Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Today is my mom's 60th birthday. Being able to spend this birthday with her is all the more meaningful after having been gone for a year. We are also taking a trip, just the two of us, to New York City in three weeks to celebrate my 30th and her 60th (we are both celebrating milestones)! It's very fitting since my whole family is from New York and we are definitely a colorful, gregarious bunch. I never understood how New Yorkers get a bad rap for being rude or cold. Maybe it's because my mother is the warmest person I ever met. It's no secret that I look up to my mother a great deal and have always found her to be a huge inspiration for strength and kindness, but I get reminded all the time how lucky I am to have a mom as great as she is.

We were having lunch a couple of days ago and our waitress was pretty terrible and very rude to us. Of course, I was still cordial but I definitely wasn't going to go out of my way to be nice to the waitress after how she treated us. But, as we were leaving, my mom made a point to grab the waitresses attention and say, "Thank you again, so much!" with a great big smile on her face. I looked and her and said, "Ma, why are you going to go out of your way to be nice to her? She was so rude!" She said, "I'm not going to change who I am just because she's a witch." Which, of course, made me laugh, but it's true. My mom doesn't change who she is for anyone, but she doesn't need to. She always bends over backwards for everyone, to the point of sometimes getting walked over. I sometimes find myself in that predicament as well, but I'd rather be that way than shut people out.

My mom wanted me to visit her office after lunch to meet the ladies she works with. They were bringing her a pie for her birthday and she wanted to show me off. Every single lady said, "Oh, your mom talks about you all the time! I feel like I know you! You have an amazing lady for a mother!" I'd say, "I know. I'm a lucky girl." Even though my mom isn't working in the hospital directly with patients anymore, I can see that she makes it a point to take interest in the people's lives around her. I was also told that when she did work in the hospital, they would always give her the most difficult patients to work with because she would "kill them with kindness" and they would end up turning around and being much easier to work with.
The past year working in a different country, with all different cultures made me realize as time went on that I needed to be asking myself, "What Would Mama Muroski Do?" The answer was always to have compassion, patience and understanding. If I would get frustrated, I would try to step into the other person's shoes for a while. It was definitely a huge challenge sometimes but at the end of the day, very few people are behaving a certain way strictly to ruin your day. Either they are having a bad day, or they have to follow certain guidelines, or things are simply out of their hands. I have a tendency to have knee-jerk reactions, so I've really learned to take a breath, step back and think of how my mom would treat someone.

Happy 60th Birthday, Mom! I truly won the "mom lottery" and I'm thankful for it! I love you!

Friday, November 19, 2010


To the makers of the Garmin GPS system:

I have just purchased my second GPS system from your fine company, as my first Garmin was dropped so many times that the screen shattered beyond any real visibility. This was due to my incredible clumsiness and does not at all reflect the craftsmanship of your fine products.

I set my Garmin up today and chose "Australian" as the dialect for my directions, only to be utterly disappointed. Oh makers of Garmin . . . have you ever HEARD an Australian dialect? I'm no Aussie myself but I just basically lived with a slew of them and I can tell you that is NOT an Australian dialect. I suggest you go back to the drawing board (or the Golden Coast or Perth or SOMETHING). And while you are reworking the accent, I have some choice vocabulary you should really try out, if nothing more than to make me smile and miss my Aussie friends (ahem . . . I mean, "mates").

"There's heaps of traffic up ahead. Let's try a different route, hey?"

"Oi, missed that turn, didn't ya?"

"Nnnnyyyooooeeeerr, you are going the wrong way, mate."

"Your driving is ace."

"Are you keen to take the highway or the back roads?"

"Bloody construction! Let's reroute, yeah?"

Thanks so much! Oh, and if you need someone to do the voiceover for the new unit, I do a SPECTACULAR Aussie accent. Just ask any of my Aussie friends. They may say, "Nyoooerr," but don't believe 'em.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Final Twenty-Four in Singapore

Hey, that rhymes.

I've been back in the United States for ten days now but it's been such a whirlwind that I haven't had a chance to sit down and write. Now I actually have a little (not much) breathing room so I guess I'll start from the last twenty-four hours I spent in Singapore.

I was really surprised how heavy my heart was when I made my journey in to work on my last day. The year was so much different than I ever could have imagined but yet, I was very sad to say goodbye. I was texting back and forth with Giancarlo on the MRT and met up with him at McDonald's for our last sinful breakfast take-away on the way to work. We rode the shuttle together in to RWS and I took my last trip over the scenic bridge on to Sentosa Island. It was really hard to believe that at the beginning of the contract it was just a bunch of cranes, debris, and scaffolding. Now it was this beautiful gateway of a huge (fake) mountain with a waterfall and foliage.

Giancarlo and I stepped into our dressing room and saw Sean and Cassidy and I felt so at home; this has been my family for the last year. I had spent almost every single morning putting on my make up and sharing my life with Cassidy since February and our eyes kept filling up with tears knowing that this was the final morning of going through our routine together. I felt so lucky, though, that I simply love the three people I worked and shared a dressing room with (not to mention the other three cast mates who I worked with three days out of the week: Alexa, Whiley and Ramsey).

As my last set as Betty Boop was drawing to an end I started to notice escorts milling around the streets of NYC Universal. My tear ducts started tingling . . . oh no. All of a sudden a line of about twenty escorts along with a few stage managers and Daniel Bloomberg our costuming genius lined the street and applauded me as I walked off set the final time as Betty. I desperately tried to hold it together, but the tears started streaming down, luckily, as I was almost behind the scenes. I can't imagine what the guests in the park were thinking! Brian, one of the lead escorts, had said a tearful goodbye to me earlier in the day and it meant so much to me that I would truly be missed. It seems surreal that I won't be walking in to work, smiling and saying hi to these wonderful people anymore.

After work, I rushed home because GC and I had been working for the previous two weeks on a goodbye video for our Celeb-look-alike cast (well, HE had been doing 99 percent of the work . . . I swooped in to assistant direct and brainstorm ideas where I could). I got home to Kovan and my room mates helped throw everything together as usual, as I rushed to shower and change. It was my party and yet poor Greg was sweeping and ordering pizzas for me, thank goodness! (Did I mention I had the BEST room mates in the world?!)

Heaps of my cast mates poured in the doors of my apartment and gobbled up some pizza and sodas as we gathered around the living room television to watch the goodbye video. It will forever be one of my favorite moments in Singapore. Here we were, this group of strangers a year ago, piled in (butt to nut as GC likes to say) my living room, laughing, crying, and reminiscing over our tumultuous year together. That is the joy and pain of this business. You do a show or a contract and become like family, but inevitably, there comes a time to move on to the next project and although many people stay a part of your life, it's never the same as that moment in time. I'm so grateful to GC for making that video so we all have something tangible to look back on with happiness and I know whenever I watch it, I'll think of sitting in my living room with everyone so close to me, even though now we are spread out all over the world.

