was some kind of hero, returning victorious from battle. Come on, I’m the one who has spent the last week in battle! With those little ingrates.

Froo Froo dog is, I suspect, developing dog borderline personality disorder. That’s the most difficult disorder to work with in humans, Clara says. So, in dogs, I dread to think what we are going to do. I would welcome any suggestions. (And, don’t forget, you can follow me on twitter @expatej)

After the children were in bed, Don passed out. Great, sweetie. So good to have you home.

Having run out of floss, I went into his washbag (Don is a passionate flosser) to find his. I found something else though…

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And it was half-empty!! What fresh hell is this???

I mailed Don immediately to address the situation. I’m not one to let these things fester. It’s not good for my chi.

He rang me to say that it has always in his washbag, and I must have forgotten we used to use it, it has been so long. Excuse me, what now, now??? OK, that does ring a bell when I think about it, but taking it on a work trip? Hmmmmmmm.

Then something quite shocking happened, dear reader:

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I didn’t respond, but I can imagine that Michelle – much as I adore her ridic-amundo – is a nightmare wife, so I do feel for Bill. He seems like a nice guy, despite everything. I used to think Michelle was just a really fun lady. Now I’m starting to wonder what it must be like to be live with her 24/7. Flo told me she starts drinking in the morning! Argh!! No wonder she needs so much botox.

Oh dear, what a messed up day. I’m so glad I have a massage booked first thing tomorrow. FYI, the massage is at the Hyatt, of which I am now an Official Member. Having so arduously struggled with deciding which club to join, I realised that I needed to prioritise Me in this difficult process of remaining sane under duress. So, I joined the Hyatt rather than bothering with all the other clubby nonsense. So far, so good. It could do with a refurb, but I’m not one to make a scene.

Helper’s Day Off and Husband Away!

It is Sunday night. I am abso exhausted, and my hair looks more shocking than anyone who knows me would think possible. I have spent the whole day with my children.

Every Sunday, helpers in Singapore have the day off. It has been enshrined in law since January 2013, before which it was one day a month. They were loathe to enforce the requirement because of how much it would inconvenience people who have help. Interesting article about it here.

Now, I do know that you can ask them to work anyway, and either give them a day off in lieu, or pay them. Our helper asked me if I needed her this Sunday (given Don’s absence), but she only did that to humiliate me, so I thought, “No way! I’ll give them a great day! I’ll show you!”

As soon as Max bounded into my bedroom at 6 o’clock this morning, I began to regret my decision. A little. (I was out last night with the ladies, so I felt a bit jaded, and could have done with the usual lie-in.) The regret, however, served only to strengthen my resolve!

I reflected on that fascinating paradox as I dozed off, having told Max that he was free to play Minecraft until Milly woke up. Milly’s a sleeper! Like Don and I have always said about children, “A sleeper’s a keeper!” Mega LOLs : D

Both of them complained that breakfast was not how the helper makes it. The pancakes were too soggy, and the chocolate milk wasn’t the right temperature. (Even my green smoothie was disappointing. I didn’t want to bother with juicing the hard veg, as well as using the blender, because I didn’t want to have to clean the damn juicer myself. The blender is one thing, but life’s too short to clean a juicer!!)

It was raining, so the traffic was hell, and I was late dropping them off at their respective golf and ballet classes.

After that, I took them to the Botanical Gardens for lunch at Food For Thought, and a run around. Who should we see, of course, but the helper! Happy as Larry, and having a lovely time, eating deep-fried MSG-laced food with her friends. The children dashed over to her, and honestly, you’d have thought that I’m no fun at all, the way they hung around, wanting to stay with her. Ingrates. Especially after I’d gone out of my way to spend the day with them.

Next, I took them to see a Pixar film at the suites, and although Max was engrossed, Milly was so comfortable in her reclined chair and duvet that she kept falling asleep. I spent most of the film trying to keep her awake by prodding her, plying her with sugar-free sweets, and pulling her hair. I didn’t want to be up all night with her!

We had dinner at Marché in the basement of Somerset, so that the ingrates could play while I uploaded photos of today’s fun activities to Facebook (I made sure the pancakes didn’t look soggy by covering them in berries, and did some heavy editing). Because of my claustrophobia, I find that place quite difficult, but I was willing to risk potential trauma for Max and Milly’s enjoyment. That’s sacrifice for you.

