Tag Archives: black girl speaks

Wide Awake Part II : The 10 Lessons I’ve Re-Learned About America While Living Abroad

Living abroad automatically enrolls me in an online course of “Race Relations in America in the Presumed Post-Racial Era.” In the seven months of my course work, I’ve been reintroduced to some invaluable lessons.

1. Black men are seen as inept, incapable, ill-equipped, inferior, invisible “boys” when it comes to standard allowances for the majority such as personal or commercial loans, employment, or scholastic admissions and scholarships.

2. Black boys are seen as dangerous, threatening, thuggish, lethal “men” when it comes to justifying their murders with erroneous claims of self-defense.

3. White men, women, and children can and will be justified and excused for any infliction or infraction upon someone black or brown, and if they’re wealthy, any infliction or infraction period.  If any action of systemic justice is taken such as an indictment, it will be far-reaching and unattainable to convict so as to pacify the cries of the oppressed.

4. Black men, women, and children will not be justified or excused in any infliction or infraction period.

5. Black and brown children are not allowed to be children, to engage in frivolous activity, to be seen as innocent, to be mischievous or given the opportunity to mature and evolve as their white counterparts are.

6. Self-defense only applies to the majority culture. This includes any that have assimilated to the point of being mistaken as a member of the majority culture. Black people are not allowed to feel and act with fear because they are only to be feared.

7. It’s worse in the south.

8. “The south is any state below Canada.” – Malcolm X

9. White entitlement, which is an intoxicating and debilitating drug that can be inherently or mistakenly consumed by anyone,  will lead to the following when any minority voices they want to empower themselves:  they will NOT want you to advance in this way; they will feel entitled to voice their opposing opinions in any forum, even yours; they will always play the victim; they will try to beat you over the head with insults and accusations, specifically that you, the oppressed party, are racist; they will not offer support; they will feel threatened and offended by any thought you have to progress your own as the majority culture has done since the inception of this country; they will not take kindly to any encroaching on their way of life; they will try to steal, kill, and/or destroy you, your ideals, your culture, & your identity.

10. Many educated or influential, middle class or affluent Black people will be afraid to recognize or SPEAK on these matters in fear of disturbing their individual lives of contentment and complacency. Those of us who do will be marred even by our own. So is the price of reading of, thinking for, and loving oneself.

I was aware, but did not fully digest the reality of the aforementioned when I actually dwelled in the midst of it. I was honestly somewhat afraid of truly SPEAKing the truths of my experience for fear of ruining relationships, ostracizing myself, or jeopardizing the safety of those I love. (See number 9.) Now, I realize we are all in jeopardy. Our lives are already vulnerable because they are seen as disposable. Our rights to humanity have already been stripped for many, and can be from us all at any time. We have not progressed nearly as much as we have fooled ourselves into believing. What else do we have to lose?

Now, is the time to pool together to focus on what we have to gain. My husband and I have engaged in many discussions about restoring our culture and community within the states. Our ancestors literally slaved to build a country that has continually terrorized us as its inhabitants. It’s time we do something, well within our rights, about it. He has compiled a list, an action plan if you will, that can and should be implemented by all who are focused on rebuilding and restoring black economy, black neighborhoods, black greatness.  Loving ourselves and wanting to support our own, just like all other cultures do already, does not mean we hate anyone else. There is no room or energy for hate. We have to know and understand this first.

I know posts like this will meet with opposition, and I no longer care to entertain it. Again, those who are intoxicated with supremacy will feel ENTITLED to speak even when they are not addressed at all. These things will apply to any one in opposition, regardless of race. Knowing these things, we must remain focused. We can lovingly educate those who are genuinely interested in our cause, but we will not engage in useless banter. We give credence to their voice when we do. If you are in disagreement with the purpose of this post and the following action plan, feel free to keep moving. We’ve got work to do here.

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For those who are wondering what to do now that it has been repeatedly confirmed that our lives have no value. This list is already being implemented by other cultures, the majority culture in America especially. The oppressed cannot be racist, because we hold no economic power. Be not distracted by the intoxicated.

Resource list to help complete the list:

Black Banks: http://urbanintellectuals.com/2013/10/03/did-you-know-there-were-21-african-american-owned-banks-in-the-country/

Effects of Black Schools: 

How to Support Black Businesses:

Feeling Humble, Grateful, in Awe of it All

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Just landed in Thailand,

but still high on this incredible life we’re living.

Working to stay grounded.

Focusing on the purpose of it all.

