STEP 1 – FIND OUT WHERE IT IS I have to confess, if you had given me a world map 3 years ago and asked me to point out Singapore, I'm not sure I would have given a very accurate answer. Of course I had heard of the sun kissed beaches of Thailand and the notorious island of Bali and although I had travelled even further afield to Sydney, Australia, Asia was most certainly a very foreign place to me. So needless to say that when my partner Rhys informed me that he had an offer he couldn't refuse in Singapore, my research began!
I now knew where in the world Singapore was - nestled between all of those paradise islands that I had heard friends, family and colleagues had traveled to.
STEP 2 – ASK AROUND (BUT DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR!) Most people with knowledge of the area just told me it was “very clean” and that you would get your hands chopped off for chewing gum - not all that useful when making a life changing move to the other side of the world, but thanks anyway!
STEP 3 – ARRIVE IN STYLE (TO INTERVIEWS) 5 months later and we were on our business class flight to Singapore feeling like excited toddlers. Glass and silverware on a plane – who knew?! Thanks Citibank!!
We touched down in Singapore and the very first thing I noticed was how clean it was (eye roll, no surprise there, I had been warned endless times). Aside from that it seemed really green and peaceful on the drive to our temporary accommodation – a serviced apartment in Orchard, just at the back of ION.
I packed Rhys off to his first day of work. Shrugging off the jet lag, I ventured out into Singapore for my first job interview. Why did nobody tell me that I categorically should not walk round in the midday sun before a job interview (or on any other day for that matter)? Much more relevant information than the level of cleanliness.
Needless to say, when the taxi uncle dropped me off on the edge of Chinatown and sent me off into the raging inferno, it was not the destination that we had agreed on. Crisis averted thanks to an extremely helpful barman who spotted my confusion and walked me all the way to the door of my interview; and to my potential new employer who was very sympathetic towards the poor, sweaty British recruiter who had only landed in Singapore the previous day.
STEP 4 – LIVE THE DREAM After around 6 months, things really started to come together – we were loving the easy transport, cheap taxis, roof top bars, weekend travel, Sunday brunchs, bbqs, condo living and we had even managed to meet a great group of people who we were getting to know - the inevitable bunch of other newbie expats. Fast forward 2 years and when I think back to making that leap from the UK, it seems like a total no-brainer – and not scary at all – this is ‘Asia Light’ after all. The passport is filling up; that great group of people have now tuned into lifelong friends and I am starting to come to terms with the fact that the average Singaporean walks around 4km per hour slower than me.
STEP 5 – APPLY FOR PR (AND AN ASOS ACCOUNT) I am truly settled here and the only real thing that has been an inconvenience is that I can’t buy shoes or bras for s*!t. I was warned, but I obviously skimmed over this information whilst pondering the consequences or J-walking or dropping litter. It doesn’t help that I wear a UK size 8 shoe and although I’m not over weight, I’m still the roughly the size of 2 average Singaporean women. (Enter ASOS, problem solved!!)
We are here to stay for the foreseeable future and even though it is becoming increasingly difficult to get a PR (permanent resident) status, Rhys and I are going to give it a go anyway. In the mean time we will continue to enjoy the journey. #LoveSingapore