Feels Like Home

After about ten days, it began to get clear that this was a relocation and not a vacation. A big part of this was beginning to make our space feel lived in by us.

While our IKEA trip felt like a clusterfuck, it did result in some furniture being delivered and assembled mid-week. Penny’s room began to be a place she actually wanted to spend time.

That said, the delivered goods hinted at our exasperated states of mind at check out. We somehow received:

    One seated bench for the porch, but double the cushions, largely because we didn’t understand that when we ordered 2 of something, we’d actually wind up with what on the floor looked like one product. It was essentially two chairs that could and were combined into one bench. Over/under on how long it takes us to return the extra cushions is currently set at a full calendar year.
    Three Trofast shelves, but only enough drawers for 1.5 of them. We only intended to get one to store toys. No idea how the quantities got so screwed up. They were assembled already so we found closets to stick them in and ordered more drawers online.
    Two end tables instead of six. They apparently ran out. Apologies to our early guests as the guest rooms are more spartan than intended as a result.
    A lamp, purchased in Singapore, with a plug that does not work with Singapore outlets. Why they even sell this is still baffling to me.

When our relocation support offered to take me to legitimate furniture stores that didn’t include anything that would need assembly on arrival, I was eager for the opportunity. The items we got on this trip felt much more personal to who we were which went way further in making the house feel homey.

This piece sits behind our couch and displays the week’s current library haul. Keeping library books separate from personal books is a big sanity saver for me. It saves me from having to dash around the house, frantically recounting to sixteen endlessly. (Can you tell someone is going through a serious fairy tale phase?)

This poster with ingenious poster hanger makes me smile every time I see it. And Penny also picked out a panda clock and this amazing cloud lamp set.

I splurged on some cushions and throw pillows in the color of my soul.

The final puzzle piece was the arrival of our seventeen boxes from the states, after more than three weeks in transit. Our beloved Nugget reclaimed its place as the perfect spot to read and snuggle. Our bookshelves began to fill up. We were able to replace the plane markers which had almost entirely dried out from cap replacement negligence. My stockpiles of Tubby Todd and Beautycounter sunscreen were replenished. And Penny was finally reunited with her blocks, puzzles, games, and baby doll accessories.

Hanging things on walls seems to be more trouble than it’s worth, so we’re utilizing the universal 3M line of wall friendly adhesives and I’m still waiting for some cork boards and push pins to be delivered. Washi tape has also been a big win for sticking things to unpainted surfaces.

We even had some of our outdoor furniture delivered for our balcony. It’s been a great state change when Harper starts the day at 5am.

Now we’re just waiting to see who will be the first set of guests to make us make up the guest beds. In the meantime, Penny’s toys that she wants drool-free have taken up residence on one of the spare queens and the other is home to that extra set of IKEA cushions. We’d much rather have visitors. ❤️

The Last Days Without A Double Stroller

If there was anything our first week in Singapore had shown me it was that we needed a double stroller. Since Harper’s birth, I had been mostly wearing her and pushing Penny around in our trusty Britain B*Agile. We had gotten a kickstand for the stroller that made it kind of like a double, but this only worked for short jaunts around Glen Rock.

Singapore required a different approach. Infants don’t regulate their own temperature well and I felt like I spent my first week here perpetually dripping. I had given up on Penny being ready to walk because the closest anything gets is a 20 minute, hilly trek. While the thought of careening it on to the city bus made me shudder, I conceded that it was necessary. After the gym on first Saturday morning, I headed out determined to purchase a double stroller.

Determination wasn’t enough. I found only one overpriced option and was pretty tempted to pull the trigger just so that I could feel like I accomplished something. Then the sky high sticker price was revealed to not even include the second seat that was clearly installed on the floor sample with aforementioned sticker on it and I bolted, frustrated that I’d be walking home with Harper still attached to my body. I was given the name of a few other stores that “might” have more inventory, but the promise of next day delivery from an online retailer had me motivated enough to create a new e-commerce account.

