We were graciously invited to the Marine Ball here in Singapore to celebrate the 238th birthday of the United States Marine Corp. Scott and Susan both work at the United States Embassy, they were able to invite guests, and we are so happy that they chose us!
Having never been to a ball before, I set about trying to find a nice gown to wear, which I quickly found to be a near impossible task, for several reasons.
First, I had no idea where shop for a formal dress. There are no big department stores here like in America, instead each store is an individual owned independently. So I had to look in a directory and see many stores with names that are completely unfamiliar, it was like looking for that needle in the haystack.
Second, there are a ba-zillion malls here, each with a ba-zillion stores in them. I spent many hours walking through malls, looking in stores. I am not a shopper, and so I found this to be exhausting.
Third, when I would finally find a dress that I liked, I would be shooed away and out of the store from the owner, with them saying to me that I was “too big lah”. Yes, I have broad swimmer shoulders, and not once in my life have I been considered small, but I am in no way big. And when I would find a dress that fit, but I didn’t like, the shop owners would become aggressive with me when I didn’t buy it. One lady even chased me out into the mall, yelling at me to come back. I managed to get on the escalator, and when I looked back towards the store, there she was, waving her arms at me, to come back!
I was considering not going to the Marine Ball, just scrapping the whole affair, because the effort of finding something to wear was overwhelming, when I had a brilliant idea: Use Maria as my personal shopper!!! So, after one of Marias eye check ups, our sweet eye physician, Dr. Fu, was talked into giving Maria an excuse from school for a full day!! She wrote “Maria is certified unfit”! And with that note, we used the rest of the afternoon shopping on a school day!
With one mall stop and three shops later, Maria had me try on nearly 20 gowns, and then wah-lah, we found it. Maria made it easy, and with her keen fashion eye, I knew I couldn’t go wrong. After all, this wasn’t the first time I had used my sweet daughter as my personal shopper. Ever since she was a little girl, she’s had a clear fashion sense of what looks good and what doesn’t. She just gets it.
I randomly picked a place to get my hair done, because the name of the salon sounded American to me … Sweeny’s. Armed with a photo that Maria cut out from her Seventeen Magazine, I bravely walked into the salon, and let a Chinese man with a long pony tail do my hair. When I showed him the photo, he exclaimed, “Seexieee!” and then began chattering with his co-workers. After a bit, my curiosity got the best of me, and after asking what they heck are they talking about, he said , “you hair real? black? you no dye? everyone talk about your hair”. So funny, they love my black hair here!! Anyhow, we attended the Marine Ball last Friday, and had an absolute blast. Here is a picture, taken by Maria, of the four of us, before we left.
The evening began and ended with “free flow” … meaning open bar. Which meant loads of fun! There was dancing, and carrying on, until the wee hours of the night. I was determined to get a couple selfies (photos taken of myself by me, it’s all the rage, the kids do it all the time.) Here are two :
Thank you Susan and Scott for such a fun, memorable night!!