US vs Singapore Public Schools—Grading


One of the things I struggle with as a foreign parent is understanding the grading system in Singapore.

On one hand, I find the grading system incredibly forgiving. Everything over a 85 is an A? 70-85 is a B? 50-70 is a C? It’s only an F if it’s below a 50?

Then I remember that in the US a grade is comprised of work done over 10 weeks, and things like participation and effort can affect the grade. No single assessment controls your grade until college.

In second grade, Elanor will take an exam in October that will count for 50 points out of 100 for the year. I can’t imagine stress like that at the age of seven.


Elanor was participating in an after-school math activity where she was regularly coming home with low grades. Despite this, she said she was in the “high” group. Why was she still there if she was coming home with such low grades?

We pulled her from the group before vacation. Over vacation, though, she expressed to us that she really wanted to stay.

I reached out them and asked them to explain to me how they decided what group she should be in, and what the criteria was. By the time she finished explaining, I had context for what we though were bad grades.

Parenting a third culture kid isn’t easy, and neither is being the foreign parent in a strange school system. Learn from my lesson and ask for someone to explain things to you before you (0ver)react.

Posted in Assimilation, Culture Shock, Education, Expat to Expat Advice, Singapore | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Submissions Call: Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe

Continuing my theme of doing things I’ve always dreamt of, but been to frightened of, I’m going to edit an anthology of winter themed erotica. Coming Together is an organization where all proceeds will go to charity. In this case, Project Linus, which is very near and dear to my heart.



Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe

Deadline is September 1, 2016


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow because we’ll be heating up this sexy December anthology.

I am looking for your best winter stories. Are your characters cuddled up inside while a blizzard rages, or are they snowbirds spending Christmas Day on the beach in the tropics? Who belongs on Santa’s Naughty List? Is your billionaire a Scrooge? Is this the year they come out to their family? Do they have a special someone to kiss when the ball drops?

While the theme is winter, you may also add in your favorite December holiday, but this is not mandatory. I’m looking for compelling stories with compelling characters and a rich plot as well as beautiful poetry.


  • Your story should be set between December 1 and December 31 whether explicitly or implicitly.
  • All orientations, ethnicities, pairings, and interpretations of “winter” are encouraged.
  • All sub-genres and time periods welcome (contemporary, historical, paranormal, sci-fi, steampunk, you name it).
  • All heat levels from sweet and romantic to down and dirty—as long as it is plot driven.
  • HEA/HFN preferred, but not required.
  • Stories up to 7,500 words
  • Poetry is welcomed and encouraged
  • No underage, no scat, no non-consent, no incest


Coming Together is a charity organization. You retain all rights to your stories, and previously published stories and poetry are welcomed (as long as you hold the rights).

Please use Times New Roman font, size 12, and one-inch margins. Double-space paragraphs and set indentations to .5 – do not use tabs or spaces to indent. Use .docx, .doc .rtf formats only.
Only submit your final, best version of the story; do not send multiple versions of the same story. Up to two stories/three poems will be considered from each author. Include your legal name (and pseudonym if applicable and be clear which one is which), mailing address, and up to 250 word bio. You will be notified as to the status of your story by no later than October 1, 2016.

Do not paste your story into the body of your message.

Coming Together is a non-profit organization, and all Coming Together authors and editors have generously donated their talents to various causes. Compensation for inclusion in this work is a PDF contributor copy of the finished product and your name on Santa’s Nice list (or Naughty, if that’s your preference). You retain all rights to your story. All proceeds go to Project Linus, which provides home-made blankets and hats to children in crisis.

Questions? Email me at

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , ,

Disney Princess Academy (Sponsored Post)

I’m sharing this post as I’m going to write up the event for Sassy Mama Singapore. Elanor and Rhi will have a blast, and I’m sure your child would love it as well.

Disney Princess Academy


Brought to you by Singtel and Disney, the Dream Big, Princess Academy is where girls can get a royal experience and learn the true meaning of being a princess. They will also get to meet Rapunzel, Cinderella and Sofia the First!
Get ready for a magical experience this June holiday! The Dream Big, Princess Academy will be held at Fort Canning Hotel on 22nd and 23rd June 2016.

How do I secure my event pass?