I had caught wind of something called the Big Book Giveaway that was happening at one of the dozens of malls a stones throw away from our apartment. We had about a dozen books from our luggage, but I could feel our collective enthusiasm for them waning. It would still be days before I got my library card, and free books sounded too good to pass up.

Part of our cultural immersion training had included that Singaporeans love to queue. The length of a line alone seems to indicate that there is something happening that is worth waiting for. As an American, standing in line is usually the bane of my existence. Plus it can be logistically taxing with two small children. Yet, the promise of free books had Penny pretty compliant and Harper was settled into a deep sleep. so we joined the end of an epic line for a chance to sort through boxes of the library’s discarded picture books and take five home with us.

They did immediately give Penny a balloon, which was a brilliant diversion. I chatted with the European couple in line behind us and rocked side to side hoping that this all wouldn’t be a colossal waste of time. We probably stood in line for 45 minutes and upon gaining entry we were told that it was permissible to queue again for the chance to get another five books. No thanks. Penny had spotted an obstacle course set up in the mall and she insisted that she get the chance to test it out before we headed home.

Our afternoon included a taxi ride to IKEA where we were eager to leave Harper behind with Jonna. Penny had impressive stamina for the endlessly winding showrooms. It was identical to every IKEA experience I’ve ever had in that I left exhausted and wishing to never again return.

Sunday we got both girls in the pool and I set out for what I believed would be my last solo outing without a double stroller. Seb went to his weekly soccer meetup and I had a mostly successful time with both girls at the park, ordered some incredible Thai food for dinner, and even managed to detangle Penny’s hair without having the Singaporean equivalent of child services called on me.

I went to bed fully expecting the double stroller to be delivered that evening, but I had another lesson to learn about the different between the US and Singapore. Twenty four hour delivery here means “twenty four hours after we get the chance to process your order, which is something that does not happen on Sundays”. So, alas, I would be without a double stroller for at least two more days.

Our mission for Monday was to head to a photo printing kiosk where Penny could print out some of the pictures she had taken during her final days in Glen Rock. It was located in yet another mall that was walking distance from our home, but the walk was yet again anything but straightforward. Construction had shut down one side of the street and the only way to access the other side was by trekking up an overpass. I had a moment of gratitude that I only had a single stroller to collapse while trying not to wake the baby sleeping on me. Penny was a trooper about all the stairs.

These overpasses are all over the city and while they certainly work for a pedestrian, they are a nightmare for anyone with a stroller, and would be absolutely useless to someone in a wheelchair. Often there will only be an escalator option leading to an essential destination and I’m stuck backtracking and rerouting until a lift or inclined plane appears.

Pictures printed, we stuck to our condo for the rest of the afternoon as I researched tomorrow’s adventure. I was feeling bizarrely optimistic and intended to take both girls to our farthest destination yet – the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. It promised much to explore, and was only 25 minutes on a single bus line. I showed Penny some pictures and she was quickly on board.

Everything started off smoothly enough. I found the right bus stop. We boarded in the right direction. Despite ongoing construction, I could see the gates when we got off and felt confident we were in the right place. Until I walked up to a signpost and didn’t see the Children’s Garden listed. What was going on? I checked the address. It matched my location. Except, I wasn’t at the Children’s Garden.

My trusty “Moovit” app had let me down. Yes, I was in the Botanic Gardens, but I was at the Tanglin Gate. The Children’s Garden was next to the Bukit Timah Gate, 2.3km away.

I had one pretty disappointed kid and one overtired one, so I just started walking. I defaulted to Apple Maps and discovered that the quickest way to get there would actually require me to leave the park and walk through the city a bit. So be it. I forged ahead, constantly checking my dot on the maps app, trying to settle Harper for her nap. It looked like I could exit the park through the “Rainforest” path, and so I headed in that direction, marveling in the dense tree cover and the tropical bird cacophony, trying to focus on anything other than Penny’s persistent questions on how much longer it would take and Harper’s intensifying screams. But then the exit wasn’t where it was supposed to be. I was lost in the rainforest with two upset kids and the whole experience felt so ludicrous my looming tears of self-pity were trumped by my need to laugh at odds of all this. Past me had never thought to imagine this present reality, and I’m certainly not short on imagination.

