The folks at Gold Class better start fluffing those blankets and stocking up on bubbles and truffle fries right now. Because – love it or hate it – this is gonna be huge. Who else is a tiny bit excited?
Warning: Contains photos of UGLY FEET. Just be glad that the current heat wave hadn’t hit yet when that photo was taken. Because believe us when we say that manky middle-aged hooves are NOTHING on manky *swollen* middle-aged hooves.)
We don’t know about you all, but we’re still reeling from Tuesday. The time a Public Holiday and an insane storm hit Singapore on the same day…
(The trauma of these things coinciding may not be obvious to those who aren’t expats here. But trust us, the pain is real. Expat sisters, back us up on this one.)
We all want to be the “cool expat.” The one who backwards parks in one smooth, beautiful arc. The one who prefers a kopi to a Starbucks. The one who doesn’t sound like a jackass when they throw in a “lah” once in a while.
But try as we might, it’s not always easy.
While most of us spent our holidays in the region, and a few ventured down to Oz or up to Japan or China, apparently *some* of us find this region has grown tiresome, and were therefore forced to travel to more distant locales for their holidays. Like, say, PARIS. The rest of us – the ones who spent our holiday *not* wearing berets and instead just chasing feral kids and drinking warm cans of Tiger beer in our own backyards – might feel a teensy bit jealous of our jetsetting friends. But we’d do well to remember: all that Joie De Vivre Francais can come at a cost…
It’s April, which means school (Easter) holidays – which are bizarrely at completely different times for every school in Singapore. Some people have been back at school for ages, and some of us are STILL on holiday. You can tell which is which because the latter group are the ones looking particularly haggard, Googling “kids silent activities,” posting their blogs from the tables at Bounce, and literally counting the hours until 8:00 Monday morning. (You’ll never guess which camp we fall into.) Nonetheless, as the holidays draw to a close, we raise our icy, drippy G&Ts tonight in congratulating all of us on surviving another school holiday. As we like to say, “It was real. And it was fun. But it wasn’t real fun.”*
(*We kid. There were real fun moments, of course. But nothing is as fun as a good, solid 8 hour school day. Now that’s fun.)
YOU KNOW IT’S TIME FOR THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS TO EMD WHEN…
1. You realize you haven’t actually seen any of your friends in real life in weeks. Seeing them on Facebook – swooshing down slopes in Austria, frolicking in the waves in the Maldives, and sipping wine in Margaret River – just doesn’t quite cut it. (And by that we mean ‘is infuriating’. Surely everyone should be suffering through these endless endless school holidays too??)
2. You have no idea what day it is. (Isn’t it Thursday today? Why is the Art Science museum free? Wait, it’s FRIDAY??? THANK YOU LORD. Two days to go…)
3. Your grand Staycation Bucket List (“KidZania! Museums! Beach Day! Pulau Ubin!”) now seems completely delusional, because the reality was more like “Condo pool! Then someone else’s condo pool! Then back to our own condo pool! How about some TV?’
4. You start feeling a little creeped out by how empty everything is. No queue at Baker & Cook? Why are there so many parking spots at the Botanics? Why is Orchard Road so non-chaotic? This is just… weird.
5. Your kids’ school uniforms have started to mold in the closet. (Just kidding. That started on Day 2.)
6. Your shorts and sundresses have all taken on a new, snug look in the midsection area (apparently two weeks of skipping bootcamp and binge eating chocolate eggs isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.)
7. Speaking of eggs, the chocolate eggs and Easter grass in the stores are all actually reasonably priced now, which you take note of and then duly ignore, because God knows the last thing your kids need at this point is any more treats.
8. You think you’ve been pretty strict about screen-time – ONLY MORNINGS AND EVENINGS!!! – but then when you add it up you realise that ONLY MORNINGS AND EVENINGS = SEVEN HOURS. Oops.
9. Can we please just go back to one supermarket trip a week? At Fairprice? Because those twice-daily pop-ins to Cold Storage are about to ruin you financially. (Although it’s *way* more sociable than Fairprice ever was. Basically, every expat who’s not in Bali or the Alps is in Cold Storage at least once a day.)
10. Your calendar suddenly appears to say that summer holidays are RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. Goddamit how can that BE?! Time to book some flights and sort out the airbnbs, ladies. (Not to mention the CHILDCARE.)
Happy Friday- and joyous end-of-holidays- everyone!
It’s Good Friday! Time to pour yourself a…. Oh wait. Maybe not, all things considered. And even if you’re not religiously inclined, best to keep a clear head, as you’re going to need all your wits about you if you plan on securing some Easter Eggs tomorrow….
Here’s our Friday List (of sorts):
THE EGG-RELATED THOUGHT PROCESS EVERY EXPAT IN SINGAPORE GOES THROUGH IN THE RUN UP TO EASTER. EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.
Step 1 (A month before Easter): Oooh! Easter eggs! I must buy some. When is Easter again? Oh, ages away. I’ll buy some next week.
Step 2 (Three weeks before Easter): Ooh! There are those eggs again. Where are the Smarties ones? Huh. All gone. Still – loads of others. And loads of time. I’ll get them next week.
Step 3 (Two weeks before Easter): Golly – where have all the Easter eggs gone? Oh, PHEW, *there* they are. Wait – those are all pretty expensive. $25 for a chocolate shell? I don’t like my children *that* much, thank you very much. Still, loads of time to find the cheaper ones.
