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Tuesday, August 20

My Big, Fat 40th Fireworks

It’s no secret that I am a pretty adventurous person.  What might not be so obvious, however, is that I am also a very big homebody.  I don’t want to roam every day.  I like being able to stay in my jammies all day, only to put decent clothes and some makeup on just before my husband comes home.   And when I do want to get out there and experience everything I can, I also want to come home at the end of the day to be with my favorite things and favorite people around me.  Moving here, I only got to bring three of those people.  I can’t tell you some days how much my heart breaks that I don’t get to be with the rest. 

I turned 40 a few weeks ago.  I wasn’t worked up about the number at all.  I actually relished it as I know myself better now than I ever did in my 30s.  What bothered me, though, was that I felt so entirely alone.  I know.  I know.  I had the three most important people with me!  And they helped.  But I am grateful that my girlfriends all got together for a fabulous night out last month as I did replay those hours in my head.  A few of my closest friends and my family all called to talk and that helped immensely.  Thank God that overseas communication has gotten so much easier with each year and each move!  However, I have since insisted to my husband that we STOP moving just before my birthday each year.  It’s getting old. 

What did we do for my 40th?  KH and the boys got up in the morning and found a cake and some flowers for me.  We looked at a few houses… didn’t like any.  We ate lunch… nothing fancy as the househunting was midday.  Back in our hotel room, a cake had been delivered from the hotel.  While the overly tired kids napped, I admit I wallowed a bit… and ate much of the second cake on my own.  It really wasn’t just about the birthday, but more a buildup of the recent homesickness compounding the day.  No matter how fun and exciting a move like this is, there is another side of confusion and difficulties to be faced and I just didn’t have much energy for it on that day in particular. By dinner time, I didn’t care less that the boys chose pizza for us.  I even insisted it be delivered so I could continue to wallow while I had dinner and even enjoy a bottle of overpriced wine I bought at the grocery store below us.  And here is where the day turned around…

Apparently, the officials in Singapore heard that I was new in town and having a rough spot.  Those kind people put on an air show for me and fireworks!  Helicopters went past our window pulling the flag for our new country and jets swooshed through the air in formation.  From our balcony, we continued our pizza, birthday cake and wine binge (me and KH on the last one… not the kids!  We’re not European.), all while watching the grand show in being put on for me! 

You do get that it wasn’t for me, right?  Anyone that knows me know I am not that vain.  My birthday, however, will be celebrated in style each year we are here as August 9th is National Day in Singapore.  This year, Singapore celebrated its 48th year as a country.  When we lived in Japan, I used to laugh at how short American history was in comparison and now I find myself in a country with an even shorter history, and one that it must take a whole lot less time in high school and college trying to memorize before a test.  On our television, we watched the same national show that we could see at a distance on the balcony, a show with a mix of oddball Asian humor, pomp and circumstance as well as some oddities like a faked SWAT team taking down terrorists in the crowd, complete with firing blanks into the air.  As many of you know my husband’s background in law enforcement, you can imagine how we both cringed watching that.  In the back of our minds, we kept expecting one of the bullets to be real and to take out someone important.  Although Singapore is one of the safest countries on the planet, this is still a scary world we live in, you know? 

Off the track, but speaking of scary, a week ago, our hotel did a fire alarm test.  Prior to this, they notified everyone in the building by leaving notes in their apartments.  Guess which apartment they missed?  It was about 3:00 pm and the boys were napping and was rocked to the core trying to figure out how the hell to get two groggy boys to ground safety from our upper floor positioning.  See?  9/11 has indelibly left its mark on my heart.

Anyway, I’m shaking off my fears and the homesickness will fade as I get my three favorite people settled into our new home.  Of course, we haven’t found one yet, but it is close.  More details to come as we hammer out the details.  For now, I’m taking my 40th year slow and steady, and with a drink in my hand as I sit by the gorgeous pool here at the hotel.  But not one of those Singapore Slings.  Those drinks just aren’t very good. It’s a rough life, but someone’s got to live it.   

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