Harper finally drifted off. Penny found a butterfly and began to babble about that. We eventually exited the rainforest only to find that despite 20 minutes of apparently circular walking, we were still 2.1km from our destination. Oh well. I’d stick to the main park pathway from here. We passed some truly beautiful flora and fauna. I didn’t pause to take a single picture because I had one overarching goal: get us to our destination before Harper woke up.

The layout of that Botanic Gardens here feels so much to me like that of NYC’s Central Park; meandering pathways with several offshoots ensure that you’re never entirely certain where exactly you are, and certainly not on your maiden voyage. I lit up like a Christmas tree when I saw the sign to the Children’s Garden and immediately convinced myself I could totally handle the reverse walk home.

We played in a treehouse, smelled various herbs, got “lost” in a maze, climbed trees, dug in sand, and stuck Harper on a seesaw for the first time. It was all delightful and there was ample shade and I had the perfect kid-bait to get us back out the gates without tears. I had spotted an adjacent open air restaurant that had a TOY AREA.

Harper had recently gotten really attached to crawling and this looked like a safe place to let her go for it. Penny was asking hourly when our boxes from home would arrive and in their absence any toys took on a larger than life appeal. This restaurant served yogurt and French fries and mango smoothies and fruit cups and god, this was beginning to feel like a mirage. It seemed too darn good to be true.

Food for Tots is exceptionally good at being what it is – a pit stop for families on a day out. We ate. They gave me an iced beverage. They had a bookshelf so I could indulge my daughter and read to her between bites. And the play area was simple but it did not disappoint. We lingered until Harper would need her next nap.

With her sleeping soundly, I ordered a to-go ice cream scoop for Penny, and set out to walk the 2.3km back to our bus stop. Yes, I could have taken the subway from the entrance we were at, but this required a transfer and felt like pushing my luck. I hadn’t yet braved the subway with them on my own. The devil you know, and all that.

All in all, I returned home feeling like the circumstances of the whole day certainly one-upped my prior 5k personal record in terms of stamina required. I was drenched. Harper was glistening, but revived after an epic nap. Penny was even pretending to sleep in the stroller in hopes of conning me into a later bedtime. And best of all? Later that evening, the double stroller was actually going to arrive.

Our First Week

Once we made it through security and claimed our bags, it was somehow Saturday afternoon and I became worried about how we’d get from the airport to our home. Singapore has a bit of a cavalier attitude about children in moving vehicles, and it doesn’t sit right with me. We had brought Harper’s bucket seat with us on the flight, checking it at the gate with the stroller, but Penny was another story. She’s three, but small, and I was not comfortable with the idea of her riding in taxi unrestrained, legal or not.

Thankfully, we were able to secure what’s known as a Grab:Family, the Singapore equivalent of Uber with the added bonus of promising to have a car seat for your small child. The girls and I traveled in this car, and Seb followed behind with the rest of the luggage. As anyone who is a parent can imagine, the twenty-five minute drive felt like nine years because Harper had simply had it and screamed the entire time. It was the first time I got to alternate between worrying about the welfare of my inconsolable child and fretting about the ability of this poor driver to concentrate despite her wails.

Our helper, Jona, was waiting for us in the lobby of our new home and assisted with getting what baggage we had inside. Since Seb had preceded us in this dwelling, we had the luxury of coming home to actual beds and some legitimate furnishings, which sure was nice after a day long journey. We investigated the apartment and then explored the condo, the whole experience feeling slightly less surreal now that there were concrete places I could picture the next two years unfolding.

