22 Legs

We escaped the summer without one single airline catastrophe!  I think that is pretty darn good considering we flew twenty two, yes, TWENTY TWO legs on United Airlines this summer.  The Denver airport was becoming our home away from home.  Even before we began our summer adventure, Bill and I were already discussing the need for a “home base” next year, We thank all our family for being so giving of their homes and putting up with us.  It’s was a logistical nightmare trying to bring luggage across the country for each two week visit.  Do we leave the huge suitcase with Bill in Phoenix? Will Emily need two suitcases, one for rowing camp and one for the college tour? Will Kathy need an extra for all the crap she bought to bring back?  All would be YES!!!!    I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to slip right back into the normalcy of american living.  Being with family, reuniting with old friends, and meeting nieces and nephews for the first time, were the much needed antidote for my longing to be home.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel once we landed back in Singapore.  I’m happy to report that it was pretty seamless.  What a difference a year makes.  Last year I was gagging from the smells of the hawker center and this year I know exactly what to order.  I’m still surprised daily by people and situations here in Singapore, but now am gaining more of an understanding as to why.  The kids have gotten back into their routines and friend groups which makes us all happy.  Bill is traveling a bit less this year. YAY!  As I write this he is heading to Dubai for the week, but at least its not the US.

We hope everyone is doing well and remember you are always welcome to come visit us here, one degree north!

Kathy

Family picture taken in Branson, Missouri

Family picture taken in Branson, Missouri

Apology to my daughter

It has recently come to my attention, that I have utterly embarrassed my teenage daughter and her friends with my last post.  “Mom, how could you call yourselves the “Fab Five”, that is so “clique”ish and snobby!”. “That totally reminded me of the Mean Girls movie”.  And so on…

Dear Emily,

I’ve been a part of many amazing groups of ladies in my lifetime, that all in some way have made me the person I am today.  A few being, Tau Beta Sigma, numerous bunko groups, Lakewood PTA, Altadena PTO, and so on.  All with some sort of title to describe it.  So, when thinking about describing my current group of friends, I went with the most obvious…Fabulous.

So, in order to stop any further emotional embarrassment to you and your friends, I’ve updated the name of our group.  We will now be known as, “The Flab Four and counting”.  I’m hoping that this is more welcoming, non judgemental, and inclusive. Yes, I’m sorry, but they must have some “flab” somewhere on their body (arm flab, back flab, chin flab, etc.)  to be a part of our inclusive circle.  If they do NOT have “flab”, they can just hang out with us a few times and that will change.  We are currently working on a secret flab shake,  I mean hand shake.  All flab will be welcomed here.

You can occasionally catch the “Flab Four” hanging out with our cohorts, “The Gazelles”.  Yes kids, that’s what your dad’s call their little group…go figure that one out!

I hope that this title is more acceptable.  Please forgive us for feeling good about our friendships here in a new country, while missing our traveling husbands, and keeping up with you nimrods.

Love you,

Your Flab Mom

The Real “Expat” Wives of Singapore

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And so it begins…the story of our Expat friendship that started on Facebook.  Michelle and I have added to our little group with the addition of Frances (the Irish Lassie), Lisa (Southern Belle), and Kristin (California Girl)  For whatever reason, our paths have crossed and I couldn’t be more grateful.  We are the Fab Five!

What is the definition of an “Expat Wife” anyway?  There is not an official definition that I could find, but here is my personal simplified definition.  Expat Wife – A woman left to figure out a new country because her spouse is traveling for work.  For some, this would be the ultimate new adventure.  For others, sadly the final straw in an already faltering marriage. Luckily, none of us are in the latter category.

Our friendships developed quickly.  We bonded instantly over husbands travel schedules, kids adjusting to a new, more rigorous school, the struggles of getting a bank account, weighing the pros and cons of getting a helper, the list goes on.  When you have no family or husbands around, these ladies become your lifeline.

Now, we don’t have all the “drama” of a Real Housewives tv show, but we definitely have stories to tell and some to cherish forever.  The year has gone by quickly with it’s ups and downs, but we’ve done it together.  And now it ends, almost as quickly as it began as one of our Fab Five leaves us in June.  I can’t quite put my finger on why this makes me so sad.  We all have the common bond of arriving at the same time, struggling together, and most of all lifting each others spirits.  These coveted positions in our Fab Five can never be replicated or replaced.

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I’ve since revised my definition of an Expat Wife to –  A special woman that endures with a smile, finds a pack, and rolls with the changes.

As I look ahead, I’m excited of who will be put in our path as our journey continues.
Cheers to Kristin! You’ll be missed my friend.

Our first visitors AND first Christmas in Singapore!

We were so excited to welcome our first visitors to Singapore!  Bill and Donna made the long trek from Sarasota to come celebrate Christmas with us.  I was shocked at how well they adjusted to the time difference!  They jumped right in and were absolute troopers.  I just wanted to share some pictures of things we were able to do in the 11 short days they were here.  We hope they are looking forward to coming again and maybe even braving another country with us!

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Emily taking G-ma and G-pa to her favorite dumplings restaurant, Din Tai Fung.

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The Ion on Orchard Rd. at night.

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Our new favorite activity, Lockdown escape room.  It was a group effort to combine strategy and intellect to escape!

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Emily competing at the regatta.  She placed first in the women’s singles!IMG_1772

Fun on the Singapore bus tour!

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Can’t come to Singapore without a stop to Jumbo Seafood for some Chili Crab!  Yum!!!

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Surprise afternoon high tea date at the Raffle’s Hotel.

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The beautiful Botanic Gardens.

