16 April 2011


Yesterday we moved out of temporary housing and into our new condo. Though it looks to me like we are living in Hawaii (I say this though I have never actually been to Hawaii), I believe it sounds like we are living in the middle of Manhattan. I had no idea that living in this area would be so noisy. I have adjusted to the crazy sounds of new birds and the sounds of the rain and thunder. However, our last place, though downtown, was away from any major roadway. We now reside on the corner of two quite busy roadways so the sounds of traffic thrusting by and buses breathing and motorcycles revving and horns honking seem to be all I hear. I lay in bed last night with my eyes wide open wondering when it would quiet down. When I awoke around 6:45 this morning to some strange clicks inside the bedroom (Paul checking his e-mail), all of the sounds were still there, including the birds.

One thing we have not heard since moving to Singapore is the sound of sirens of any kind. We have only seen one police car in the two weeks we have been here. Singapore is widely known as one of the safest places to live because the regulations are tight and punishable offenses are harsh. Singapore has one of the highest rates of capital punishment (hanging) in the world in relation to its size. Littering can bring a fine of S$1,000; jaywalkers can go to prison for up to three months; the import or sale of chewing gum is completely outlawed and possessing even half an ounce of marijuana will bring death by hanging (not that Paul or I would possess illegal drugs of any kind). 

Driving in Singapore is also restricted so accidents are very infrequent. We are aware of one accident in two weeks. One must go through a series of tests and courses before obtaining a license at age 18 or older. If purchasing a new car, a Certificate of Entitlement must be obtained because Singapore limits the number of vehicles on the roads. Demerit points are applied to a person's license for speeding, not wearing seatbelts or other typical infractions like accidents, so defensive driving in Singapore is inherent. Our real estate agent also told us that if one is caught talking on a cell phone while driving with no Bluetooth or headset, one's cell phone can be taken. The harsher the punishments, the better people behave and I fully support that approach. 

I experienced my own version of punishment yesterday while we were taking ownership of our new condo. I spent more than three hours with two realtors (ours and the landlord's), going over paperwork, discussing interpretation of wording, documenting items included in the apartment (ceiling lights, closet units, towel racks), documenting and photographing wear and tear items so we do not pay crazy fees when we move out....Ugh. All I wanted to do was sign on a dotted line! I did end up initialing every page of the lease and signing eight separate documents, and so did Paul, the landlord's agent, our agent and the landlord's power of attorney. Holy nuts. Once I was done with that, I had to go to Ikea to buy bedding and towels because we had not yet found Singapore's version of Target. That took about two hours round trip and I wanted to cry at a couple points for a couple reasons. Mostly because I get cranky when I am tired and I was just so ready to be done. I had started with the realtors at 3 and it was somewhere around 9 when I got home.

Thankfully, Paul had already started piecing together what would be our bed by the time I got home. I jumped in to help and we were able to get most of the frame completed in time to shower and pass out. We left the lower storage area for morning. When we awoke, I was ready to go. I unpacked all of our clothes while Paul finished the bed and then we both moved into the living and dining area for some more fun. This time I was the one frustrated beyond all end, yelling at the picture paper, and Paul was the calm one. Weird. I typically like to do these projects myself because I have patience and an unknown understanding of the directions, but having Paul there to help today not only saved my sanity, it made the process go much smoother and much faster. By 11 this morning, we had finished the bed storage, our dining set, a three-seat couch and a recliner - slip covers and all. And we even cleaned up after ourselves in the process. I could certainly not have accomplished all that without Paul. 

The good news is that we are all moved in and this place is starting to look like a home. Now we just have to wait for the rest of our stuff to arrive in a shipping container in a few weeks. Since Paul is busy working and I am busy not working, there are quite a few types of role reversal occurring these days in addition to the Ikea construction adventure, but more on that later.

1 comment:

Ada said...

I have to admit that I was both worried and excited about your new adventure. I had to read your blog backwards. I was so interested in learning about your experiences that I couldn't pass up a page without reading right away. As your mother has said many times, you are more like me than her. You have been gifted with my lure of adventure and achievement, love for writing, and creative spirit. Love you both - Auntie PS -You go girl!