Then it was off to Prince of Wales, our favorite little ex-pat bar to watch Dan and Gene play their acoustic set and for me to say goodbye to everyone. I actually held it together most of the night better than I thought I would. I had gotten to the point where I was just so happy and grateful that I had gotten to a point where I really LIKED Singapore and would miss so many people. I didn't want to leave with a bitter taste in my mouth from the things that didn't go as planned. I wanted to leave rejoicing in all the beautiful things that DID happen and where I am now. As the night went on, that got harder. It's difficult not knowing when or if you will see certain people again . . . but you just have to believe that some day your paths will cross again.

I barely slept a wink that night. Emotions were running high and, of course, I hadn't packed the last of my things. I think I got about two hours of fitful sleep and then got everything ready to go. I got to say a tearful goodbye to Bill as he left for work . . . then again (TWO goodbyes) to Jacqueline . . . and hung out with Tori for a while before Greg hurried home so they could see me off. I know I've said it to them a million times but my whole experience in Singapore changed the moment I moved in with these four incredible people and they will never know how close I hold them to my heart. It was so hard walking out of that apartment for the last time and getting in a cab to go to the airport.

On my first flight from Singapore to Bangkok, I sat next to the sweetest guy from India. He helped me get my ridiculously heavy rolling suitcase up in the overhead compartment and was so polite considering I was an emotional mess. Before we were about to land in Bangkok the flight attendants gave everyone a beautiful orchid corsage to pin to your shirt or bag. The nice guy sitting next to me gave me his, saying, "It's beautiful, like you." And I just had a huge smile on my face. Anyone who could call me beautiful right then with two hours of sleep, more hours than that of crying and no make up deserved a medal.

The flight from Singapore to Bangkok felt like I was surrounded by the different cultures of Asia. When I hopped on the flight from Bangkok to Los Angeles, I was back to a majority of Americans. Everything felt different and I felt Singapore sort of slipping away in that moment. Once I landed in Los Angeles, it felt like the last year was a dream . . . a crazy vivid dream.

I'll leave the saga there for now, and pick up with the fact that my amazing best friend Kat flew from Vegas to LA to greet me that night because that starts a whole new set of stories.

For now, it's a bittersweet goodbye to Singapore. I thought I'd be ready to walk away without a care and though it was only a year, I know I made friendships for a lifetime and experiences that have changed me forever (for good). This year taught me that you may think you have "a plan" and have it all figured out, but you really can't plan what's going to happen. You have to embrace whatever life throws your way and find the lesson because things just may turn out even better than you could have expected. If you had told me the story of what would happen to me in Singapore as I boarded that plane last year I would have laughed in your face. But in my dressing room, on the last day, I was about to do my last set and I was all alone and I just looked up (in full Betty Boop gear) and said, "Thank you. Thank you for every minute of this year, good and bad. I know it was all a part of the journey." Thank you to everyone who was in my life this past year. I have hope that our paths will cross again (and again and again). You will always be in my heart, lah.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Standing up

Oh Boy!

Going back to stand-up after a couple months off is pretty terrifying, but I pushed myself to do it last night and I'm so glad I did. I tried out almost all new material and it was a huge turnout for the Comedy Masala open mic (brand new) at Home Club. The club was packed wall to wall which didn't help my nerves at all. I had some friends there, though, which made it feel a little more cozy.

I want to get back to feeling comfortable with stand-up again for when I am back in LA. I feel like it's a good way to show, "Hey, I'm a chick and I'm funny. You should put me in a sitcom, where I belong!" That, and I love making people laugh whenever possible so it's a win/win. My friends Giancarlo and Chris are helping me get some decent footage so that I can possibly put a good stand up reel together. Hopefully I can post that soon so you all can see it!

I was, as usual out here, the only female comic and I guess it can be a blessing and a curse. Last night it definitely made me feel a bit intimidated, especially since the comics were really strong. This "open mic" didn't feel like an open mic. It felt more like an actual show because of the turn out and that made me start to think, "Shoot, should I just go back to the material I know works, or forge ahead with this new stuff?" I went with the new stuff because I felt it was pretty funny and I think a lot of it worked. I am growing, but I definitely have a LONG way to go before I would actually say, "Yeah, I'm a stand-up comic," and not make a million excuses as to why I'm not REALLY a comic.

There was only one guy I felt so badly for. It was his first time getting up ever and he was an Australian bloke whose set was just basically him explaining why Singaporeans are stupid. I'm no expert, but I would imagine that being completely racist towards the majority of the people in your audience is not going to get you a lot of laughs . . . and it didn't. The poor guy was booed off the stage and I was just cringing for him. Needless to say his first time doing stand-up will be memorable for him.

I hope you guys who are in Singapore can come out October 19th to the open mic again, as it will probably be the last time I am able to do it before returning to the U.S. HOWEVER, I plan on hitting up the open mics in Orlando while I'm there to warm up for LA as well so I'd love the support!

It's 11pm and I'm EXHAUSTED. It's my day off but I ran around all day doing errands and then a student film exercise at NYU Tisch Asia which, although I was thrown in last minute, ended up being a lot of fun and will hopefully have a good moment or two to add to my acting reel as well!

Thanks for following along with my blog! This one is more of just an update but I hope to have a nice meaty story for you all soon! By the way--finding a flattering picture while you are doing stand-up is damn near impossible! So, forgive these gems.

Good night!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bug Eyes

Lately I look in the mirror and I find all of my flaws so quickly. Maybe it’s because half of my day I have to look in the mirror and be concerned that my makeup is flawless because I’m a “face character”. I have never spent so much time looking at my face as I have this year, and at the same time I haven’t been through so much stress and climate change so that has been a bad combination on my self-esteem. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am an attractive girl. I am happy with what I was given because I see so much of the people I love from my family in my face, so how could I not embrace that? But, like almost everyone, some days, you look in the mirror and you see all the things that you don’t like.

Tonight, as I was getting ready for bed I couldn’t stop looking at my eyes in the mirror. Oh, how they have been a blessing and a curse! My entire childhood I was ridiculed for having big eyes. “Bug eyes” is still ingrained in my heart as this hurtful, embarrassing torment. Even though I would look at my mom’s big beautiful hazel eyes, and the big beautiful round eyes of my Aunts, it just didn’t look right on my face. I felt like an alien. I hated it. I felt like if I just didn’t have these big eyes, I’d be pretty. At the same time, as a stage actress they have been such a blessing! You can see how I feel on my face all the way to the back row of the house! But, up close and personal I have always been incredibly insecure about my eyes.

