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

The next best thing to going to see family and friends is when they can come to see you 

on July 13, 2015

As the years pass by and I am still finding myself calling Singapore ‘home’, one of the great joys of being here is when family and friends can come and visit you.


We’ve had a steady flow of visitors over the years and it’s a privilege to be able to host them whilst we’re here. It’s not just family and close friends we’ve seen but old colleagues who randomly find themselves in Singapore for work or just on their way to someplace else.



It’s impossible to fully describe what living this Expat life is like. Is it really like a permanent holiday and how lucky are we to have hot weather, home help and sunshine most days all year round. To come and see for yourself is the only way to find out. It’s a chance for us to share what this lifestyle is all about.



But most importantly, it’s a chance for us to catch up properly at a much more relaxed pace than the galloping speed I find myself doing on every trip back to the UK. I see you but it’s so brief, yet brief is better than nothing. But when you’re out here in Singapore, we at least don’t need to try and cram everything we need to catch up on from the last few years in the next few hours. We at least have a few days to do so.


I love the anticipation of waiting weeks and days until the moment you need to go and collect visitors from Changi Aiport. I love an airport. It usually brings a promise of something fun and exciting. Singapore is so compact that you can get to the airport within half an hour. And the design is such that you can see your visitors come into view whilst they queue for their luggage and not have to wait until that Surprise Surprise moment when they walk through Arrivals.



Uncle Monkey will not like me saying this as he will no doubt take it as a dig, but Nana Moon has stayed at all four of the apartments we’ve lived at in Singapore. Rating each condo on the size  and shape of the pool downstairs. I’m pleased to say that our current condo rates rather high.




Her latest visit last week must have been her fifth or sixth stay in Singapore. Usually it’s because she’s en route to someplace else but this time it was purely to visit us. And rate our new condo pool. Quite often I hear people say that there’s not much to do in Singapore. That you can do the main sights in three or four days. Yes that’s partly true but then how much do you get to see of any other place you’ve been to on holiday. And really, isn’t it about seeing us?



Of course it’s about seeing us! But equally you are on holiday and I wouldn’t want you to go home more exhausted than before you arrived because of the demands of #1, 2 and 3! I’m fully aware of the fact that you are on holiday but as Guest of Honour, you are also a huge source of attention and entertainment for #1, 2 and 3!




And as #1, 2 and 3 grow older and they remember family and friends they’ve met before, there’s something very touching about how they feel when visitors come to stay. They love it. As much as Nana Moon loves Whittaker’s white chocolate with Lemon & Paeroa and bursting with popping candy. Trust me, it’s a deep love. But I also see her point having tried some and immediately having to put it on my grocery list.



You see, as much as there’s hot weather, home help and sunshine most days all year around, there isn’t the consistent presence of something as fixed as family and friends. Don’t get me wrong, we have great friends here but Singapore is a transient hub and at some point, they or we, will move on. It just depends on when. Two years are fast approaching seven.




So you can imagine the excitement when I told #1, 2 and 3 about the return of Nana Moon. Plans were made months in advance of the places they wanted to take her (Legoland, Malaysia), gifts were bought with a Star Wars theme attached and they were even going to take her to school as their Show and Tell exhibit A but much to their disappointment we had to go to Legoland instead.



I’m not quite sure who had the most fun at Legoland. Or who most enjoyed the stay at the Legoland Hotel. I do know that Nana Moon taking them on the rides that go round and round spared me many moments of being sick. At the moment I’m still the Mummy Who Can. #1, 2 and 3 haven’t quite sussed out that I’m rubbish at theme park rides, that I’m no natural adrenaline junkie and that I’m rather scared of the dark with mysterious noises and low flying animals around. And Nana Moon knowing that I am all these things, always steps up to lead the way.





Equally as I saw how much #1, 2 and 3 gained from Nana Moon’s company, I came to question again the value of those close relationships they are missing out on. On both sides. With lots of people. Even in the seven short months since we were last in the UK, Nana Moon could see how much each of them has grown up and changed.




We often talk about reverting back to type when we are with our siblings. That we adopt the roles we’ve always played when with brothers and sisters. That is so true. But what I’ve realised over the years is that we also revert back to type with those who we have known the longest. We talk about the same things, almost picking up conversations we left off a couple of years ago. There’s something quite comforting and reassuring when that happens.




For me, it’s the safety of knowing that whilst I have been away and you and I have done so many things that haven’t involved each other, I ultimately know that beneath it all, you and I haven’t changed that much at all. And you know, I like being able to talk about the ridiculous. Like whether I’d like to be a vampire or witch more. I’ve given this much thought. Ask Nana Moon.



Without doubt, taking this unknown step of moving out to Singapore all those years ago was the right move. It’s been good to be pushed out of your own comfort zone. Meet new people. Meet some amazing new people who have brought so much and widened the world for me. I’ve travelled to places I never would have done. Tried new experiences that would never have crossed my mind to want to try and do. Like the G5 bungy ping. It’s been calling me for six years and I can say I’m never having to do it again. Besides I definitely won’t be if my Dad, Mr Li hears about it. (What were you thinking? You’re a 40 year old mother of three and you go and do this? I despair. And so on)





In this modern era of never truly being out of touch with people anywhere in the world at all times of day which I’m truly thankful for. I daresay I couldn’t have stayed out this long without social media and various apps that help us keep relationships going and friendships alive.  Though nothing can compare to their actual presence.



Whilst the Arrivals Hall of an aiport is one of the most exciting and happiest places to be, equally the Departures Hall can be one of the most hardest places to be if you are the one not going anywhere. I must be notoriously rubbish at saying Farewell because #1 kept asking me whether I was going to cry. And he and #2 were so upset they had to be consoled with fries before going home….. But it’s good that we miss you because it means we’ll be looking forward to seeing you again.



If we can’t go and visit family and friends all around the world. The next best thing is when family and friends can come and visit us here.



And so if you can, it would be lovely to see you .



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