I’ve been doing a poor job of keeping Sawin.com up-to-date since moving to Singapore. Sorry to all of you long time readers out there. Both of you. I thought I’d tell you what we have been doing since leaving Hong Kong.
Leaving Hong Kong
We were pretty excited to leave Hong Kong. It had been 3 years and the pollution was really bothering us with 2 little kids and all. Hong Kong was great and will always have a special in my heart. It was such an energetic place and being an expat there was pretty cool. Packing up and leaving was pretty straight forward. We didn’t have much furniture we owned so the packers just came in and boxed everything up. Unfortunately our helper, Nora, changed her mind about coming with us to Singapore about a week before we left so that put a little dent in our plans but we would survive.
Arriving in Singapore
We landed at Changi airport and our paperwork for a work permit allowed us to go through the resident line. It’s a great thing now that when I go to Hong Kong and Singapore now, my passport doesn’t need to get stamped. We moved into the Sheraton for a couple of nights until our lease started on our flat. Grace actually started Summer School at ISS the day after we arrived. She adapted quite well. I had planned to take the entire week off of work so we could get settled. Unfortunately I ran into a crisis at work so I found myself on the phone half the time. This was not helpful for Jean to say the least.
After 2 days in the Sheraton, our lease started. Jean had picked out our flat about a month earlier and I yet to see it. It is pretty cool. Overall it is smaller than our place in Hong Kong but it seems much homier. We are on the 9th floor and have a great rooftop garden with a hot tub. Unfortunately we have yet to use the hot tub to this day because they are replacing the cover on it. Our boxes from Hong Kong arrived about a week and a half later which was great. Most of the boxes are gone now but there are still a few remaining.
After a couple of weeks, we still did not have a helper and unfortunately I had to fly back to Hong Kong for work. It was a tough time. I happened to talk to a helper in our apartment complex and she turned Jean onto some temporary help which gave Jean a much needed break. The following week, we met and hired our new helper Anna. She is pretty cool and can cook really well.
One of our first surprises was the local Ikea. Coming from Hong Kong, going to Ikea was not fun because it was small and crowded. But here in Singapore, the Ikea is just like the big ones you find in the suburbs of Chicago. They had the restaurant with the Swedish meatballs, the kid drop-off service and the same mediocre furniture and the endless home accessories. It was quite cool to walk around a large store.
We ended up getting a car out here which has been great. After having a small and crappy car in Hong Kong (that Stam bought from us) and not being able to drive very far or fast there, we got an SUV (Toyota Wish) here. The roads are nice here and you can drive pretty much anywhere. You can even drive 4 hours to Kuala Lumpar which hopefully we will do sometime. Cars are insanely expensive here and the have these automatic tolls everywhere that charge you doing peak times. There is a little device in your car that charges you as you drive through these tolls. The device is cool though because it also works at all the car parks. You just drive in and out and it just deducts money from your little card. It is very convenient though I’d hate to actually know how much we spend on this while we are here.
The food here has been great. Unfortunately there is a Chicken Rice (a local favorite) joint near our place and I find myself there a couple of times a week. This is sad but they have great Mexican restaurants here that serve real chips and salsa. For those that know me, know that I love the chips and salsa.
We ended up joining The American Club here. In Hong Kong, you don’t find too many American s at The American Club. Here, it is restricted to Americans and Canadians for memberships. It is really strange hearing so many American accents but the club is nice and they have a nice bar and good food. I’ve also joined a softball team through the American Singapore Association. That has been really cool. It is really nice throwing the ball around again.
Business as Usual
So we are pretty much settled here. Jean’s met a few people and has some friends from Hong Kong who had moved here. We are planning a holiday to Bin Tan (Indonesia) in a few weeks during Grace’s mid-term break and we hope to come back to the US over Christmas. Grace and Riley are enjoying there schools and Jean is doing great. Unfortunately she had back injury and has not played tennis in a while. All in all, The Sawin Family is doing great. I need to get some pictures up. Keep checking back.