Category Archives: NYC

The immigrant housewife speaks

When people back home call me a tai-tai, I always scoff and say I’m a pseudo tai-tai or a glorified housewife more than anything. After all when you have half your face buried while scrubbing the toilet bowl, furiously rubbing soap scum of the bathroom tiles or mopping and sweeping my life away, thats hardly the life of a tai-tai. But then after a while, I take a stab back and realize that its just my negative thoughts speaking.

I do live in one of the most eclectic places in the world and I got a pretty shiny apartment. My apartment has a glorious view of the Hudson river and I get to stay at home while the rest of the world slaves away and I get to have ‘tai-tai’ lunches with my fellow housewives and I get to buy whatever I need without worrying about the cost too much. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I need to look and focus more on the positive aspects of my life. I may not have everything perfect all the time but I have everything (and a lot of extras) that I need to make me happy right here and now. And its the here and now that matters.

Sometimes I get a little down because I focus on my supposed career regression, my seemingly blind quest towards finding my purpose in life, difficulty of adjusting to American culture and coping with being so far away from my family and friends. All these negative emotions make me lose sight of why I’m here in the first place.

I’m here because I met a man that I’m willing to trade all the things I have in Singapore for. He treats me very well and I know that he’ll love me for all of our collective lives together but more importantly, I left Singapore with the thirst of wanting to find out whats out there and to fulfill my dream of wanting to live overseas. Except that I’ve always thought that I was going to live overseas for a few years and not leave indefinitely. But who knows what’s going to happen in future, maybe we’ll have enough to straddle two homes in opposite ends of the globe!

I left Singapore wanting to explore the rest of the world, to venture out of my comfort zone, to acquire new adventures! but yet sometimes I let homesickness and fear of change eat into my soul. But you know what, I’m not going to beat myself over that. Its normal for people to fear change and its normal for people to resist change. Instead of worrying about my imperfections of adjusting, I’m going to applaud myself for taking a bold step towards building a better life for the both of us. Its normal to feel homesick and its normal to fear change. I must remember that different is not always bad, different lends an opportunity for one to contemplate about what was and why the present is such.

Moving on….

After a few months of marriage, the exhilaration of new love and the palpitation and excitement of the nuptials has worn away. Instead it’s being eroded with the quiet comfort of knowing there’s someone at home waiting for you; the definitive comfort of knowing that when you have a bad day there will always be someone at home waiting to give you a big bear hug; best of all you know that no matter what happens, no matter what silly arguments you might have had, you take comfort in the fact that he/she will always be walking beside you for the rest of eternity.





The waiting game …….

At least 10 phone calls to USPS before they finally confessed they lost my documents. Not before transferring me back and forth to at least 8 representatives.

Have probably spent at least 30-50hours on hold with USCIS, again transferring me back and forth, telling me to call back in 7 days, call back in 14 days, call back in 30 days and still nothing at the end.

USCIS and USPS are my two favorite government agencies in the world.

Oh wait, I’ll soon have to deal with the DMV too.

I love AMERICA so so much.

If this was back home, I would have found a way to get my documentation in less than 1.5 years.

This is plain ridiculous.

What frustrates me the most is everybody just wants to transfer you somewhere else, or make you put down the phone and call back again. I think its because their efficiency rating is measured on how many calls they ‘solve’ per hour. Nobody is willing to listen patiently to whats going on, the moment they get a sign they can transfer you away, they do it.

They need an overhaul of they way they solve problems of their customers in these government agencies. I mean losing such important paperwork of mine is such a big deal that they seem to treat it so lightly. Those documents that have been lost in the mail, it could land in bad hands and my entire identity could be stolen. I mean, the lack of empathy and apologetics is forgivable but come on at least just do your bloody job and fix the problem!!!!!!

I’m beginning to think that, it is way easier for Kris to get a PR in Singapore, than for me to get my paperwork settled and maybe find a job here. Maybe its a sign that we should move back home. America frustrates me.

We called USCIS back again (the 2nd time that afternoon) and the ‘supervisor’ told us that the previous agent had told us a mis truth and that they WILL NOT resend the pass to us just made us fly off the handle. We requested to speak to the manager and we were told that they might get back to us in maybe 24 hours. Apparently, we need to refile the entire process, which means go back 4 months before. I think Kris also about had it and that is the last straw for him to say, ‘Okay, my country has screwed around with you enough, lets pack our packs and go back to Singapore.’

