Truly Expat Podcast

Episode 22: Finding Your Tribe: Expat Chameleons - Barbara

April 22, 2024 Episode 22
Episode 22: Finding Your Tribe: Expat Chameleons - Barbara
Truly Expat Podcast
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Truly Expat Podcast
Episode 22: Finding Your Tribe: Expat Chameleons - Barbara
Apr 22, 2024 Episode 22

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In this podcast episode, hosts Paula and Rachel explore the vibrant life of expats in Singapore through the eyes of Barbara, a two-time expat in the city. Barbara shares her journey, including the adjustments and the cultural shifts experienced during her stay. 

Initially arriving in 2003, she navigates through life changes, from starting a family to setting up a business and the evolving landscape of Singapore itself. She provides insights into the expat community, the challenges of repatriation, especially during COVID-19, and the strategies for building a fulfilling life abroad. 

The episode covers the importance of community groups like ANZA for social integration, the joy of discovering new passions such as golf, and the significance of adaptability and openness to new experiences. 

Alongside, Barbara offers practical advice for new expats on making friends, finding accommodation, and integrating into the local culture, emphasising the need to be proactive, brave, and open to evolving with the environment.

Contact Information if you would like more information on ANZA and how to join and play GOLF!

~And remember you do not have to be Australian or New Zealand to join~

Remember, the conversation doesn't end here. Join us on our social media platforms to share your thoughts and continue the dialogue:


While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, the nature of expat experiences can evolve. We encourage listeners to verify details independently. For inquiries or guidance, reach out to us at Your questions are essential, and we're here to help you navigate expat life effectively.

How Truly Expat categorises it's series!

Thanks for tuning in to our latest episode. Subscribe for more valuable insights and information for expats in Singapore and beyond.

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

In this podcast episode, hosts Paula and Rachel explore the vibrant life of expats in Singapore through the eyes of Barbara, a two-time expat in the city. Barbara shares her journey, including the adjustments and the cultural shifts experienced during her stay. 

Initially arriving in 2003, she navigates through life changes, from starting a family to setting up a business and the evolving landscape of Singapore itself. She provides insights into the expat community, the challenges of repatriation, especially during COVID-19, and the strategies for building a fulfilling life abroad. 

The episode covers the importance of community groups like ANZA for social integration, the joy of discovering new passions such as golf, and the significance of adaptability and openness to new experiences. 

Alongside, Barbara offers practical advice for new expats on making friends, finding accommodation, and integrating into the local culture, emphasising the need to be proactive, brave, and open to evolving with the environment.

Contact Information if you would like more information on ANZA and how to join and play GOLF!

~And remember you do not have to be Australian or New Zealand to join~

Remember, the conversation doesn't end here. Join us on our social media platforms to share your thoughts and continue the dialogue:


While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, the nature of expat experiences can evolve. We encourage listeners to verify details independently. For inquiries or guidance, reach out to us at Your questions are essential, and we're here to help you navigate expat life effectively.

How Truly Expat categorises it's series!

Thanks for tuning in to our latest episode. Subscribe for more valuable insights and information for expats in Singapore and beyond.

  📍   Hi, I'm Paula.

And I'm Rachel, and join us while we navigate life in Singapore. Come along with us during this series as we delve into captivating stories of expat women who master the art of adaption, like chameleons. Hear their insightful advice for fellow expats navigating change.

Welcome, Barbara.

Oh, thank you girls for having me.

So nice to have you here. Um, so can you just tell us a little bit about yourself, your Your story of in and out of Singapore and, and your postings.

Um, well, I've actually been posted in Singapore twice. So, um, our first posting, um, Um, I, we got married, my husband and I, Richard and I, and that was 2003, and so it was a very different, um, lifestyle back then.

We stayed for three years, and I had my first child here, but for the first two years, it was fun. Um, not, not 

long. Laughter 


yeah, two years, um, and, um, yeah. They, we joined ANZA back then, so they were still around, and we had a group called FAB group, which is food and booze.


I love

that! And

so we probably made our friends through food and booze, netball and rugby, my husband was into rugby, and 

yeah, I guess it was a very sociable group because  now that we've come back, FAB's not available, so it's probably a little bit harder for the men to find their, their group.