  • Visit any Singtel Shops today to sign-up or recontract for the Singtel TV Family Starter/Trio/Variety/Value Pack and receive a redemption serial code to secure your slot at the event.
  • Share a photo of your little princess on Instagram or Facebook. In your caption, tell us why she’s an everyday princess along with the hashtags #everydayprincess and #singteltv. For more information about the contest, visit


Posted in Sponsored Posts | Tagged , ,

Six Years (and a few months)

We moved to Singapore in April 2010.

Today I revamped the website in part because my long list of expat blogs is a list of dead blogs. Last month, one of my dearest friends left Singapore. I still pick up my phone to ask her if she’s around, only to remember that she’s not. I recently was talking to my girls and I was listing off the people who can always pick them up, and almost included her.

At some point while I was paying attention to other things, we transitioned from expats to those expats who have been here forever.

IMG_0049Elanor, June 2010

I missed our fifth anniversary because I was in the hospital recovering from an infection that came close to killing me. I noticed our sixth anniversary abstractly because of Facebook Memories.

13332817_10153431913751946_5795725487567727860_nRhiannon’s first and new passport photos (2011, 2016)

Right around the time I was seeing those Facebook memories of our move to Singapore, I realized that Rhiannon had been four and a half for a while. Which meant that she had less than six months left on her passport and that we needed to renew it. The child who was nothing more than a vague plan when we moved here is now on her second passport.


Both girls, taken June 2016

When we agreed to move to Singapore, Ravi and I assumed that we’d be here for a few years at most. We never expected to be here six years later. We certainly never expected to take Permanent Residency.

In June 2010 I would swear that we would not be here in 2016.

Do I think we’ll still be here in June 2022? No way.

But then I’ve been wrong before, obviously.

****I refuse to make another post about my health, but I just got out of the hospital following another series of surgeries on my back. Yay, degenerative disc disease and chronic pain. There, you’re up to date*****

Posted in Before the Move, Identity | Tagged | 4 Comments

I wrote a book

Despite my best intentions, I haven’t been spending much time at Expat Bostonians. While a lot of my energy over the past eighteen months or so has been devoted to healing my body, the rest of it has been devoted to writing a book. I sold it last fall, and on April 26, 2016 it went on sale.

I’ve gone back and forth over whether I wanted to cross-promote myself here as it removes a layer of privacy between what I write in the non-fictional world (EB, articles on parenting) and my fiction. But my life-long dream has been to write a book. Now that I’ve done so, I want to share it with you.
Capturing the Moment Cover

You never forget your first love…

Meg and RJ were passionately in love. But that was six years and a broken engagement ago.

Meg has only one day in Siem Reap, Cambodia, before she must leave for her sister’s wedding in Bali. She fulfills her dream of taking a photograph of the sun rising behind Angkor Wat, one of the oldest temples in the world. But her joy is short-lived when she turns around to see RJ standing behind her.

RJ threw himself into work after Meg ended their relationship. He’s built a successful business, but it’s a hollow victory. He’s come to Siem Reap to win back the woman he’s never stopped loving. But first he has to convince her to spend the day with him.

Meg is as physically attracted to RJ as she ever was. Maybe the secret to finally getting over him is a one day only, no strings attached fling.

Can RJ win Meg back, or will she love him and leave him?


Capturing the Moment is on sale everywhere!

Currently it is only available as an e-book, although my publisher has said they are in the process of uploading books to a print-on-demand service.

Capturing the Moment also has a page on Goodreads


“The heat and chemistry between Meg and RJ sizzles.”–Devi Ansevi of Crush Blush. (full review here)

“This was a great story.”–Amy from Archeolibrarian (full review here)

“Delilah hit the perfect balance between sex and romance”–Malin James
Disclaimer–I write erotic romance. Which is a close cousin to your standard romance novel–there are well developed characters and plot, and a relationship based on more than sex, etc. The difference is that I don’t use cutesy euphemisms or fade to black when things get physical. Because of that, if you are under 18, I am legally obligated to tell you to click the back button, although there is no sexual content in the excerpt below.