Remembering much has been given,

and therefore greater works will be required.

Let my voice and spirit utter nothing but praise.

Let my heart be full of the joy that only comes

from The Spirit.

In my humble silence and reflection,

let my work SPEAK for me.

All that I am, all that I’ve done,

all that I have to give,

let it be for Your glory

and the progression of your children.

Asė.

#BlackGirlSpeaks 

 

 

Thinking Ahead

January 20, 2014

Singapore seems like that ambitious overzealous younger sibling desperately trying to crawl out of the shadows of its predecessors. It strives to excel in all areas, especially education. In terms of academics, just from my brief research and observations, Singapore far excels America in mathematics, reading (but, not necessarily comprehension), and knowledge and usage of elevated vocabulary in text. Students in local schools are indoctrinated into a highly competitive, rigorous, and rigid form of instruction from Kindergarten and are already sifted and categorized according to intellectual prowess by Primary 1, which is age seven.

Though I’m told there was a shift in focus from a “survival-driven education” system to an “ability-driven” one, the remnants of the survival instinct are still prevalent.  Students are (still) taught how to receive, respond, and recall quickly in a structured and disciplined environment. They are taught, in fact, required to operate within a very limited scope and set of boundaries. This was initially implemented when Singapore first developed its own economy and autonomy to ensure that graduates would be viable employees and “provide a skilled workforce” for its industrialization program while lowering unemployment; which overall last year was 2%! So, in those regards, it’s working.

On the other hand, because of this focus, there is little if any tolerance for failure or mistakes. Friends of mine here, both local and foreign, complain often about how their children are punished, scolded or “tapped” because they failed to answer a question correctly or hold their pencil properly.  In local schools, many “expat” (expatriate) children are viciously taunted for their lack of grasp of the Chinese language, though English is the official language and the most dominant one used for instruction.  I’m also told that often teachers are not willing to offer additional support or materials to aid in a student’s progression outside of the classroom. They only do what is required of them, no more or less. I have found that this carries over in every facet of service in Singapore. (see upcoming post “Can-Not.”) Though this form of rigidity may be beneficial in terms of the labor force, I have found that it can also be crippling in the aspect of developing the whole person.

ImageMany Singaporeans I’ve observed, especially in the service industry, lack critical and creative thinking skills. I have witnessed evidence of this repeatedly.  Everything must be in order, must follow the rules; no deviation or modification. There is no allowance for thinking quickly on your feet or spontaneity; no concept of thinking outside the box. If there isn’t a box, they will follow the set of instilled instructions and build one. They do not question authority, or anything. “We do things this way. That is all,” a native Singaporean once told me. He was almost offended that I inquired about the reasoning for such structure. 

I’m reminded of a recent Saturday when we went out for breakfast. My husband called ahead to make a reservation, but he was told there was a two-hour wait. I thought this was unusual and decided that we should go anyway.  When we arrived, as I expected, there were dozens of empty tables. The eager host greeted me with the question, “Do you have [a] reservation?” I scrolled the restaurant to bring attention to the abundance of empty seats. He asked again, completely missing the hint. “No, but we can just sit at any one of these empty tables,” I uttered through a patronizing smile.  Image

“These are all reserved,” he quipped.

“These are all reserved? For what time?” 

“12:30.” He leaned in to show me two reservations listed. 

“It’s 11. Pancakes won’t take long. We’re sitting,” I declared before marching to the table. Never in America, would a business turn away business for potential business. 

“If all you people just followed the rules, things would be better in this country,” an irate self-appointed condo security officer reproached when we took an alternative exit from our building. (That sounded familiar.) He became so agitated and disrespectful that my husband had to address him as only he knows how, and later took his picture to report him. There seems to be little room to color outside of the lines, and certainly very little encouragement to draw your own picture. Though controlled, or maybe because of it, the work ethic of many Singaporeans surpasses that of many Americans. In the U.S., people tend to “work smart” using innovation and technology to ease the workload. Here, they work hard.  And, that starts early as well.

Students that I’ve encountered are overburdened with hours of daily homework, extended school days, and private tuition. A little girl, no older than ten, once told me that she didn’t have time to play. “{Here}, you stop playing when you are 3,” she said so certainly that I almost accepted it and felt pity that my two-year-old would be ending her leisurely play in the park very soon. All of them must meet the pressure of excelling on their regular assessments. The results of which determine which track, academic or vocational, they’ll take throughout their educational matriculation.  Their futures are almost predetermined and there is little room for deviation from the structure. Think of “1984,” and “Fahrenheit 451.” According to the Washington Post:

                   “After six years of primary-school education, Singaporean students take a test that determines whether they’ll be placed in a special school for the gifted, a vocational school or a special education program, and another test later determines their             higher-ed options.”

