Sometimes a week can feel like it has gone by in a blink, other times it feels like it drags on forever. I guess I feel somewhere between the two right now. We've been here in Singapore for about 10 days now. When I think about everything we've done since we arrived, I'm impressed with all we've accomplished. When I think about how much longer we will be stuck in the serviced apartment until we move into our permanent place, a week feels like a year.
The two biggest stories of the week are that we went to the open house at Jack's school and we made an offer on a condo.
The school was great, just like we remembered it. Judging from the picture above and the picture below, Jack is what has changed the most over the last 4 years.
We met most of Jack's teachers and were thoroughly impressed by everyone. From English to band to science, all of his teachers seem great so we're hoping for a smooth transition to 7th grade. We even ran into Jack's 2nd grade teacher who is his favorite teacher ever. She recognized him right away and came right at him with the biggest smile and a hug.
One big change from the public school in Texas is that every student in the Middle School gets issued their own computer. Homework, classwork, tests, etc. are all done on the laptop. I agree with the school that this will help the kids learn the computer skills necessary in today's world, I just can't imagine that Jack can make it through the rest of his life without his penmanship improving. Tuesday is the first day of school, so wish us luck.
House hunting was the other big activity of the week. The day after we arrived, we met our real estate agent, Heleen. Heleen is from The Netherlands, but has lived in Singapore for about 20 years. It was nice to be able to work with someone who knew the island like a local, but could understand your perspective like a Westerner. We spent a lot of time looking over the span of a week and saw about 20 different places in locations all over Singapore. We were having a hard time deciding where to live while balancing distance from work, school, the subway and other local amenities like the grocery store. You have to plan a bit differently than you do in the US when you only have one car and it's too hot to walk very far to the store.
While we never found a place we all thought was "perfect," we are pretty happy with the decision we made. On Friday, we put an offer on a condo at Sky @ Eleven. It's pretty much dead center in the middle of the island, and while the subway is not directly out the front door, it's only a few bus stops away. We are going to be on the 41st out of 42 floors, so I hope the elevators aren't to busy.
We should hopefully confirm the contract this week and the place is move-in ready. If all goes well, we'll be able to move in right when our sea freight arrives during the first week of September. Once we settle in, I'll get some pictures posted online.
I was also able to move into my new office this week.
Melissa took this picture before I received my boxes and unpacked, but you get the idea. It's an office. However, one of the best perks of this job is the view.
We did try to take a break from all of the work, errands and house hunting too. Jack and I went last weekend to see Guardians of the Galaxy. Jack and I both really enjoyed it. There were plenty of laughs, the action scenes were the usual Marvel goodness and the story was just good enough the keep it all together. Just right for a 12 year old boy and his dad looking to blow off some steam.
I'm now sitting on the couch with a full belly on a Sunday night after going to the hawker center to eat Singapore style with the family. If you haven't seen one before, a hawker center is essentially an outdoor food court with dozens and dozens of stalls. In Singapore, each stall has a local specialty, such as roti prata, satay, grilled chicken wings (Jack's favorite), seafood or noodles.
Our back door is less than a 5 minute walk to the most famous hawker center in Singapore, Newton Circus. Because it is so large and well known, it tends to cater a bit more to tourists and expats. As I'm an expat, you'd think that would be a good thing, but not really. The prices are a bit higher then most places (but still pretty cheap...maybe a $5 plate instead of $4) and the stall owners are a bit pushy trying to talk clueless tourists toward their stall.
Regardless, we had a great meal and would not hesitate to go back. We're hoping there is another great hawker center near our new place after we move in. (And also hoping that the weeks start speeding along.)