So Where The Eff Is Don?

Kinda rainy...

Kinda rainy…

Having said that it’s all awesome and fab here in divine Langkawi, I might’ve failed to mention that it has been raining the whole freakin’ week. I’ve had a word with the hotel manager, but he said he can’t do anything about it. Come on, Four Seasons, what now, now?!!

It isn’t totes terriblé though, I suppose, because it’s probably best not to go back to England with a tan. People get so jealous about stuff like that. It’s as if unless you’re pasty, they don’t want to know you. Ridic. Well, properly pasty I soon will be.

My Kundalini activation is fading as quickly as my tan, probably because of the stormy weather, both inside and out. I’ve been thinking about Don, and how this is all going to work, what with the move back to London in ten days’ time. No live-in helper AND no husband?… What kind of hellish combination is that?! It’s a living nightmare, I tell you.

I was going to wait until next week to see if Clara knows where Don is (as she knows him so bloody well, though supposedly I don’t know that!), but it was playing on my mind rather badly yesterday, and I decided to Skype her ASAP, for the sake of my chi. I felt a tad hashtag awkz about the conversation because: A) I haven’t told her I know about her and Don’s hidden past that they’ve concealed from me for so many years, and frankly I’m more than a little miffed about the situation; and 2. she hasn’t mentioned that anything untoward has occurred at work, so I wasn’t sure what state I’d find her in. I didn’t want to have to listen to her drone on about her woes while trying to sort out my own, did I? Nope way, Josephine!

So I messaged young Chilly Mallone (ok, he’s not that young anymore) to find out whether Clara’s career was in tatters yet. I sent him the money weeks ago and thought I’d hear about it from Mummy the moment the poop hit Clara’s fan.

It turns out that the wayward delinquent Chilly once was, grew up into someone with morals, of all things! He texted me back saying he’d realised that he couldn’t go through with the allegations because Clara had “been there when no one else wuz”, and it was “wrong to mess with her”. Oh, brilliant!! Since when do these people have a conscience?!

I was quite annoyed by this revelation because so far none of my carefully crafted plans for rewengé have come to fruition (see Revenge Phase Two and Three if you haven’t been paying sufficient attention to my glamorous life). I had hoped that at least this one would.

To dig a little deeper, I phoned him. He said he was busy, but “I meant what I said in my text… And I’ll give you back the money, awright?”

“Yeah, whatevs, sweets”, I told him, “I’m in London in a couple weeks. Let’s hook up in my manor and you can give it back… If you haven’t spent it on crack by then!”

“Look lady”, came Chilly’s retort – oh so now he’s allowed to have tude?? – “You’re the one who’s on crack. Seriously. What are you smokin’? Trying to mess with your own cousin. That’s your family, man! Thas your blood! Thas” –

I couldn’t bear to listen anymore to this uppity nonsense, so I interrupted his flow.

“Ok, Chilly, ra ra ra and all a dat, but I’m outa here. Call ya when I’m back. Lay-tah”, I said with my finest Londin verbiage, and hung up.

Then I Skyped Clara. She was at work, but accepted the call because it was lunchtime, and also she wanted to tell me the “great news” she’d just heard. She has been promoted. Well, yay for her. (I really must get a job when I get back so that I can get promoted.) As we spoke, it was obvioso that she had no clue about Don’s disappearance because she was asking how the packing went and when we’re back, with irritatingly genuine care and excitement. She positively gushed at me.

“I’m so looking forward to seeing you all, Emma-Jane. The kids must have grown since I saw them last! It’ll be wonderful to be able to be in their lives… and yours too, of course. We must get together for a drink as soon as you’re back. Remember how we used to meet up in the City after work for a good old natter? That’ll be so lovely… And if there’s anything you need, anything I can do, just give me a shout, OK?”

“Yeah, Clara babes, it will be lovely”, I said, thinking there was really no point in continuing the convo, and making my exit thusly: “I’d better be off-ski now anyhoo. You know what Don’s like when he’s on his hols – requires constant attention, LOL! But soooo amazebobs to hear your news. I am mega happy for you. You rock!”