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/11/heres-why-other-countries-beat-the-u-s-in-reading-and-math/

The heavy role of testing actually isn’t so different from that in America, where many students are tracked and even the number of prisons estimated to be built is determined by results from standardized tests administered when students are as young as nine-years-old. Just as in America as well, the disparity in the quality of education is vast, and mainly based on race, income, and resources. Once again, I’m seeing firsthand how the poverty line and color line intersect and merge, and how students are failed before they even start if they were born with an excess of melanin or a lack of pedigree. Here, however, Indian is the new Black, and the Bangladeshi are the “Latinos.” Image

In America, the coined phrase, “school-to-prison pipeline,” describes the most likely path for those who are disadvantaged academically because of their socioeconomic (lack of) status. Because of the extremely high penalties for crime and the lack of tolerance for such, I would say it’s more the “school-to-harsh manual labor” pipeline for those who don’t make the grade in Singapore.

It’s one of the reasons many expats I know enroll their children in international schools, which all have formal names, but are referred to as “The American School” or “The Canadian School.” It’s also one of the main reasons now and here was the opportunity to utilize my educational experience and passion and begin providing private tuition for other students and to open my own educational center for my daughter and other toddlers who like to paint their own canvas.  Visit http://www.isisgenius.com.

(Please post any comments and inquiries directly on the blog so that I can compile them.)

[Read :The Modern American, “Buying Into Prisons and Selling Kids Short.” http://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1141&context=tma]

You Can Reach Me By….

Image It was Girl’s Night, the first of the new year. Most of us have made it back from our holiday travels, and we were reuniting at a friend’s house to meet her visiting mom, who could probably successfully pursue a career in standup right now. There was lots of laughter, animated stories, tabloid gossip, the Beyoncé discussion (which I’ll reference in another upcoming post), chicken and waffles, and of course wine. (Wine seems to be the standard ticket of entry for all Singaporean household functions. Maybe it’s more about the status shift rather than the location.) Image

Whenever we get together, I temporarily forget where we are. It just feels normal and like home. It almost feels like college again, but without hotplates and with a much earlier bedtime. Being around the friends we’ve made here has been the greatest gift from moving, you know aside from the change in lifestyle. 

My mom called. I hadn’t been able to reach her all week, so I was delighted and I excused myself for a moment. It was almost like I thought by answering, I was inviting her into the fellowship. We both love entertaining and being in good company. I answered blithely, but quickly became worried. 

She’s been sick; just released from the hospital. Yet, she began the conversation with words of flattery for a new gift I just received from my husband. “It’s so beautiful! You deserve it. I’m so happy for you,” she remarked. You’d think she was speaking of something far more valuable than a material object, but my mom personally enjoys when all of her children are “rewarded” in some way. 

She asked if I was busy, as though I’d ever say “yes” or be too busy to talk (once I’ve actually answered the phone), especially when there’s a 13-hour time difference. Whenever she asks this, whenever she overly expresses her consideration of my time or resources, I know she wants to share something important with me or she needs something, but doesn’t want to ask. I wish she knew by now that she could ask me for anything, except my child, and it’d be hers. She actually has asked for my child. 

After convincing her that I could talk despite my location, she goes on to tell me how there was a quite a scare in her health and she has a condition that puzzles every physician she’s seen. There’s no known cure, but “there’s no Cancer!” For a Cancer survivor, the relief is always in the benign results regardless of any other diagnosis. I listen in silence and consternation because I don’t want my alarm and confusion about why I’m just being informed to interrupt her. I can already hear the reluctance in her voice to tell me, which she only felt obligated to do because she didn’t want me to hear the news from someone else. I thought of my father and siblings who were all instructed NOT to tell me anything. Though, my father did try by including me on a group text that was sent to my previous U.S. based phone number. God bless him for trying. 

After hearing all the details, I was somewhat satisfied that she had access to all she needed to head towards some type of recovery. I spoke calmly and assured her that I could be there if she needed me. I would do whatever she needed me to do. I always had and would. Distance had not changed that. I reiterated how much I wanted to remain included in the important discussions back home. And then,with the gregarious cachinnation in the background, I realized in her efforts to protect me, she was really asserting that I was becoming too far removed. In her mind, I was in a world living a life they hadn’t even imagined, and there was nothing I could do from afar. Any request, even one that would be extremely beneficial to her and inconsequential to me, would not be worth the inconvenience she thought it would cause or the disruption to my seemingly completely carefree and lavish new life. It’s neither, but the display is always best from the window. 

