Thursday, January 28, 2016

Moving to Singapore?

It's a jungle out there!
(Warning: this blog post contains useful information.)

Many people write to me asking for advice before making the big move to Singapore. One of their biggest worries (rightly so) is where to live. High rise condo vs. landed house? East Coast vs. Sentosa? Since this is clearly one of the most important factors determining your entire stay, my advice is speak to an expert. My mom is pretty good but since she lives in Italy, I would advise you seek the next best thing: Greyloft:
Unlike other real estate agencies, Greyloft doesn't just list properties but provides an end to end, bespoke lay terms, they literally hold your hand through what can be a very emotional and stressful time. They even know where to eat killer dumplings between property views. That's the type of inside information I am looking for.
So, good luck and happy househunting!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How To Build a Reputation

Is this Mental Math?
Against my better judgement and with the hope of not reliving too many childhood traumas, this morning I attended the Math workshare Eliot's fourth grade class was holding for parents. The very first classmate I met looked surprised to see me: "Eliot told us you didn't want to come because you're not good in Math..." Word gets around fast I see.
Where's Shakespeare when you need him?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Distance is a State of Mind

Last night, my little brother Julian played a sold out concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City. I wasn't there...but it really felt like I was. (

As expats, we don't think of distance in strictly geographical terms, by necessity we come to see distance as a mental state of mind. Often sad about the weddings, the baptisms, the graduations we are forced to miss, we eventually discover with surprise things we would never have realized had we not moved away in the first place: a closeness with our adult siblings that we never had when we lived under the same roof. A stronger desire to spend time with our parents than those people who live just down the street from theirs. We have the ability to gauge with newfound clarity old friendships, the ones we had since we were kids. Are they based on something more than sharing the same zip code? Distance helps one gain perspective and appreciation. And that is not something you can just buy with air miles.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Way Back When

I Vitelloni
I just got this photo from my Dad (the man on the right wearing a beret) who attended last weekend the 80th surprise birthday party of his childhood friend Pierino (pictured in the center). On the far left, is his best friend Giancarlo, a philosopher and lover of books who lauded Somerset Maugham and the importance of eating pizza while still hot. This photo reminds me of Federico Fellini's masterpiece, I Vitelloni, which details one year in the life of five adolescents who pass their days dreaming of escaping life in a small seaside town. The story is semi-autobiographical and the only one who ends up leaving is Fellini himself who becomes a famous director in Rome. Like Fellini, my Dad was the only one of his friends who left his childhood home. A reality shared by expats who eventually come to the bittersweet realization that while you can never go home again... old friends are there when you do.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Haircut


Santa Claus brought Eliot the entire Gilmore Girls for Christmas. The popular TV series features the brainy and beautiful Rory Gilmore (pictured above on Alexander's phone screen). After watching about ten episodes, Eliot has her heart set on two things: going to Harvard and Rory's hairstyle. We decide to focus on the one that doesn't involve the $60.000 yearly tuition. Since her Dad is in charge of all things styling (he is the 100% Italian parent), the two go shopping to find the perfect Rory-like headband. After a walk down Orchard boulevard which involves entering multiple shops (full disclosure: I would have given up after the first shop, hence not the real shopper of the family) success! He then takes it a step further, by booking an appointment to achieve the actual look.
Fast forward to the next day and Eliot misses her hair, Not in an understated way, she really misses it. This morning, as we wait for the lift, just one refrain: "I want my hair back."
Her Dad? Oh, he's on a business trip to China...

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Best Books Read in 2015


Happy New Year!

6:00 am, Singapore
Three week school break is over and today is the first day back to school for the kids. Many of their expat classmates will have travelled home (as faraway as Canada) or gone on exotic trips to places like Myanmar and Thailand.
I promised I would take the kids ice Jurong.
This morning Eliot complained that she wouldn't have anything exciting to report to her class about the holidays because we hadn't gone ice skating. But we did make pancakes, I reminded her.
I really need to manage expectations better.