Then, at 17 years old, my high school sweetheart Brion came along. At first, he’d call me Bug because of my eyes, but it was coming from a sweet place. I didn’t understand this, at the time, of course because of all of the previous torment. I remember getting so mad at him, saying, “Stop calling me that! I hate it!” and he’d say, “But you’re my little bug! I love your big round eyes!”

He was mister popular, party guy. I was president of drama club. I don’t know how or why it happened but he was smitten and so was I. He’d drag me to the cool kid parties and I’d feel humiliated because I felt like all the popular kids would look at me like, “Why is Brion bringing this DORK to the party? What is he thinking?”

And my eyes have always completely given me away! I’d get in trouble in school for “rolling” my eyes when a teacher was a jerk. I’ve never been able to hide when I’m hurt behind these huge windows into my heart. No matter how hard I’ve tried, these eyes give me away every time.

Brion would hold my hand and be by my side the entire time and even go so far as to say to people, “Isn’t she so beautiful? She’s so beautiful!” I would want to crawl in a hole and die. In my mind, everyone wanted to say, “NO! She’s a freak! What are you thinking?!” But, he never cared what anyone else thought. Ever.

Brion was my first real boyfriend and we were together for a little over two years. We started to grow apart in our second year of college because we were going to separate schools and had developed totally different lives and worlds. Now, he is married to a beautiful woman and they have two girls and a little boy on the way. I couldn’t be happier for him, and I know he is probably the most incredible husband and dad.

I can say with confidence that every boyfriend I have had has taught me a big lesson and given me something to look for in a mate or avoid in the future. I was such a child when Brion and I first started dating that I didn’t realize how important the way he treated me would impact me over ten years later. I wasn’t jaded yet. I hadn’t been cheated on. I was a trusting, insecure, smitten little girl.

Tonight I found myself looking in the mirror after I washed my face, hair pulled back, analyzing my facial features and all I could think was, “Gees! My eyes are so big! I hate them!” I thought of Brion saying, “But I love your eyes! You’re my little bug!” And I smiled. I thought of the random things that have endeared me to past boyfriends that they might have found to be flaws and how much I adored those endearing “imperfections”. When you are crazy about someone, all those silly little things you hate about yourself, generally become the things that endear the other person to you, because they are YOU. They aren’t perfect or like everyone else. Embracing those things only make you better and happier. From being close friends with some of the most stunningly beautiful women on this planet I can confidently say that no matter how gorgeous a woman is, she can tell you at least three things she finds absolutely disgusting about herself. Frankly, that sucks. As much as I get mad at all my pretty girl friends for talking down about themselves, I have to face the music myself and accept and love the exterior that this soul has been given.

I took a deep breath and tried to look at myself through the blue/green Irish eyes of an innocent 18 year old boy and thought, “Okay, that’s me. I can embrace this. This is how I look. I’m okay with it.”

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Free-writing . . .

I'm trying desperately to write a stand-up set for Tuesday and I'm so distracted. I just found out a friend of mine from college who, last I heard had a brain tumor but was recovering, is not doing well. The cancer came back, aggressively and he is in hospice care. I believe he is 29 years old (give or take a year) and his wife is about to have their first child in five weeks. These are the times you look up, around, anywhere and go, "How does this happen?! How is this fair?!" I have to believe there's a reason, but it's just one of the most tragic scenarios I can imagine, for everyone involved.

On the website that the family started to keep everyone in the loop you can see how much love is pouring out from friends, family, and acquaintances. It's beautiful.

I had some silly things happen at work today and yesterday that got me all in a tizzy and all I have been able to think tonight is how ridiculous it all is. My worst day of work is still a blessing. It's so easy to forget how lucky we are and how even at our lowest point, there is always someone who's got it worse. The important part is the love and respect we have for each other.

I called my mother tonight after I heard the news and, of course, being cut right from the same cloth as her, she cried along with me. Then (as if brain cancer wasn't tragic enough for the two of us to talk about) she told me the story (that I'm sure everyone in the US already knows, but I'm just hearing about) of the gay college student who killed himself after his dorm roommate posted a YouTube video of him having a sexual encounter with another student. The gay student hadn't come out yet and was so distraught that he threw himself off the George Washington Bridge. Yet another heartbreaking story for completely different reasons, but I'm just trying to wrap my head around all of this.

I guess it just all made me think about how quickly and easily we will say something negative about each other or situations that arise instead of taking a breath, having compassion and being grateful. I am completely guilty of it. It's something I try to work on but some days, someone will just hit the right button or you've just had enough and there it is, an entire rant about how shitty everything is or how deplorable someone is.

I was just helping my best friend Kat edit her scholarship submission for the Aveda school. She wants to become and esthetician because she is working on creating a nonprofit charity called Beauty and the Bus to help underprivileged women. Kat and I have been best friends for twelve years now and she is one of the most positive, joyful people I know. I rarely hear her say negative things about people and she always tries to approach difficult situations from a very peaceful and calm angle. Her essay was about love and how if she has lived her life with joy and love then she is happy. She can't guarantee that what she does will make others happy, all she can do is try to share the light of joy. I just admire that and feel like I wish more people were like her, as well as hoping I can be more like her.

There's no one that can answer why these crappy things happen. Tragedy happens every day, somewhere. Amazing, life-changing, beautiful things happen every day too. I guess, in the scheme of things, there is balance.

Sorry, there really is no structure or theme to this blog. It's just some free-writing because my mind is swimming and I want to get some focus. I get so caught up in thoughts sometimes that it's hard to wade through it all and concentrate on one thing. Then I end up doing nothing at all. I figured I'd at least write, as an exercise if nothing else.