I was able to control the tremble of my voice on the phone, but began crying in solitude once we said our goodbyes. I couldn’t help thinking now of all the sacrifices that are made when people take leaps of faith to live outside the norm or outside of their home country. The distance it creates between you and your extended family, the milestones you miss, the family hardships where you can’t readily assist, the exclusion, the absence, the friends who find it too difficult to “keep in touch,” all come with the territory. There is no quick trip home. Packages and money take much longer to arrive when needed right away. Technology doesn’t connect in the way an arm’s embrace does. Image

Awareness of this, makes me all the more appreciative of Girl’s Night and moments like them. We bond over our need to remain tangibly connected to someone. For temporary windows in time, we can just reflect on the greatness of the experience and recreate the type of events home afforded us without dwelling on what it lacks. I said a prayer, rejoined the gathering, picked up my glass ,and tried to forget again.  

The Break

The Break

Sunday December 1, 2013 and Thursday January 9, 2014

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It felt like water breaking.

<Hi, my name is Talitha, and I can be dramatic.>

Though premature, they say it happens around three months, then again at six, this labor was intensive and the birth was full weight. I cried, wept until I was weak and my face and hands were drenched. Only silenced by my daughter’s gentle embrace, as though to say, “It’s ok. It’s all over now.”  I can only remember a few other occasions where this has happened; when I was so overcome with a range of emotions that they just broke through and tears violently flushed me.

I had the breakdown; the question everything, troubles seem to last always, pain comes through the mourning, ‘What the hell am I doing here (with oatmeal in my hair)’ breakdown! And, it paralyzed me. I couldn’t write about it. Hence, no blog posts. I couldn’t talk about it in depth to anyone, and I (still) couldn’t move around it.  I’ve just been moving through it; trying not to let it overshadow the incredible blessing and opportunities of being here with the uncertainty of the same.

For almost a year and half prior to that moment, we were assessing the notion of an international relocation, the shifting of my business, and the impact of uprooting and leaving our support system for a world unknown.  We were in “go” mode for about six months of that time, just moving, selling, packing, making lists, checking them off, & creating more. I was phasing out Black Girl Speaks in the U.S., preparing our daughter, and handling all of the remaining tedious tasks while living in a hotel after my husband moved a month before us. I believed in my husband and supported his ambitions wholeheartedly. I was excited about all this shift would bring. I was ecstatic about creating something new and greater in Asia. I wanted this as much for myself, as I did for him and our family. I was glossy-eyed and in love with the idea of being an expatriate.  And, the first two months proved to be an extended honeymoon of exotic new foods, amusing people, & cultural infusion.

                                                          Then,Image

I woke up one regular Thursday morning with the day’s agenda cycling through my mind as usual. My two-year-old was especially “busy” that morning: running, playing, hiding, throwing and hiding essential household objects. You know, being a toddler. I had just finished cleaning the kitchen to a spotless shine after serving breakfast to my family, while forgetting to eat myself, only to find a mix of oatmeal and Play Doh streaked throughout the house and all over the kibibi’s already-dressed-for-the day body.

 The Day’s Condensed To Do List:

  • -Throw 3 loads in the mini-machine
  • -{Insert: Give her a bath…again.}
  • -Get her dressed…again
  • -Keep her entertained, while I: Prepare snacks, books, toys for the day
  • -Dust every room & all the ceiling fans (face fear of heights)
  • -Vacuum
  • -Mop the floor
  • -Get a shower and get dressed
  •  -Then, teach. (Homeschooling)
  • -Get ready to travel for an hour to Chinese class (question necessity)
  •  -Prepare grocery list in transit
  • -Feed her in transit
  •  -Go grocery shopping
  • -Prepare dinner
  • -Play-date
  • Give her a bath and wash hair

Not one task on the list was directly for me, though my husband would argue that cleaning is a chore of choice because he’s far less concerned about the dust balls that would form a small army otherwise.  This picture was drastically different from the one I painted in my mind. And, certainly not the upgrade in lifestyle I was anticipating and as advertised by the mister. Image

I had idealized being a stay-at-home mom when I was in the states. I realized shortly after moving to Singapore, that I’m that other type of mom. There’s the primarily SAHM that can seemingly juggle it all and finds the majority of her joy and fulfillment in solely serving her family. Even if she works outside of the home, she is completely tied to her family, and only does so to benefit them in some way. That was my mother, and she was/is phenomenal in this role. It used to rattle me to recognize that I’m the type of mom that needs something external to fulfill me….everyday.  (See The Help(er) Part III). 