Well, we have ladies nights now, but it's not, um, inclusive of 


So I think, um, the FAB club used to have, um,  they would have everything from the age of 25 to 65. So we really had a really big network of friends, and once a month we'd all get together, and it was just amazing. Yeah, organised through ANZA.

So, um, yeah, so since then, it was 2003, had my first child, um, and then I've got another two children now, so they're 19, 


all boys!  


It's the, it's the younger years that are a struggle. Once they hit teens, it's not

bad. Yeah, I think the first five years are pretty tough.

tough. Full on, yeah.

but you

just treat them

like dogs, you feed them and run them. And when they look like they're sad, you give them more food and then they bounce back. It's like pretty easy with boys. 

that.  So you're set. So then where did you go? Were you 

so we went back to Melbourne. So from Melbourne, um, and yeah, we've been there. And then, um, we've been there for 16  years.

I think that was about right. And then, well, Part of that was COVID and we probably wouldn't have come back to Singapore if it wasn't for COVID because we were locked down for two years. Um, so my kids got quite used to homeschooling. So, um, they would have happily lived in their rooms for the rest of their lives.

I think they actually found it quite 


And so I said, um, when Richard got this opportunity, we came over and, um, we just wanted to rock, mess their worlds up a little

bit. Yeah, So, and

and yeah, so they, they weren't too pleased. One was in year 12. Um, but we stayed back for the first, for those five months and Richard came


and then, um, yeah, so here we are and they're loving it.

They're really,

loving it. You'd big change

Yes. It's a massive change. Um,

Especially land.

Especially from homeschooling, right?

Yeah. So, um. 

But it was back to normal. So when we came over, it was back to normal. So my kids had done one year of



but I had a year nine and a year seven, and I felt like they were starting together.

Like, so the

year nine

hadn't, he'd done year seven and year eight. Um, he said at the end of year eight, it was the first term he'd ever done at  So, um,

so yeah, he just had a bit of a tough time. Um, um, high school. So yeah, but then they were settled and then we uprooted them and


we came here. So,  but no, in the 20 years of Singapore, um, yeah, it's been really, really different.

It's, um,  It's, main one for me is traffic, like, um, when we had Chinese New Year a couple of weeks ago, that felt like old Singapore to me. The roads were 


Oh, and quiet and calm. And I thought,

this is how I used to drive in Singapore. Now, I'm like, where's that motorcycle? Where is he? Where is he?

Because they weren't really around 20 years ago, so.

It's funny, even in the last, say, five years, I've noticed the amount of Motorbikes compared to before and I don't know if that's because come from a KL and it was just motorbike central There was hardly any here, but now I feel like they're everywhere

Yeah, they are.

Is it more maybe it's more affordable.

That's why I don't 

Yeah, I think grab 

yeah, true Grab. that's true it's a business as well 

Um, so you said you, so you've been back two years, did you say?

Been back

just over a year. And so when you, what is the difference between, I guess, last time you're here to where you hit when you're here now?

Yep. Um, Um, I guess last time I started up my own business here, so, um, it was really easy to work in Singapore. Um, it was, I joined a, it was first month, um, you know, you're trying to find friends and I saw a course at the American Association of how to start your own business. So I went there, met two nice ladies, we did a two hour course and then I said to them, well, let's go, let's go.

Let's go make a business. So we went into MOM. One hour later, we had our own


Um, and I didn't, we didn't know what we were doing with those businesses. But we had our own, back then it was Barbara Harvey Private Limited.

And I was like, I don't know what I'm doing with this business, but I now have a business.

Um, so yeah, it was so different. So, um, yeah, it, it was then. So my background was, um, I was a chemist for mobile oil and then I was, um, working for another little company called Petrofins. I was selling additives, um, from 28 countries around the world in Australia. So I traveled quite a bit. And then when I came here, I looked at should I work full time, but I really wanted to enjoy the experience of also living in Asia.

And then I wouldn't have the holidays and flexibility if I went to full time work here. Yeah. So, um, I ended up making up a business and I became an English teacher and I taught in

the Singapore schools,

and then I taught, um, Japanese ladies during the day and then, um, I ended up becoming a tennis coach also.

Oh wow!


You are like 

didn't mean to do that. It was just the ladies had seen that I was playing A grade, could you teach our children Sure. I'll teach your children. Then they said, well, can you teach us? And so I said, okay, I'll teach you. And then the people in my condo saw I was coaching and they said, can you coach our kids?