So depending on what the ‘manager’ says tomorrow and depending on what his congressman can do for us. We might just decide to move back home. Honestly though, I do not have enough energy to continue this process any longer. Its such a battle to get simple things done. I’m exhausted in dealing with them, I cannot imagine myself continuing this process for the next 12 years or more if I want to get naturalized. I don’t think it seems worth it.

Project Grateful 365 (Day 178) Walking tours!

June 10th, 2013

On weekends that we’re not doing a road trip, not gawking at protests or not travelling somewhere or eating at some yummy establishments. The husband and I will choose a random area to go on a ‘walking tour!’



(Fuel before our 8.36mile walk!)


Along with my cooking and cleaning duties, I’m also the chief fun officer. I plan recreational activities and things to do during weekends and weeknights. So today  I randomly planned a walk around the residential neighborhood of Astoria. The prices in Manhattan and Brooklyn are rising so quickly that many people find themselves moving towards Astoria for cheaper rents. There are mostly low rise buildings and residential homes, and some nice restaurants littered along broadway and 30th ave. Either than a good, long healthy walk there was nothing really at Astoria so we’ll probably not go back ever.

We walked quite a bit before taking the train back to Union Square and witnessed chants of ‘Hey Hey Ho Ho, Erdogan has gotta go!’ I sometimes wonder tho, beyond just an ability to voice your opinions how will protests like this, affect anything that is going on in Turkey? Nonetheless, a voice in better than no voice.



We wanted to go buy some fresh produce at the green market but unfortunately they were closing up before we had a chance. They are usually also pretty expensive I think, Wholefood prices. (Speaking of whole foods, I bought a peach for 1.80usd the other day #whysoexpensive????)

There was also a street market near University place but those ‘Pasar Malams’ usually just sell overpriced food and I don’t think they are all that fantastic. I’ve been to quite a few now and haven’t found myself being vowed by anything. They always smell fantabulous tho!


From Union Square we walked home, not before stopping for dinner and some scented candles. For some reason yankee candles are 12.99 per bottle now, why are they so expensive????? Bed Bath and Beyond is even worse, 20 bucks for a bottle of candle. You gotta be kidding me! Which is sad because I really love their Mahogany Teak! I’ll buy them when they are on sale 2 bottles for 22.50 before tax, which is still pretty expensive if you think about it. Non brand name candles can sometimes go for 4bucks on sale, so there’s your comparison!

The husband was craving Indian so we had Indian for dinner! Malai Marke at the east village. Very yums, 4.5 stars outta 5!

IMG_4368Lamb curry, Vegetable Curry, Naan and some complimentary papadum! Artery clogging but oh so good! 


Project Grateful 365: 174, 175, 176, 177!!! Mega Combo Edition

Sorry to my loyal readers! I have neglected this blog because I went on a summer road trip with the bot. We rented a car and drove to Harrisburg Pennsylvania and stayed at a hotel for a couple of days. I loved the bed in the hotel! It was the Country Inn Hotel and Suites and the king sized bed, has this wonderful thick and fluffy mattress protector that made me feel; I was sleeping on a cloud! I think I am going to tell Kris that I want a mattress protector for my 30th birthday! I know I’m supposed to feel old but I REFUSE to feel that way. I’m only about 1/3 my way through life and it has been a crazy ride for the 30 yrs, ups and downs and have made me who I am today. I’m not sure how the rest of my life will PAN out but my goal is to be happy and content for the rest of my life!


Sorry for switching topics! So I’m grateful for 4 things


174: Hershey park (1)

Walt Disney was wrong, Hershey Park is the happiest place on earth. Every kid there was smiling from side to side. It was hot as hell, but chocolate cheers everyone up! There is quite a few family friendly rides, kiddy rides and crazy-ass rides for the thrill seekers. Personally we took quite a few wooden roller coasters that I liked very much. I didn’t like the vertical drop ones and the ones that went at lightening speed. Just for the heck of it, we also took a ferries wheel, Hershey’s Kissing/Revolving tower and an adult carousel. It was a very hot but fun day! Oh I also got to see sea lions. Which I love! Because they are so fat and cuddly!

I must thank my hubby for this wonderful trip because he was an excellent driver and the ONLY driver I must add from NYC to Harrisburg.

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175: Gettysburg (2)

I learnt quite a bit about the Civil War in America – the fight between the Union and Confederate States. It was very interesting to see (mostly mock ups) of how War was fought in the 19th century, primitive as compared to today, but still devastating like all wars are.