Step 4 (Easter Monday): FORTY FIVE DOLLARS FOR ONE MEASLEY EGG???? I’ll take my custom elsewhere, thank you very much.
Step 5 (Good Friday): “Good morning lovely RSEW Ladies! Has anyone seen ANY Easter Eggs anywhere on the island? Any at all. Will pay ANY PRICE.”
Happy Easter Weekend, y’all! And remember – a hard boiled egg served with a Kit Kat and a smile is all anyone needs this Sunday…
There are a few things which just SCREAM “expat in Singapore.” Among them: Living in a house jam-packed with local artifacts (If there is a giant Buddha in your powder room, you are Such An Expat); depending on frequent packages from your home country for sustenance (If you regularly order large boxes of American toothpaste, or British biscuits, you are Such An Expat); starting every single conversation with, “So where are you off to for the next holiday (because only expats travel every damn holiday. So if Bali versus Phuket is your go-to conversation starter, you are Such An Expat).
Look, there’s no shame in being Such An Expat, but sometimes we even sort of shock ourselves with just how S.A.E. we can be (and yes, we realize that writing a blog and facebook page about expat life is pretty much as S.A.E. as you can get).
What are other telltale signs that someone is S.A.E? We know there are some good ones out there…
Today’s Friday List: Singapore Expat Milestones
Moving to a new country always comes with challenges, but there are also those moments – rare at first – where you stop and think, Holy S*** Look At Me! These are the moments that make you feel a little more at ease, a little less like a hot mess, and a little more able to laugh at yourself when you are a total disaster (like, for example, when you’re once again mocked for the size of your feet, or your quick shopping trip drives you to tears, or you nearly die of fear during a 12 minute jog. (If you missed any of those moments, pour yourself some wine, hop over to www.Textpatwives.com, and scroll on through. If you’re looking for low points, there are some real gems in there.) There are lots of moments like that, of course. But once in a while, you hit an expat milestone. Tonight, we say “Cheers” to those moments. Here are a few…
1. The first time you remember your IC number by heart. That’s probably on day 3, which will have been the 875th time you’ve been asked for it.
2. The first time you merge into Newton Circus without crying / flinching / swearing you’ll never go this way again.
3. The first time a server or store clerk recognizes you as a Regular. (Note – this one might take several years.)
4. The first time a tourist asks YOU for directions. That means that, at least on the outside, you actually don’t look lost anymore.
5. The first time you use the squat toilet because you just cannot be bothered to wait behind all the tourists waiting for the other one.
6. The first time you have an actual opinion when the Taxi Uncle asks you “AYE or PIE?”
7. Hell – the first time you know what the Taxi Uncle is actually talking about when he asks you “AYE or PIE?”
8. The first time you Backwards Park in one try.
9. The first time you use your PAssion Card. “Passion Card?” “Why yes, I now know what you are asking me every single time I make a purchase of any kind, and indeed I do have a PAssion Card!”
10. The first time you leave the grocery store without calculating the cost in your Home Currency.
10. And the biggie (so important in fact that we tacked on an extra number 10): The first time you refer to Singapore as “Home”. (We can almost guarantee that that will be when you’re knee-deep in laundry and whining kids on day 8 of your summer “holiday” back in your home country; suddenly the balmy evenings, calm house and competent helper will spell H-O-M-E to you.)
Thanks to all your suggestions, this list just grows daily (seriously- it turns out there is A LOT of s*** that drives you (us) crazy). So here it is, the third instalment of…
Things Which Drive Expats in Singapore Crazy
1. Forgetting to bring a sweater to the cinema. (Until you’ve spent two hours stoically staring up at a screen with your hands jammed into your armpits, shivering and leaking little tears of ice, you have no idea how traumatic this can be.)
2. Wearing that cute dress you got at that expensive boutique in Tanglin Mall / Cluny Court / Great World City to a party, and seeing two other women wearing the exact same dress. AND they look better than you.
3. How everyone gets SO ANNOYED at you sometimes for the smallest mistakes. Like going the wrong way round Newton Circus. Ya know, little things.
4. The love affair with plastic bags. “No, I really don’t need a separate bag for my grapes, because look! They’re already in their own plastic bag! In fact each grape might even have its own little bag! Really, I don’t. . . Honestly, you can put the bananas in on top of the soap. They don’t need another bag. . . . Oh, you can just pop the eggs right on top here . . . NO DON’T THROW OUT ALL THE CRUMPLED PLASTIC BAGS!! Argh.”
5. Avocados that look amazing and ripe and perfect on the outside, but inside they’re a wormy, mealy, horrific handful of mush. Why, you two-faced A-hole? Why?!
6. Stop-start taxi uncles. Bluuugh.
7. Male radio hosts who “tease” their female co-hosts. Really dude? She just needs a husband? She’s such a “bimbo?” Seriously?
8. Upselling beauticians. (“You sure you don’t want laser treatment? Your face so hairy, wah! You need package for that!”)
9. Ordering poached eggs and forgetting to ask for them “well done.”
10. Being the unintended best joke ever in the shoe department. (“AHAHAHAHAHAHA! You need men’s shoes! Nothing here for you! Your feet so big! Hahahahahahaha.”)
Share if you’ve been the one walking around a party avoiding the Who Wore It Best Moment, or cursing at an avocado that’s betrayed you, or driving the wrong way around a roundabout (damn, is that one really just us?).