And then can you coach us? And then before you know it, I had

a whole coaching Yeah. And I



say, you know, I, I don't actually have any qualifications. You 

do a lot with sport.

So, yeah, I love sport, so, yeah. And then after having a few kids, um, my back started to play up, so then I got into golf.

Ah, okay. So, yeah, and, yeah, that's where 

where I met Rachel. That's 

That's where I

met Rachel, 


in yeah, 

yeah, I haven't been back since.

Golf is time  so, yeah, you need,  if it's nine holes, you need a good two, two and a half hours, but really that goes to four, and then if you've got, you know, to play eighteen holes, it's four to five hours, and really that's, you know, six or seven by the time you, so it is a time consuming

is. And then having the lessons on top as well. It's like, yeah, all, all consuming. We're going to get though. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I will. I'll be back. I'll be back.

back. I

I do, I do love it. It's good fun. Yeah. 


when you came, so then you've come back again and now what are you doing compared to what you were doing before? And how did you change? How was, how was, how hard was it to change?

Um,  I guess, you have, I just have, I'm pretty organised.

So, um, this time, like, when I first was here the first time, it was all about me. You know, and my husband.


you know, what adventures should we do next? What should we join? Well, now, coming back, it's all about that.  So, when we first got here, we still hadn't got our eldest son's IBA results. So, therefore, we had to, we came and we said, we don't know if you're staying with us or if you're going back and where you're going.

So, it's basically just to get the kids settled. Like, um, you're only, you're only as happy as your unhappiest child.



And that can include your husband. because you can't sleep

at night though, cause your little mind wanders. And so, you just have to make them happy first. So, um, he He went back to college in Melbourne and he's happy and, um, you know, originally it was going to be a one or 18 month stint and then after one year he said, or after six months he said, If you're coming back, do I have move back home?  

we said, maybe he goes, Oh, I hope you don't come back. So then we took that as a really good thing that he's happy. Right. So I'm happy that he's happy. And then the other two, um, yeah, they, they love, um, Singapore, they love the freedom they have here. So, um, they're, they, they're really enjoying it here.

So this time it's been about settling the kids in the main, the first thing was to find the right school. Um, and so that was my first thing this time was to find the right school, then find accommodation and then find an MRT or a bus stop that went around. So it doesn't matter if you have children or not, it's about finding the right accommodation.

That fits your work environment, your, you know, and making sure you've got an MRT line or a bus line. That's convenient. Not having to

Swap too many beach three, You you

really want one or two legs. So, um, and yeah, for us was accommodation was really hard to find when we were coming over. So that was

yeah, after Covid  and there was the, um, Hong Kong. 


Yeah. Yeah. 

Everyone from 

Hong Kong was coming here and. 

So, no, it was, uh, yeah, so I, it, I would, I was in Australia finding the accommodation and my husband was here living in Singapore in a service apartment. And then I'd find something online and I'd go Get outta that meeting now, go to here.

Right now, right there.

yeah, yeah,  And I,

I have been here before, so previously we'd lived in a, a, um, a.  Condo that the windows didn't open, but really high, gorgeous looking condo. And then we moved to Holland village where we had the big, um, balcony. And for me, that was really important. I wanted open balcony that we could live outdoors, have our family.

Absolutely. We were the same, especially after COVID, you were like, I don't want to be shut indoors. I want to have my own space. If the world shuts down again, I want to be able to go outside and not have to wear a mask or anything like that.


And it was hard to find that though because I was set on this balcony and

Yeah. It's

hard when you've


your head. And so I was like, no, I want this balcony no matter what. And he goes, oh, I found one. It fits two chairs. I'm like, no,

it's it's got to

fit an eight seater table.

seater table. Oh, lovely. So

So he's like, you're being very difficult, but we found it. So,

where are you living

So it's near the polo club and for us, it's yes. So it's perfect, it's got the basketball court for the boys, the tennis court, the 250 meter swimming pools, like, the gym, like, they have found, yeah, they're in heaven, 

because Novena is also very inconvenient. I lived in Novena when I first moved here So Novena is a very convenient place because you got your MRT. It's not that far from downtown

Once you've got an MRT line close, um, yeah, it's convenient.  it's in

and it's cool little area actually navina I didn't realize it's very suburban compared to here because  in orchard, but it's perfect for a family 


Yep. We love it. Like, so my kids, um, one of the first things that we did was we went straight to the hawkers. And, um, our back gate led straight into a little hawkers. 


we said, afternoon tea is here. Yeah. Not McDonald's, but here.  So now they have their lady that they go and get their wonton noodles from.

