Well, we have survived our first week in Singapore, maybe by the skin of our teeth.
This past Friday, Jon & I jovially took the kids to a food court to get some dinner. I opted for a banh mi, a relatively safe option. It’s a vietnamese sandwich I’ve eaten many times in the past:
Jon had done his research, and discovered a food stall with malaysian barbecue chicken, and some rice with curry. Looking at his plate, he had clearly won the ongoing contest we have to see who is the bravest & makes the smartest food choices. It looked awesome. A giant plate of truly delicious food, coming in at under $6 (US). Darn it. My sandwich, almost $9, was just a sandwich (although I do honestly love a good sandwich more than anything in life).
Fast forward to 4 o’clock the next morning, when Jon went down. HARD. I’ll spare going into graphic detail about the food poisoning, but he didnt leave the house for four entire days. The back bedroom & bathroom became a quarantine, that no one came in or out of. They were dark times for all of us. In hindsight, there was a point on Saturday we really should have taken Jon to the hospital, his fever was spiking so bad, and he was so dehydrated. I didnt know what to do! There’s a facebook group of expat wives here I was gleaning a tiny amount of emotional strength from, and all sorts of ideas of which hospitals would be open (oh yeah…this fell over the biggest holiday in all of Asia, when nearly everything shuts down!). A few of the women on there even messaged me their phone numbers and told me to call them the second I needed help. WOW, right? (one of them I’m maybe supposed to get a drink with coming up. Please God, let that happen. I need adult female interaction in a bad way by this point.)
So, yeah. It was just me and the kiddos all alone the past few days…living meal to meal, nap to nap, banding together & driving each other nuts all at once. They missed their dad so much, and so did I man. So did I.
Jon finally emerged yesterday, weak and needing to nap every couple of hours, but just seeing his face and have his help holding a very needy Remy meant everything to me.
Today the public holiday is over, and Jon made his way into a taxi for a half day of work.
I dont know what else to say except that this wasn’t the transition I had expected to make in Singapore. [shaking my head] I should ALWAYS be expecting the unexpected, right? It was seriously so hard. A few of you received some bleak texts from me. I think my last entry was posted during that time, and I’m sure my outlook on life was obvious. I just couldn’t do it all. We have little to no food in the house still, because I can only bring back what I can carry, and the stores nearby have been closed the past two full days. Every single outing I plan to get the kids out of the house takes about ten times longer than what’s probably normal, because I’m still getting lost every.single.time I go anywhere. Max is a album on repeat, whining about how tired his legs are walking everywhere, and Remy is sick to death of riding in a stroller. I’m not sure what to do about that, because we CANNOT stay in the house all day. Our stuff from Seattle (read: all of Max’s toys) doesn’t arrive for another 2+ weeks, so there’s really not much to do here, except play ipad all day.
It just doesn’t seem like it should be this hard. I find a place online that looks fun to visit. It’s a subway ride about three stops away, and an 8 minute walk. How bad can that be? It all comes down to not finding the elevators we need to to do this with a stroller, and then getting turned around and taking the subway the wrong direction; getting off and getting back on going the correct direction; arriving to our destination and being turned around because my gps is registering me at a different street than I actually am, and facing the opposite direction than I actually am. Add to the mix a chatty preschooler with a penchant for chasing any shiny object he sees, so I’m never able to take a full 30 seconds to truly focus and sort out where we are. We’ll walk for 15 minutes one direction before I realize we’re going the wrong way, so it’s literally an extra 30 minutes of walking on a tiny 4-year old’s legs because I dont know where we are. This will happen three or four times in a single outing…so by the time we’re done, Max is melting down and punching Remy, I’m yelling at Max (holding in tears of frustration that have nothing to do with Max), and I’ll usually just hail a taxi to take us straight home. Singapore doesn’t care if you carry a baby on your lap in taxis here, haha. I feel like Britney Spears in 2006 every time, but I can’t get in trouble here for it! And I’m that desperate, man. I’m that desperate.
It’s not 100% awful, like I’m probably making it sound. There are rare moments that we can sit down and be still and take in where we are. Eating our mcdonalds by the bank of a river. (Go right ahead and judge the food decisions, but any moms who have walked a mile in these shoes will understand me, and that’s all the solidarity I need) We’ve been using the pool downstairs quite a bit, and when it’s not too windy or rainy, both kids love that. There was a subway ride the other night that was totally deserted because it was New Years, except for one other little boy Max’s age. And despite the language barrier, they were pretending like they were hanging onto the guard rails so they wouldn’t be thrown, and they were laughing like old friends.
Even though the food situation on the whole hasn’t come super easily, I can see how Max’s palate is expanding, and THAT is the most exciting thing ever for me. He’s an avid fan of fried rice, so that’s pretty much a sure thing anywhere we go. He’s voluntarily trying new (for him) foods, and it’s a gift in these times.
All the transition hasn’t touched Remy’s sleeping habits, and he is still napping and sleeping like a champion. Infinitely thankful for that.
Today Jon is working only a half day, because he’s still weak, and also to stay home with Remy while Max & I go to his school’s orientation. Trying to work up the gumption to take public transport instead of taking the easy way out with a taxi again, but I dont want to ruin everything before we get there. We’ll see.
Max begins school five mornings a week, a week from Monday. We are able to move into our new apartment in two weeks, but I think we will opt to wait until our shipment from Seattle arrives in 2.5 weeks, just so we don’t have to live without plates, towels, sheets, etc.
Tomorrow the kids and I head to the Ministry of Manpower (sounds so Harry Potterish to me!) to apply for dependents passes. I’m not really sure what any of that means, except that after I get that card in hand in a couple of weeks, I’ll finally be able to get a real cell phone plan, or even a library card. It’s the little things that mean so much.
us, all the time lately:
Remy seems to have no problem adjusting to new food as well. Kid just loves to eat:
I can’t wait until life normalizes, and it isn’t such a challenge to bring along my good camera, and the kids are calm enough for me to slow down to take some photos of this new world. My challenge is looking for the joy in every situation. It’s been tough lately, but it is there.