Those Last Days of Expat Summer

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The final days of summer holidays can be tough. First you have to say goodbye to everyone for another year, and then you’ve got to empty the beach sand from your pockets, attempt to pack everything you brought PLUS everything you’ve bought all summer (spoiler alert: It’ll never fit), and steel yourself for the journey back to Singapore, which always feels LONG AF – several hours longer than it took at the start of the summer. And of course, you might also have some last-minute shopping to do. Luckily just a few odds and ends, right?

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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.).

 

Prime Time (or The Joys of Online Shopping in Singapore)

We all get the Expat Blues from time to time. And we all have our own ways of bouncing back. Some start planning their next exotic vacay. Some throw themselves into a new hobby (like mah jong or jogging or bitter complaining and day drinking). And some seek out amazing new local discoveries…


(PS We have no ties whatsoever to this or any other e-commerce company. If we did, our pools would have so many amazing rafts, they’d look like the salad bar at the American Club.)