And yeah, they, they love it. So their chicken rice and boys are very hungry 

little creatures. So just 

got to keep, you know, Protein, protein, protein, it's all over here.

I need. And so, and where did you live when you were first here?

So, we lived in Scotts 28, so Scotts Road. So,


Yeah, it was really nice.

And then once we had Tom, we moved out to Holland Village. And, um, yeah,  big expat  um, yeah, so that's, and now we're living somewhere completely different. So, yeah, we've gone from central. It's from Holland Village now up to Naveena,  

so. and a whole, how many career changes have you had?

Um, so I guess I started as a chemist and then I went to sales and then, um, pretty much  I  invented myself here. And, um, Then I went back and tried to work a little bit more back in the chemistry field and Then I was pregnant with my third child and I said to my husband something has to give You need to do pickups or drop offs or you know, and he said, ah, you probably do One drop off a week, and I went, well that's

probably not going 

went, well, that's probably not going to work out.


I said, you know, I think, um, at the moment, three kids, I'm done for a while. And I said, once I get back to school, um, I'll go back. And then I found, um, This love for golf, 


is very time consuming.

consuming. Monday,  back 

Friday back in Melbourne, I was playing golf and

he was

he was like, Oh, when does that job thing gonna happen?

Like I said, when do you think he could do a pickup or a drop off? 


no, I haven't gone back to

work then. Oh, okay. But 

so. But you've definitely reinvented

Yes. yep.

yep. Cause you organize all the. , all the golf. Um, so

yeah, once I came back here, then, um, I just happened to fall into, um, um, Sarah Crane was leaving and so they asked me if I would be interested in taking on the golf ladies.

And yeah, so I took, yeah, I jumped in and grabbed it and I've just changed it and tweaked it a little bit to a bit. Just making, helping the ladies, well it's not ladies, it's actually open to ladies and men. Um, so we're hoping to get some men, because you're only competing against yourself. So you're not actually competing, but um, yeah, at the moment we're just a ladies group.

And, um,  yeah, I'm just trying to teach some different games at the moment. So they're not just playing stroke, because it's quite a boring game. Um, so when we go into, like we're going, um, 


Malaysia in two weeks time and yeah, we can just play different games. So we've got a few more games up our sleeves 

games up our sleeves. I've loved playing with you guys. It's been really, really fun with all the things that you do.

you play 

Christmas, that's why you played

play event.

I play Christmas, then there was another one as well, which we played. Played, what was it, best ball or something like that. And both of those, I won a prize. 


And I'd never played before. 

No, I


I think

I think had to Left-handed, didn't you? For the first hole. Oh yeah. So I had a left-handed golf. club out there you had to tee off

Oh, yeah, that's right. It

that's right. It was



like, what? 

was with a very, she was a veteran. So, uh, veteran golf player. So I was very blessed when  she got us through some sticky situations. It's a nice helping

a team, and I always try and mix the beginners with the, you know, the newbies. It's people that can play, so therefore you've got a balanced group and it's just meant to be fun. So that's the main thing.

How often do you get together?

Here only every Tuesday morning, so it's a nine hole course, and it's pretty little, and they're shutting it down.

Oh, where are you playing? 

Mandai, really? Amandai Golf Club,

Club. They've just announced they're shutting it down at the end of the year. 

So that means there's no public golf courses left  Yeah, because they're shutting down  

Yeah, I knew,  

So anyway, we'll come up with a solution. Yeah, we'll come up with it. I'll be brainstorming. 

That's the thing. I mean, I don't play golf, so, uh, but I do know that it's  Space here in Singapore, which is why people  

Malaysia, Yeah. It's just the visa. That's a killer

Yeah, it's 50 or something. Yeah,

Each time. So, um, but my kids are just learning. So that's the hardest thing now. It's a nice age  golf and,


yeah, it's, that comes to an end. So it's, yeah. 

It's funny because actually my youngest did golf  Cause obviously there's a lot of,  um,  ranges, no, what are they called? Courses. sorry. I obviously don't play golf.

Driving range. 