So, as mentioned, we decided to get the highly recommended help (which has been a necessity in maintaining sanity), but the breakdown was right before (the catalyst for) this decision.  The stress of actually finding assistance did not help my disposition either. My process was not ideal in the least. I’ll have to post separately about that.

In the midst of this emotional typhoon, I’ve met some wonderful people, traveled to some amazing countries, celebrated birthdays of loved ones and wedding anniversaries, started a business, and had more assistant (helper) drama than my share.  It’s been an eventful few months, and I’m finally ready to SPEAK about it. Stay tuned. 

The Help(er) Part III

Ok, so we’re getting a helper/maid, but that’ll be the last time I refer to her as such. My foreign domestic worker (FDW), which is the legal title of the position, will be called “Mae” for the purpose of this blog. 

It’s been two whole months now and so much has happened in the transition of my thoughts in the short time I’ve been here. (I know. I know. Either you “knew it,” “can’t believe it,” or you don’t care, which would make me wonder why you’re reading my blog.)  I haven’t had time to actually write about my evolution of thought and share it because my life is consumed with my new full-time roles.  I can’t fully explain it because I don’t fully understand it. But, something about living away from your norms makes it so much more difficult to complete the simplest tasks and manage marriage and motherhood while finding any sense of balance for yourself, which I NEED. 

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I used to read, write, meditate, pretend to exercise, enjoy my friends, and enjoy just myself. Now, literally from the time I open my eyes until the time they can’t stay open any longer, I’m serving someone else, or cooking something, or cleaning something, or running to get something, or doing something (mainly) for my husband or daughter. Of course, this is the typical life of a stay-at-home mom in the states or anywhere I suppose.  Yet, here, it’s not just time-consuming; it’s life controlling.  I’m not one of those SAHM that can juggle every task without a hitch and still find her Zen while looking like I stepped off a runway from Fashion Week. I’m more the “drop a few balls (or child) because I fell asleep while I was juggling, half-way to insane, looking like I’m almost stoned with blood shot eyes, but still rocking a smile for my baby” type. Image

I realized before I ever took on either role, that I could not solely be a wife and mother. I’m a better version of both when I have my own outlets, whether they are professional or recreational. My outlets, especially my sisters by blood and those I’ve adopted along the way, replenish me. I actually found a wonderful group of women here, I like to call it a sister circle, with similar interests that I’d love to see more often, but time is restricted. My life in this wonderful, engaging, beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime setting is restricted.  I’ve come to the, probably selfish, conclusion that my immediate need for balance, freedom, and my sanity is greater than my ability to completely shift the paradigm of Asian domestics and eradicate global poverty. My superpowers may be waning. Image

The S**t Hits the Fan

I like a clean home; this you know. The phrase “cleanliness is next to Godliness” was drilled into me all my childhood. My semi-controlling nature makes me take it to the next level because I also like things moderately organized. Everything has a place and should be there. If you ever see my space out of order or messy, I’m not completely well.  If you walked into my home now, you’d know I needed help. I still haven’t completely unpacked and I haven’t yet had every part of every room clean at the same time even once; just once is all I need to feel satisfied. This is tragic to me.

My husband, on the other dirty hand, is not concerned about this as much as he is about our (lack of) personal time together. As clean, and I use this term loosely here, as he is for a man (you know exactly what I mean), the dirt could sit down with him and have a conversation, but he still wouldn’t notice it. He’s also on a personal strike from doing all of the concretely delineated household domestic duties he did in the states. “When in Rome…,” he chimes.

He just wants to be able to live more spontaneously here. He wants to be able to whisk me away to Thailand or Malaysia or Bali for an extended weekend or just dinner on a Tuesday night without there having to be a conference call and bartering system set up to organize babysitting arrangements ahead of time. Under normal circumstances, this would excite me, but it just irritates me after a long exhausting day/week of entertaining and educating my kibibi.  When I realized his romance was my annoyance, I knew I had to do something. When I laid on my couch, (which finally just arrived), staring at the ceiling fan on my high vaulted ceilings that I’m too nervous to reach and noticed the fan looked like it was trimmed in something that I had eaten, digested, and excreted, I knew that something was a someone.

