Hi im Bridget, a 40 something wife and mother from the UK, I have been living in Singapore since March 2013.
1. Why did you move abroad?
Hubby got offered the opportunity to work in Singapore and with the kids now grown up it was the perfect time in our lives to make the move. Any how with various children either not moving out and one or another appearing on the doorstep, it didn’t look like they were all going to leave home at the same time, so us parents had to “leave home”.
2. How do you make a living?
I am and currently have been very fortunate that I’m busy being “blissfully free” I’m very fortunate that for the brief time it looks like we’ll be here that there is no need for me to work, having said that I keep an eye out and if that perfect offer comes, long who knows. This gives me plenty of time to be out and about exploring Singapore and keeping the blog updated.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
Facetime, Skype, Facebook etc. In my very early 20s I spent 2 years in Germany and then the only way of communicating with home was via “blueies” air mail letters and the occasional expensive phone call. Now with the march of technology the world is indeed a small place. My friends and family feel so close. The only time it brings it home how far away we are is when friends have family emergencies and it’s a 13 hour flight to get home. I hope I am lucky not to experience this.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Singapore?
Now that’s a hard one……… can I really bring it down to just one thing? Well I guess for me it’s the freedom, freedom from my old life, job, being a mother and freedom to explore, to be honest it a selfish life I’m leading now, for the first time I can think about “me” and of course hubby. I can explore nearly every day here; Singapore is such a safe place. Its called the “little red dot” but I liken it to a “red bubble”.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Singapore?
I’ve spent a couple of days trying to answer this as I really do love my new life and have settled in so well. I guess it would come down to the fact that I never will be a local and never really belong fully.
6. What do you miss most?
Up to last weekend I would of said pork pies!! But our local pub has now brought them in and although expensive they were a little taste of heaven last weekend! I can say the usual my family, of course, but they are all grown up with lives of their own now and with modern technology they are really so close to talk to. What I really miss is a “good” English weather day – whether a crispy icy clear winters days, a beautiful fresh clean spring morning, or a really rare sunny day in Cornwall, standing on a the North Cornish cliff, looking over the electric blue sea and sky.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
The best way I found of making friends was through meetup.com. There are literally hundreds of groups you can join for what ever interests you may have. I now help organize walking meetups in Singapore, every Friday and probably know more people here than I do “back home” I know people from all over the world and also many Singaporeans join as well. Writing my blog and following others has been a good way to meet people also. The blogging world in Singapore is quite small and its easy to catch up with people on an adhoc basis.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed experiencing all the different festivals and celebrations. Singapore is proud of it multi racial population and there’s always something new to experience. To be honest something I struggle with is a small older proportion of the Chinese population like to clear their throat/chest and I have trouble stomaching that! But anything that is new is another way to learn and experience and something to grasp at.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
Myths would be its expensive – yes if you want to live a truly expat life style or dine at high class restaurants, but eat like the locals’ in the excellent hawker centres and eat local food, not what you would have ate at home and its not expensive at all. Don’t buy a car that super expensive, but public transport is cheap, frequent, reliable and air-conditioned! Singaporeans love their food – true! Singaporeans love shopping – true also!
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
As above something’s are more expensive, cars, housing but on the whole this out weighed by the very low tax rate. We still count the pennies each month (or should that be cents).
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Go for it! Don’t spend all your time in air-conditioned buildings, get out there and sweat, everyone else is too! It angers me when people say they are bored and done everything after 6 months here. Look beyond the bling, the new and explore the real Singapore, the old temples, the pockets of wildlife in the Nature reserves. Talk first to the locals, make the first move, you’ll find that on the whole if they see you are interested they will enthusiastically explain things to them. Relish the difficulties and all that is new and most of Relax and enjoy!
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog about 15 months ago and few months after arriving here. Why? Predominantly as a dairy for me and a way for my friends and family to keep abreast of what I was doing. I soon became addicted and I was amazed at the comments I received and how many people from numerous countries view the site. My son is now arranging for the first year to be turned into a book!!! Published next month. Ok so it’ll probably only be me that will buy a copy, for my mum who doesn’t/wont have the internet, and a copy for myself for my old age to show the grandchildren “hey look what grandma did”.
Bridget's blog, Singapore Tales
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