Well, there's a lot of, uh, there's just a lot of golf courses around. So they, they do, they do play a lot of golf in, the kids do anyway in  But I 


that's probably where we're going to end up. Probably once a fortnight or something.

Just playing 18 holes. just have to be a little bit more organised. And our mornings will be early. So we'll depart at 6am. Try and beat the border crossing there. But then you get the border crossing on Saturday.

way so it ends up being a whole day  

right? If you're going 

so Yeah, if you're going to play, if you're going to go that far, you might as well play like

18 holes. But it's going to 

that far, you might as well play like 18 times.

So you need a handicap and you need to, they've got Marshalls on the course and you need to, um, go much faster than what you do at Little Mandi. That's like, just


Don't they, do they give you a certificate to be,  to give you a handicap or?

you can, you can go and get a handicap, but yeah, you've just  you're meant to play the course like three 18 holes, um,

To get your 

to get your, to get your handicap. so. 

That's good.

Are you involved, is that with ANZA?

That's with ANSA. with ANZA. And

are you involved in anything else outside of

So, um, I guess what, um, what we've done is we kind of dive into everything. It's like, let's try everything. So when I first got here, I joined the SUP club, the walking club, the golf club, um, you know, I'm trying to think of what other, I haven't done mahjong yet, but 


I try everything.

Oh, I've water, cable card, like, you know, just try everything. Um, and then you just got to try and work out what I couldn't walk for three days after cable cutting, so I water skiing. So, um, um, so I thought, I'm probably not going to


going to do  

Um, but yeah, you just got to find your crew. Um, and then we put the kids into basketball and to AFL. Um, and 

Not rugby.

No, we're not, we're from Melbourne.

But I heard you said your husband plays

Yeah, he's a Sydney boy, so, okay. Oh, okay, okay. Yeah. No, but, so he's, he's, but we didn't grow up playing rugby, so, um, the, and that's huge here.

Yeah. So if, I think my 17-year-old wants to start now, and I'm like, no way you'll, they'll break you like you haven't learned the, the basics. The basics. So let's stick to a



from there, my husband's now on the committee for a FL, um, Anza, and then. Team managers for basketball, just, my advice is just to put yourself into as many things as you can when you first arrive, because you've got to find some friends.

So that's the, once you've found some friends, then everything's good. So you've just got to really put yourself out there. So you just have to be brave. 

That's the, that's the key, just gotta be, pull up your little, your big girl pants and just walk in like you own the place and say, you know what? I don't know anyone, but I'm here to make friends.

everyone in Singapore who's been an expat has been in the same position. And they're really welcoming, because everyone has been, so this is the place to find friends. If you were going into somewhere like Brisbane, it's hard to make friends, right? Because everyone's lived there. But in Singapore, you're part of a community that everyone knows what it's like.


it's um, you just have to be brave and just get out there and, yeah, be yourself. Really, you're learning again. I'm 50 years old and I'm having to reinvent myself again. So, you're always evolving, so.

That's good advice. I think if you get stuck in your ways and go, Nope, I only want to do golf because that's all I know, then you don't get to meet the plethora of friends that you do outside of those activities you wouldn't normally try.

Just say yes to everything. That's the, that's the, you know, if someone says, come along and, do a 

Yeah, exactly. But really thinking,

But really you're thinking no way.

you are. And we are very for by the Did you ever

Did you ever feel like you had experienced culture shock here?

I guess, um, I probably haven't because I feel like when you're coming here late 20s, early 30s, you feel invincible when you're a bit younger. Um, you know, it was more of a, I felt like,  I'm traveling, you know, it was like, I just pretend that I was a tourist back then and did everything, you know?

So I would go to Mount Faber, you know, walk Bukit Timah, you know, you just did everything back then. So, um, I guess I was, I didn't quite have the same culture shock as what, if I was coming now and, But things have changed. And once again, I just went, Oh, the wave bridge. I can't, uh, Henderson wave bridge.

Like that wasn't here 20 years ago. Marina Bay sands wasn't here. So I've done a lot more once again, put my tourist hat on in the first couple of months and walked all those things. So when we do have friends, I'll go, Oh, what we should do is this, you know? So you do really need to, um, 


probably advice is also, if you are new to Singapore. 

