Tell me if this sounds about right: I am fairly regular in posting blogs, and I write quite enthusiastically for a few weeks, but I suddenly disappear for nearly two months and I just as suddenly reappear to announce we are now living in a different country.
I did it barely a year ago. Eight months to be precise. Oops, I did it again!
So yes. Now that the paperwork has been done and we have officially unpacked our bags in a sweet condo, I guess the husband will deem it safe for me to shout out from the virtual rooftops of the colossal internet that we are back in Singapore. And boy am I glad we are!
Miss Munchkin and I landed in Changi Airport nearly three weeks ago, having survived our first flight longer than four hours. Seven and a half hours of managing a cranky toddler who refused to let sleep come in the way of her enjoying the in-flight entertainment system, not to mention the added few hours in the airport waiting to board, and I was ready to just throw in my Mommy badge and say “Thank you, but I think I am done”. Luckily for me, a good Samaritan helped me with my bulky suitcases and my sister and her family came to the airport to drive us home. Sleep deprived, ravenous and slightly overwhelmed, it took me some time to realise that I was actually back in Singapore. Despite having lived here for over two years, it had never felt like home to be honest, but this time… I felt like I had never left. I guess we had to go away for us to realise how much we missed this place.
Before I talk about house hunting with a toddler and everything that followed, please let me digress. I need to talk about this amazing friend I found through this blog, and how we got along like the proverbial house on fire, and how she introduced me to The Secret. Now I usually stay away from self-help books, and I really don’t believe in a blanket solution for everything and everyone so I started reading it with just the right balance of skepticism and inquisitiveness and discovered to my surprise that I quite liked how it made me look at my life. Self-fulfilling prophecies are a thing apparently and the more I looked back at all the things that had happened in my life I realised that anytime I had truly believed in something as true, it had manifested itself. Keeping in tune with my true self though, I stopped reading the book the moment I came across stories about healing cancer through nothing but the power of positive thought. Enough said.
Why I had to talk about The Secret is because I had found what I thought was the perfect unit for us after hours and hours of surfing the Property Guru app while I was still in Dubai. I decided to harness all my positivity, and declared to the universe that I needed that unit. I did everything the book asked me to. I imagined myself in it and I even started imagining how I would decorate the nooks and corners. I started talking about it to everyone I knew, and when my friend-philosopher-guide-critic-fan all rolled into one DG told me I would find a better place if not that I told him vehemently I didn’t want a better place. The unit was huge, had a study, and looked bright and airy from the pictures I saw. We got in touch with the agent and decided on a viewing date the moment our tickets got done.
So, on a Monday afternoon, I arrived at the condo, red faced and sweaty and stinky, having scrubbed half the cab seat with wet wipes, and changed Miss Munchkin’s outfit while apologising profusely to the cab driver after a nasty puking episode. The less I talk about it the better. Positive, positive I kept telling myself but the moment I walked into the unit my heart sank and settled somewhere in the pit of my stomach, and stayed there heavy as lead as I walked about the unit. So dreams and reality don’t always match, I discovered yet again. I made a few notes to the agent and politely asked him to show me the next unit.
It’s almost as if the universe knew what I needed better than I did. When I walked into that second unit (spoiler alert, I am writing from the living room of that unit now) everything just called out to me, starting from the afternoon sun lighting up the living room, to the Jack and Jill bathroom between the two guest bedrooms to the huge master bedroom and kitchen with more cabinet space than I could have asked for and oh, an oven! I knew I had miraculously stumbled upon a reality that was better than the dreams I had woven. It’s been barely a week that we’ve moved in and I haven’t been as thoroughly completely utterly besotted with any other house as I am with this one.
Between finding this place and moving in, I spent nearly a week at my sister’s place with just Miss Munchkin for company as they went holidaying, and it was then that I stumbled upon the realisation that I never had imagined to be the harried anxious impatient mother that I have come to be. I always pictured myself as an upbeat Mom, always up for fun, with plenty of craft ideas for her kid, with enough energy and more to keep up with a toddler, cooking and cleaning and shopping for groceries while being imaginative enough to keep the kid away from screens as much as possible. I certainly didn’t wish to be this version of myself, and it made me a little sad. Ninety percent of being a stay at home Mom is cleaning up after the toddler, picking up toys and wiping spills, the rest of it involves being nifty enough to stop a tantrum before it starts and oh dear have distractions ready for when that doesn’t work. It is not glamorous, it is a thankless job that saps you of all energy until you wonder if you’ll ever want to get up from bed the next morning to have to do it all over again.
Deep breath. Okay. It’s not all bad. It’s worth it. It has to be. Right?
This move has been particularly harsh for the little one, specially after having spent so much time with her cousin, my nephew who’s just two months older than her. They are in that delightful phase where they hug and kiss out of the blue and refuse to be separated and the next moment fight over the same toy. Our stuff won’t be here for god knows how long, and without her toys to distract her it has been exceptionally tough for me to keep her happy. The shuttle bus from our condo has rendered its service though, so we hop on whenever we fancy like going outside, get some shopping done, get a change in scenery and come back energised. Each time I step inside this place I feel a gush of love, and gratefulness. The weather has been amazing, with thunderstorms every night. We haven’t turned on the AC ever since we moved in.
This about covers up the last two months I guess. Before leaving Dubai we went on a short weekend getaway to the Rotana resort in Fujairah, about two and a half hours drive away from Dubai through miles of desert and rocky mountains, and I was blown away by how friendly everybody was to Miss Munchkin. The baby pool had canvas stretched over it to keep the harsh sun out, and we spent most of our time lounging there with her. The spa was the best I had ever been to, and I brought back with me a beautiful Moroccan perfume that makes everything around it smell like tube rose.
I am also slowly but steadily reading towards my goal of 50 books this year, and I am reading an average of two books per week. When I accidentally chanced upon my Brother-in-law’s stash of epubs, which included all the New York Times bestsellers from the last three years, I felt like a kid being handed her Diwali months early. My latest favourite would be The Secret Life of Bees. I have finished reading three books after that but I am still hungover; it’s one of those books that stay with you long after you’re done reading, the pictures flashing in front of your eyes each time you close them. Talking about pictures, I found the illustrated Harry Potter book in the bookstore today! I also succumbed to curiosity and preordered the Harry Potter and The Cursed Child book.
Such is my life. Moving countries and house hunting and singing paeans about bright and breezy rooms. Moping about how difficult being a stay at home Mom is and then aggressively defending my choice to be the same. Being a spa snob. Reading and talking about reading and writing and thinking about writing. Finding happiness in anything to do with Harry Potter. Oh, and being thrilled about spin mops. Spin mops rock.