Help is On the Way

After countless conversations filled with advice and insight about the FDW process with other expat friends here and several referrals and interviews (that’ll have to be another post), I think we’ve found someone that would be a good fit for our family. Mae will be considered a transfer from a Chinese family here, where she’s been employed for over a year. There, I’m told, she was relegated to sleeping on the kitchen floor, rationed food portions, involuntary dietary restrictions, only one day off a month (the standard is one a week), and chastised for speaking to or even smiling at strangers when in public, which she could only frequent in the company of her employers.  Of course her lifestyle, as well as ours, would drastically change here. Plus, she has a sister that lives near us, which she would see often. Part of me feels like we’re actually helping her as well, but then I feel convicted about even feeling that way because I know my ancestors’ oppressors echoed the same sentiments. Ugh, historical context is a murky lens. I know. It’s not (quite) the same. We’ll see how this goes. I’ll keep you posted, now that I may have the time. (Please post any comments and inquiries directly on the blog so that I can compile them.) 

The Help(er) Part I

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The Help(er) Part I

“It’s the best thing about living in Asia!” 

“Everyone has one. Just do it!” 

“You’ll never want to leave if you get one. They change your life!”

These are all statements that have repeatedly been echoed to me since we did completely change our lives enough as it is and move to Singapore.  All are sentiments shared about Asia’s norm, the hiring of a “helper.”

                —————————————————————————————

ImageMy paternal grandmother, Big Mama, and great-grandmother cleaned the homes of affluent white families in Georgia, among several other jobs, to help provide for their families. They would leave before my father and his siblings awoke and return home close to or after their bedtimes. There, they would enforce the standards of maintaining an immaculate household, always reminding their children to honor their labor by respecting their home. My father can recall few memories of quality family moments with his parents from his childhood, which is why those he can are even more valuable. Yet, he certainly remembers their lessons of the importance of work ethic and respecting that which you do have.

By the time I was in elementary school, Big Mama and my granddad had turned this job into a small business and cleaned several offices after their official day jobs, with me alongside them emptying trash cans, dusting off desks, sharpening and stacking yellow number two pencils neatly in gray cups with the lead pointing up like a cylinder of slate needles. I remember thinking they must’ve been so important to have the keys and be able to enter these big buildings in the dusk of evening when no one else was there. It was like we were invisible. I remember being proud. I remember feeling accomplished. I remember them being exhausted. Image

It was later that I realized that their invisibility was not a superpower, but a necessity as to not upset the environment of those who employed them.  I also realized they didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I did as a child. Much like the characters in the book and film, “The Help,” they did what they HAD to do, not what they wanted to do with their lives. Choice was not afforded to them, as it was not afforded to many of my ancestors. Tasks and jobs were done as a means of survival, not fulfillment.  

               ————————————————————————————— 

My whole life’s work now is about helping others find what fulfills them through living with purpose. I motivate people all over the world to tap into their potential and seek to pursue their passions. I do this through my own multi-faceted company, while raising a child, educating her, and caring for my household. I’ve only been able to do this because of my grandparents’ and ancestors’ sacrifices and the assistance of those around me. In the states, it was possible to “do it all” with a support system of family and friends who were but a phone call away from being at my door step.  The convenience and accessibility to everything I needed and familiarity with home also has been a tremendous help in doing what I WANT to do.

Now, I live in Singapore; a country, but also on a continent I’ve never seen outside of a map, “National Geographic,” or “House Hunters International.”   Nothing is familiar or easily accessible by comparison. They have great shopping, efficient public transportation and all, but I mean they don’t have Target for goodness sakes! They don’t have one place that I can go that has a plethora of high quality products at reasonable prices. (hmmm, business opportunity) There’s Mustafa, the nine-story megastore connected by an overpass in Little India that sells everything from cereal to diamond tennis bracelets. But, I get lost in the store every time I go, the lines are always wrapped around the building, and the quality is not always the best. Cereal shouldn’t crawl in your bowl. 

Since I’ve been here, I’ve been overwhelmed with getting the house in order (still not done), managing my rambunctious toddler, normal everyday household duties (that require a full day to complete), exploring a new country, and figuring out what I’m going to do with my life while I’m here to maintain some sense of sanity.  We’ve met many new wonderful people, but there’s nothing like family or at least friends who are like family that you can trust to watch your little one while you say, use the toilet in peace. (She’s my shadow.) I recognize I need help.

(Please post any comments and inquiries on the blog so that I can receive them.)