Don't be scared of like, um, the wet markets. Go and shop there. So, my husband goes every Saturday morning to Gimmo Market, and he's got his meat guy, because he has to have his red beet. So, he's really happy. He used to be called Sir, now he's called 

He's gone up in

going up in the world. So, he's like,  I'm fit

I'm a bro. Yeah.

go. Shop it. It's all the fresh stuff is there. So go to the wet markets. Um, eat at the Hawkers. Yeah. Um, don't feel like you just have to be in Orchard Road. Go and experience. Yeah, the food's great. So 


yourself out there. Pretend you're a tourist at least for the first couple of months and then, um, yeah. 

the only

hard things to do is sometimes when you're baking a cake and you've got to go to three places for three different ingredients. If you want Western food or something, it's a bit harder to find your, your ingredients. So things are a little bit tough at the start trying to work out where everything is.

I like the advice about walking everywhere because I, I think for me, I, that's the first thing I do when I move to a new place is that I walk everywhere so that when I do get in a car or when I do get on a bus, I know exactly where I'm going  because I've walked it. Right. And it's something about walking this, I dunno.

It it.  

My, we've got an indoor bike and my husband's like, why don't you use the indoor bike, you know, like, because I want to be outside, you know what I mean? Because it's like that type of weather, like, even if you are rained on, you're kind of like, well, I was gonna be hot and sweaty anyway, so I might as well be more wet than not sweaty, you know what I mean?

Like, so, yeah, getting out there and it's so beautiful out there It's a pretty place. And

doing it alone as well. I think people afraid to do things alone. But if you off and go for a walk alone, it's actually okay.  

absolutely. Like Mac Ritchie's is beautiful.

Beautiful just to walk that. So, um, but I pretty much did the, I didn't have any friends here at the start, even this time, like my friends have all gone from 20 years ago. And so I just, yeah, put my walking shoes on and off you go. It's okay to experience things by yourself. And then if you find a friend, you go, Hey, I'm going to show you this walk.

Can you go and take them on that walk?  


Yeah, no, no, that's really

is very true. It's very,

And, um, So

how long did it take you to be settled?

Um, do you 

this time 

First time round? 

First time round?

Or, yeah,

First time round was probably a little bit easier than second time round. Sounds, you know, it should be harder. But no, when you're single, I remember finding two ladies on this course, how to make your own business.

Um, we made up our own businesses. I said, in a week's time, we're going to meet for lunch and everyone has to find one other friend. So we all had to go, Oh my goodness, we need

need to find

a week.

Where find a friend? Please

booked a table. I think there was actually four of us. So we booked a table for eight and we rocked up with a new friend.

And then from that group, um, we had a nine hour 

we got to know each other really well.

I like, 



that concept, right? It's like, um, you know, bring a friend along. It's a really great concept to have for newcomers. 

definitely. I think now, like,  I've been here two and a half years, and I'm still, like, I know that some friends are leaving, and then, you know, and there's been new people coming, and I'm like, we should just keep doing that of thing, because you have to, you know.

people come and go really quickly. 

And then, they just, they don't, like, leave you as friends, they become, like. Your world network basically, your global network. But I just still, I'm still joining new clubs and meeting new people all the time because I just kind of, I just am so interested  in people, you know.

your friends here become your family too.

So, um, you know, you try and do things together. You see them all the time. While at home, you get caught up in work and your lives and you're trying to book in, all right, next month. Oh, I'm busy that month, you know, next month. So you're catching up with people. We're here, you catch up with them quite regularly.

And so your friendships grow really quickly.

Yeah, yeah,

um, but yeah, this time was probably a little bit harder. Um, 

So, it wasn't, I wasn't playing netball and, you know, when you just join those team events you instantly get, you know, ten friends from there and things

suddenly got, like, things in common because playing that sport. Yeah,

so like if, if I was doing, you know, if I was single, I'd be jumping into all those sports again.

Um, this time I've, my focus was probably a bit more on my kids. So making sure that they had got into all their events and you're following them and you're watching their basketball games and then you get to meet people sitting down beside them and you go, Oh, which is your child? And, um, so, but everyone's a bit busier cause you're following each other's your own children.

So, um, but I reckon it took me truly probably about six months to actually feel like I'm home. My kids would say probably two weeks because once they found their friends, they were, that's all

lot of managed friends.


It's very, very easy for them. Like they've got their friends, They're happy. And if they're happy, then we're all happy.

