Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Life is Stranger Than Fiction

My editor just called with the surreal news that, after just one week, Diary of An Expat in Singapore is the number one bestseller at Kinokuniya in the popular culture category. Now I feel a little guilty I complained about where the book was placed. The saying: "Location, location, location," definitely is not limited to real estate. Note to self: in another lifetime become best friends with bookshop staff before publishing a book. Forget about literary agents, it's the people in charge of book shelves who really hold your fate. In one bookshop, my book was next to Diary of Anne Frank (seriously?), in another it was placed in Military Highlights (because my Dad was a green beret?) and in another it actually took me, and two very friendly staff members, fifteen minute to even locate the book...
But as they say: life is stranger than fiction. Somebody must have found it after all. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Diary of An Expat in Singapore...The Book is Here!

Look what just arrived in the mail!
Diary of An Expat in Singapore, the book based on the blog, was published and released this week by Marshall Cavendish! And this box of first copies is the best package I received all year.
Who am I kidding: Best Package Ever!

I want to thank you all for having read this blog, sent me your insightful comments and questions, and generally inspired me to keep writing. There would be no blog without readers. A lot of sweat and determination (coffee and oreos) have gone into this.

Diary of An Expat in Singapore is now available in bookstores everywhere.
I can't wait to hear if you like it!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Scenes From an Italian Summer

"Is my gondola ready?"

"If I cook the ragu' for lunch,  I can make the vongole for dinner."

"We're in charge of watering, right?"

Saturday, August 17, 2013

An Italian Visitor's Impressions

"Ma c'e' sempre cosi' caldo qui?" ("Is it always so hot here?")

Alexander and Eliot's cousin Luca has come back with us from Verona to spend a couple of weeks here in Singapore. These are some of his first impressions:

After just one hour, Luca: "Is it always so hot here?"

After a couple of hours: "It feels like the jungle."

Later that day: "I have heard a lot about bacon. Do you have bacon here?"

After the bacon: "Was that dinner or just a snack?"

That night: "This rice doesn't taste like risotto. Oh, and I forgot to tell you I don't like Chinese food."

Later that night: "This building has 30 floors? I thought my building was high and it's three stories."

Next morning: "Can we have more bacon?!"

For more on what visitors, see also

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Perks of Travelling With Kids

"Can we stay another night?"

The perks of travelling with kids. No, this is not the title of a science fiction novel or an example of a witty oxymoron. These perks really do exist, for example:

1) When travelling with kids, you get to board planes first.
2) You rarely feel crowded on ferries. The question: "Did you remember your vomit bag?" works magic.
3) You always eat extra food at restaurants. (Choose their dish wisely.)
4) You have an excellent excuse to not do just about anything: visit archeological ruins, accept invitation from a distant relative, meet up at a faraway location or attend a conference. "I'd love to...but, you know, with the kids..."
5) You get to gauge the cleanliness of public bathrooms everywhere.
6) You get to see cartoons in foreign languages.
7) Occasionally, somebody takes a liking to your kids and gives them a free gift, like a glass blown horse from Murano or a Venetian mask (see above).  There's Halloween sorted.

I'm sure there are plenty of other perks I'm missing but I can't come up with anything. Seeing my brain has turned to mush from... traveling with kids.
Please do add your own below.

Monday, August 12, 2013