Now back to trying to make people laugh on Tuesday. Yeah. That should be a snap.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 23rd, Tuesday

I have six weeks left of work in Singapore. I can't believe it! As much as some parts of this year whizzed by, other parts crawled slower than a slug. I have a list of things I want to do here before I fly off, and topping that list is completing Level Three of the ropes course on Sentosa Island. I did Level Two a month ago andI was completely terrifying for me due to my fear of heights, but I did it and felt so exhilarated by the end. It's funny because there were times at the beginning of this contract that I had planned to complete the course and ended up not making it because it was raining and "Oh, we'll go another day." When I look back at that, I know at that point in my life, I would not have completed the course. I would have turned around. There were two points in the course that I froze and went, "I CAN'T!" One was where you have to run across a plank to have enough momentum to jump to the other plank with nothing to hold on to, two stories in the air. I kept walking to the edge of the first plank and my legs would go numb. I'd walk back to the starting post and run and when I'd get to the precipice my legs would go numb again. I started panicking and finally I took a deep breath as tears filled my eyes. I thought about this whole year, the particularly painful and challenging moments I faced. Ironically, it was pouring rain that day, the very reason I always stopped myself from doing the course. In that quiet peaceful moment standing at the starting post, fighting back tears, 20 feet in the air with the rain falling, one of the course workers shouted down from the ground, "You can do this! I'm gonna count to three! One, Two, Three!" and I ran and jumped across and grabbed on the next post for dear life! But I did it! I couldn't believe it, but at the same time, I knew I could. It was only me standing in my way, telling myself that I couldn't. Even though you have a harness on, it doesn't feel like you are safe. The problem I was having was trusting that I was safe and just taking the chance. Once I did that (pretty much right after the plank challenge) I was breezing through that course like it was a piece of cake. I just had to trust that if I slipped or fell, I was safe. And if that isn't the lesson I learned this year I don't know what is! It was just really interesting to deal with it in a very literal and physical sense as opposed to emotional but the rule holds true for both. Trust that you are safe, and someone (whether it's a friend or just yourself) has your back.

Yesterday a friend asked me, "Yeah, but if you had it to do all over again, would you have chosen to go to Singapore?" My immediate reaction to any question like that is, "Regret is a wasted emotion." Because, well, it is. What's the point in banging your head against a wall trying to change something that you can never go back and change. The lesson is how you deal with it, mistake or not. Usually that would be my answer to this specific question because it was hard to feel like I didn't wish things had been different.

But right after my generic, "Regret is a wasted emotion," response I realized for the first time a very important thing. "Yes. I would do it all again." I mean it: the constant moving, the heartbreak, the stress, the illness, embarrassment, fun times, miserable times, disappointment, crying, laughing, confusion, making new friends, trusting people, distrusting people, missing my family, missing my friends, feeling lonely, feeling loved, feeling whole; I'd do it ALL again because I'm right where I need to be.

Here's to the next six weeks in Singapore! Excuse me, Level Three? I've got my eye on you.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thailand - Morning Alms

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Phuket, Thailand with three of my friends and it was by far the best experience I have had while living in Singapore. I love Thailand. The people, the beaches, the food, the scenery, everything was just beautiful and amazing.
One of my favorite experiences was taking part in the morning alms of the monks at a temple within walking distance of our hotel.

The four of us had to meet our guide in the hotel lobby at 6am to journey over to the temple. Joe (which must be a nickname because he certainly didn't look like "Joe" was his given name,) greeted us with a huge smile and seemed slightly nervous at first as we started our morning together. I think this may have been because we spoke so fast (as Americans tend to do) and English was definitely not his first language. We all had to really work to understand each other but it was worth it and all of us had smiles on our faces the whole time. I think Joe really appreciated how interested we were and especially appreciated Adam's questions, because he had done his research beforehand (as always!)

We reached the temple and Joe first took us to give offerings to the monks. We waited a little ways down the road from the temple and were instructed to take off our shoes. As two monks in bright orange robes with silver bowls approached us, we were instructed to all crouch on the ground out of respect, with our hands together in prayer. The monks said a blessing over us and then we each made three offerings of food and water. This is an opportunity for you to make merit. In Buddhism, this represents that the more you give, and give without seeking anything in return, the wealthier you become. The monks collected the offerings from us in their bowls and continued their journey toward the temple. We followed closely after them, along with some animal friends we made. There seemed to be lots of stray dogs and cats hanging out around the grounds of the temple!

As we strolled back to the temple, Joe explained that basically all Thai men become a monk at some point in their life, be it for a week, a month, a year or permanently. Joe himself had been a monk for one month in his younger days. It was interesting because at that very time, one of our handlers at work, Sam, was on leave for a month to become a monk. He came back with his head and eyebrows shaved. The one think he made sure to mention was that he missed women and that he definitely did not think a lifetime of the monk lifestyle was for him! I think it's really beautiful though, that at one time or another in this culture that you get to experience such a completely different lifestyle.

It was nice having this experience with friends because there were definitely times of awkwardness! When we entered one of the areas of the temple, there was an older monk who was seated amongst various ornamentation, statues and incense. Of course, I was the first to be asked to show him respect and because of the language barrier with Joe and I, at first I just looked like a total fish out of water. I kneeled and sort of bobbed up and down like one of those toy ducks that dip their beaks into a glass of water. He had to actually stop and show me the kneeling bow that I was to do in front of the monk. Of course, by that time when Chelsey, Seth and Adam followed after me, they were pros!

We entered another area of the temple where there were lines of strings hanging from the ceiling and monks sitting in several areas eating the offerings they received that morning (monks can only eat until noon and then they fast the rest of the day.) If the strings touched the top of your head it is considered good luck. We did not get close enough to this area of the temple for that to happen, as there are only certain areas that tourists are welcome.

We then walked a little further to another section of the grounds where there was a small room with three Buddha statues, a large urn of blessed water and a cabinet with about 20-30 small drawers in it. Joe had us take a canister of sticks from him, kneel and shake the canister until one of the sticks fell out, but it was important that you only make ONE stick fall out. The stick had a number written on it and that corresponded to a drawer which had a paper in it that would tell you a fortune. If the fortune was good, you kept the paper. If the fortune was bad, you put it back in the drawer so you didn't take the bad vibes with you (this is obviously a translation of mine.)

First we had Seth, the birthday boy, go. He shook the canister, out popped on of the sticks and Joe proceeded to look over the paper which was written in Thai so he had to translate. Seth had a great fortune! He should expect luck, wealth and power in his future! Next, Chelsey shook the canister. Joe's face did not look promising and he just said, "We put this one back. Not good." We all laughed, not really wanting to know the details of the bad fortune. I went next and produced a different stick but the same crestfallen reaction from Joe. "Not good. This goes back in the drawer." Okay, well, it doesn't look like the ladies had much luck with this activity. Last, Adam gets his fortune and, as one of our favorite moments of the trip he mistakes Joe saying, "You will be a great leader," with "You will have a big litter." Seth, Chelsey and I all heard Joe say the first and correct interpretation so we were puzzled when Adam responded, "Of children?! Great!" Joe just nodded, not quite knowing how to respond and handed Adam the paper. The three of us were laughing because we couldn't understand why Adam seemed just pleased as punch to be a great "leader of children." We realized the mistake in deciphering Joe's accent that Adam thought he meant he would have a litter of children one day. I guess you had to be there. It was hilarious.

