Ten Things You Never Did Until You Became a Singapore Expat

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Ten Things You Never Did Until You Became a Singapore Expat:

1. Gather a gaggle of other women together and head off to a nearby country to volunteer for several days. (Of course we should be doing this wherever we live, but, you know…)

2. Dress up in costumes – in public – more than you ever did as a child. Why do we feel the need to do this? We’re not sure. Perhaps because we already stand out, so we might as well be wearing a tutu and bunny ears?

3. Go to a different country for a spa day. Because, when you think about it, that’s insane.

4. Drink endless Champagne on that same spa day. Because it turns out that the masseuses there don’t give a hoot about the need to flush toxins from your body post massage. Just keep chugging the bubbly, lady.

5. Feel very sorry for ourselves when our live-in maid/nanny/cook takes a few weeks off. “Two weeks of doing my own laundry? The HORROR.”

6. Go for afternoon tea. Unless of course you’re the Queen of England. (But here in Expat Land? We’re ALL queens! Pass the cucumber sandwiches!)

7. Drive to four different shops in four different locations on the island to complete your grocery shopping. And then do it again the next day.

8. In the same vein – take it upon yourself to post a PSA on Facebook alerting people to the availability of EDIBLE AVOCADOS at your local supermarket.

9. Keep an appointment diary for every member of your family. Yes, including your tiny pre-verbal children. Because people are starting to notice that your infant’s tennis serve sucks. And that Chopin is not going to just play itself.

10. Speaking of scheduling: Schedule an appointment with your parents/sibling/best friend to Facetime, so that you can yell at each other, “Can you see me?! Are we frozen?! Where did you go?! Hello?” Even it that’s all you say to each other, for 20 minutes, it still kinda feeds the soul.

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A Movie About Singapore?!

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?

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Comfy Shoes In Singapore (or, Good Friends Remind Us What Really Matters In Life)

 

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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.)

 

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A Rainy Public Holiday In Singapore

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.)

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Durian in Singapore (and why not to run through alleys in the morning)

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.

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You Know You Are Such An Expat When…

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…

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Milestones For The Singapore Expat

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.)

Things Which Drive Expats In Singapore Crazy (Part III)

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?).

Shopping For A Snow Holiday – In Singapore

It’s Chinese New Year!

Which means all of Singapore is beautifully decorated with lanterns and banners, the Cold Storage soundtrack is set to “CNY Greatest Hitz,” and the international school kids get to dress up for one day, looking like a bunch of little tow-headed Kung Fu Masters. Also: It’s Half Term and so time to bring our spoilt mini-expats on ANOTHER vacation. This time we’re hitting the slopes – which we were ridiculously excited about (The cold! The snow! The cold!) until we started to pack and we realized we don’t own jackets, or long pants, or even closed-toe shoes. And now we’re all, Couldn’t We Just Have Done A Staycation? Like At Snow City Maybe?

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(Oh, and just for clarification, neither of us expects to see the other in a well.  (Thank god, right?  That would be a really bleak holiday.)  We meant “see you in a week.”  Frenzied shopping and packing doesn’t lend itself to careful texting.)

Share with someone you know who will be on that 6am flight to Tokyo (and if that’s you- we’ll see you there.  Order us a mimosa.).

 

Jungle Running in Singapore

You wouldn’t think that the Singaporean jungle could inspire a reluctant jogger to SPRINT. But sprint she did. (Away from where the (unseen and maybe imaginary) wild things were. To safety. And insect repellent.)

Share with someone who runs in Singapore. (We bet there are even better stories of close encounters with nature while all you’re trying to do is get a little exercise ffs.)

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