My expectations for sleep were nonexistent, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the kids were exhausted enough to go to bed at a traditional bedtime and that they stayed mostly asleep for much of that first night. Jet lag is unavoidable, however, and the inadvertent napping that happened during the next 48 hours was the biggest indicator that we were all out of sorts.

When we woke up on Sunday, we were on our own, as federal domestic workers receive all Sundays and Public Holidays off. Our to-do list for the day included getting my cell phone sorted. While I know that people used to navigate unfamiliar cities without the assistance of GPS, I certainly did not feel equipped to use a paper map while dragging both girls around by myself the next day. We had discovered back home that Verizon was positively unhelpful when it came to preserving our US numbers, but AT&T offers a seldom advertised prepaid phone plan that allowed us to purchase a small block of data to use when we are home and preserve our US numbers at the same time. This meant that for my last day in the states I experienced a strange sort of dejavu when I received a notification after each SMS text sent or received that I had spent $.10 of my prepaid balance. 2007, anyone? But this allowed me to get a Singapore number on a separate Singapore SIM card without having to use an entirely new device.

We then set out to find a playground for Penny, embarking on what I would come to learn is a staple of traveling anywhere in Singapore for the first time. We were instructed by our technology to take a route that does not factor in things like sidewalk accessibility or steepness of hills. We arrived drenched after having the collapse the stroller at least twice to carry it up and down stairs to compulsory sky high overpasses and were thrilled to find a beautiful playground that made me long to be a kid again.

I have since discovered that this playground, part of what is known as Fort Canning Park, can be arrived in through two much more direct routes – a straightforward, downhill twenty minute walk down a single street, or a seven minute bus ride. This is the benefit of being able to stay in a place – the initial hapless jaunt stings less knowing that it will be the outlier in terms of overall experience as you sort out the streets that abruptly end and the hills you have no business pushing a double stroller up.

The following day, I had promised Penny we would check out the library, but I had to warn her that we’d be leaving without any books. Securing a library card as a foreigner requires you to have your official documentation, which for me, as a non-working spouse of someone on what’s known as an Employment Pass, is something called a Dependent’s Pass. Penny and Harper get the same designation. This wouldn’t be sorted out until I had my appointment at the Ministry of Manpower in a few days.

I always feel most confident on my own two feet, so I decided we’d walk to the library and trusted Apple Maps to guide me. Big mistake. I trekked up this ungodly hill only to find that I had to reroute myself to avoid darting across what felt like a minor highway with Harper sleeping against my body and Penny in the stroller. I arrived exhausted but absolutely certain that there must be a better route I could find when it was time to head back.

The National Library was equipped with a Parenting Room that set my soul at ease. While I googled and found that it was indeed legal to publicly breastfeed, I had yet to see anyone actually do it, and having a quiet space to feed your child becomes really important when they are in the developmental stage of being distracted by an errant breeze. Once I found someone to unlock the space, the respite made me feel like we could rally and endure the trip home.

Once back, we settled in to read a few stories and all of us inadvertently fell into a sleep far too deep for mid-afternoon. When we woke, evening was settling in and Seb would be home from work soon. All things considered, it was far from a momentous first day, but there was a victory in getting through it all the same.

On Tuesday, we woke up with a mission. Seb had purchased only two towels for his solo time abroad, which was simply insufficient for a family of four. So, when it was time for Harper’s first nap, I popped her in the carrier and we trekked on foot to Robinson’s department store. Though we can see its illuminated sign from our bedroom at night, it was a twenty minute walk, located in the heart of the Orchard neighborhood which has more retail establishments than I knew any singular city-sized small country could ever keep in business.