We continued around the grounds of the temple for a little while longer, soaking in the peace and serenity of the morning. The sun was just glistened off of every ornate corner of the temple and it was a very spiritual and soul-soothing morning. I'm so glad I got to share this experience with three such great people and I know we will all hold it very near and dear to our hearts. I didn't really know anything at all about Buddhism before moving to Asia and I have a lot of respect and awe of this religion. There is something so grounded, giving and peaceful about it that made me feel extremely centered and grateful to have had this whole experience, from the day I landed in Singapore. Though this was the toughest year of my life, it has been filled with the biggest life lessons. Had I not taken this journey, I'd be a completely different person and I'm grateful that I did.

And you should have seen the look of shock and awe on the monks face when he witnessed this little Irish Catholic redheaded white girl awkwardly kneel and sway back and forth trying to show him respect and gratitude. If nothing else, I hope he had something to laugh about later with the other monks.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Just another day . . .

Each morning I like to start my day with a reading from the book The Language of Letting Go by Melodie Beattie. I highly recommend it to anyone. There is a beautiful reading and affirmation for each day and I like to have something to ruminate on in those few quiet moments I can steal in my hectic day.

I have been meaning to blog because so many extraordinary things have happened the past month, that I don't even know where to start. The passage from my book a couple of days ago, though, shifted my focus. I had just gotten back from vacation and had so many adventures that I was feeling a bit saddened by going back to the humdrum of everyday life. As it has happened so many times before, the passage for that day was just perfect. The lesson was to recognize all the beauty in your everyday ordinary routine. What would you miss? The affirmation at the end of the passage was, "God, thank you for every detail of my ordinary, every day world."

There will be many blogs to come about all the extraordinary adventures I've had, but today I felt compelled to take a look at and appreciate all of the ordinary things that happen to me throughout the day that I would really miss if they were gone. A lot of these things, I realize will be gone in two months when I head back to the United States.

I love that when my alarm goes off in the morning for work, I hit the button on my automatic blackout shades and the sun comes pouring in to my bedroom. I'm grateful for those first few moments of opening my eyes and thinking about the upcoming day. I appreciate this moment even more so nowadays because for a few months out here waking up in my bed, alone, used to be the toughest moment of my day. Now, I feel peace and comfort.

On most days, when I catch the elevator in my apartment building to head to the MRT, the cleaning woman is in the elevator wiping down the mirrors and walls. She doesn't speak much English, but her face always lights up with a smile. I think one of the only words she knows in English is, "Pool?" so she tends to ask me that every morning. I just shake my head and smile. We have the understanding that we can't really communicate but she is just so joyful and happy. It's nice to share the elevator ride down with her.

Usually on my train ride to work, my friend Chelsey texts me to say, "Good morning." We will banter back and forth and talk about the upcoming day or an idea we had for a project we are writing. I'm so grateful for that, just having someone who thinks of me every morning.

When I get in to work, I have the pleasure of sharing a dressing room with a group of people that I adore and will definitely miss. Our motley crew has become a family, a highly dysfunctional, but loving family. I love all of our inside jokes, our group dynamic and the fact that we can watch the same seven movies over and over again in our dressing room and still laugh.

At the end of the day, I head home to an apartment that I love on the top floor of a beautiful condo development with four room mates that I am forever grateful for. We are usually all in the kitchen, making dinner or "fairy cakes" and catching each other up on the most recent happenings. Kopi, the house cat, is usually laying around watching all the action as the sun goes down. I feel like I hit the lottery to have Jac, Bill, Tori and Greg as room mates. I am grateful every day for them.

That's my ordinary day. We go through our ordinary days sometimes just waiting to get to that next vacation or our weekend or some special vacation but there's so much to appreciate and be grateful for in our ordinary days. I was really glad to have a reminder of that. Take a look at your "boring" ordinary days . . . I bet you will find that life isn't so ordinary.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Little Piece of Home

I participated in the Short + Sweet Singapore play festival last week. It's a festival of forty 10-minute original plays and each week ten plays are performed. My friend Josh Billig, whom I took acting class with when I lived in New York City, had passed my name along to the director because he had a play in the festival. Fast forward five weeks later and my director, scene partner and I are on stage at the Playden in the Arts House at tech rehearsal.

I never thought I would miss a cue-to-cue rehearsal; that's always been the day of dread for any actor! You are all ready for an audience and you just want to perform and instead you have to hit your marks, give cue lines, skip from a beautiful moment to the middle of a fight because that's where the lights change, etc, all while keeping quiet and focused so the hard-at-work tech crew can practice calling their cues. But, Tuesday night at our tech last week I was like a giddy little kid. I couldn't stop giggling. I was on stage! It literally brings tears to my eyes right now even thinking about it. When the lights came up on us, I felt this overwhelming sense of home. In nine months of being in Asia it was the closest I have felt to home and I was so grateful. I pretended my parents were in the audience like they always were when I was growing up. My mom would literally go to every show because she was so proud that she had to watch it along with anyone else who planned to go. I miss that more than anything.

It made me think back and realize that I have been consistently on stages from when I was about six years old between dance recitals, showcases, school plays, college plays, professional shows, and on and on. The constant in my life is the stage; it feels like second nature. I know where I am, who I am, what I'm supposed to do, and most of all, I feel joy. It had been over a year since I had been in a show and I just can never let that happen again! A big part of me that was lost out here, I found last week and I enjoyed the best week I have experienced in Singapore. An overwhelming number of coworkers showed up and supported me and I was so touched.

So, now the post-show blues set in a little. I have been battling it the past few days, but I am also incredibly motivated to get back to what I love. These last four months in Singapore will be a challenge because I feel like I'm a racehorse waiting at the gate, chomping at the bit! There's not much I can do here because of work and constraints on what I am able to participate in, but soon there will be no limits, and I look forward to that.
I also happened to luck out with the most amazing group of people to collaborate on this project which is what made it all the more wonderful. My friend Josh, the playwright, put together the beautiful, poignant, witty and tragic script. I loved finding "Kendra" through his words. Kluane, our director, was so incredibly insightful and made me feel completely comfortable and safe in her hands. My scene partner, Matt, challenged me immensely because he is incredibly talented and made it so easy to open up and find our characters connection. It was just all I could ask for and more in a group of people to work with.

Ahhhhhhh, theatre . . . I missed you so. We shall meet again soon, I know it!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Recurring Dreams

I have extremely vivid dreams, every night. They are almost always so realistic that often times, I'll have conversations in my dreams and be talking to someone in real life and I can't remember if the reference is from an ACTUAL conversation or one I had in a dream. I also have recurring symbols and events. I know I should pay more attention to them, but I'm so used to having crazy dreams that I almost just ignore it most of the time. I will sort of purposely forget. The one thing that is extremely frustrating is that my dreams are never lucid. I can never control what happens, what I say or do and I don't realize in my dreams that they are, in fact, not real.

