The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Hello UK – it’s time you and I got reacquainted

on September 23, 2014

Today in Singapore the sun is shining and the temperature will range between 26 and 32 degrees with 70% humidity levels.

This is nothing new. It’s barely worth asking me what’s the weather like because with all probability it’s going to be like this.

I’m not showing off. I see the forecast says it’s also sunny in London and Newcastle.

Rest assured I will tell you of the occasions the weather permits the wearing of long trousers. Such rarity elicits great excitement.

However as you are all interesting and stimulating people, I daresay our conversations would never need to hit the doldrums of asking what the weather is doing.

So, after nearly three long years, I’m finally coming back to the UK! Long trousers and long sleeves with a jumper, coat, scarf and boots. Even when I’m in Newcastle. Especially when I’m in Newcastle. It has to be snowing by now.

I’ve started packing already. I have a winter wardrobe circa seven years ago. I’m not outdated, I’m just really into vintage. However to make myself more current I went to buy two new long sleeved tops that don’t look much different to the ones of seven years ago.

I could have bought this but figured I might lose one of the children in it. #3 especially.


I’m exuding an air of palpable excitement. Forget the 13 hour night flight with #1, 2 and 3. It’ll be a breeze I’m sure. Just get through the first six hours without crying and all will be well.

And this time I’m back for six weeks and three days. The longest time ever! I just can’t wait.

The first weekend is Big D’s wedding at the former residence of King Henry VIII. Nana Moon and I are going together and I’ll be seeing Ms Beefy, my cousin and her husband plus a few others all at the same time. Slightly concerned the jetlag will send me to sleep in a darkened corner of the dance floor by 8pm. Or even more concerning, into a state of delirium.

Then I’m off to Stockholm for a weekend sans #1, 2 and 3, to help Nana Moon Embrace 40 with £20 pints of beer. Who would have thought there are places more expensive than Singapore for beer. This is one weekend I am so glad I’m back for as not only am I sans #1, 2 and 3 but I get to spend it with my three best friends for the first time in forever. However I haven’t actually told my Dad, Mr Li I’m doing this and after the encounter I told you about in my last post, I’m not sure I will. But equally perhaps this is the best way to break the news to him? I’m sure someone will tell him on my behalf.

Plus there are new small people to meet. I’m looking forward to seeing them in person having seen so many photographs on Facebook and the many status updates of how they are always getting one better over their parents. But there is one young lady in particular, I’m looking forward to meeting most of all. The news of whose arrival still fills me with huge emotion when I think about it.

And not forgetting my Dad, Mr Li and my Mum and all my nearly nieces and nephews. I’ve missed them all so much and I’ve missed out on so much too. When I left the UK they were mostly young adults with student discount cards and now they know why I was always making use of their NUS cards.

The thing I’ve learnt you have to do with being an Expat is that you can’t always look back at what you left behind. Otherwise you’ll never be fully present in the place where you are. So to that extent you do have to become slightly detached from where you come from. Is it still Home? Yes it was and no it isn’t.

After exactly six years away today, nearly three of which I’ve not returned during, I have lost some connection with what I know of the UK. I’ve grown accustomed to changes that made me homesick and I’ve nearly stopped comparing what is better in the UK than in Singapore.

But I’m ready to get reacquainted all over again.

What does it feel like to have a proper pint of draught Guinness instead of one out of a can that’s then poured into a glass and placed on some whizzy gadget that does something which ought to make it taste like a draught one. I’m sure there’s a special name for it.

How different is a glass of red wine going to be in crisp cold weather. Pub with roaring fire thrown in would be an added bonus.

How many different varieties of crisps will I find on the shelves of Sainsbury’s? I’ve already worked out that I can’t buy more than eight different multipack varieties because of my Dad, Mr Li’s rule of maximum one packet a day. Last time I slightly miscalculated and ended up leaving 42 bags with Uncle Monkey. And knowing his lack of concern for Best Before Dates, I bet he still has half of them and more than likely will think nothing of offering them to #1, 2 and 3.

I have a really long list of food items I need to get through and so planning my trip around this needs to be done meticulously. I bet you didn’t even know certain food combinations don’t exist in all parts of the UK. This was a huge shock. I almost couldn’t move to London because they had never heard of chips and gravy in the same carton.

If you can have a bag of chips. And you can have a pot of gravy. Doesn’t it make sense that you equally should be able to have chips and gravy together? It’s very simple. No you can’t. I just don’t get it. Goodness knows what they would make of adding some fried rice into the mix as well. Although Mr Cadbury’s Eclairs thinks this is food abomination. Double carbs are the work of the devil. So does Mrs Cake Pops, I can already see the look of disgust and retching as she reads this.

Elbear the Wise once said that the sign of true friendship is knowing how someone likes their tea. If you’ve forgotten, it’s regular tea brewed for a few minutes with just enough milk to make it look like caramel and filled to one centimetre below the top of the mug. Half filled mugs will be sent back.

Equally a sign of true friendship is allowing the ketchup to reside right beside the salt and pepper next to the Sunday Roast. I just don’t get why this upsets you so? Is it because it merges with the gravy on the plate?

Without sounding as if I have a disregard for the rising numbers in the obese and diabetic, I can’t wait for a real proper chocolate eclair. M&S are ok but one is never enough and two is just gluttony. What is ideal are the Sainsbury’s Jumbo Eclairs. Are you listening Nana Moon? Of course you can get eclairs here and when I first chanced upon one, I was so excited and then so bitterly let down that I almost threw it back and proceed to lecture on what makes an authentic eclair and faux fresh cream is not one of the components and that I should know having won the taste and presentation categories of a homemade chocolate eclair challenge against Mr No Beans, whose real strength lies in the tarte tartin.

But of course this is not about all I can eat. And I really must watch that as I can just fit into the dress I would like to wear to a special family wedding six weeks later but if I don’t manage to keep all in check then fear not, like my suitcase, I have an expandable back up dress.

Last Friday as I anxiously waited for the Scottish referendum results to come in, I could feel the nerves building up. I personally wanted a No outcome so I’m pleased with the result but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel for those who passionately wanted it to be a Yes. Had it been a Yes, it would have made coming back very weird and even more disconnecting for me. Change happens, I get it. The second from last time I was back, David Cameron became Prime Minister. But to lose a whole country? Well that’s just quite careless.

I honestly never thought I’d still be an Expat right now. I thought we’d have moved back some time this year. But I think it’s better this way to get reacquainted again so that I know what it is we’ll be coming back to. There’s a General Election next year and it’s time to listen to what the Parties are saying. Six years away plus #1, 2 and 3 in tow is a big lifestyle change to adapt to. I don’t even know how you would get them some education so it’s about time to find out.

But leaving all that aside, I am more than ready to see you again. And I quite simply, just can’t wait!

Plus, Mrs Cake Pops bought me my very own onesie for this trip. Though I highly suspect she wears hers for casual Sunday wear. I haven’t tried it on yet but all I can see is a Tomliboo and I’ll be bringing it to Stockholm.

I thought six weeks and three days was a long time but it definitely won’t be enough time for me to see all of you who I really want to see but I’m going to give it a good go.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: