Category Archives: Moving

We have arrived!

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After I think what was possibly one of the most stressful and tiring weeks of my life, we have finally arrived in Singapore. Hooray, we are here! I can’t really believe it – the whole move has been on my mind for months now, so I am finding it slightly strange to think that I am really here.

The past week has seen us packing up every single thing in our London flat and deciding whether it should be shipped, stored, binned or anything else in between. I can safely say that I don’t think either the boy or myself realised how much stuff we have! The day the shippers came was actually really great – they were upbeat and friendly, telling us lots of stories about people who they’d moved in the past, which really helped keep me positive about the move.

We also had a big drinks do with all our friends which was absolutely wonderful, of course, but emotional nonetheless. It was lovely to see everyone, and I feel very blessed to have so many amazing friends, who care for us both very much.

But then suddenly, it was Sunday morning and I was waking up at the Will’s parent’s house for my last English morning in some time. It all felt remarkably normal and uneventful but then as the day progressed I started feeling more and more nervous. Thank goodness that the Will’s Mum is an absolute gem and kept me topped up with hugs whenever I started looking a bit tearful. Leaving at the airport was actually not as painful as I’d thought it would be – all our family members were there to wave us off, which was just wonderful. I am going to miss them all masses but I was glad we could all be together, even if briefly.  A quick trot around Boots for painkillers (I have managed to bruise my ribs…long story!) and then we headed to the gate. The flight itself was very smooth and amazingly I managed to sleep for quite a bit of it. I think by that point I was so exhausted that my body had just shut down!

And now we are here in our temporary apartment, not too far from Dhoby Ghaut MRT. It’s a serviced apartment, basically like a hotel room with a little kitchen, but it has everything we need in it which is great. Tomorrow, we have to go and set up a bank account for the boy, and one for me if they can do it tomorrow – we may have to wait until his is authorised. We are also seeing our estate agent, Woon, on Wednesday to see some apartments. The boy has found a really smart and new complex in Novena which we both really like the look of, so fingers crossed that we like it in the flesh! We also need to sort out our visas with MOM – at the moment we just have in principle letters, so we need to go and get them turned into the real thing (Employment Pass for the boy, Long Term Social Visit Pass for me). On Saturday we have a bit of treat in store – some of our friends bought us a leaving gift of a dinner package on the Singapore Flyer, where we get to be wined and dined whilst seeing Singapore from the air – very excited about doing that and celebrating our move properly.

I’ll make sure I dig my camera and charger out of our suitcases so I can a few photos for you all in the coming days, so that those of you at home can see where I am. For those of you in Singapore – Hello! I am really looking forward to meeting you all in the coming days and weeks.

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Culture shock

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I found this excellent website via Leone’s blog – it tells you all about the different stages of culture shock, and gives some really helpful tips and advice to help you recognise and cope with it. I found it really interesting reading, and wondered how many people recognise those stages looking back now that they’re settled?

I want to keep this link so that I can look back it once I’m actually in Singapore, and remember that probably what I’m feeling is totally normal! Despite never having lived abroad, I recognise that relocating is not without its challenges, and in my opinion, the more realistic you can be about that, the better. That’s not to say I won’t be embracing all the amazing things that Singapore will have to offer, but I do know that it won’t be smooth sailing.

However, I know with the boy by my side, family just a Skpye call away, and whatever new friends I have by then, that I’ll be able to get through anything.

You can read the culture shock guide here:

http://www.expatsingapore.com/content/view/1169/86

Tough day

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Today has been a kind of tough day on the old ‘pick-up-your-life-and-move-it-abroad’ front. I’ve been sorting through the boxes in our back room, which have remained there ever since we moved in. I’m amazed they haven’t organically merged with the wall they’ve been up against it so long! Anyway, the reason I was content to leave them is because they have loads of my old stuff, that I had to move out of my Mum’s when she rented out our old house. She lives with her other half now, and between them they have 4 grown-up kids so limited room to store stuff. So most of mine has come with me. Those boxes have all sorts of stuff in them – right from childhood books, exam certificates, cards and notes from years back, old diaries … etc

So going through them has been like a huge trip down memory lane – old forgotten notes from my old school friends, that we passed in dull English lessons, all about what we’ll do later and the latest boy gossip; angsty teenage diary entries (again, mostly about boys!); my exam certificates from my GCSEs and A-Levels. But then there have been more emotional things to uncover – birthday cards and letters from my grandparents; the order of service from my granddad’s funeral; sweet notes from my Mum when I was having a tough time when I first left home.