I clicked end call and felt miserable. Chilly let me down, Clara made me feel all guilty by being so effing nice, and I was still none the wiser about Don, or about my stupid step-sister Angel. What I’ll have to do next, which I’m hoping to avoid, is call her equally stupid mother in Australia, Chantelle. Ugh. Please Lordy, don’t make me have to do that. I don’t want to talk to her period, but I especially don’t want to tell her that her teenage daughter (who was sort of my responsibility, I guess, was she?) has done a runner with my husband. It’s not my fault, is it, dear readers?? I didn’t see it coming. Did you?!

To make myself feel better, I resorted to the two things that always work: I ordered some Veuve Click, and had a bikini photo shoot. Weather be damned! I thought Max could take the pics, but he proved to be utterly useless, so I sent him back to the kids’ club. Instead I got this sweet chap from a resort down the road to help me out. He’s a pool boy who I met at Langkawi’s famed jungle waterfall on Wednesday. I did tell you about him, I think. Or did I? Golly perhaps I failed to mention that too!

As you can see, I needed a brolly to protect the hairdo, and I’ve just had a profound reflection in my beautiful complex brain: that you, dear readers, are the brolly for my psyche. I heart you.

Rainy Langkawi 2 edit

Oh yeah Langkawi trio

Am triple-horrified by this weather business…

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Expat Agony Part Two of Two

I still have a couple more woes to share before you are up to speed with my glamorous life, but you’ll be happy to know that I am at least feeling a whole heck of a lot better. Having spent a lot of time at the amazebobs hotel spa, I am now both grounded and uplifted, and I look fabulous from the tip of my toes to the top of my flaming locks. I have been: scrubbed, stroked, kneaded, nurtured, massaged, manicured, pedicured, pampered, emphatically lymphatically drained, and my Kundalini has been repeatedly activated. All rather marvellous, so I am today sufficiently restored to continue with my tale.

After the leaving do, saying goodbye to my Maserati, and then the terrible tragedy, the packing process began. Because of our enormous collection of furniture and art, and my equally vast wardrobal contents, it took five days to complete the move, with a total of 572 boxes. Argh! It was like slowly tearing off a plaster from an open wound. I’ve said it before, but I’ll reiterate: how much pain can one person endure?! Endure it, I did though. What choice did I have, given that Don prioritised his career and his own wishes over me? Zero, babeses, zero nada niente 没有.

What was good though is that we had less stuff than was estimated for the shipment, so I popped out during the week to buy more. I got a few bits of furniture from Timothy Doulton (love that shop!!) at Dempsey, and some odds and ends from Crate and Barrel. It all just went into boxes straight away, so was quite easy.

Of course, everything was done for us by the twelve strong chappies from the moving company, but that doesn’t mean that it was stress-free for me. Quite the contrary. Watching my life being dismantled bit-by-bit was shear hell. Until they did the roof terrace, I could at least take myself up there for a Veuve Click and a lounge. I was in fact engaging in that very pursuit when the time came for the packers to dismember the area. I heard clinking and realised that, for some unknown reason, there were at least twenty Veuve empties concealed behind the ornamental pool towel cupboard. Extraordinary. I do recall putting one or two back there when I forgot to take them down for the recycling, but that many?! Must not have been me. No doubt the help has been drinking my fizz all these years without me noticing. That woman! Can’t wait to see the back of her. (Though what to do with the irritants until I have a nanny in London?… Am somewhat worried about that, as 16-hour a day staff may be too pricey to justify. So unfair that there isn’t cheap help in London.)

Anyway, the next thing I knew, all of the empties were being carefully wrapped and put into a box. Ooopsy! They’re just so wild and impetuous, these moving guys. If it’s not nailed down, they pack it.