Penny picked out some bath toys, which I hoped would offset the trauma that is washing her hair next time she got in the tub. I needed a pillow that matched my sleeping style and a contraption that would allow me to blend baby food. We also picked out four more towels and an inflatable infant tub, which had to be better than the sink bath I attempted to give Harper that morning, which caused a small flood. I itemize these things so you can perhaps understand the look of incredulity that I got when I made it clear that we had no driver waiting, nor would we be taking a cab. I began to feel that my complete comfort with being a sweaty mess while resembling a pack mule would be the clearest indication that I was not a native Singaporean.

On Wednesday morning, I made my way to check out a local Crossfit and signed on the dotted line the second I finished what I was promised was a bit of an unconventional workout for them – four ten minute intervals in which to accomplish each of the following: 100 burpees, bike 3k, row 1.6k, and run 1.6k. The latent endurance athlete in me was high on endorphins and the familiarity of the Crossfit gym setting.

During my bus ride back, it began to pour, and I arrived home thoroughly drenched, wondering what exactly led me to conclude that shipping our umbrellas was a good idea. The rain here tends to be fast and furious and impossible to predict. Skies will visibly darken and nothing will fall. Weather apps will predict a storm with 80% certainty and we will plan something indoors only to see radiant skies out the window for the next few hours. In my opinion, there’s nothing too terrible about getting doused on when the weather is always eighty degrees – it feels almost refreshing and you dry quickly.

Penny, however, does not agree, so we decided to test out one of the mall playgrounds. It was small and underwhelming and filled with children, but the architects were savvy and placed it outside of several children’s stores. We left the mall with some sand toys and an inflatable raft, and these purchases shaped our plans for the rest of the surprisingly sunny day.

This seems a good place to note that the reason I was able to fully immerse myself in exploring with my kids over these early days is Jona. She prepared every meal and cleaned every room and the reality of having this full time partner in the never-ending gauntlet of what can still feel like the woman’s work was revolutionary.

One of the few television programs I indulged in while on maternity leave was The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and I remember being stupefied by the fact that this woman with young children separated from her husband and then somehow had adventures as a person worth following for a sitcom. The how was abundantly clear – she had a small task force of help and never had to worry about laundry, cooking, cleaning, or even spending time with her kids unless she was in the mood to do so. It made for good television, but it felt so different from my experience as a working mother of little ones. Before kids, I was an efficient worker bee who had time to go above and beyond AND have hobbies. After children, my life was spent in perpetual tension. If I was at work, I missed my daughter. If I tried to be completely present with her, part of me inevitably felt tugged away by the things I needed to do for both my paid and unpaid labor.

Here, I am unemployed for the first time in my adult life. Here, having help in the household is such a norm that coupled people with no kids (and no dogs) still will utilize a live in support. If both parents work and the kids are not yet school aged, hiring two live-in helpers is common place. This isn’t some expat perk; it’s the norm for all Singaporeans. Essentially, Singapore was telling me that the work I had been trying to do in the states (with the assistance of a contracted daycare facility) was the full time work of three human beings.

So yes, we uprooted our children and moved them away from everything familiar, but I had the chance to offer them undivided attention from a happy mother who actually got to the gym that day. Here, someone held the baby so I could actually sit down and eat. Here, I could finally give my firstborn some individual attention, and on Wednesday afternoon, that was what I did.

We simply when down to the pool where I relished in being able to keep my eyes on her and only her. Seven straight weeks of one parent with two kids were recent enough history that we both felt how special this was. I was floored at the possibility that here, it could become almost normal.

Thursday was a bit of a rude awakening. Shortly after waking, I struggled to swallow part of my breakfast and spent the morning hours doing my best not to panic. This is something I’ve sought medical attention for in the past, but the thought of trekking to a hospital on my first week here brought me to tears and panic only exacerbates the fear that comes with not being able to swallow your own saliva. Long story short, after lots of yoga poses and deep breathing, begging my husband to stay home and run interference with the kids, it eventually dislodged itself. Seb went into work and I drank sips of water. Normalcy returned.

It did clarify how far away from home we really are. Tricky esophaguses run in my family and I felt the distance and time zones between me and those who I knew would get it. It also reminded me that life here would still be full of peaks and valleys, some certainly deeper than public tantrums and getting on the bus going the wrong way.

