The Long Haul

It’s the time of year when all expats suddenly drop everything they’re doing and flee the Little Red Dot for the summer holidays. Some have their bags packed the moment school lets out and are boarding planes before the rest of us have even emptied the final school backpacks. Others of us hang about a bit longer, enjoying the relative quiet in Tanglin mall, the absence of traffic on Orchard, and the ease of parking in every mall. We all, however, eventually show up at Changi, full of caffeine and dogged determination that we will survive the next 15-48 hours of travel, dragging excited children and more suitcases than seems reasonable under any circumstances. 

Having been around this particular block a few times, we suggest 5 things every expat should pack for the summer holidays:

1.  Your helper. Well yes- we know she’s not a “thing.” Don’t be pedantic. Our point is, you’re going to miss her (and her cooking, and her child-minding, and the adorable way she folds your clean underwear into triangles- shit you’re going to miss clean underwear, full stop). So if you can bring her, do. And if you can’t, start practicing your undergarment origami. 

2. No clothes. Because there are no Seasons here and as a result, you’ve been wearing the same clothes for a year, damnit. Don’t think no one’s noticed. So the minute you walk into your favorite shop back home, you’re going to buy tons of clothes. Save yourself the effort and don’t bother packing any. 

3. No gifts. (Should this have been a list of Things Not To Pack? Maybe. Too late now though.)  Don’t bring gifts. Because no one in America wants a Tangs elephant and no one in London wants a set of lacquer chopsticks. So don’t bother. Unless you’re Japanese, or going to Japan, in which case, Thing To Pack: LOTS of gifts. 

4.   Exercise gear. Because 7 weeks of dining out and celebrating and drinking and eating your mother’s cooking will wreck your svelte Singapore physique. So run a lap or two around the block once in a while this summer. That way you won’t have to spend the month of August at boot camp. 

5. An empty suitcase – see # 2. 

That’s what we’re packing… at least we intend to…

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… or are you just happy to see us?

Yesterday was World Cucumber Day. (What- you didn’t celebrate??) Here on the Little Red Dot various bars hit on the fabulous idea of receiving cucumbers as legal tender for gin cocktails. And whereas on such occasions we would usually be found dragging suitcase full of cucumbers from bar to bar, alas yesterday the gods of good health were against us. Instead, we celebrated by eating crackers, sipping water, and sending our helpers to Watsons for… convenience items…

Check Your Head

There are some times, when life gets uncomfortable, that you just can’t help thinking, “This would be SO much easier if I were in my home country.” (Examples: Flat tires and gynocological exams.) You feel fairly certain that your problem would be SO easily solved, if only you were AT “HOME.” Which is usually crap because life isn’t always sunshine and unicorns, no matter where you live. Sometimes you just need to put on your big girl pants and deal. (And sometimes a big girl drink helps.)




Some things are Classified

It’s nearly summer in Singapore which means one thing: The Annual Mass Exodus of Expats. Usually TAMEE is temporary: expats heading ‘home’ for a few weeks or maybe a few months (who’ll return refreshed and rejuvenated and weepily reunited with their helpers, vowing never to leave again). But some – thousands- are leaving forever. And while this breaks our hearts, like most crappy situations there are some upsides. (Especially if you collect random plugs and tent poles.)