On the fifth day it was finally over, and although I felt exhausted and devastated, it was a relief to see all of the boxes gone and to close the door on my beautiful Emerald Hill Road home; and on the past. Well, I say “close the door”, but I personally wasn’t there for the final goodbye because I had a late lunch with my girlies. The children weren’t there either (they were at Camp Asia), but it doesn’t matter, I’m sure. Kids are so resilient, particularly expat kids. It was only their home. It’s not like they won’t have another one.

Boxes

My lovely life in 572 boxes…

We moved to a serviced apartment on Orchard Road as we weren’t due to leave for Langkawi until the next day. That night we all went to Andre’s for dinner to celebrate Angel’s seventeenth birthday and mark the end of the move, but it wasn’t the most fun evening everrrr despite the venue. Don seemed like he was on a different planet – very strange and distracted. The irritants were chaotic and even more irritating than usual. Even Angel was off-key and not her normal “I’m so hashtag young and hot and cool like Cara Delevingne” self. It was dull enough that afterwards I took myself off to meet Flo for a few beverages as a consolation.

The next morning, I was a bit tired and didn’t wake up until after 10 o’clock. Milly took it upon herself to pull me from my dreams, dashing into the bedroom and saying, “Mummy, where’s Daddy? Cannot find him, lah. And where’s Angel? Wasn’t she coming to the airport too? She’s going back to ‘Stralia and we’re going to Langkawi, but she was coming to the airport with us. Is she gone already?”

I got up and went to ask the helper where Don was, but she hadn’t seen him since the previous night. Not very helpful, helper. I phoned him, only to find that his phone was switched off. So, I decided to just go about my day and get ready for the holiday. I had a shower and was brushing my teeth when I noticed that Don’s wash bag wasn’t there. Nor was his toothbrush or anything else belonging to him. Then I looked in the wardrobe on his side of the bed, and it was empty. Starting to feel alarmed, I ran arms flailing to the desk. Laptop not there. Nothing of Don’s anywhere. In a horrible flash of realisation, I dashed into Angel’s room. Also empty. WTF??? I didn’t know what to do or think, dear readers. What could I do? I completed the preparations for the holiday, told the children that Don and Angel weren’t coming with us, and off we went to Changi.

So here I am a few days later – bruised and confused, but unbroken. I have heard nothing from Don, and his Singapore phone has now been disconnected. Next week when we’re briefly back in Sing (before heading to Phuket for an awesome party), I think I’ll contact Clara to see if she knows what’s going on. In the meantime, I will just focus on Me Time, and keep getting my spa on.

Expat Agony Part One of Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woo Hooooo I’m Rolling In It!!!

I was up to my eyelashes this morning planning our last-minute goodbye party for this weekend, when the phone rang. It’s actually the pre-goodbye party because I want to have another one at the Tanjong Beach Club the weekend after, but this pre-goodbye goodbye is at our house beautiful abode. The packers arrive next Monday, so it’s the last opportunity for an awesome blow-out on our glamorous roof terrace. I’m not really feelin’ it right now – my chi is not so much in a partying space – but once I’ve ruined Liz’s life (scheduled for tomorrow) I should be hot to trot.

Anyhoo, so my phone rang and it was my father’s lawyer. Haven’t heard from her in a good long while. She gave me the best news everrrr actually. Apparently before my father went proppa loopy, he decided to leave the bulk of his sizeable assets to myself and my sister, while he is still alive. That was what he’d always said he wuzgunna do, but being such a wuzgunna guy, I didn’t think it would actually happen… So how AMAZEBOBS izzat?!! Woohoo, huh babeses!!! I can totes keep that Burberry tote!!

I’m in such a great mood now that I’m going shopping. Maybe a champagne lunch with my girlies later. Nothing much happening at home anyway. Don is being all weird and doing tons of “fun stuff” with the irritants. They’ve all gone to Legoland in Malaysia. He didn’t even take the help! Yesterday it was Universal Studios for the gazillionth time (god how I loathe that place). He’s also buying them gifts left right and centre. Some seriously high-ticket items! He got Milly these Tiffany ear-rings: 18k rose gold with diamonds. What now, now?? (And excuse me, but where’s my gift?!)

