Sunday, June 28, 2015

Looking, Searching, Seeking

Singapore is a city of Expats. Many many come for 2 or 3 year contracts, 'hardship postings' (which they so ain't) to the 'unknown Orient', their far away sojourn softened by the large plush apartments, readily available help and paid for prime international schooling. Others come for the adventure, a chance to gad around  Asia on a dime and fall in love with clean, green, efficient-like-nobody-else Singapore. It has honest folk, tropical weather that allows for thundering cool downs and warm water pools, seafood galore and a friendly environment. They stay, for as long as they can, sometimes for far longer than they envisaged, making local friends, joining clubs and participating in the local ways of life. 

My friend L and her hubby have been here 18 years. They say that going back to America now would be like being expats in their own country, so much has its landscape changed since they first left. Even the yearly Target shopping trips and family vacations don't feel like a homecoming but a stopover for goodies. Singapore has become their home and their child, born here, identifies himself as Singaporean. 

I often meet new people here and one of the first questions to swap is how long we have been here and where we came from. 6 years, 8 years, 7.3 years, all with a sheen of deserved pride (and sweat!). I keep meeting people who are so pleased to have found their place, their home, their country. There is that sigh of relief, or an imperceptible look shared with their partner - an acknowledgment that this is home, they feel at entirely at ease, settled and secure. I sometimes wish I was that person. Or that there was such a place for me. Or that I could stop looking and be happy with what I am in. Actually that's inaccurate. I am happy where I am for the most part but I'm always interested in the new or the idea of new.  I can't look forward and see very clearly where the Kid or us will be in 10 years. I see flux, waves of the unknown and the oscillating ideas of change. I see adapting and adventures and new horizons. I can even honestly say I don't share Vs love of the UK and his desire to go back to Blighty. I don't know where we will end up but I'm loving all these stops on the way. I honestly now believe that at this time, in this age, my home is wherever V and Kid and I live. Whichever apartment, whichever city, whichever continent. Geography is wonderful. 

The time has come to move on from Singapore. We've been here 2.9 years. Shorter than we envisaged. And much as I love this place I readily admit I already had itchy feet when talk of a move began. In a month and a half we will be in a new city. And no, I won't tell you here or on Facebook or whatsapp which city, quite yet. Just suffice to say I'm brimming with excitement - and suffering through the stress that moves bring. I'm trying to be all zen and mainly making it look easy while inside I'm a cauldron of nerves. I'm at the airport as I write this, leaving in a jet plane, to go find an apartment. 5 days of estate agent wrangling should be quite enough. Wish me luck! 

P.S: Pictures of packing boxes in 2 weeks. And of course turning 40 tales, as that should be fun, drinking wine out of plastic glasses on the floor of an empty apartment. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

In a month

...I will be 40. Always 30 in 2005 but an added 40 in 2015. Gosh I feel like I should feel old. I look back at some of my earlier writing and I'm shocked by the childish nature of it, shocked by how many friends this blog has made me and shocked by how I've grown in maturity.

I'm processing all the things that are going on at the moment in a very busy life, making plans for the future and pondering the best ways to celebrate what is surely a milestone of sorts. And even though my body has recently boarded the shuttle bus for Old People-ville, my heart and mind are strangely walking, no, make that running in the opposite direction. I feel in control and as if the cliche of 'age is but a state of mind' might actually apply here. Isn't that weird? I am known for my curmudgeonly outlook, my realist views and a not so optimistic inclination but as I approach the 40s I am strangely filled with confidence and hope and joy and interest. How can the 40s beat what have been a wonderful decade of 30s? I can't wait to find out. 

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Tale of two cakes

The Balloons arrived. She had done a great job, listening to my brief, and produced 4 'minion clouds'. 

can't tell you how wonderful the party was. It went to schedule, all 38 kids that showed up were polite and seemed to have a great time. We played in the pool for an hour (3-4pm); or rather the kids played while our young High School student, a qualified lifeguard (I hired him for the hour) watched on and the mums and dad sat and chatted poolside. I had loads of pool inflatables and diving rings and fish for the Kids and baby ducks and floaties for the littlies in the small pool. 

Then everyone got out of the pool, changed and helped carry up the inflatables. 

We played two games; minion bowling (best game ever) and pin the pocket on the minion (bought off amazon). 

Please do not miss the minion duct tape marking the bowling lane! Best purchase ever.

Then it was time to eat but before I show you our laden table I must show you our cakes. Simple sheet cake with 'water and the beach' icing and crumble, topped with minions megablocks assembled by Kid. Super simple but looked fabulous. And tasted divine. Not a crumb remained from the party. 

We turned on Despicable me 2 for the kids to chill out to while they ate. Parents snacked on the Indian goodies I had catered. Then we cracked open the piƱata full of m&ms, mini Mars and kit kats, chocolate wafers and smartie rolls and distributed return presents and game prizes. Everyone left by 5.30pm, exactly on time. We tidied like crazy, vacuumed, mopped, put away food, took down decorations, chatted with our houseguest and my brother in law, got an overexcited and very tired Kid ready for bed. Then the exhaustion of not having been well and of being on the move all day hit me. I spent the next two days recovering, taking long naps and chilling out at home, eating left overs and reading. 

I can't tell you how wonderful the party was. Till next time.....