Extended Sneak Peek 

Chapter 1

Angkor Wat, silhouetted against a pre-dawn sky, was the photograph Megan had waited over a decade to take. She stood at the edge of the pond, in front of the twelfth-century Cambodian temple, making minute adjustments to her tripod. The night sky, once inky black, transformed into a riot of pink and purple. The sky and Angkor Wat were perfectly reflected in the water. The moment Meg had dreamed of had arrived. She stepped up to the tripod and looked through the viewfinder. Her finger tapped the shutter button repeatedly.


To: Meg

From: Mother


I don’t see why you insist on complicating everything. If you’d just come directly to Bali like you should have, you wouldn’t be stuck in the Beijing airport. Two canceled flights are a sign, Megan. Why are you still bothering with Cambodia? You’ll only have one day there. Between Rachel and her destination wedding, and you with your Cambodia caper, the two of you are driving me crazy!


The bright colors gave way to pale dawn light. Although the number of tourists clicking away on their iPads was still growing rapidly, Meg and her fellow early birds were ready to move on. They knew the magic hour—and the best shots—were done. Meg slipped the camera from the platform before folding up her tripod.

“Get any good shots, Meg?”

Meg spun around and nearly dropped her equipment. If life were fair, exes would become repulsive to you the moment you broke up. But no, she itched to run her hands through his black hair. She remembered licking and sucking her way across every inch of his brown skin. Her eyes flicked to his full lips and she almost whimpered as her panties grew damp at the memory of his eager tongue. Nope, life was decidedly not fair.

“Arjun? What are you doing here?”

“I was looking for a date to a wedding.” He grinned. “Want to be my plus one?”

“Bite me.” Suppressing the urge to slap him, she turned to thread her way out of the crowd as fast as she could.

Stop picturing him naked. Stop it!

A line of stalls selling goods ranging from postcards to T-shirts to food was slowly coming to life.

“Can I have a Coke, Uncle?” she asked the owner of a stall. The guidebook had told her to address everyone older than her as Auntie or Uncle. Whether due to the rapid increase in heat since the sun had crept over the horizon, or the shock of seeing RJ, she was dying of thirst.

I can’t believe he’s here. This is almost as bad as if he were at the wedding.

“Oh. My. God. Wedding.” The bottle froze halfway to her lips. “A date to a wedding.”

Maybe it’s some other college friend’s wedding that just happens to be on the other side of the planet the exact same weekend as Rachel and Paige’s, and oh my fucking God he’s going to be at their wedding. Oh God, oh God, oh God—

Wishing it was a beer, Meg took a swig of the soda.

“Want to share that?”

Meg choked on the liquid. RJ’s hand pounded rhythmically on her back.

“Stop that! I’m—” She flapped an ineffective hand at him as she fought her way through another coughing fit. “Fine!” Panting, she took a cautious sip. What was supposed to have been blissfully cool relief was now cloying sweetness.

She glared at RJ. “Why are you here? Don’t feed me any of your charming bullshit.”

“Rachel told me you’d be here.”

Traitor! Exasperated, she threw the soda into the trash and turned to face him. “If you wanted to warn me you’d be at the wedding, you could’ve used email like a normal person. Or my sister could’ve told me you would be there. What made you think crashing my dream vacation would be fun?”

“This wasn’t just your dream vacation, remember?” His tone was mild, but she caught the flash of anger in his eyes. “This was our dream vacation.”

“So you decided to invite yourself along? Clearly, your ego is as massive as ever.” Meg shook her head in disbelief. She picked up her camera bag and tripod.

He stepped in front of her. “Megan, spend the day with me.”

“Why should I?”

“If you don’t, you’ll always wonder what it would have been like. C’mon, Meg, it’ll be fun.” He offered her a winning smile.

You were trying not to think about him even before you knew he was here. Have you ever had much willpower when it came to those dimples? It’s been six years since the break-up and they’re lethal as ever.

“If I agree to hang out with you today, you’ll try to sweet talk your way into my bed. Don’t think you’re going to succeed, RJ.”

“I didn’t say anything about rolling around naked on your bed. You’re the one who brought it up.”


**If you’d like a free reviewer copy, please touch base with me at***

If you’d like to read more sneak peeks, check out the dedicated Capturing the Moment page on my author blog for links to my virtual book tour! The most recent stops have open contests for you to win a free copy!