I’ve been quite tearful going through them as I think part of me feels like I’d be leaving all that behind, all those experiences and people I’ve met who have made me who I am today. It’s just made me think a lot about my family in particular, and those who aren’t with us any more. I know these feelings are normal, and probably part and parcel when you are getting ready to leave in 10 days, but it has been a tough old day.

I’ve got to go out now for the boy’s leaving drinks, so I’m sure this is nothing a large glass of red won’t sort out!

A week of sorting

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This week has seen everything ramp up a gear in terms of getting ready for the BIG MOVE to Singapore. I think it’s really hit both the boy and I how quickly time seems to be flying by, and now we have just over 3 weeks before we leave on a jetplane (I am resisting the urge to sing this a lot a la Armageddon!).

We had our medicals this week which involved me having to go to a very swanky health centre on Finsbury Circus. NHS it was not! I have to say the doctor was very thorough and nice, despite me being so nervous about the whole thing that my pulse was racing so much she had to take my blood pressure 5 times before it was remotely normal! I then had to go and have some more travel vaccinations – Typhoid, Hep A&B, Diptheria, Polio, Tetanus, and Rabies! Two injections in each arm, plus a blood test, left me looking a little bit like a pin cushion. But on the plus side, I now know exactly what injections I’ve had, seeing as my doctors only seem to have records of my childhood immunisations this is rather helpful. I will have to put that little booklet in a SAFE place (rather than my usual and questionable filing method i.e. non-existant).

We also had a meeting with a tax consultant to go through our personal circumstances and work out what the tax implications of our move would be. I think this is the first time I have been truly grateful for having worked for an accountants, as it meant I was able to follow most of what he said. Essentially, we should both qualify as Singapore tax residents which is a good thing.

I’ve also been speaking to some shipping companies to get a quote together for moving all our stuff out. They’ve actually been really helpful, and I have two surveyors coming next week to have a look at the house. Thankfully, we rent a furnished flat so most of the things we take will be kitchen stuff and personal effects. The best thing for me is that you don’t have to pack anything yourself – in fact, you aren’t allowed! Because of customs and smuggling stuff, we aren’t allowed to pack anything that goes into a container; they do it all for you! AMAZING. They also give you advice on what you can and can’t take into the country. DVDs are a bit of an issue because of all the censorship – the boy has been trying to find a list of banned DVDs on the internet, and was very upset to find one list that has Wild Things on it as a banned DVD – tee hee! So this weekend, we are going to try to go through our stuff and think about what we want to take, what we want to put in storage, and what needs to be chucked/donated etc.

Let the planning commence!

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So we are getting ever closer to pinning down a date (finally). It looks like we’ll be going sometime w/b 14th November. The boy has a few relocation days that he can use – either in the UK or in Singapore so we just need to decide how best to use them. We started making the mammoth list of exactly what we need to do before we leave – it is already very long! Things on it range from the essential (documents we need to take with us), boring (telling HMRC that we’re moving) to the random (making sure I have enough Frizz Ease to survive the Singapore humidity – yes, I have got my priorities right!).

It’s an odd feeling because I feel like I’ve been preparing for this move for months, but suddenly it a month away and I feel totally unprepared! I suppose a lot of it has been emotional preparation – getting my head round the idea and believing that this is ‘a good thing’ – rather than the physical and practical preparation. On the plus side, I am really happy and excited about the move now. I spent a lovely Monday lunchtime in the pub with my lovely colleague Sarah who lived in NYC for 2 years. She had lots of great advice about how to manage moving abroad, and some good tips for staying sane whilst everything is changing (thanks Sarah!). I’ve also been making contact with some of the other Singapore expat bloggers so that we can meet up when I arrive. I’m really excited about meeting up with new people.

I’m going to spend this weekend putting my project management skills to good use, and planning out everything that needs to be done on the practical side, so that I can attack the to-do list next week. I think mostly now I’m just keen to get out there now and make everything that is swirling around my head a reality!