I have had the same event happen in my dreams the past two weeks, pretty much every night, and I'm trying to figure out what it's tied to. Last night I dreamed that I was supposed to be pet-sitting Kopi (my roommates cat) and I had forgotten to feed her for a week. I would never EVER forget to take care of a pet in real life, but in my dream all I can realize is that I was supposed to feed her and now it's been over a week and she's just listless and ill. I try to get her to drink water and she won't; I try to force her to eat, and no dice. I just sit there crying, feeling guilty, holding this animal thinking, "I killed it! I starved it to death! How could I do this?"

It's not the same dream each time. It's with other people's pets. I realize that I was supposed to be taking care of this animal and now it's too late. It's the same sequence of events but different players and it never ends well. Thank goodness I haven't had the dream with a baby yet because that is a HUGE recurring symbol in my dreams. That's for another blog, but I've had bizarre dreams with babies doing the strangest things since I was like sixteen years old. If you like dream analysis you would have a field day with me.

So, what the heck is going on with me that every night I go to sleep and I'm inadvertently killing all of my friends pets? The funny thing is that I am a huge animal lover and pet spoiler! It's the reason I don't have a pet out here because I am not home enough and wouldn't want to put a pet through a 25 hour plane ride when I go home. Yet, in my dreams, I'm too busy and distracted to feed someones pet to the point of them starving to death! It's awful!

Any ideas?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Legendary Love

After a long, busy week, I was thrilled to get to sleep in this morning on my work week "Saturday." I did, however, wake up briefly to say, "Happy 35th Anniversary," to my parents. I can't believe it! Thirty-five years . . .

I had crawled out of bed around 10:30am and made breakfast while one of my room mates, Greg, played video games (which, I promise Tori, he wasn't playing for too long).

I have to note, first, that I have the best room mates ever. One of the reasons I felt comfortable moving here was that I already had my room mate in my significant other. I had so much anxiety when I realized I'd have to move because I was scared I'd get stuck in a living situation that I'd be miserable in. When it worked out that a room opened up in my current apartment, I was optimistic, because I knew all my new room mates from work, but hanging out at work and living with an engaged English couple and a newlywed American couple can be two very different things. And of course, I also had the worry of being a fifth wheel, especially having just come out of a relationship.
Tori and Greg in 2003

I could not have asked for a better arrangement. I really truly could not have. These are two of the best couples I have ever been around and as much as I constantly say, "Everything happens for a reason," I know that this is another example of that. They make me feel so welcome, so happy to be living where I live, and so hopeful of having the kind of love for myself that they have found in one another.

This morning as I ate breakfast, I was chatting with Greg (who plays the male role in the English couple). Tori (the English female heroine) and he had just gotten engaged a month or so back. The two of them have been together for over nine years, having met when they were fourteen years old. Tori had already told me quite a while back the whole story of their courtship. How they had met so young and had split a few times when they were younger so they could feel like they had experienced life outside of just the two of them being together. It was nice to hear Greg recount the story and say how lucky he was. Their families are best friends, he will go to Tori's house to watch the game with her dad when she's not there, he has keys to their home, etc. It's so nice to see a young, gorgeous, energetic, loving couple who seem to really grasp how fortunate they are.
Tori and Greg in 2006

Greg said, "I knew she was the one when I was fourteen, I mean Tori is legendary," as he stared at the TV screen with the game controller in his hand and a smile on his face.

Tori and Greg in 2009

Whether I am married for thirty-five years, a newlywed or newly engaged, I want to find that person who thinks I'm legendary and that I think is pretty darn legendary themselves. I think we all want that. So . . . here's to finding it, and if you have found it, realizing how awesome that is!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Marching on . . .

I was on Skype with my mother yesterday and we both had happened to have gotten new haircuts this week. My mother always has a trendy, bold hairstyle and this time was no exception. I complimented my mother on her haircut and said something I realized I rarely said, "You are so pretty, Ma." Immediately, I watched the same reaction I have when I'm paid a compliment to my physical appearance. She looked down and away and gave a little nervous laugh, then changed the subject. "Oh," I thought to myself, "that's where I get that from."
On the train home from work today I was thinking about this. I was thinking about how my mother always instilled the idea of "marching to the beat of your own drummer" in me from very early on and didn't put much emphasis on being an ideal physical beauty. My mother has always taken extremely good care of herself, don't get me wrong. I don't think I've ever seen my mother in a ratty t-shirt or sweats unless she is cleaning the house. She has costume jewelry that fills and entire dresser and is always put together from her sculpted red coiffed short hairdo to her coordinating fashionable footwear but underneath the leopard print, fuzzy vest is a woman who is tough as nails. My mother's beauty radiates from within. She is the most sympathetic, empathetic, caring and nurturing person I have ever met, but she will also put her foot down when necessary and tell you exactly what she thinks. Growing up in Queens, New York didn't create a shrinking violet.
(My mom and cousin Joe.)

When I was in fifth-grade, I went school shopping for clothes with my mom. I don't know if anyone else remembers feeling this way but of all the new outfits I would get, there would always be one that I couldn't wait to wear to school. I remember this particular outfit so vividly: black and white horizontal striped knee length leggings, an over sized black silk and lace tunic, matching black and white striped socks, patten leather Mary-Jane flats with a black satin bow and a black satin headband with matching bow. Yeah, I know what you are thinking, "AMAZING!" I floated out the door to my first day of fifth-grade and was expecting everyone to be pretty much floored by my style and panache.

Fast forward to me returning home, in tears. My mother was in her scrubs preparing dinner for my brother and I before she had to work the night shift at the hospital. "What's the matter?" she asked, seeing me walk sulkily through the door.
(My mom and cousins)

"Everyone at school made fun of my outfit! They said I looked like the wicked witch of the west!" I cried.

"Who cares what they think? Don't you love that outfit? Weren't you excited to wear it?" she asked.

"Yes. I think it's pretty," I replied. "Well, then you need to stop caring so much what anyone else thinks. March to the beat of your own drummer!" she replied. And though I had vowed earlier that day at school never to wear that outfit again, I wore it often. And the kids stopped making fun of me, because I didn't care what they thought. I wore what I wore because I liked it, and I still do it to this day.

