Diary of An Expat in Singapore | Singapore Expat Mom Blog
Hi! I'm Jennifer. I come from Verona, Italy and have lived in Singapore the past six years with my Italian husband and two children. I am a freelance journalist, university lecturer, avid reader, and hopefully a good friend. And, contrary to all my expectations, I love living in Singapore!
Last night, I was having a hard time helping my daughter come up with a silver lining for the last minute cancellation of her birthday party due to being sick the other day. This morning, looking for something to eat with my coffee, I may have found it after all.
“The air was thick with humidity, but instead of feeling damp, it seemed lush. Like the whole city had just stepped out of the tub, and hadn’t quite gotten its robe on.” ― M.L.N. Hanover, Darker Angels
When I lived in Paris right after college, this bookshop was one of my favorite haunts and the very first book I bought here was Somerset Maugham's "Of Human Bondage." Always top on any book recommendation list I give. If you had told me then that I would be coming back one day with my own kids, I wouldn't have believed it.
Best part of accompanying my kids to camp during school break is that my son finishes his training before my daughter, so I can go with him to the nearby food court where he has a light morning snack of Char Siew Rice with duck. Not very Italian but perfectly Singaporean. Swimmers sure are hungry after training.
When my daughter woke up on the day of her 12th birthday party sick, my first thought was: "I am not rescheduling this party." When it became clear that I would indeed have to locate the numbers of 15 disparate parents of classmates and call them exactly one hour before they were due, I did what any caring parent would do: I tried to evaluate just how sick my daughter was. Would nausea and stomach spasms really be that bad? When propping her up on a pillow no longer seemed like a feasible option, I made the call(s) and cancelled the party. I was feeling pretty good about my sense of calm and alacrity dealing with the situation until the phone rang: "Hello, I'm H's dad..." With a bit of dread, I looked outside the balcony and saw a man with a present and a girl next to him. Oh no, someone had slipped through the cracks. Turns out, the mom was preoccupied with a sick baby and hadn't seen her phone.
Once the party was cancelled, I was secretly thinking: "Oh well, better luck next year." But no, turns out cancelling to Eliot just meant by one week, not a year. So I baked another chocolate cake, called the pizza guy, contacted all the parents (again), and hoped that there would not be a thunder storm on the day (there was, but then luckily the sun came out). And it was all worth it. Well at least until bedtime, when after thanking me with big hug, she smiled and said: "I think this year we should have a Christmas party."
Being faraway from loved ones is hard but it helps when my brothers and I receive an email that says: "I wish I could gather you all up in one big hug." One thing that doesn't change with time or distance is my Mom's way with words.
Life in the Singapore heartland plays out in its ubiquitous HDB flats managed by the House and Development Board. The breakaway drama Ilo Ilo which I finally managed to see also takes place in an HDB. The old people gather to play cards and drink coffee in the open area on the ground floor. Not unlike the open air cafés in Italian piazzas.