So, um, and then we just have to keep trying. You just have to keep on  trying to find more friends and trying to find, you know,  you might join one group and go, Oh, I really liked that lady in that one. You know, and you try and

you might not like the group, but you might find 

find through 

and then become friends outside of that group.

I mean, I think, I think the, the key here is  You just have to, because being an expat can be  you know, if  mourning from your past life or the place that you would just come from or home, then it can get in your  Because technology allows you to do that, right? Because you can catch up with friends every day through,  

Facebook. Yeah, 

And so it feels like you can not

like you're missing out. Yep. Like you can see that, you know, they're off doing this. Oh, that's what I used to do. Yeah. I'm going through,  you know, everyone's turning 50 and I can't go to their parties.


yeah. And I turned 50

So yes, 

I get it, I totally get it. Um, I think you go through waves, right? So, but you're right. You meet your friends here, and you know that also I find As an expat, especially here in Singapore, is that you, it doesn't matter how old they are.

I mean, back home in Sydney, I kind of, you kind of hang out with people your own age. And I don't know why, you just do. But I find here in Singapore, like, I hang, can hang out with a 20 year 20 year old, but maybe a 25 year old, just as well as I can hang out with a seven year  You know, and I think people are more accepting here. 

I think. 

When you said, be brave and put yourself out there, 

perfect. And

get involved, just get involved and just always say yes, because it's so much harder to say yes than no. No is like, no, I want to stay inside. I'm not going to join that.

I'm not going to do that. Well, to go to something is much harder. So just say yes and make it happen.

And it's okay to be nervous. It's actually okay to be nervous. You just got to. Yeah. 


you know, feel it, walk in, and then just break the ice.

Yep. And at that first, it is hard going to certain things by yourself.

And you're going, oh, I don't know anyone. Like there's ladies nights, Anne's and Ron's  ladies nights. And I think every time I've gone, um, I've hardly known a soul. And each time I go, every month, it's a whole bunch of new ladies. And I'm like, oh! Okay, I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. Big smile, walk in, and hi, and you walk in, you're thinking, Oh, let me find one friend.

let me see, let see familiar face. But

always is that someone else looking exactly the same at you, and you're like, hi, hi, I didn't think so, you're juicy, and then you're like, got a new buddy for the rest of the 


Do know, I do, I always look for the person, even if I know people there, I look for the person that looks a little bit lost and I head over there because I know what it was like to start fresh and I know how hard it is.

You know, like that person might not have the big girl pants yet, she's a lot arrived in the, the location. Um, but seeing just a person smile, just  That makes a huge difference.

And before you know it, you've joined into a group at those, um, nights and suddenly you realize the person that you were talking to, they're really business focused, right?

And they want to start their own business and you're thinking, we're probably not made for each other. But in this group, oh that lady over there, she's been talking about

her children,

her children and AFL or golf.

I'm, I'm beelining on her.

her. Yeah.

recruiting her tomorrow. 

So now I'm thinking pickleball. I'm thinking of swapping and evolving. Golf's gonna slow down. I've got to find a

Pickleball so fun.

just started

Have you?

love it. I don't play tennis. I used to play squash until like my knee was, but I love it. It's kind of, for me, I feel like it's a little bit in between, um, tennis, which I'm bad at and table tennis, which I'm also bad at. So

somewhere in between,

in the middle, I should be able to pick up a skill or two. 

Well that's, I haven't played yet, but that's grabbing my interest, so I think that's my next  

adventure. Adventure. Yeah. I think you should do it. Cause it's honestly, it was a lot of fun.

So did you go through the course here that they

No, no, I just did it with the cricket club. I got friend that um, and we went and did a, I've only done one so don't count me on it, but I just did one sort of social thing and I was like, Hmm, I think that I could do this.

So yeah, and I think the rules are not as, I don't find the rules as difficult as tennis. 


you know, and tennis really aren't, isn't, in terms of rules, not Yeah, so it's pretty much similar rules  But yeah, definitely do Peekaboo. I'm not obviously recruiting you because  I'm saying yeah, let's do it.


Pickleball's fun. Yeah, it is. It's fun. I did the clinic and ANZA and that was fun.

Okay, I'm going to have to give that a go. That's my next 

Yeah.  a go.


maybe we will  Because it's funny, we haven't seen each other, we haven't met each other and although obviously you're heavily involved in ANZA, I go to, I'm not heavily involved in ANZA, but I do do a lot of things or with ANZA.