Later, in middle school, there was a group of girls who constantly bullied me. I was sort of an awkward goofball. (I mean, it was middle school after all. Not the finest years of our lives for most of us normal people.) My way of fitting in was making people laugh, but this did not sit well with these girls for some reason. They constantly called me names, and would torment me during gym class, throwing things at me, threatening to beat me up. My way of dealing with it was avoiding them or running away. I came home one day, exhausted from the stress of it and said, "Mom, this girl at school won't leave me alone! She's always making fun of me and she said she is going to beat me up! Can't you tell the principal or something?"

Now, my mom would take a bullet for me, I am sure of this. Whenever I have been in any pain, emotional or physical, my mom would take it from me on herself if she could but she just looked at me and said, "So tell her you'll fight her if she wants to fight." Keep in mind this was before the times of knives and guns at school. A little schoolyard scuffle was fairly harmless. My face dropped in horror, "WHAT?!"
(My Aunt Lucy and my mom, the little one.)

"If you tell on them or run away, they'll just keep coming after you. Stand up for yourself! When I was your age I got picked on too. The bully told me, 'Meet me after school, and I'm gonna kick your ass,' so I met her after school. She was so surprised that a lanky little girl like me still came to challenge her that she left me alone after that. She may or may not beat you up, but you have to stand up for yourself. Fight your own battles, Erin," my mother said.

Well, I couldn't believe it! My mom was leaving me out in the cold to get my butt kicked! But, I thought, "Well, I'm gonna stand up for myself and when I get beat up, that'll show her! Then she'll feel really bad!" So the next day in gym class, all the girls formed a circle and we were supposed to kick the soccer ball back and forth to each other for practice. One of the bully girls put the ball in a pile of ants so it was covered with the creepy crawly insects and threw it towards my head. I caught it and threw it with all my might right back at her. It bounced off the side of her head and I will never forget the look of shock on her face. I just kept eye contact with her and said, "The next time you pick on me, I'm going to get in my brother's car and run your ass over. So throw the ball at my head again, I dare you."
(My mom, the younger one, and my Aunt Dot)

Needless to say they never bothered me again, and later on actually invited me to skip class with them. I never did that of course. I was still a goody-two-shoes at heart.
There are too many stories like this to even recount. I don't think my mother would even remember all the things she pushed me to do that completely impacted the woman I became. A sweet young girl that I have worked with in LA recently sent me a letter saying how she is going through hard times right now and thinks of me, and how strong I am as an inspiration. I was so humbled, and immediately thought of how thankful I was to have the mother I have. Any compliment to my strength is a direct compliment to hers.
(Just LOOK at that yellow hat! Fantastic!)

But in the last seven months of living in Singapore, these early lessons have really come back to strengthen me. Yeah, I still want to sport the latest hairstyle, Betsy Johnson bag or Guess stilettos, but I know that what I really care about is what's underneath all of that. My mom is so beautiful not only because she still has amazing skin at age 60, dresses flawlessly and looks amazing in earth tones, but also because she has taught me that you can be generous, empathetic, caring and vulnerable but still carry a big stick (or in some cases, a soccer ball.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Shanghai Trip Vol 2

My trip to the Shanghai Wild Animal Park definitely changed my outlook on zoos and whether or not I can really support them at all. I love animals and always want to visit the zoo no matter where I am. I had such an amazing experience at the Singapore zoo with it's cage free policy, happy looking animals and rain forest atmosphere that I forgot that zoos like the Shanghai Wild Animal Park exist.

When Kat proposed the idea of holding a baby tiger or panda while we were in Shanghai I thought, "That would be amazing!" I was picturing being in a beautiful, clean animal nursery, and getting to hold a tiger or panda baby under the supervision of caring veterinary experts. In reality, a scruffy looking man who looked like he just walked off the streets plopped a scared, sedated baby tiger in our hands and snapped a picture before I knew what happened. I walked away shaken and upset thinking, "Is that what this poor baby tigers life is like?" As you can see from the picture, I'm trying to smile through discomfort.

The Wild Life Park was dirty, the grounds unkempt and the animals looked miserable and many of them were in bare cement rooms with just a large window for people to look in on them. The worst part of it though was an area we walked through where there were just numerous miserable sedated animals on display: an elephant literally changed to the ground, only able to walk about two feet in any direction so that guests could take a picture sitting on it's trunk; a bear laying askew chained to a large stump; an emaciated tiger looking up at us with sad eyes; camels that could barely stand up, whose humps were pathetically slumped to one side or the other. All of these animals and more were chained up and either sedated or just depressed and miserable while locals yelled to us to come take a picture. I refused, having already felt awful enough having paid to get into this zoo and for the tiger picture. We left that area, feeling sick and depressed. Shortly after that, we left. There wasn't much to see there that wasn't disturbing and we had endured an hour long cab ride to get there. It certainly was nothing like what I was expecting and I felt extremely naive to have imagined a scenario so far from reality.

Next time, I will do much more research on a zoo before I visit, or I may just boycott zoos all together. I don't know. What I saw made me think, "Is there such a thing as a 'good zoo?'"

Kat and I headed to The Bund after the zoo and had an amazing afternoon and evening there. We had snacks and cocktails at Glamour Bar, a beautiful boutique lounge overlooking the Shanghai skyline.

We had much needed girl talk and I once again realized how blessed I am to have had Kat as my friend for so many years. When I think back to our family vacations at 15 years old, I can't believe I'm sitting across from that same goofy teenager, in China, over a decade later. We have learned so much from each other, and changed so much, but we continue to let the life lessons shape our friendship and ourselves. Who knew we would be sitting in Shanghai giggling, smiling, sharing our secrets and thoughts all these years later. For that evening alone, my trip to Shanghai was more than worth it.

We finished out the evening before I had to leave by strolling the waterfront of the Bund as the sunset, enjoying some Hagen-Daz green tea sorbet. We were often stopped by people wanting to take pictures with us, The Americans. I felt like I was back at work, sans the red dress and crazy Betty Boop head.

Saying goodbye to Kat was bittersweet. It's always so wonderful to get to see her and it couldn't have come at a better time for both of us. I think we felt a little stronger going back to tackle the challenges that lie ahead for us and also being grateful for all of the blessings we have. I miss her already.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kindle Kurse - Shanghai Trip Vol. 1

What are the odds that during my year in Singapore, my best friend of over fourteen years would book an aerial tour in China for three months? Apparently, pretty darn good. Be it divine intervention, coincidence or fate, at a time that Kat and I very much needed it, we were able to get together for four days in Shanghai. Kat had a week off of work and I had an itch to get out of Singapore so I hopped on a plane (or two) and headed off to see her. The first flight took me to Beijing in six hours and the second flight brought me to Shanghai in two hours so I had a lot of time to think and read. My new favorite toy, my Kindle, has become an essential to my every day life and was an especially valuable asset to this trip.