The unpleasantness was offset when a friend we had made at the condo pool spoiled us with a play date. Getting to be around new people (and a fully furnished home with TOYS) was energizing for me and Penny and made this whole thing feel less like a vacation and more like a resettling. We had made it to Friday, a full week from when our plane left Newark airport. The jet lag was behind us. Penny had relented and tried a new brand of yogurt. Everything was looking up.

A (Not Quite) Whole New World

Moving across the world sounds like a big shift, but some things here are more different than others. Here’s a shortlist of five things that had potential to change with our decision.

1. Residence. From our quaint Glen Rock house to a spacious twenty-fifth floor apartment, our actually living space has changed quite a bit. In Singapore, it seems that you need at least a 1:1 ratio of bathrooms to humans dwelling in the residence, so for that reason, we have five. Penny was most surprised at the way the elevator opens directly into our living space and when leaving the apartment, she has a tendency to aggressively click the down button in such rapid succession that I fear it will inevitably stop working.

Our apartment building in the early evening

2. Transportation. Both Seb and I used to have separate Garden State Parkway commutes that could take anywhere from 25-50 minutes depending on time of day. While we settled in Glen Rock because it was a town with a walkable downtown, most days we were a two-car family. Now, Seb gets to work via the subway, riding the local line three stops. I’m a more heavy user of the city buses, which are reliable with a stop conveniently located at the end of our street. We do a ton of walking, which I’ve found to be surprisingly effective supplemental exercise between the temperature, the hills, and the fact that I’m always either wearing or pushing two small children.

Waiting for the 54 bus, which takes us to our favorite playground in less than 10 minutes.

3. Support. In New Jersey, we were lucky to live an hour from our parents, which meant the kids saw their grandparents often. This was the arguably the hardest thing to knowingly do without for the next two years. In Singapore, we’ve added a lovely new member to our family, our live-in helper, Jona. She has made the adjustment much easier on all of us and I can’t imagine facing the week ahead, in which Seb is traveling to two separate countries for work M-Th, without her support. Still, we are hoping Grandma and Nanny & Da book their flights to visit us soon.

4. Recreation. So far, we’ve found it easy to continue to do the things we love here. I immediately found a Crossfit affiliate that had robust class offerings. Seb found a weekly soccer meet-up. There’s much less pressure here to enroll small kids in extracurriculars like kickball or soccer, but all the preschools we looked at do offer choice-based supplemental programming in athletics and arts. Penny has been talking most enthusiastically about exploring gymnastics and continuing her love of running by participating in the Crossfit Kids classes which start at age 4. We all definitely do more swimming now. And we still read a ton of books, the library being our most frequented Singaporean destination so far.

Penny browses the picture book stacks at the library@harborfront

5. Culture. It seems so far that by living in Singapore, we can broaden our culture and tradition without forsaking anything too near and dear to us. As a nation, Singapore has their own secular holidays while also observing public holidays for all of the major races and religions represented. Penny will be relieved to learn that even Halloween is celebrated in one particular neighborhood each year, allowing expat kids to have continuity in the annual tradition of picking a costume and overindulging on candy. Our first new holiday is National Day, slated for this upcoming week, which commemorates Singapore’s independence from Malaysia. We hear the fireworks and jet flyovers make it pretty epic.

The World’s Longest Flight

One week ago, we took the world’s longest direct flight from Newark to Singapore with a 6 month old baby who had just started to crawl and a three and a half year old who was actually looking forward to the experience because we’ve convinced her that the iPad that contains downloaded episodes of Daniel Tiger only works on planes.

