As you may have gathered from our past few posts, we are away on holiday, and by this we mean that we are in our respective home countries, doing all the frantic muttering, child-chasing, and butt-wiping that we did back in Singapore, MINUS our helpers and husbands. So, pretty much not on holiday at all. (Note to selves: Maldives next summer.) To be fair, we are both a lot less sweaty, which actually counts for a lot, and our hair looks amazing.
BUT, we are on opposite sides of the world with little time zone overlap, so our usually-delightful text conversations have dissolved into exchanges like, “Hello? S***! You’re sleeping! Never mind,” and “For the love of God STOP TEXTING ME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.”
So. For the next week or so, we are diving deep, deep, into the Textpat Wife Vault, to bring you some oldies that we never shared. On that note, here’s one A never wanted to share because she found it slightly humiliating, and because the whole episode has already become family legend, which her children delight in recalling, referring to it only as “the chili incident.”
This post touches on two aspects of Singapore life: Firstly, the virtual emptying of the island during the summertime of expat spouses and children. (During this time, tumbleweed blows through the dusty streets of The Little Red Dot, nail bars and coffee shops are boarded up, and lone men roam the hills in packs, untethered by the chains of curfews and domesticity.) Secondly, the renown of a large office / retail complex called Orchard Towers, the first four floors of which comprise bars favoured by prostitutes. As a result the building is
misogynistically colloquially / known as “the four floors of wh*res”. It’s generally accepted that if you’re a man in that building after office hours, you’re there for one reason only. And it isn’t to eat dinner.
Despite the lack of domestic help, the abundance of chores, the flood of parenting duties, and The Jetlag Which Will Just Not Go Away, there is a lot of say for being in our respective homelands. (In truth tho, experience dictates that in about two weeks we will tire of our swishy hair and our shiny plump produce, and Just Want Our Helpers Back. But until then, we’re basically Jennifer Aniston meets The Five-A-Day Fruit Gobbler.)
It’s easy to fall into the Grass-Is-Always-Greener trap, but in reality, life is really all shades of grey (or brown, apparently, if you’re summering in Ireland).
All of us Expats miss something about our adopted tropical homeland when we’re away for an extended length of time: some miss the weather, or the beach-living; some miss their friends or the variety of cultures; some nice souls even miss their left-behind spouses. We, delicate gin-swilling souls that we are, miss our helpers.
We’re way too tired to say anything witty about this. Just please tell us we’re not alone..
If you have small (or indeed, any) children, one of the main perks of life in Singapore is the availability of affordable live-in-help. Those of us with helpers can often over-rely on them, to the point of bringing them with us when we travel, particularly if the trip is long, and the travelling “family” comprises just one haggard parent and several manic children. Sometimes, however, brave brave souls attempt long international flights alone with small children, and frankly, they deserve pity (poor them!), scorn (what were they thinking?) and gin (keep pouring) in equal measure…