Milly spoiled it for everyone though (maybe she isn’t a keeper after all) by repeatedly kicking a Japanese boy, and then, without my knowing, she snuck some rösti off my plate (hangover food haha) into her pocket, and smeared it in the boy’s face!! Oh Lordy. I don’t know where she is getting this behaviour from : ( First Froo Froo dog, now this!

I wasn’t ready to leave because I still had a few more pics I wanted to post, but when the rösti incident occurred, I really had no choice as a responsible parent other than to grab Milly, and tell her that she had utterly ruined the whole weekend for everyone ever.

Luckily, I speak Japanese, so I was able to apologise profusely to the boy’s mother in my most gracious, culturally appropriate dulcet tones.  I did want to say that she should tell the boy to grow a pair, but I’m not one to make a scene.

Bedtime was the usual murderous drama. I don’t even want to dredge it up by writing about it, it was so stressful.

Once Max and the Millster were both finally asleep, I started to process the deleterious effect that today has had on my psyche. I decided to meditate, but that didn’t help. So, I did some chanting, and that didn’t help either.

Then I opened a bottle of NZ sauv blanc, and began writing the above. That helped. Expressing myself freely through the written word does seem to be both my great talent and my great saviour. I think Virginia Woolf said something quite similar. Great minds, and all that!!

But then, dear reader, my refreshed serenity was suddenly dashed against harsh jagged rocks… I got a text from Michelle’s husband: “Hey, you. We should get together some time”.

Argh!! What a creep! He must know Don’s away. I’ve no idea how to respond. Shame he’s so nice. Actually, the more I’ve thought about it, Michelle must be a difficult person to live with. Maybe he’s lonely in his marriage. That’s still no excuse though. Right, dear reader?

Our Unusual Orange House

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It seems that I am over my stress-induced writer’s block, brought on by Michelle’s husband and his feet. I am very much in the mood to write today, and I would like to tell you about where I live. (Please, stalkers: no, just NO, ok?)

So, I think I have already mentioned that we live in a house, or a “landed property”, as they call them here. We weren’t sure where to live when we came on our look-see (I love that Yankee expression!), and at first I was looking at condos as well as houses around Central and East Coast Singapore.

Then I happened to stumble upon a beautiful street called Emerald Hill Road… Wowee!! I’d read about it on Trip Advisor, and saw that it’s an amazing street of Chinese shophouses (which is a photographic specialty of mine, and these houses regularly feature in my many artistic endeavours), a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road. For Londoners, Orchard Road is the equivalent of Oxford Street. Emerald Hill is quiet and historic, so I suppose it’s v like a Soho side-street.

When I told Don that I wanted to live on Emerald Hill, he had no clue what I was talking about. The fact is that working expat husbands really don’t know or care anything about where they are in the world. It is just about where’s work, where’s the airport, and where’s bed. I know this for a fact.

Now, I can be a bit of a push-over on some issues, but I was so insistent on the matter of Emerald Hill (I threatened to go home with the children, but leave the dog with him – he hates Froof the dog; but I was bluffing, of course, dear reader) that he agreed to put it to the mobility team, who put it to the relocation agency, who put it to the realtors; or estate agents in proper English.

Unfortunately, we were told that the houses on Emerald Hill were “beyond our package” by several thousand dollars, so although I was disappointed, that didn’t stop me chanting. As a seasoned chanter, I know that it bears fruit.

I chanted for five days, and on the sixth, I had a call from the mobility people saying that the relocation people had said that the realtor had found a property actually ON Emerald Hill which was within our package price range!! Hurrah!!!

So that’s where we live : )

It’s a house called La Taverna, which has been quirkily altered to contrast with all the other Chinese shophouses on the street, in that it’s painted a textured orange, with different un-Chinesey tiling.

One of the conditions of the lease is that we never open the front shutters (it’s dark, but that’s a small price to pay to live on this iconic street), and we have to keep a low profile. No parties, no deliveries, rarely open the front door. I don’t know why.

