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21st Century Mummy

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in Singapore makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Singapore, etc.

I am a freelance journalist from the UK now living in Singapore. My three loves in life are writing, travelling and my two children. I have travelled all over the globe and always get itchy feet. After living in London for 15 years I finally fulfilled my dream to be an expat, I just regret I didn’t start my expat adventures sooner.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

21st Century Mummy was founded in 2009 when I lived in London in the UK. I initially wanted to use it as a permanent record of life with my first child. When I moved over to Singapore the focus changed to being about our expat life in Singapore and our family travels. I started off blogging anonymously but eventually decided to go public. Now I have to be more careful and think about whether what I write will offend friends and family! My blog continues to evolve as the years go on and I’m very pleased at how successful it has become.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

Tell us about the ways your new life in Singapore differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

It’s so much better in a lot of ways. The weather’s better, although I do find it way too hot even to go outside sometimes, but it means we can swim every day.  Everyone is a lot more sociable and we go out much more than in the UK, mainly thanks to most of us employing helpers. It’s clean and safe, and is a great place to bring up children.

Singapore is in a great location for exploring this part of the world and I am lucky enough to have travelled to so many amazing destinations since we moved her.

We had a disastrous start as we were initially put up in terrible temporary accommodation and it took over three months for our shipment to arrive. I began to wonder if we’d made a big mistake. The first couple of months were hard as I was pregnant, didn’t know anyone and had a three-year-old child who I dragged around with me when I was looking at apartments and schools. It took a while to adjust to the heat and humidity too. But as soon as we moved into our new apartment, things quickly fell into place. It did actually take a while for my daughter to settle, though.

I don’t think I suffered from culture shock as such. Singapore is described as Asia 101 or Asia for dummies and life here is easy. It is a very modern, westernized city and there isn’t a language barrier. Supermarkets stock many of the brands you get at home and you can drink the tap water. However, I think there is always an adjustment period whenever you move somewhere new and each country comes with its own challenges. One thing that did come as a shock was how expensive everything is from accommodation and international school fees to cars and groceries (and we were in London which is expensive enough). As for the price of wine…!

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Singapore? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

We didn’t have long to prepare as the move happened very quickly and initially it was a steep learning curve but that was mainly due to circumstances. I never once regretted moving to Singapore but I would probably have researched moving companies better and made sure we had proper insurance (I wasn’t covered for pregnancy or maternity). I actually wrote a post on tips for relocating which is worth a read.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

A couple of weeks after we arrived in Singapore, I had just gone in the bathrooms in a shopping mall when a lady called my daughter’s name. I had no idea who this crazy woman was and thought about calling the police.  It turned out she was a good friend of my mother’s who had recently moved to Singapore from Australia and had recognised my daughter from the photos she had seen of her.

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Singapore?

  • Research things such where to live and schools as much as you can before you move, and if possible do a recce.
  • When you arrive get stuck in and embrace the life, the culture, the food and the opportunities.
  • Don’t just mix with expats, mix with locals too.

How is the expat community in Singapore? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

There’s a big expat community in Singapore and they tend to live in certain areas. We initially lived in a condo where the majority of families were expats and it was very easy to make friends. There are all sorts of groups and organisations for expats too and most kids go to international schools. Some tend to mix more with others from their own country, but we have made friends from all over the world.

How would you summarize your expat life in Singapore in a single, catchy sentence?

Easy, exciting, and extremely hot!

Donald Moore

"I moved to Singapore to build up my own business. In fact, it was easier than expected. With InterNations I quickly got in touch with the lively expat community here."

Barbara Sciera

"Settling as an expat woman in a different culture is always hard. But with InterNations I got to know many other expat spouses that helped me."

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