And so this is the thing you, you don't,  ANZA is so big, all clubs in general are so big, right? Whether it's the American Women's or ANZA. And then you, you realize when you go to new things that, Oh, I've not seen you before. How long have you been here? And you, you knew? No, I've been here 10 years. Oh, okay. 

I'll just put my words back in my mouth.  But that, I mean, that's the thing. You just got to try everything. What is the biggest lesson you've learnt then? 

Oh,  just trying to think, like, probably,  trying to make sure the kids are happy. Yeah. So for me, it's, um, making sure that they're,  yeah, if they're good, then we're all on track. Yeah. So, um, yeah, I think that's probably, um,  Yeah, it's being organized and we keep going back to it, like you just gotta keep putting yourself out there.

It's not an easy thing. It's especially, it depends, you know, you could say, uh, some people just do it easily. They're just happily to go and join new clubs, but other people find it really tough. And I've got a girlfriend here who works full time and, um, yeah, it's hard. She's single. Yeah. And, um, it's hard to find people.

You know, that are, you know, single, and so she's did something different. She started doing law at night time, so she's doing a different course. So she's HR and she's gone into law, so she's become a, after this time, for a couple years here, she's become a lawyer.

Oh wow.

know, it was a different way of, um, looking at it, but she had to keep herself occupied.

I've got another lady that's, um, at school and she's studying to become a teacher.

Okay. You know,

just trying to.


something else other than sport or just trying to evolve and make it like How well ever all we are always learning. Yeah, so it's how you want to learn if you want to learn 

You know, you might want to learn art, you know  You might want to learn something completely different that you haven't done before or you might want to extend on to your degree or yeah so there are things to do and  good

advice. Different, different 


advice. Yeah, it is, it's great.

Do you have anything else  

no, I don't think so. I'm just trying to 

think what else I've.  


No, um. 

that's cool. I mean, um, we,

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Last little plug.

it's so funny because, uh, when I  thought about doing it, um, calm and calm. Oh, sorry. That was, yeah. 

She said to me one day, I was like, oh, I want to do something else, you know, and, uh, and she was like, just come down. It's really chilled and, you know, get some lessons done. You can go here and she sent me to a few places to go and get lessons and do it.

And I was like, I don't know if I'm ready to do that. I'm not sort of retirement age because golf is sometimes, you know, it is a retirement. Retirement. I thought

We've got girls in their thirties. So

exactly. But then I was like, Oh, you know, let's give it a go, you know, cause I, I do, I'm, I'm always like that. I'll try anything once, you know?

So, and I went down and I really, really enjoyed it. And, um, and Carm helped me with a lot with my swing and, you know, and also the lessons I had were really, really helpful and it was good. Two really great games,  but I haven't been back because we started the podcast, so it's just been really busy and, um, the ladies, you know, including yourself, have always been so welcoming and it's always been so fun to do that.

So, yeah,

I just think you've got to get ahead of the game. Um, you know, do you want to, do you want, when you're in retirement, do you want to be a good lawn bowler or do you want to be a good golfer?

I like that.

I like that. That's plug. Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Get ready for retirement. Absolutely. Yeah. No, it's good.

Although I'm pretty good at lawnmowing.



I'm  joking.

you so much

for coming today, we really appreciate it. Yeah. Thank 

for having me. No, It's

been really great. Thank you for being here. You know, uh, spreading your wisdom. Yeah, sharing your wisdom. I should say sharing, sharing your wisdom and your story and yeah Yeah, all great advice for those

And just a quick question.

If they wanted to get involved in ANZA golf, how would they contact

Um, they'd have to go through ANZA and they just click on, there's a golfing link and the WhatsApp goes to me and you're automatically added onto our list. And then you come every Tuesday if you want to and um, it's fun.

It is really fun. You play and then we have lunch and we have a few drinks.  coffees or beers, 

Yeah, it that time of

And then, um, yeah, we do some lunches from there. We travel to Malaysia. Um, yeah, it's, it's, it's evolving. Always

No, no. I think that it's great that you do these, like, away sessions, you know, like, to Malaysia and that's a good way to really get to know your tribe.

Yeah, it is. Because you're in the car for a while together and playing together. Then we do some wine nights also, so we don't just do golf.

photos from them. They look really,

 📍 from them, they

always get dressed up and stuff.

and stuff.

and stuff. It's very good. 



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