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He went equally OTT for Max and got him an iWatch, but not just that! He even bothered to choose him a strap. It’s insania! This level of attention to detail is completely unlike him when it comes to the children. Work, yes. Irritants, noooooooo. I can only assume that he has lost his mind. Liz must have finally sucked all the sanity out of him. Care muchly, do I?? No, not a whole wad muchly.

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The Hellish Hells of Relocation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How could I part with this beauty, babeses??

Revenge Phase Two: Liz

Babeses. With cases of marital betrayal, like the one in which I am currently embroiled, it is patently clear that the underlying cause is the Other Woman. Men, as we know, are simple creatures. Easily led. Easily hunted down, and captured by these determined sluts. They can’t help themselves. It’s as if one whiff of slut juice, and they’re hooked, like toothless crackheads desperately seeking out their next disgusting fix.

The fact with these women is that it is them are the problem. Women, as the fairer sex, are supposed to be better than this. Knowing that men are ultimately vulnerable beings – as they know particularly well in some countries where women conceal their overly-tempting attributes such as elbows – we women have a duty to protect men from their own stupidity. Yet these Other Women, so selfish and so foolish, forget their duties as females. In doing so, what they fail to realise is that the quicker their juices have ensnared the fool, all the more quickly will he find another pestilent goblet from whence to sup.

For the next part of my revenge campaign, I am focussing most intensely upon Liz. This is mainly her fault, after all, not Don’s. The attack will be two-pronged, as follows.

 

Online:
I have set up a site providing detailed information about her, including photos (all of which I took from social media, and her LinkedIn profile), and about her exploits with my husband. I am also using the photos from Don’s iCloud that I found in February, but I will do some blurring as I do not wish to taint any innocent eyes which may accidentally fall upon the site due to my excellent SEO skills. I have taken a teensy bit of artistic license with the written content, and used my amazebobs Photoshop skills to further enhance her awfulness.

The site is all ready to go. All I need to do, at a time of my choosing, is change the visibility settings from private to public, and watch the hits roll in.

I will initiate a hashtag on Twitter and Instagram (maybe Pinterest too), to further spread the word. Name suggestions for this hashtag are currently being considered, should you wish to contribute your ideas, dear readers, such as #pestilentfannyLiz, and so on. Please submit your contributions via the comments on this page. ThanQ.

In addition to this project, I will post the following message and a nice clear photo of Liz on all the expat wives’ FB groups in Singapore, instantly accessing many thousands of women – some of whom are in possession of great vitriole, in need of an object.

This woman, Elizabeth Genoir, is an adulteress. I know this because she is screwing my husband, and has very probably screwed yours too. Expat wives of Singapore, I urge you to do your worst.

I will include a link to the Liz-shaming site. Thereby thusly, I shall whip up an army of enraged piranhas who will chew her to pieces within a matter of hours.

 

At her abode:
I have had words with the concierge at her condo (cash may have changed hands, but I can neither confirm nor deny this). He has assured me that he feels my pain, is very much empathically aligned with my wronged position, and will do everything he can to make her home life as miserable as possible. Things will mysteriously begin going wrong for her, transforming her into a haggard shadow of her former self.

The helpful gentleman is also tracking her movements, so that he can let me know at what times I am most likely to find her. This is because part B of Phase Two is confronting her at the condo, during a moment when there are as many people around as possible to witness her disgrace. I’m thinking by the pool perhaps. I will then tell her about my upcoming online activities, in preparation for the launch.

 

So they were all business trips, huh Don?

So they were all business trips, huh Don?

 


 

So that’s Phase Two. Do tell me if my plans aren’t brutal enough. I do have rather a lot on my plate at the mo. As if taking revenge wasn’t sufficiently burdensome, I am also having to deal with the minutiae of the upcoming relocation. At least it’s forcing me to look through our stuff and sell anything of value. Max didn’t need such an expensive bike anyway, and I’ve said it was stolen though that’s impossibly unbelievable in Singapore. Don believed me, but only because he wan’t really listening – he’s even more preoccupied than ever right now.

