Our journey to Singapore started back in August 2011, when my husband was offered a job to run products for his company in Asia. We had been wanting to move to Singapore for a long time. It is a clean, safe and interesting city. Joel, my husband, grew up as an expat, living in Europe for most of his school years, and he had many fond memories of his experience abroad. We wanted to give our daughters the same kind of rich experience.
Why Singapore, you ask? Singapore has a lot to offer newly minted expats. It is a modern city, with a vibrant business economy. Many companies have their regional headquarters here, and as a result, it has a thriving expat community, wonderful international schools and first world amenities. However, being newly minted itself, Singapore still as a bit of an edge to it. I tell people it is like Asia lite. It is very western, with shopping you would recognize from any mall in America, and even some of our less impressive restaurants, like Chili’s and Applebees. Yet at the same time, it has still retained its Asian culture and flair. It has an absolutely phenomenal food culture, with restaurants galore. Everything is spicy, flavorful, aromatic and flat out delicious, from the chicken rice to the noodles.
Another reason I call Singapore Asia lite is because the government has managed to build up this modern city without leaving its citizens behind. Most Singaporeans live in government built HDB flats, which they buy according to their income level. Therefore, rather than creating ghettos like we have New York City, the poorest of the Singaporeans live in decent HDB flats in communities with facilities on the bottom floor, like restaurants, wet markets, hair salons, and stores. The schools are good, the people are educated and they have a roof over their heads in which they have a financial stake. We could learn a lot about public housing from Singapore. Because its citizens have the basics, and because of a strict and downright scary approach to swift and harsh justice toward criminals, the people are very law abiding. It is safe here. It doesn’t seem to have the societal ills of other countries in the region.
When the job offer came, we decided it was just an amazing opportunity that we had to seize. We packed up our belongings in what were probably the most stressful three weeks of my life, rushed onto a plane, and landed in Singapore. We are so happy to be here and grateful for the opportunity we have been given. We hope to share this adventure with our friends, family, and strangers who might be interested in life as an expat in Singapore. Welcome to our adventure!