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Singapore | Life update from the new homebase


Singapore has been a place I've been evaluating to move to since the end of 2016. I had visited it twice prior to finally moving here last year in December. Now that I  have been living here for about 4 months, I'm settled in and have found most of the stable local places I like in my neighborhood and also recreational places for weekends. Here's what my life has been like moving to Singapore and being in Singapore when I'm not busy traveling. 

Settling into Singapore
With 4 years in Hong Kong, I moved 21 boxes via airfreight to Singapore. It took around 4-5 days including customs clearance. Shipping via a boat would've been cheaper, but not much with my amount of items and would take significantly longer (over a month). They measure by the kg, and with 21 boxes at around 20-30kg each, my shipping cost came out just over HK$10,000 (Moving services from www.linksmoving.asia)

 

After I entered Singapore, the next step is to go get my ID at the MoM, Ministry of Manpower. All you had to do is bring your documents to the office, scan yourself in, take a photo, and you'll get your ID within a week or two. All of that takes 15 minutes. 

My company got my mobile phone with me so I didn't have to deal with that, but getting a bank account was a pain in the ass. You require a proof of address to get a bank account, but you can't sign a lease without a Singapore bank account. It's significantly frustrating because it creates a chicken and egg situation but the bank wouldn't budge. So I had my company's HR write a letter with an address on it and confirm my salary. After that the bank finally opened my account. Once my account was opened, getting a credit card was much easier, I just needed to provide 3 month's pay-slip, apply online, and I got the card in my mailbox 2 days later. 

Repainting the house & a new office
My partner always wanted a pool table in the house, and I loved the idea so we got one pretty quickly from Fushion Tables. It doubles up as a dining table, but when the top is removed the pool table is just below. The problem is when you hit the wall with the stick, it leaves a mark on the originally white wall. We had Nippon Paint guys come over to repaint one wall in the living room gray as the accent wall so playing pool would be less of a problem. 


With the study, I had a few ideas from Pinterest, so we also repainted the walls striped (the grey dried out much lighter), and we got a side by side easel/cabinet table. Facing the window was also crucial for lighting and a nice view. This was the office I had been looking for, something simple and pleasant. 

 

One final peace of Singapore's resort life, is a balcony, and the pools and tennis court just on the ground floor. Having lived in a cage-like life in Hong Kong for 4 years, this is truly like Paradise. I have never been so happy just to be home. 


The every day life
Being on the east coast, it's nice and close to Singapore's international airport. On top of that, it has an amazing seaview and a really nice seaside park. The neighborhood has a lot of small restaurants, salons, and shops of all kinds. I rarely need to go into town (crowded Orchid) to shop, because I have everything in my neighborhood. One of the most important things to own when living on the East coast - An Electric Scooter. It's the most useful mode of transportation. 

Scooting along East Coast Park


I've also found a local nail salon that does art nail design at a reasonable time. I've trialled a few places, and the reality is getting fancy nails done in Singapore is significantly more expensive than that in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong you get an abundance of Vietnamese and Mainland Chinese nail artists who charge less but do amazing work. Here, most nail artists are Malaysian or Singaporean and the wages are also higher in Singapore. Nonetheless, I found a nail salon that does a really good package, so it's been reasonable within budget. 

 

Saturday and Sunday brunch is so important, not the boozy kind, but just the healthy meal you have on a weekend regularly. For us that was Rabbit Carrot Gun. Their staff is always nice, and they have the most amazing salad. It's called carrot greens, and you can choose to add fish, chicken, or beef on it. Other than that, they serve all kinds of sandwiches, steak, and even Mac and Cheese! It also has a lot of outdoor seating if you just want to chill and enjoy a few beers with friends. 

 

Other than that, The Chop House is also somewhere I go regularly for steak, mac & cheese, fresh oysters, and sweet potato fries. They also make great Lychee martini cocktails and even serve Bavarian Beer on tap! When I miss home, I go to Din Tai Fung for dumplings, beef noodle soup, dan dan noodles, and century old eggs. 