My step-sister Angel is also preparing for departure, to go back to her mother in Australia. Chantelle appears to have sorted herself out, with the help of a bizarre-sounding cult, and accepted that my father doesn’t give a sh** about her and never did, even before the dementia kicked in. The irritants will miss Angel, but it doesn’t matter because children are so resilient and forgetful. I won’t’ miss the waif at all. She was so unforgivably rude to me at Max’s birthday party. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

No news from Clara yet as to the ruination of her beloved career. I’m in no hurry though. As I have previously said, revenge is a dish best served cold.

 

 

Boring Well-Off Wifeys Who Do Charity Work

I don't need to be no Mother Teresa to justify my existence

I don’t need to be no Mother Teresa to justify my existence

Annoyingly, the landlord wants us out of our fabulous Emerald Hill Road shophouse by the end of July because apparently saying we’re not sure if we’re staying doesn’t cut it. What now, now?? Is chivalry and general politesse truly so dead? I mean, the guy must own half of the island so like, what’s the big deal…?

The implicationses of this are that we’ve been forced to accept viewings of the property. I abso hate having strangers – even Expaterati strangers – traipsing around my inner sanctum, delving into my most personal nooks and crannies, and checking out my vast collection of shoes and such. Can’t bear it. And some of them want to come before midday! Imagine!! It’s very stressful for me, as you will no doubt sympathise, dear readers, and it interferes quite intensely with my roof terrace relaxation and meditation.

I got the time of a visit wrong yesterday morning and was faced with an horrific rush to stash the Veuve empties behind the ornamental pool towel cupboard, pour the remainder of a glass into my fabulous bourganvillia bush (utterly wasteful and I loathe waste when so many people in this world have so little – even if my bush is the finest on the street), and shimmy into some elegant resort wear. I’ve only my sharp wits and perceptiveness to thank for my rapid response. Otherwise I can’t think how embarrassing it would’ve been for the potential tenants, particularly the wife, to stumble upon me in all my hotness.

Anyhoo, today we had another couple round and on this occasion, I knew exactly when they were due to arrive. I’m almost certain that the reason I got it wrong yesterday was because of those pesky relocation people not telling me. Don says it was my mistake, but he says that about so many things that it can’t possibly be truesome.

They seemed nice at first – loud American wife (loud in that lovely way that only Septics can truly carry off) and beige Belgian hus. They really liked the house and she asked me lots of questions about the neighbourhood and living in Singas. Little did she know how privileged she was to be picking the complex brains of an expert expat and celebrité blogger. Some people don’t know they’re born, honestly. As a kind soul though, I was happy to give her the benefit of my wisdom. I even gave her a cup of tea. Apparently they drink Earl Grey now, these Americans… Funny that, after all the hoo-ha they made about our tea.

Then she started to get all personal and up in my face! Gently at first, so I didn’t even notice. She said, “Soooo, Mrs Austen-Jones, God I love your name!! It’s so British! So cute!!! Kinda royal, and classic! But so loooong. Is it ok if I call you Emma?”

“Errr well it’s Emma-Jane really, so I’d prefer EJ… You know, like your OJ or your PBJ and stuff…”

“Sure Emma, sure. I hear you. EJ it is!”, she said, and I thought gosh I really love Americans.

“So Emma”, she continued, “You’ve been here for a few years now. What’ve you been up to? I mean, I know you’re a mom, which wonderful – I’m a mom too – and I understand from your husband that you used to be a lawyer. Me too! Funny, huh?? And I’m thinking about what I’m going to do with myself here if I’m not practicing, so I’d love to know how you’ve spent your time.”

“OMG, you’re a lawyer too! It’s like totes contagious among corporate expat spouses… law and accounting. Bizarro!! Ummmm, well what I’ve been mainly doing is taking some time out to explore, and you know, get to know the real me, who I am as an awesome person.”

