Singapore has been my home for the last five and a half years. You now know how I got here but what is it like for me now I am here?
FLASHBACK – I remember the moment I first landed. I was through immigration, had all 3 suitcases in hand and in a taxi within 20 minutes! Changi Airport has the quickest immigration passport control I have ever seen. First impression – tick! What I wasn’t prepared for was the doors opening to lead me to the taxi stand…it felt like I had just been thrown in a 200 degree oven! (I have to keep remembering this when I have visitors and shuffle them into a taxi for immediate air con!). The heat coupled with humidity is a bit of a shock to the system when you first arrive but Singapore has it covered, there is almost an air-conned underground city to help prevent the Adventure Water Park look!
It’s hard to condense life here into one post without it becoming the Magna Carta so here is my top 10 of what I love about Singapore:
- I live in flipflops! The mere word flipflop for me conjures up images of holidays, relaxation and hot weather. I have basically just described Singapore and I call it a working holiday! We don’t have seasons with living so close to the Equator and the weather is consistently ranging from approximately 27 to 32 degrees. Of course we have monsoon season (September to February) but it’s summer all year round. However, what I don’t necessarily enjoy is the humidity. Unfortunately it’s impossible to rock the sweat look but the $2 fan I bought when I first arrived, greeted by a happy bubbly woman saying “Ni Hao!” (hello!) is still my trusted companion 5.5 years later! Air con becomes your best friend and you find yourself hopping in and out of stores just to get into the air con!
- I love my poolside living (before I see my UK friends rolling their eyes, it’s just the same as having a back garden for you! This is my space to unwind). The lifestyle here is uber relaxed if you allow it. I love spending my weekends lazing by the pool reading a book or chilling on my balcony with a glass of red (gotta get my 5 a day!) before the working week begins all over again.
- It’s safe! Don’t get me wrong, low crime doesn’t mean no crime, but I can go running late at night or walking first thing in the morning and feel safe. There is no way back home I would go for a run in the dark, especially as a female. There are many people here exercising at night, for pretty much one reason…it’s a tad cooler!
- Singapore is a multi-cultural society – the main religions are Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism – this means we get some pretty awesome bank holidays! On a serious note, there is great respect for the different religions.
- Food! Singaporeans love their food and so do I! One thing which is asked of me daily in the office is “Have you had lunch?” This is their way of caring, of saying hello and of making conversation. But food is a huge part of Singaporean life. Hawker Centres (open air food centres), are a hit especially amongst the locals and my favourite is Lau Pa Sat as daily from 7pm they close a busy street in the CBD, out come plastic tables and chairs, barbecues are fired up and satay is served along with Tiger beer!
- Wet Markets – I love going to my local Wet Market, Marine Terrace which is on the East Coast of Singapore. I buy all my fresh produce from here including meat, herbs, spices and bunches of flowers to make the apartment smell gorge! It is typically cheaper than going to a supermarket but I enjoy chatting to the locals (I love meeting new people and I really will talk to anyone!). I believe they are called Wet Markets because they clean the floors with water after washing their vegetables so the floors are often wet (you learn something new every day!). And I recently discovered to add to the food romance that Singapore’s Changi Airport is within the top 10 for food in the World Airport Awards 2016 – well done Singapore!
- We call people Aunties & Uncles – this doesn’t mean we are now related to everyone! This is what we call people who are older than us, it’s a sign of respect.
- Helpers – it’s normal in Singapore to have affordable domestic help, especially for those who have a family and in which case having a live in helper is an absolute god send! Most helpers are from the Philippines or Indonesia and work dam hard to support their families back home. My helper is like another mum to me, she is here right now as I am typing away helping to make my place spotless and sometimes I don’t know what I would do without her!
- Living in Singapore means it’s a short distance to take a break! In less than 4 hours you can be in Bali, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Bintan to name a few. That reminds me, I really could do with a proper holiday!
- Singapore Grand Prix – this is the only night race in the world! How awesome is that?! The city comes alive over this weekend, the atmosphere is amazing and I am always extremely proud that I live here when Singapore is showcased to the world. It is held in September every year.
And finally, did you know? The World Happiness Index 2016 has ranked Singapore the happiest country in Asia and is ranked 22nd happiest in the world! That’s pretty cool.
Next week I’ll be posting about one of my favourite places to relax after work so stay tuned!
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