Sunday, December 22, 2013

Big Year For a Blog...Happy Holidays!!

Alexander, do you think I've been photoshopped?! "Obviously." (photo Expat Living Singapore)

Wow, my very first photo shoot. Thank you, Verne Maree, Ken Tan, and Expat Living Magazine for the incredible feature but most of all...for making me look so good. Let me say one thing straightaway,  I am strongly opposed to photoshopping. I think it intentionally misleads the reader into thinking people look a lot better than they do in real life. Unless, of course it's me being photoshopped. Then, I'm all for it. In fact, I now carry this photo with me wherever I go, just to remind people how good I could know, if I really tried. Forget expensive creams and make-up, I say let's bottle this up and put it under the Christmas tree. Eau de photoshop...just a whiff and all pores disappear. Way better than a nespresso machine.
Happy holidays and a big thank you to each and every one of you for reading, commenting, and sharing this blog. If it hadn't been for you, I wouldn't be in a glossy magazine on the newsstands.  Just one thing, if you happen to meet me in the next few days, please be kind and knock that shocked look off your face.
It's expensive to have a lighting crew follow you everywhere (I've looked into it).

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Not The Cheapest Dates...

"Why can't we have two pizzas?"

Hmmm, because we're at Raffles Hotel...and the royalties haven't kicked in yet?
These kids are always hungry. And at the most inconvenient times. Fifteen minutes before uncle Julian's piano concert at Raffles, seriously? Maybe it just seems that way, now that they've started their three week school holiday. I purposely give them a huge, late breakfast explaining the concept of brunch, only to hear Alexander ask (as he eats his third pancake and sausage): "What are we having for lunch?"
For those expats who are staying in Singapore during the holidays, one word of advice: keep snacks handy on all outings. And, do not go to the ice skating at Ribena Bay Sands (how Eliot calls Marina Bay Sands). We discovered yesterday that they close the ice skating rink during the Christmas holidays...because that makes perfect sense. Here are some things you can do:
Good luck!

Monday, December 16, 2013

"The Pleasure's in the Missing."

"It's how many pages?" 
"Can't help but think that the pleasure's in the missing."
These words, in Eleanor Catton's Man Booker prize winning book "The Luminaries," are uttered by one of the main characters, Thomas Balfour. The story is set in 1866,  New Zealand and he's referring to those seeking their fortune in the goldfields of New Zealand and to those running away from their past. "Can't help but think that the pleasure's in the missing." Surely these words could be uttered by a great number of expats, not only here in Singapore but everywhere.

"Most boys keep one foot on the boat, you know. Head back as soon as they've made their dust...-and then what do they dream about? ...They dream about the diggings! Back when they could hold the colour in their hands! When all they did here was talk about home. Their mothers. Yorkshire puddings. Proper bacon. All of that....England-that's the old country. You miss the old country. Of course you do. But you don't go back."

For more on nostalgia, see also

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Welcome to Singapore!

"I think I have to be somewhere..."

My little brother Julian (he's the one not wearing a school uniform) is back in Singapore for two piano concerts, if you're in town be sure to catch him either Dec.11th at the Arts House or Dec. 12th at Raffles Hotel,-12-dec-2013/247581125402722.
...that's if he finishes helping with the Math homework.

I fully expected to be the one helping the kids in English but if I have to help them in Math too...well, that's just wrong. And with the 'Math parent' on a business trip, there's no better time for a visit from family. Forget bringing visitors to the Singapore flyer or shopping on Orchard Road., why not have them help the kids with homework instead?
And I'm not just doing this for me, it's supposedly the best jetlag cure ever!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Foolproof Ways To Discipline Your Child

"You go, you go first."

1) Friending them on Facebook. 
In order for this to be truly effective, the parent must likecomment, and share every single thing the child posts. Bonus points for using acronyms.

2) Learning all the words to their favorite song...and singing it. 
Over and over again. Works best if you can't carry a tune or you use body gestures. Extra points if they have a friend over.

3) Wearing their school uniform for Halloween. 
On the plus side, you don't have to spend money for your costume. On the downside, your child might need therapy later on.

4) Watching television with them. 
Remember to offer non-stop commentary while eating snacks.

5) Refusing to buy them a new fencing sword.
Even though it means the shorter blade length will put them at a disadvantage during duels. Short blades build stamina.

6) Leaving post-its in their lunch box.
Remember notes should always be signed. Love, Mommy will do. Drawings of flowers and hearts optional.

7) PDA (Public Display of Affection)
A real crowd pleaser. Plenty of big hugs. Especially before boarding the morning school bus. Blowing kisses also acceptable.

8) Cutting their hair.
Why waste a perfectly good home-cutting kit you got at a garage sale and you've been dying to try out?

9) And finally, making them wear corduroy. 
This one is for you, Mom. What can I say? Thanks. There's a reason I had no friends in the fourth grade. (I like to think it was the corduroy...the sweater vests didn't help either.)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Time Management Skills

Alexander's birthday party time table. If only he spent this much attention to detail on his homework.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

10 Questions to An Expat: Giacomo Galtarossa

"Daddy, I want mine al dente."

1) Hello Giacomo, how long have you lived here and what do you do?
I have lived in Singapore a little over four years. I started my own artisanal gelato company, but after it was bought by Pastamania, I became brand chief and head of their Italian Affairs Division.

2) Sounds delish (as my daughter would say). Where are you from originally?
Verona, Italy.

3) What brought you here?
My wife Claudia and I came here on our honeymoon and liked it very much.  We always wanted to make Asia our home.

4) What do you to in your spare time?
What spare time? With four kids (Felipe, Maria Teresa, Alberto, and baby Caterina) there isn't much of that. But we do like to go to Legoland in Malaysia.

5) What do you like best about Singapore?
How helpful people are.

6) Least?
I miss the change of seasons.

7) Never leave the house without?
A good idea of where to go.

8) Best weekend trip?

9) Interesting fact people don't know about you?
I hold the high altitude record in sky diving in South America: 33,000 ft. I was part of a Venezuelan Army team.

10) And what advice would you give someone who is about to move here?
Relax and enjoy your time here. As an entrepreneur, I would say choosing the right location is key.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

If Emily Dickinson Had Lived in Singapore

"How dreary to be somebody..."

1) Instead of living in rural Massachussets, she would have lived in Sembawang.
2) Instead of writing: "I'm nobody, who are you?" She would have written: "I'm an expat without about you?"
3) Instead of: "Hope is the thing with feathers." She would have written: "Hope is the taxi with a green light."
4) Instead of themes of death and immortality, her poetry might have dealt with mould and humidity.
5) And that feeling of a funeral in her brain, might have just been a headache due to dehydration.