[At that point, I did a moving rendition of the song, I’ve been to paradiiiiiiiise, but I’ve never been to meeeeee. It was a beautiful moment.]

The woman, Kelly, appeared alarmingly unmoved, and asked, “So what have you actually been doing?”

“Well, as a life-long yogi and dedicated meditator, that has taken much of my attention. Plus I go to the gym a lot, and I work out with my personal trainer. And I think it’s important to look one’s best in flip flops, so regular pedis are essential. Very time-consuming. And it’s totes vital as an expat wife to have a strong social network, so I meet up with my Expaterati girlies as much as poss… And I write a blog… Maybe as a newcomer you haven’t heard of it… You should check it out. Diary of an Expat Somebody. It’s all about sharing my glamorous life and the profound insights I have with the universe and beyond.”

“Oh, ok”, she said, and this is where it got nasty, “So you don’t have a job, you’re out all the time exercising or partying” –

I had to cut her off, “No babes, I’m at home sometimes, being a really great wife and mum or having me time so that I can become a better wife and mum.”

[This mom sh** has to stop. But it won’t!!! It’ll only get worse! It’s being adopted everywhere I look. Even the Aussies ffs. What would the Bard have thought about the systematic slaughter of our language?!]

“Sure, Emma, I get what you’re telling yourself, but we’re moving here from India, where I had the chance to be involved in some incredible charity initiatives. We really did some amazing work, so vital. Now ok, maybe here there’s less need, but I’m sure there are plenty of volunteering opportunities. Don’t you think you could’ve used your time here a little more… constructively?”

Enough was starting to become very much enough. This complete stranger was sitting in my kitchen, interrogating me about how I live my life! Rood. She didn’t even know what a generous, giving, hugely-empathic person I am. Hold my tongue, I no longer could.

“Well, Kelly, it’s really super-nice that you did all that helpy stuff. Super dooper nice, and you obviously find yourself to be a more important person because of it so it’s just marvellous that a few orphans or whatevs gave you the pleasure of being holier than thou. Now, what did you say your husband does for a living again? Oh yes, he’s a banker – yes, aren’t they all? So effectively, babes, as the wife of an evil capitalist, sustained by a system that exploits and robs the less fortunate, all you’ve been with your do-gooding is your husband’s conscience. It happens all over the world, spoilt rich wives consoling themselves with a supporting role, pretending that fannying about in soup kitchens will compensate for the social crimes to which they themselves are accessories!”

I was on a roll! Words were pouring out of my mouth in a stream so amazebobsly smooth and coherent that I even surprised myself!! I suspect I may be a gifted orator. And I seem to know a whole bunch of stuff I didn’t even know I knew! I’m a gorgeous mystery.

She tried to interrupt, but I was havin’ none of it.

“And an accessory is precisely what you are in this life – just another gaudy bauble – so don’t you forget that. Don’t go thinking that your tiny contribution to poor people has any more value that a tacky piece of costume jewellery. Your husband’s, and therefore thusly your, contribution to everything bad in the world faaaaaar outweighs the feeble attempts you’ve made to give back. It’s a drop in the ocean. All you’ve really been doing is making yourself feel good about YOU. And that, my girl, is a shameful and narcissistic thing to do.”

I paused, and then added, “So there!”, to further emphasise the power of my oration.

Kelly looked blank, and asked, “And what does your husband do exactly?”

“He’s a banker. Of course. But that’s on him. Unlike you, I am my own person. I don’t need to be his conscience. So that’s why I don’t do charity work. I’m no hypocrite. And anyway, actually I have done a bit of volunteering in my capacity of Events Chair with the Singapore International Women and Trailing Spouses Association. We raised a ton of cash for Ebola last year thanks to moi. But I did that as a favour to a friend who positively begged me for my skills, not because I needed to feel good about myself.”

The beige evil capitalist then entered the kitchen with the letting agent.

“I think we should go now, Stephane”, said Kelly, “This woman is insane. I could never live in a house where she has lived.”

