Thursday, June 02, 2011

2 Years in Singapore!

I can't believe we've lived in Singapore for 2 years! If you've been following along with this 5+ year saga of our lives, you know that when we moved here, we expected to be moving home at this time. That is, obviously, not the case. I have to remind myself that God is in control of this family, not either of the companies in charge of our schedule/contract, so when God is ready for us to return to Texas He will bring us there. Don't ask me when we're leaving Singapore. I have no idea. Until then, here we are.

This photo is from Burger King on one our very first mornings living in Singapore. It's a terrible quality, but the memory of those first few days is priceless (as is Levi's face!):
So much has happened in the last 2 years...

remember this?:

We are so much better for having lived here. We've experienced lots of conflicting emotions over the last two years, and mostly I'm really happy about living here. When my kids are asking me when we can go back to Grandma & Poppa's or Ava's or Mimi's house, then it makes me sad that we are so far away from our families.

For our two-year anniversary, I'd like to tell you 10 things I LOVE about Singapore!

1. the people. I have a great group of friends here whom I cherish. They are what keeps me sane on most days. I have friends I can seek advice from, laugh with, travel with, do life with and lament our children's behavior with! I love it when a friend calls or texts to see if we want to get together that day.

2. our church. A wonderful group of people we are excited to serve next to. We have learned a lot and been stretched since joining IBC. It is such a blessing to us!

3. cash cards in every car. Every car in Singapore is equipped with a little machine on the windshield that has a cash card inside. That card pays for most parking charges in parking garages and also the tolls on certain roads. It is so convenient!

4. parking spot (lot) counters. In quite a few parking structures here they have little sensors above each parking space (they call each space a "lot" here). If there is a space available, the light is green, if it's occupied, the light is red. This Is GENIUS! We need these in the States. It saves us from driving up and down rows that do not have available spaces. We just pass them on by.

5. no need for a weather report. I do not have to look outside in the morning or check the weather report to see what we should wear. The attire for the kids will always be a shirt, shorts, and Crocs. Even to church. :-) It's hot and humid every day of the year with a chance of rain. Dress for warm weather and carry an umbrella and you'll be set!

6. learning about other cultures. We like to brag in the US that we are a "melting pot," but Singapore really is a melting pot of cultures, especially for only having 5 million people in the whole country. Singapore has 4 national languages, although most business is conducted in English. It is so interesting to get on a bus and see so many different cultures represented. Our church has 51 nations represented in its membership! I love that our kids are growing up in this kind of environment. They don't see color/ethnicity as something that divides us, but just as something that describes the way someone looks.

7. easy transportation. Public transportation in Singapore is really great and is highly organized. Most days I don't miss having a car because it's so easy to get a taxi with the kids and get dropped off right at the door of our destination (parking here is usually a nightmare, anyway, due to the sheer number of people in such a small area). Taxis are the fastest (and more expensive) mode of transportation, but it's so easy to get around using all modes of public transportation here. Except when it's raining. Then all bets of getting anywhere on time are definitely off and I might possibly curse my husband under my breath that he always gets to take the car. Just kidding, I'd never do that. Yes I would. But only when it's raining and we're running late and I've been trying to get a taxi for 40 minutes with no success.

8. FOOD! I didn't know I liked Indian food or Beef Hor Fun before we moved to Singapore. There are so many great restaurants and food stalls here that you could eat at a different one every day and not eat at them all. Hawker centers have some great food for cheap. The other night we fed all four of us, including drinks and fruit for dessert for SGD$15 (about US$11). We also have access to some American food that reminds us of home, like Chili's. At Chili's we can maybe get a drink for $15. Or chips and salsa. But not both.

Yam paste buns! Yummy!!:

9. condo living. It has its downsides, but we are really enjoying having a break from taking care of a yard and having to put the trash out by the curb at a certain time on a certain day. We just drop our trash into the chute and away it goes!

10. lush, green foliage every single day of the year! Singapore is really beautiful. For being such a modern, busy, crowded city, they have managed to keep a lot of greenery. I tell people it's like living on Manhattan if Manhattan were in Hawaii. I love driving down the street and seeing so many beautiful green trees and plants. We live just down the street from the Singapore Botanic Gardens, too. Love it!


VISITORS! We LOVE visitors!!


And there are a few things that I don't really love about Singapore:

1. the mail (letter) boxes are only one-way. In the US, we could put mail in our mail boxes that we wanted to go out, or there was a special slot for outgoing mail in the mailbox cluster. Not so here. We have to actually go to the post office (or find a rare post box) to mail a letter. This is why no one gets mail from me.

2. it's hot. always. It's nice that there is no need to look up the weather forecast, but the hot/humid does get old after about 18 months. Then you're done and you have to go to a cold-weather location just to soak it up so you can take the heat/humidity for another 18 months or so. I just thought Houston was humid. It doesn't hold a candle to Singapore. My professional grade straightening iron still makes me look like a chia pet as soon as I walk outside. I have "Singapore hair" and "everywhere else hair." It's not always pretty.

3. construction. It's amazing how one day you'll be driving down the road and you'll come back a few hours later and THERE IS NOW A BIG GAPING HOLE IN THE GROUND. This is the downside to not having to look at power lines. They are all underground, so all the cable and electricity lines that need to be "managed" require a hole in the ground. It's incessant and annoying.


See:


That hole was covered back over, including the asphalt, just a few hours later.

4. no code for sidewalk walking. In the US, we sort of walk on the sidewalk like we drive in the car...on the right side. Here there is no code. People just walk wherever and whenever they want. And they are not about to get out of the way for you, even if you are pushing a stroller. They will move out of your way if you are on crutches, thankfully. It's puzzling to me that as orderly as Singapore is there is no order to walking.

5. it's hot all the time. Did I already say that? It's worth repeating.

6. rain makes people crazy. Even though it rains here almost every single day, drivers become crazy maniacs when it rains. And don't even think about getting a taxi. Start calling an hour in advance and you might be lucky. All those people who normally walk to the bus stop are trying to get a taxi, too.

7. we miss our families like crazy. CRAZY. I hate not being able to babysit my nieces and have lunch with my sister and go to my parents' house for the weekend. Skype and email and phone calls keep us connected, but it's not the same as sitting face-to face. I'm ready for our boys to be able to grow up with their cousins!

We are enjoying our adventure in Singapore!!

Now...who's coming to visit???


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