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176: Experiencing the Amish culture (3)

On the last day of our road trip, we drove to Lancaster county where they are many Amish families still in existence. Its a very interesting and closed community who reject electricity, but use solar power, batteries and propane to heat the house, have a fridge, have lights and power a singer sewing machines. Instead of cars, they use buggies and horses. Its just so fascinating to see them reject technology and ‘modern America’. They don’t like to have their photos taken and have minimal decorations within their home.

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177: Long walks, new friends and a beautiful sunset (4)

Today I met a friend to walk across the brooklyn bridge, like me her husband was posted to America for work and she doesn’t have a visa to work here. She’s very cute, she’s always offering me stuff she brought extra from the market. Like garlic, sauces and what nots. It was a beautiful day to walk across the bridge too. Its nice to meet people who are stay at home wives like me cause we got afternoons to relax, explore the city, exercise and have yummy lunches! I must learn to appreciate being a housewife more and stop waiting so anxiously for my Green Card so that I can can work, because I’m sure that when it comes and I need to wake up at 7am to work, I’ll moan and groan! So here’s a gentle reminder to myself, to enjoy the idyllic days while I can, just because I deserve to be pampered and happy!

Later in the day I met E and Charlie Bear and we trotted to Chinatown for my favourite Kungfu tea. He’s such a cute lil bear and his mother is such a sweet person that being around both of them makes you smile lots.

I’m sitting here in the sunset typing away while eating leftovers, grateful for my life right now.


Sure my lost green card paperwork is a bummer, annoying root canal/multiple cavities and little annoyances here and there come up sometimes, but I must remind myself to always look at the glass half full. There are also a thousand other reasons why my life is going well! Shitty days will always come, but I’m just going to roll along the waves and let it all dissipate. Life somehow always finds a way of panning itself out. My stuff is delayed but at least not denied and a root canal is not all that bad, its annoying but not as scary as my wisdom tooth experience. I think after fixing my 7 cavities, I’ll rid my Dentophobia. I have hope! No more shaking in the dentist chair! Fearless Charbot from now on! Hup Hup Hup!

Project Grateful 365 (Day 163) OH HAPPY DAYS!

Today I woke up at 1030am, I didn’t make my husband any breakfast. Instead I got a kiss before he left for work and happily napped till I was fully satisfied! OH HAPPY DAYS! (On a side note, I need to stop my addiction of ‘The Good Wife’, I always watch it till like 2am. While the hubby types away furiously on his laptop doing geeky things. I looked over last night and as usual it was a black screen with funny blue and green words/symbols. I think he’s a hacker. Oh at least that’s what the movies make it look like! 😛

After which I vacuumed the entire house, did three loads of laundry, brought my winter coats to the laundromat, made a yummy lunch for myself, wrote yesterday (and today’s) blog entry and is sitting here by the window mighty pleased with myself because its only 1.45pm!


My favourite spot by the window


Vegetarian dumplings and Pork Dumplings



2 wool coats dry cleaned for 39 bucks. Not sure if its expensive for NYC standards. I think its pretty decent.

Project Grateful 365 (Day 162) Cinco De Mayo!

May 5th 2013

Today was Cinco De Mayo. 

Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo traditions include parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals in cities and towns across Mexico and the United States.

We trooped up to Central Park West 96th Street and only saw a small little festival. The internet says its supposed to be on-going from 110th -97th street but we didn’t see anything. BOO HOO HOO!



Instead we went for Tunch at Amsterdam’s Tavern.

Our sin for the day!

IMG_3878It was 4pm in the afternoon, our breakfast was long digested and we were cold and hungry! So passed by this tavern and some dudes was ingesting this plate of sin!  Lured by the temptations of evil, (hee hee) we sat down and gorged ourselves silly.

The best part? We shared this and almost didn’t need any dinner, also I checked in on foursquare and there was a 50% deal so we got this and a corona for 14buckeroos after tax and tip. #smarthousewives #auntypower

We justified the meal with a 13mile walk this weekend. I think all this walking makes us feel very good physically. I’m happy to announce that last week, I did my personal best of 35 miles in a week.

I haven’t lost any weight though, because I love to eat. I think I get hungrier/greedier after walking.

Also I walk kinda walk at a leisurely pace, la di la di la.  My goal is be fit!

Its been a month and a half since I started walking 22miles – 35 miles a week.

I hope I can continue this for as long as I have continued project grateful 365!

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Central Park looks gorgeous! I cannot wait to bring a picnic basket next weekend and roll about in the grass! *crosses fingers for no rain*