Good. Now GET OUT, I thought.

Rehab For Expats To De-Pat

Ever one to be full of fabulous entrepreneurial ideas, I have been pondering one lately which I believe has great untapped potential. The thought came over me yesterday as I contemplated the resounding success of my post on the 20 thingses I will miss about Xījiãpō.

My complex, mysterious brain threw forth the idea that there should be rehab places for the Expaterati, to assist in the transformation from expat to normal person, via means of extreme re-immersion. (Clara says re-patting, like any major change, is “an opportunity for transformation”, and I suppose she could be right. Still sucks though.) The rehabs would have the geographical locations of small, dull villages in whichever country the expat is returning to. Being from the UK, I will use this as my example for illustratory purposification.

So the rehab would be in a village far away from London, to make it as difficult as possiblé for the ex-expat to access excitement, diversity and vibrancy during the therapeutic process. They would be installed in fairly average accommodation (fully staffed, of course – let’s not push people completely over the edge!), and required to undertake mundane, but purposeful activities throughout the day. These could include volunteering at the post office (which would be super useful because I don’t think the Royal Mail have paid staff anymore), working at the village shop, doing dog-walking for local residents, or other more specific employment related to individuals’ skill-sets.

If the ex-expat has children, there will be absolutely no school bus, and therefore thusly a significant proportion of waking hours will be dedicated to ferrying said children around and sitting in traffic. Car stereos will be locked to the most tedious local radio stations, and phones or other devices will not be permitted in vehicles.

There will also be a strict requirement for community participication, including, but not limited to, organising events such as church fêtes, disseminating information on woefully boring local issues, and providing foreign language tuition for village residents, in the event that any languages were picked up during expathood. Community involvement notwithstanding, the insular nature of the locals and their strong indecipherable accents will mean that at no point will the ex-expat feel a sense of belonging to the community, and will therefore thusly experience alienation, rejection, and an inability to build relationships with anyone in said community. It may sound harsh, but this would be a particularly important aspect of the treatment, adopting, as it does, the evidence-based technique known as swamping, wherein the patient is exposed to the very thing they dread. No pain no gain, babeses!

There will also be a series of mindfulness-based DBT courses, all of which must be completed in sequence before the ex-expat is assessed as ready to leave the rehab. These will focus on issues like:

  • Being a small and insignificant fish in a large rancid pond
  • Surviving without a tan, or even a healthy glow
  • Not constantly referring to the awesome places where one has lived, and how much better they are
  • Concealing one’s light behind a bushel (in my case, the bushel is going to have to be mahusiv)
  • Getting used to the drudgery of long days, particularly if re-patting from Singas, where the days dash by
  • Only meeting new people occasionally, and accepting that they might not realise how profoundly fascinating you are

Depending on the specific presentification of the patient, there may be restrictions on behaviour or permissible activities. For example, it may be necessary to disallow alcohol consumption, the smoking of cigars, dining out, or the playing of social sports. Any activity which sustained or brought meaning/ structure/ pleasure to the ex-expats life whilst abroad will need to be eliminated for the duration of rehabilititation.

The final essential component is group and individual therapy. Clara always says that Drama and Movement Therapy is the best way to “bypass the ego and explore the deeper unconscious aspects of the self and the soul”, so that’s a must for inclusion in the treatment. Individual therapy with highly trained analysts – preferably Jungian – would need to happen up to five times a week, depending on how expatty the ex-expat is. The most expatty patients will be assigned therapists of the very highest calibre, who will take absolutely none of their sh**. Because a huge pile of that, there will inevitably be.

So I am hereby sharing my brilliant idea with the world, and I think you’ll find that it will soon be a huge success on Kickstarter. Investors, feel free to get in touch, though I will need to retain 51%. I am wondering about the name now… Perhaps The Hard Times Clinic. So heart Charlie Dickens. He should’ve kept his sentences shorter though.


