Singapore Bathrooms: Still Making Us Laugh, After All These Years…

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Yes, squat toilets are a fairly common thing here in Asia. And yes, it’s not uncommon in a public bathroom to find footprints on the toilet seat because someone has done The Squat, from atop the toilet seat. And so yes, sometimes signs are needed to spell out how to properly use a toilet with a seat. But we feel like – just maybe – this particular sign created more questions (and nightmares) than guidance.

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15 Signs You’re Not a New Expat In Singapore Anymore…

1.     You find yourself surprisingly annoyed at people not following signs / rules.  “There’s a queue lady.  A QUEUE!” “Hey Mister – KEEP OFF THE GRASS!!”  Jeez – what are these people – raised in a barn or something?

 2.     You can predict the weather like a trained meteorologist. (A trained meteorologist who has shit to do outdoors.) “Those black clouds?  We have easily 7 minutes before that hits, and it won’t last more than 11 minutes.

3.     Anyone with a car which isn’t white or black is “a little flashy”.

4.     You remember a time when the road outside of Tanglin Mall wasn’t a complete and utter shit show.

5.     Your car has at least one significant orange scratch along the side from a carpark ramp.

6.     You have a guy for everything:  a chicken guy, a milk guy, a picture-hanging guy, a tortilla guy.  Also, a girl for everything (albeit different everything): a waxing girl, a hair girl, an interiors girl, and exteriors girl… This is a prized possession and only top-tier friends get those numbers.

7.     You can make it through IKEA in 5 minutes flat (because you know the shortcuts to the light duvet section, and from there to the cheese-in-the-fridge section).

8.     31c / 88f and cloudy feels like jeans weather.

9.     You frequently return to your car from a walk or a coffee to find a door or a window wide open.  Instead of checking to see what’s been taken and looking for a policeman, you roll your eyes at your silliness and rive away with all your possessions intact.

10.  You can’t believe that you used to go to those Ladies Nights.  Every. Single. Wednesday.

11.  Your kids have their own devices purely so that they can skype with the latest of their friends who have left the island. (They do a LOT of Skyping.)

12.  You laugh at how you used to consider the flight from Europe to New York (or vice versa) “Long Haul.”

13.  Fried rice is a totally acceptable breakfast dish.

14.  You carry an umbrella, shopping bags, flip flops and sunscreen on your person at all times.

15.  You no longer take a photo of the price tag of every item in the supermarket and stick it on FB.  (Just the CNY oranges.  Because $88 for a small dish of tangerines is expensive by anyone’s standards.  But $15 for milk?  Entirely normal.)

3 Is The Magic Number

It’s apparently SUPPOSED to be the “cool season” here. If someone could pass on that little piece of info to our sweat glands- and also the sun- that’d be fab. In the meantime, you now know where to find us (well- at least one of us. The other is hiding in a corner somewhere furiously sniffing her own pits).

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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.)




Travel Hell II (AKA Things to Pack for a Long Haul Flight With Kids)

If you’re an expat living in Asia, but your whole family still lives on the other side of the world, you have no choice but to board a plane once a year, fly back to the land from whence your passport came, and show your increasingly-wrinkled / sun-kissed face.  And if you have kids – 1 kid, 2 kids, 3, 7, it doesn’t matter how many, nor does it matter how old they are (NO ONE gets a pass) – still you go.  If your husband has to stay behind to work, which means you’re doing this journey solo, STILL, you steel yourself and you go.  And if your husband is able to join you, but is sitting up in Business Class while you sit in back with the kids, still, STILL you go (but you complain.  In public whenever possible, FOREVER.  True story.).

For all our expat sisters embarking on Homecoming trips this summer, we offer the following list of Things To Pack For A Long Haul Flight With Kids:

  • A blanket.  Because first of all, airborne hell is cold.  And second, your kids will need somewhere to blow their noses, mop up their spilled juices, and dry mommy’s tears of exhaustion.
  • Noise cancelling headphones.  Because airplanes are noisy.  And so are children.
  • Snacks.  Many, many snacks.  In fact a snack trolley of one’s own would be ideal.  Because 28 hours, and children.
  • Lip balm.  Because the entire day in dry, recycled air plays havoc on your kissers, and you don’t want to greet your whole family with a brush of dried corn husks on the cheek.  Also, what is the baby going to snack on when you take your eyes off her for two minutes?
  • A book.  Nothing is better for keeping you occupied for the endless, endless hours than opening your book, reading one line, being distracted by your children demanding something inane, closing the book with an eye-roll and a muttered profanity, and repeating the exercise again in four minutes time, again and again.
  • An eye mask.  No, not for all the sleep you’ll be getting (obviously, silly).  But at some point you might need to disguise yourself, so people don’t associate you with those maniacal children sitting beside you.  Eye masks are the bomb for this.
  • A sticker saying “Don’t Ask. Just Pour.”  Wear this somewhere obvious- such as taped to your forehead, or tucked in to your eye mask at a jaunty angle- because after fifteen hours of pleading with your kids to stop wriggling and stop spilling and *just sleep FFS,* you won’t always have the verbal skills to ask for another shot of gin.

Good luck and godspeed, expat sisters.  See you on the other side. 

(Ps: some of you might recognise this Textpat exchange from last summer. Apologies for the duplications. In our defence (a) it is as pertinent now as it was then; and (b) after 30 hours’ travel with kids-  this is the best you’re going to get from us…)









 

 

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.)




Love Shack

It’s easy to fall into a rut no matter where you live, and even more so when you live in a well-insulated and very comfy little Expat Bubble.  Pretty soon one finds oneself eating at the same places, talking to the same people, doing the same thing, week after week. So every once in a while, one of us really tries to break free and try something new.  Often, it’s wonderful and fascinating and enlightening.  And sometimes we end up running back to our Bubble and cowering inside…