We’ve put Max and Milly in the back bedrooms because it can get quite loud out the front, with the bars opposite. Our bedroom is on the bar side, but to my mind, the noise just makes it more like living in Soho (for free, while paying off the mortgage back home hahaha!! I <3 being an expat); and Don is delighted because one of those bars has a members-only cigar room, so he pops across when he wants to read The Economist in peace with a Siglo VI Cohiba. He has met some fascinating chaps over there apparently.

Not that I would worry, but what I like about exclusive cigar bars is that there are rarely any vile nasty gold-digging, husband-stealing b****s there. It’s mostly men, talking about what they’ve read in The Economist or watched on Bloomberg/ CNN whilst on the treadmill.

They’re not the type to bother with all this Tinder stuff etc lolol. Don?? Hahaha! I know more about Tinder than he does! Bless him and his Ralph Lauren socks.

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Smart Move, Singapore!

In the same way that the early Americans built their towns and cities on a sensible grid system to counter the problems inherent in the more naturally evolved infrastructure of old England, Singapore has created an extremely wise solution to avoid the ills which arose from cheap labour in the Americas: do not allow these people to breed.

This interesting fact was explained to me by a taxi driver yesterday. I went to a fabulous spa on Sentosa for a facial, massage, mud wrap, and reflexology – really lovely! I like to have cheaper, more local treatments on Orchard Road at least once a week, but as Don is away, I deserved a spesh treat. I’ve been getting really quite stressed since he left (yesterday morning), what with the ongoing worry about Max’s Minecraft obsession (over which I have abso zero control, and now he has started watching YouTube clips about it, which probably signals the inevitable terminus of his six-year childhood); and Milly’s dysfunctional relationship with Froo Froo dog.

I’m v concerned about Froo Froo too because she has taken a turn for the worse, and seems to be muttering to herself in dark corners of the house. At this rate, the poor thing will need psychological support that I am simply not equipped to deliver. That’ll be expensive here, no doubt : ( Maybe I can find a Skype dog psychologist.

Sometimes I wish we lived in the States. Things like dog therapy are much cheaper there. Moving for the dog’s sanity, though, would probably not hold much sway with Don. He didn’t even want to bring the Froofster. When it came to the crunch, I had to say (bluffing, of course) that it was me and the dog, or neither of us. He did think about it for quite a while, looking back.

Anyway, so I spent the cab journey to Sentosa catching up on the news on Facebook. I like to keep abreast of the goings-on on the Singapore Expat Wives’ group. It’s very much you-snooze-you-lose with that group because there are so many interesting posts constantly emerging.

On the return journey though, I was all zen and relaxed, so I settled back into the seat, and listened to the driver’s sweet chitchat. So, that was when he told me about this clever way of discouraging the lower working people from breeding.

He explained that, as the vast majority of domestic workers (female, of course) are Filipinas, the imported manual laborers and such males are deliberately not from the Philippines. Genius!

Instead, they are Bangladeshi or Chinese, and because they often don’t speak English, and certainly not Tagalog, fraternising simply does not occur; thus no little baby working people are born on Singaporean soil. Pretty clever, eh? That, plus the required six-monthly pregnancy tests for domestics, pretty much sews up the problem : ) It covers all bases, as those hilariously metaphorical yanks would say.

By the time I got to Dempsey to meet my new friend Liz for lunch (Liz knows Deb, whom I know from our last country, from the country they were in before that; I think it was Zambia, or Namibia or somewhere; def one of the African “ia”s), I felt v curious and inspired by the circumstances of the lower workers in Singapore. I am considering writing a book, if I can find the time, either about Filipina domestics, or perhaps a collection of taxi driver tales. Both would be so fascinating, I can’t decide! (I still haven’t decided about my pool towel and club dilemnas! Argh!!)

Thankfully, I have at least made up my mind about which Gucci bag to have flown in to Dubai airport. Quel relief!

I think Liz, particularly as a newcomer, was v interested in my potential sociological studies because she kept nodding, smiling, and saying, “Ah, yes” and “Oh really?”. In her previous (pre-expat wife) life, she was an editor on a highbrow British paper, so she knows a good story when she sees one. Lay off my ideas, Liz!! LOLs.