Having flown with Penny to New Zealand last year, I was less daunted by this undertaking than you might expect. On that trip, I was contending with horrible morning sickness. We had to take three separate consecutive flights, schlepping through four airports before we reached our destination. And we flew economy, though we sprung for the convertible seats on our longest Air New Zealand flight that allegedly turned into a bed. This upgrade was a bit of a bust because my recently concussed husband insisted on finding a way for all three of us to lay down, despite the directions clearly stating that only one adult and one child could safely – and comfortably fit. In short, doing that trip twice in two weeks left me feeling like I knew how grisly things could get and this would just have to be easier than that.

Yes, we have another kid now and no grandparents aboard to offer extra hands. But Penny is far more reasonable one full year of development later. And Harper still needs a nap every 2.5 hours. This was a one-way direct flight. Plus, it was Business Class.

We boarded the plane at 10am EST, with Harper fully ready for a nap. She nursed and slept through takeoff without issue. It was such a smooth start that I saw the man adjacent to us visibly relax. He had been torn between celebrating his luck in securing the bulkhead seat with extra leg room and cursing his luck because this placed him in close proximity to an infant for nearly an entire day.

A dozen rows back, Penny settled into her seat, which seemed ludicrously expansive for her pint size. Seb sat next to her, armed with aforementioned iPad and an entire bag of carefully wrapped plane bribes – sticker books, new storybooks, a headband decorating kit, Crayola Color Wonder pages featuring her favorite characters, new outfits for the baby doll she loves enough to stick in her carry-on. We also lucked out and a kind-hearted man at security opened her lunchbox of yogurt products and waved us through anyway, which meant she wouldn’t starve when her toddler tastebuds inevitably scoffed at the surprisingly sophisticated airline dining options.

After lunch, they immediately dimmed the cabin lights, and a shocking number of people went to sleep at what was essentially mid-day. This did not work on Penny. By the time she was ready to drift off, eight hours had passed since takeoff and the lights turned back on for the second meal service. Alas, this meant she was awake for all but three hours of the flight, a horrific amount of sleep for any human, but it ultimately served us well to get her settled once we landed. EST and Singapore are diametrically opposed – when it’s noon in the NYC, it’s midnight here, so when we had her in bed our first night at a time that should have felt like early morning, she was thankfully more than ready to crash hard.

Harper slept like a baby, which to me means she woke every 2-3 hours and I tried to keep her up for a bit between sleep cycles so she’d also need a consolidated sleep after we landed. She fussed a little here and there. Our feet wore treads in the aisle’s carpet, I experienced the bizarre sensation that accompanies bouncing a baby in mid-air several times. There’s something discomforting about essentially jumping downwards on a plane you need to remain in mid-air. But in all, she only lost her marbles upon landing, too full of milk to nurse and otherwise unable to sort out the pressure in her ears. At that point, everyone is so relieved to be descending that we didn’t even get a single dirty look.

The best part was that the flight clocked in at just about 18 hours, a ten percent discount I was all too happy to accept. I found the service and dining options to be incredible, though it was logistically hard to savor my high-brow wonton soup while holding an infant. My seat ostensibly came with a bassinet, though the reality was more like a cloth basket attached to the wall that zippered baby in like they are wearing a straight-jacket. Suffice to say, it served a purpose as a receptacle for Harper’s medley of teething rings,

Would I do it again? Sure, though I’m certainly happy our next trip across the world has yet to be booked. Not having to do the trip in reverse twelve days later made the whole thing much more tenable. We arrived haggard and tired but also exceptionally grateful that things went as smoothly as they did.

Checking in for our flight.

Lots of tummy time at the airport.

Some plane bribes, pre-wrapping.

Penny and her carry-on.

A “WE SURVIVED” selfie.

Trolly no longer optional. We had to take two cabs home.

The Journey Begins

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Our family of four is about to embark upon an exciting adventure.

Sebastian has taken a new role at Prudential, supporting their Asian businesses from their Singapore office.

Kristen, Penny (3), and Harper (5 months) will join him overseas in July.

This blog will be a place for us to share reflections on this experience. We’d love you to join us for updates on our time abroad.