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Special birthday treat for Grandma.  Chocolate and Cheese buffet on top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.  Our over indulgence hit us hard…ugh.

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So lucky to have grandma and grandpa here for our first Christmas in Singapore.  Merry Christmas!

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Orchard Rd. and the new selfie stick!

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Gardens By the Bay

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Gaining knowledge about tea at the Tea Chapter in Chinatown.

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The Merlion

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Blue Bali restaurant for some Indonesian food.

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Emily has finally caught up to Grandma!  One of them is not so excited. 🙂

CHRISTMAS ROLL MELTDOWN!

Christmas Eve. I stand staring through tears in the refrigerated section at the grocery store, unsuccessfully willing the lump in my throat to go away. Weeks earlier, I started the hunt for frozen dough (Rhodes rolls to be exact) for our traditional Christmas roll. I looked in every Expat grocery store around to no avail. Time got away from me and now, at the last minute, decided to go with plan B. Same recipe only with Pillsbury biscuits (in the can). I know I’d seen those around. So, here I stand in the third store having a meltdown on Christmas Eve staring at twenty or so Pillsbury cans of…pizza dough. What??? I seriously considered if this may work. No, it won’t be the same. Nothing is the same. Yes, I was having my own little pity party right here in the middle of the grocery store.

Why was this bothering me so much? It’s just food, right? No. It was the culmination of all the traditions that we were giving up by being here in Singapore. No Target Pj’s to open on Christmas Eve. No Christmas china to use for our meals. Only one Christmas tree to decorate. No chimney for the stockings. It’s all the little things that we do for our children and as a family that have me in a this state of sadness.

I leave the store feeling defeated and pulled myself together to walk home. Thankfully, no one was home except for Bill who greeted me with, “Well, I have some bad news.” Instantly, I started sobbing. I croaked out, “I can’t take anymore bad news.” Of course, I’m sure he is thinking the worst. A death in the family, something dire has happened, etc. As he holds me in a bear hug, he asks what’s wrong. I can only imaging now how stupid I must have sounded as I unattractively sniffled out, “I couldn’t find the rolls.”

As he squeezes me tight, he reminds me that we have all we need for Christmas. Our family is together, healthy, and happy. Leave it to him to calmly put it in perspective for me. I love this man. I know he loves me, especially after all the snot, tears, and mascara I just left all over his shirt.

So, I’ve learned that traditions are important, but change is ok. There is always a plan C and new traditions to be made. The “expat breakdown” I’d read so much about is a real thing. It happened and now it’s over…I hope.

PS – If you are wondering what Bill’s bad news was…comment on the blog and I’ll tell you. 😉
Merry Christmas and Happy 2015!

Introducing…our newest family member!

Exotic travel destinations, private education, safe city living, helper to clean and cook, all great reasons to move to Singapore. Right?

Moving from a 4000+ square foot home to a 2000 square foot home was just one of the many adjustments we were willing to make to live in a great location. I often go back to the day we made this decision and wonder, what the hell were we thinking?! There is no escape from each other! I find myself grinding my teeth almost immediately after the kids walk in from school. The concrete walls and marble floors send the decibel level to new heights. Living in such a small quarters, it gets messy and quick. My kids joke that I should become a detective (actually a lifelong dream) because I can recreate the crime scene in about two seconds.
Crime scene: Empty can of Sour Cream Pringles lying on the floor between the couch and sofa table. I shall recreate the crime. The perp started in the kitchen. He opened the cabinet frantically looking for Sour Cream Pringles while knocking over the other two can of Original Pringles. Perp was in a hurry and neglected to close the cabinet door. Starving, he opened the can and left the lid on the counter. Stuffing his face with a stack of Pringles in his mouth he left a small trail of crumbs leading to the sofa where he plopped his butt down to watch tv. At this point the ravenous perp committed the horrible crime. Crumbs flew, evidence became lodged in the crevices of the couch, this guy was going down. I lined up the suspects looking for evidence. Not to my surprise, the suspect still had bits of Pringle stuck to his shirt. Upon further taste testing, I confirmed they were in fact, Sour Cream Pringles! Perp caught…the end.

Although I love playing detective, the constant clean up is not fun. Leaving the smallest crumb will bring tiny ants and huge cockroaches. Bill and the kids kept pushing the idea of the live in helper. I was not on board with this and opted for a part-time helper to come clean three times a week. How awesome is that? I was ok with it, but Bill and the kids still wanted a full time helper. Why, you ask? FOOD!!! No fast food drive through here, which means more cooking. Why was I still so against a live in? Well, two reasons. One, the helper room was our storage room. What would we do with all the stuff in there? Two, what would my role be? Well, Bill took care of number one and got everything put in different locations. So now it was only about me. I struggled with this for about two months. Do I really want someone else living with us? How will I closet watch Orange is the New Black, while eating a bag of chips for lunch? (No, not the Pringles!)

Most of my friends have live in helpers (FDW – foreign domestic workers), and love them. The cost of having an FDW is actually the same as the part-time coming in three times a week. So, I decided to take the chance and I’m so glad I did.

I’d like to introduce our newest family member, Jocelyn. She is from the Philippines, single, no children, and has such a giving heart. She spoils the kids rotten and treats them like they are her own. She loves to watch Robert play soccer (picture below)! Our home has never been so clean. She is a wonderful cook and surprised us with red velvet cupcakes upon our arrival back from Bali. Yes, I think I could get used to this.

I’ve made one adjustment since Jocelyn has started. I now watch Orange is the New Black behind closed doors…

Billy and Jocelyn

Billy and Jocelyn