Image credit: http://internationaltimes.it/

Image credit: http://internationaltimes.it/

Nearly four yrs since we lost you. If only you had gone to rehab, Ames babes. Then we’d still have lovely you. I was at a Four Seasons in Bali when I heard the news. Cried my heart out into that infinity pool.

20 Thingses I’ll Miss About Awesome Singapore

coke can

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Cheap taxis with such friendly uncles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Our Mahusiv Shipment

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

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

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

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

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

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

SONY DSC

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

Breaking Up Is Never Easy, I Know

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

and Flight of the Conchords’ Carol Brown

 

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

What Are Riches? #baffed twice in one week

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

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

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

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

Problem = ????

#baffed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Limbo State of the Expat Wife

As expat wives assuming the trailing spouse position (which can be compared to luuuurv positions, but the individual context determines which one), over the years we say stuff like this a lot: “We find out next week/ month/ year what’s happening”. A move will be “on the cards”, or “highly likely”, or “potentially possible” for a long time, and then it will suddenly become REALITY. Or, equally suddenly, the expected location will become an entirely different location. From one day to the next.

So this means that we have a whole bunch of simultaneous arghs and yays going on, colliding with each other, and competing for space in the saner parts of our minds. Some of those arghs and yays don’t make it over to the saner parts, and wreak all kinds of havoc in the insane parts. Yes, babeses, let’s just take a moment to honour the insane parts. Just because we’re hot, it doesn’t mean we’re not human!

First, there’s the horror of losing our friendses: our Expaterati gang. The ladies and dudes who have made our lives fabulous while our husbands have been away, while our irritants have driven us to drink even beyond Veuve Click, while our helpers have baffed us, and while the stresses and strains of maintaining Skype relationships have proven too much to bear.

Then there’s the awful practical matter of the inventory, when you realise how much totes essential stuff you have accumulated, and you’re loathe to part with. Do you really need those brightly-coloured hippie baggy pants (in the American translation, not the Brit) you bought in Vietnam, when you had an awesome tan and all the world was groovy?? Hells ya! But the more you keep, the more you have to account for on that effing list.

In amongst that, for those with young irritants, is the tragic saying goodbye to their clothes and toys. So that’s like knocking another nail into the coffin of galloping ageing and eventual death. No point taking it with you if you’re not having any more kids… But to have to decide that all at once now, and have it sink in, at the same time as everything else..?! That’s hard core loss stuff, dear readers.

And then there’s the next location. We can get so swamped by the practical issues that need urgent resolution (which property, which area, which gym, where the best pedis are, which school, etc.) that we forget how deva’d (devastated) we are about leaving the previous place behind. If that’s how we roll, and so often we do, the deva kicks in 6-12 months down the line, and we find ourselves in the supermarket or at home in our new house, in floods of tears, thinking, “I hate this place!!”

If the move is a move “home”, to the place you lived before and where your passport says you’re from, you are officially a Repat. Don’t expect any sympathy. Other than from me!! I am here to give you tons of sympathy because when you repat, you might not slot right in where you left off, and I totes feel your pain.

When you get to the next place, you will be in a big hurry to settle in. My awesomest advice is: slow TF down. The sooner you think you’ve arrived, the worster you’ll feel if the downer kicks in. Best to anticipate the downer, and everything else is a win.


It’s not easy to feel out of control of your own destiny. Yes, we trailing spouses – male or female – make it look easy. But that is because we make it a daily practice. All trailing spouses should develop a mindfulness-based meditation practice, preferably in the presence of a Buddha water feature and a nice nag champa burn. This approach should be combined with having as much fun as possible at all times, and realising that we, we polished gems, know that this too will pass. Everything now is gone in the tiny whisper of a breathe. Savour each breathe, babeses.

So are we leaving or repatting? Argh, I dunno yet! Don continues negotiating with the gods. I’m off to do thousands of burpees with Eva, and tonight I’m heading out with my girlies. What better way to spend the limbo?

Image: http://www.records.fruityfamily.com/?p=55

Image: http://www.records.fruityfamily.com/?p=55