Posted in Published!, Writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Balloon Festival at Marina Square

It was only by virtue of the girls having gymnastics camp today that we were at Marina Square to see the balloon festival. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, this is ongoing through Sunday, March 20, 2016.

DSC_1464 DSC_1465



















Posted in Attractions, Singapore, With Kids

Democrats Abroad Global Primary

We have lived in Singapore since 2010, and have voted in every election in which we’ve been eligible in the nearly six years since. We had requested our 2016 presidential primary ballots when I got an email from Democrats Abroad, which I joined several years ago, telling us about the Global Presidential Primary.

To vote in the Democrats Abroad primary, you must be a registered Democrat, a member of Democrats Abroad, and not vote absentee in your home state. While there is an equivalent organization for Republicans–Republicans Abroad–they do not have an equivalent to the DA Global Primary. Republicans who live outside the US must vote absentee in their home states.


For my non-American readers, let me do a quick lesson on how the Democrats and Republicans choose their presidential nominees. I am oversimplifying because the process could fill a very large book.

1-To run for president you must be a citizen of the US at birth, thirty-five years old, and have lived in the US for fourteen years. (As an example–Rhi was born abroad, she is a natural born citizen as the child of a citizen, and her birth was registered with the US government. She has a US birth certificate issued by the State Department, and holds a US Passport).

2-Register with the FEC (Federal Election Committee). They must register state by state to get on the ballot, which is often very expensive (everything about running for president is expensive). Each state also has different requirements.

3-You run for the nomination of your party. Over the course of several months primaries are held, leading up to nominating conventions. This is why you see candidates dropping out–losing primaries means you won’t raise money and if you’re not winning, you won’t get enough delegates to be nominated so you’re wasting time and money.

  • Republican primaries are sometimes winner take all, and sometimes proportional. So when Trump won my home state of Massachusetts, he got roughly half the votes and half the delegates. Between March 15 and the nominating convention, states can award their delegates on a winner-take-all basis (If you win a majority, you get all the delegates from that state.). A Republican must get 1,237 delegates out of 2,472 to secure the nomination.
  •  Democrats assign delegates proportionally. When Clinton won Massachusetts, she did so with 50 percent of the vote, and only received 46 delegates to Sanders’s 45. That said, Democrats have a unique type of delegate known as a “super delegate” who is not obligated to vote for the winner of their state. Massachusetts has 25 super delegates who can choose to support either candidate. A Democrat must get 2,383 delegates out of 4,051 to secure the nomination.

I’ll get into the rest of it after the nominating conventions and leading up to the election. If you have questions, ask them in the comments.

The votes cast in more than one hundred and fifty countries in the DA Global Primary will be counted. Thirteen pledged delegates and eight super delegates will be sent to the nominating convention on our behalf. Singapore had their in-person voting event last night.


There are around 26, 000 Americans living in Singapore. I haven’t seen any numbers on how many of those 26,000 are registered voters, nor how many are Democrats as opposed to Republicans. Anecdotally, I can tell you I’ve met plenty of members of each party.

This was the first time there has been in-person voting in Singapore. In the past, you could only vote by email. Although Ravi, Elanor and I arrived about ten minutes after polls opened, there was already a line. People were smiling and the excitement in the air was infectious.

We signed in and waited our turn to enter the voting room. The candidates on the ballot were Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley (withdrawn) and Roque de la Fuente (irrelevant).


Elanor sat next to me while I filled out my ballot, and then helped me put it in the ballot box. I had talked to her about both the candidates, and why I’m pro-Hillary. Then she watched Ravi put his vote in the box. The staffer gave all three of us our “I voted” stickers and we went into the hallway to wait for Notabilia, who was also there so she and I could take a traditional I voted selfie.


Today I received an email from DA saying that 114 people had voted in person and the tally  was as follows:

Hillary Clinton                     68 votes

Bernie Sanders                   45 votes

Uncommitted                      1 vote

We are pretty unique in that Hillary won the in-person votes. So far Sanders has led the in-person voting by a significant amount according to this article. While I do tend to think Sanders will win the Global Primary, it’s a bit irresponsible to call the primary at this point. The majority of people will vote via email or fax and the primary is ongoing.

I’ll do a short update post after the results come in on March 21.

Posted in politics | Tagged , ,