We originally had hoped for a detail assignment in London, Singapore being third on our list (Prague was second in case you’re wondering). But, as I write this sitting poolside, drinking a Tiger beer, and watching my children swim themselves silly I’m not sorry at all that we ended up here. It also helps that we’ve just moved into a serviced apartment which sits atop a mall making our adjustment to city living all the more easy. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Let’s talk about where we have been for the first two weeks.
Without realizing what we were doing, we ultimately booked a two-week vacation upon our arrival to Singapore and to be quite honest, I would suggest everyone does it this way if they can. A few things had to fall into place for this to happen: The girls not starting school until 18 January and not having housing to move into right away. I was definitely feeling put-out upon hearing we didn’t have housing secured for our arrival but, um…*casually sips on Singapore Sling* I’m okay with that now.
The first hotel we stayed at was Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and if you Google an image of Singapore you will definitely see this building as it is the most iconic. MBS turned out to be the best hotel we could have chosen for our first week in Singapore. First of all, they were more than accommodating on the day we arrived. It was pouring down rain, 8:00 in the morning, and we were exhausted. The hotel quickly got us into a room which allowed us to decompress and sleep.
Also at MBS and with a great sense of security it didn’t take long for the girls to adapt to a more “free range” parenting style. Within a day or two the girls were going to the lobby to retrieve mommy and daddy’s coffee or shouting over their shoulder as they left us in the lurch that they would meet us in the room. Marcus and I always dreamed of turning the children loose on the world but a fear of being arrested for child endangerment always held us back. Now, living in Singapore and seeing children as young as ours (10 and 9) riding the bus alone I get a sense of just how safe it is here. I can’t imagine a better city for a child to gain some* street smarts and be safe at the same time.
While MBS was the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in I also felt a bit out of place (the whole Caucasian-ness thing notwithstanding). Everyone was so posh and I’m, well, me. I’m talking frizzed-out hair, red eyes from a lack of sleep, and wrinkled clothes that had been in a suitcase for days. All of the women teetered around in their Louboutin’s with their Louis Vuitton purses and looked absolutely flawless. I don’t think I’ll ever get there because A. I have hair that will never not frizz in the humidity and B. I married Marcus and will never get to wear a pair of Louboutin heels. He’s broken me of that dream.
So, after a week of swimming in an infinity pool 57 stories high and eating dinner at far too nice of restaurants we moved on to the the Shangri-la Sentosa Resort. These were my people: Flip-flops, back sweat (it is HOT), tired parents, and tons of kids. One morning the girls and I went to the pool at 8:30 in the morning and I watched as someone was brought a mixed drink and I thought to myself, “This is where I belong,” and promptly ordered a mimosa.
The Shangri-la was wonderful with a pool, beach access with stand-up paddle boards and kayaks, and the many more restaurants and activities for the family just outside the resort. The Shangri-la is on Sentosa island which is an island off the southern coast of Singapore. Everything the girls saw they wanted to do but we had to remind them it wasn’t necessary to pack it all in within a week’s time. Also, if we don’t go to Madame Tussaud’s Singapore in the three years we’re here I won’t be crying into my Tiger beer.
Despite how relaxing and how much fun it was to be pampered for two weeks I was ready to get into our temporary home; a family of four living out of suitcases for two weeks was getting old and all I could think of was the amount of laundry that needed to be done. So, on our fifth day of resort life we packed up and moved into our temporary home away from home. It’s a serviced apartment, meaning it has everything for us to use plus, housecleaning twice a week and basically, I don’t know if I’ll ever be coming back to the U.S.
*I say “some” street smarts because while it’s relatively okay to accidentally leave your phone at the Art and Science Museum in Singapore because someone will promptly turn it into Lost and Found (ask me how I know this), it would not be okay to accidentally leave your phone anywhere in the U.S. and expect to see it again. When someone does return a lost item in the states it makes headline news, it’s such a rare occurrence. Basically, what I’m saying is, there will be some more learning later on but this is a good place to start.