 

Bonus, Brotzeit had this unicorn cake, how cute is it!!


The Activities
I first started serious doing figure skating back in 2008 when I was studying in Seattle. I was in group lessons for about 1.5 years and had my Waltz jump, Salchow, toe loop, and loop down. Now I'm restarting again with private coaching, and going early to The Rink at 7:15am three times a week for training. I've been fascinating by the sports every since I watched Michelle Kwan skating when I was just a young girl. The sport of figure skating is incredible because it requires grace, elegance, and immense power. Figure skating helps me build my core strength, my flexibility, my posture, my balance, and most importantly the will power to stand up again and again despite failing. All you need to do is stand up one time more than you fall.  


  

 

Upgrading my 10 year old skates to the Riedell 91 Flaire which will support me better for double jumps. 

  

I have a weird addiction, and that's Skeeball. This arcade place in Singapore operates in a chain, so you can find it in many malls. It's called TimeZone. It's hilarious because there's no time zones in this place, your time goes nowhere and slips away. I also love playing some basketball but it's a hit or miss with how many tickets I get. Eventually I got enough tickets to win the two dinosaurs I've been eyeing since the beginning! They now guard my bedside. 

 

 

The next place I've only been once, but I'd like to go much more. It's a bowling alley called Superbowl. It was 8pm on a Saturday and was full of pros with their own bowling balls and gloves. But they were all incredibly respectful and nice. There were families there, people from all kinds of backgrounds, even Japanese salarymen. There's a small cafe there, some drink fridges and a few claw machines so it's perfect for a big group of people to hang out at. You can also leave your number down first and they'll call you when a spot is opened.

 

Going out 
I am way over my party years, so I rarely go out. But from time to time I still like a nice night out. Two of my all time favorite places in Singapore both offer stunning views. The first is CeLaVi, where I had dinner during the F1 races. You can see the tracks clearly, the entire bay, and Gardens by the Bay just below. 


The second place is indoor but just as spectacular, a 1920's art deco style bar with a high wall full of colorful drinks. This is Atlas Bar. 




Breaking the Myths on Singapore
It's hot year round, and unbearable? No, not at all. There is nothing like the breeze that comes in at night when you sit outside a restaurant with family and friends. Try to get a breeze in Summer in Hong Kong? No way, you'll die from humidity first. That does not happen in Singapore. There are a couple of months which are more humid in Singapore, but flash thunderstorms come in during the afternoon and it clears up to a very pleasant evening. 

A lot of people also say that Singapore is very small. To put it to perspective, if you drive from the south (Sentosa Island) into the North boarder going into Johor Bahru, Malaysia, it takes 1.5hrs. From very east end at Changi Airport to Jurong at the west will take up to an hour. But the best part about this is Singapore is not crowded. No the malls aren't full of mainlanders or just people in general, you actually get to walk in peace. In restaurants there's more space and people aren't shouting over each other so you can actually hear what your company is trying to say to you. There are trees and parks everywhere, and the roads aren't badly congested. The city is planned out very well which is why I keep calling it a resort. The quality of life here is just too good. 


If you follow my Instagram, you'll see that I've had a few (negative) things to say about the service industry and customer service in general in Singapore. But I am spoiled by the friendly customer service staff of the US, and the efficiency of Hong Kong. I am also still figuring out how things work in Singapore, and what's the best place to go to and how to most efficiently get things done. 

So far, I love living in Singapore. It offers a safe, clean, and very pleasant lifestyle. Pollution is low, there are no mosquitoes or roaches, cabs are cheap, healthcare coverage is good and hospitals are efficient, there just so many good things about living in Singapore. Now I understand why it is voted #1 destination for expats for 3 years in a row. (To see ranking click here, you can also search Expats Experiences Ranking by HSBC to view the complete list.)

In the past, I've always looked forward to travel as much as I can and never looking forward to coming home. Now I'm not only looking forward to traveling, I'm also always very happy to come to this new country I call home. 

Gardens by the Bay - Cloud Forest

 



Follow me on instagram @ariel.land for more travel stories 






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