I took a break from reading here and there to reflect on this experience. Here I was, by myself, flying to China. Four years ago I was hesitant to take an auto show product specialist position because it required flying to four US cities within a few months and I felt like I would be too frightened to fly that often (and these were approximately two to three hour flights accompanied by a bunch of my friends). Just seven months ago I took on the 25 hours of flying time to get to Singapore and had been nervous to get on a plane again because it was definitely not fun. The longest flight (15 hours) was riddled with turbulence and I couldn't sleep a wink. Now, I sat there by myself in another country, far away from home ready to fly to ANOTHER foreign country where most people do not speak English and take two flights spanning eight hours. Strangely, I was cool as a cucumber (as my mother would say).

The first flight was at midnight so I slept for the majority of the trip, only waking briefly for my vegan-ish breakfast. On the second leg of the journey, I read the entire time. I kept noticing the Chinese man sitting next to me looking at my Kindle and I knew it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened.

You see, it's funny, because as much as I love my Kindle, it brings along a curse. You can rarely have a peaceful reading session without someone interrupting you with, "Wow! What is that? Can I play with it?" Then, you spend the relaxing time that was meant for reading as a Kindle salesperson, displaying all of the features and benefits of the electronic device. The "interrupter" then plays around with the Kindle without bookmarking your page (because they've never seen this new-fangeled device) and you lose your place. It's a routine I have down to a science at this point and can never seem to deny anyone the chance to play with it and give them the run-through of features. Sometimes it makes me laugh because it's only a matter of time until every person has one and I will be telling my children about how people could not BELIEVE what a crazy and interesting device I had!

He breaks the ice, "Excuse me, what is dis you have?" (I'm not going to do his broken English justice so bear with me and use your imagination.)

"Oh! It's a Kindle. It's electronic and has a bunch of books downloaded on it," I reply.

His face lights up with amazement and confusion. "Can I see?" So we begin the obligatory Kindle demonstration, except this time it's much more tedious because there is a language barrier. His English is limited, and my Mandarin is non-existent, but he is so endearing and sweet that we continue to try and communicate and have a conversation about our backgrounds and jobs. Tao is a sales director from Beijing and is headed to Shanghai on business. He is floored by the fact that I am an American performer living in Singapore. We started talking about our families and he said, "I am very lucky to have one sister. Most families are not allowed to have more than one child." I told him, "Americans sometimes have too big of families! There is a family on TV that has eight children!" He scoffed in disbelief, "How do they feed their family?!" I tried explaining food stamps and welfare to him but a lot of it was lost. We have such different governments and culture.

Tao asked if I wanted to get married and have children some day. It was funny because that is something that I have had to get real about and reassess in the past six months. "Yes," I replied, "I definitely want to be married some day. But I don't know about children. I love them, but who knows what life will bring, you know? I want to achieve certain things in my career first." Tao just looked at me, puzzled, "Your career? Money? Isn't that what the husband is for? He will take care of that." I smiled, "Yes, but I want things for myself too, Tao!" We laughed.

"You strong independent American woman, I guess!" he said and we walked off the plane together towards the baggage claim. "You very looking nice," he said as we walked along. I was ten hours into traveling, no make up, in jeans and a tank top dragging my luggage across and unending hallway towards the exit, so I appreciated the compliment.

We reached baggage claim and Tao looked around nervously. He got his card out of his bag and said, "Hope Shanghai is fun times for you. If you want to talk more, here." He handed me his card. I smiled and said thank you.

It was really interesting to meet someone along the path that reminds us how different we all are in this world and how much we can learn from each other. The Kindle Kurse was a blessing in disguise this time. I didn't contact Tao while I was in Shanghai, but I am smiling as I think of how nice he was during our short exchange. He was definitely one of the nicest Chinese folks I met during my trip! And, hey, it never hurts the ego to get hit on when you are looking like a total wreck, right?

Monday, May 24, 2010

If the Shoe Fits . . . For Goodness Sake, Keep it on!

We’ve all seen it a hundred times before: girls at their homecoming dance with their high heels tossed under the banquet table so they can dance with their friends without twisting an ankle, a chick who has had one too many Rum Runners and walks down the street holding her stilettos in her hand so she can keep her balance, or any number of reasons that women take off their shoes in public and parade around barefoot because their shoes hurt too much or restrict them in some way.

You will never EVER see me do this.

No offense to those of you who wish to toss those shoes off in public if you didn’t have the time to break them in or underestimated the height of those heels, but that happens to be one of those quirky little things that I simply cannot bring myself to do. It’s for a combination of reasons.

If you know me, as many of you who read this do, you will know that I have a slight germaphobia, so sauntering down the street barefoot is not high up on my list of sanitary activities. Mostly, though, I think it stems from my girly side of liking to look put together and being fully dressed up with no shoes just kind of ruins that effect. It just screams, “SOMETHING WENT WRONG HERE!” I love high heels, and even when I lived in New York City and had to walk up and down stairs to the subway, hop across subway grates and run through the pouring rain on the slick city streets, I never stopped wearing them. And I can assure you, I never took them off if they hurt and carried them with me while I trapsed around barefoot. If my foot was broken, bleeding and blistered, I would soldier on (and incidentally, I have).

In contrast, here in Singapore, I have found that not only are the locals completely comfortable being seen shoe-less, they like to take the opportunity where ever they happen to be sitting, to perform a full pedicure if the mood strikes them. I cannot explain how many times in seven months I have witnessed men clipping their toenails on the MRT.

The gentleman (the term “gentleman” used loosely here) pictured below was so enthralled with his own feet on the train ride that he had no idea I was just snapping picture after picture of him as he removed his shoes, itched and scratched his feet, rearranged his socks and massaging his toes.

Women, for the most part, keep their shoes on, which is a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively. But seriously, the men just go at it with no inhibition. If there is a place to sit, Singaporean men seem to take that as the opportunity to tend to any and all foot irritants. And frankly, it doesn’t stop there. I was walking off set the other day as Betty Boop and a man was actually changing his pants next to a bench in the park as hundreds of people wandered the streets. He was just standing in his tighty whities changing his pants like it was the most natural place in the world to accomplish that.

Oh Singapore, if you are reading this, I just want you to know that there is at least one person in this country that would greatly appreciate if you kept your feet to yourself. By all means, when you get home, go to town on those bad boys, but on the MRT . . . keep your socks on. I promise you, I will return the favor, and I’ll be in some snazzy Betsy Johnson four-inch heels, so if I can do it, you can do it.