How To Survive As An Expat Wife.

Most people would think that expat wives are the luckiest women in the world. They don’t have to work and they get to live in nice houses and travel.

All dressed up and camwhoring while waiting for the hubby to finish his work in the office on a Saturday afternoon.


They think it’s all glam. Till they become an expat wife themselves.

Well, now that I’m one, I can’t honestly say it is very fun. It’s a tough life. And to survive it, one must make sure she learns the following rules –

(1) Understand and accept that you have NO CHOICE. You don’t get to choose. You don’t get a say. The man moves. You move your ass. Period. No tears allowed. And definitely no whining. You’re SUPPOSED to be supportive.

(2) Be prepared to leave the friendships you’ve built and start telling strangers all about yourself all over again. This gets harder with age, because you have more years of life to cover with your new friends. You have to start sharing from scratch.. from your age, the school you went to, your favourite colour, favourite food, to number of kids, siblings, to whether you prefer still or sparkling water.

(3) Have an adventurous appetite. Trust me, when a menu has stuff like springbok, ostrich, crocodile and impala in it, you have to suck it up and put that stuff into your mouth.

(4) Have a good sense of humour. You have to. Otherwise you’ll freak and look like this crazy Asian person ranting away when the train is late, when the bus doesn’t come, when there’s no water, when they say “in a moment” and it turns out to be 20mins, when electricity fails and you have to walk in the dark, when the red in the traffic lights is always blinking and another car almost crashes into you, when you stop at a roadblock and the police asks you for coffee (meaning: cash), when fishballs taste like kueh and Singapore Fried Noodles has curry powder in it. The list is endless.

(5) Learn to self medicate. Know your Paracetamol, Chlopheniramine, Clarinase, Ibuprofen, Imodium, Rhinathiol and Difflam. If you depend on professional medical services, good luck in finding a great doctor. Like hairstylists, those are hard to come by. In a foreign country, you need ALOT of luck with those. If you need a hospital, good luck with trying to get people to understand the meaning of EMERGENCY.

(6) Do NOT decorate your home. The more you buy, the more you’ll sweat when it’s time to relocate. There’s something called volumetric weight. Even if they are light, as long as they are big, it’s gonna cost you. Keep the walls as clean as you can. Unless your husband’s company has no weight limits in cargo, then it’s a different story.

(7) Be prepared to be smugglers. Trust me, there will be times where you will be desperate enough to try to smuggle that bak kwa or lap cheong.

(8) You’ve got to love housework. It’s going to be your job and yours only. The hubby works. We clean. That’s the deal. Yes, how fun for us.

(9) Learn to read maps. You have to know which are the areas to avoid IN YOUR HEAD. Depend on the navigation system and you may find yourself right smack in the middle of thug town. Or half the time you’ll be cursing at the GPS, and trust me, you know you’ve gone crazy when you start talking to chiding the GPS.

(10) Invest in a good computer. It’s He’s going to be your best friend and your window to the outside world. You’ll see him more than you see your husband. Plus, it’s the only way you’ll “see” your parents and best friends.

Now, anyone wants to sign up for the expat wife lifestyle?