January 18, 2010


Looking for somewhere to live in foreign country is a very daunting task. It can be hard enough when you are familiar with the housing, but throw in a completely different way of living and it gets very interesting.

Many, many people live in condos or apartment buildings here in Singapore. There are very few "landed houses" to be had with many of those being on the outskirts of the country. We did look at one house out near the boy's school, but it is so far removed from the city that we decided that for now, we wanted to stay close to the center of town. Although, standing in the driveway of that house, watching American kids go by on their bikes and families in their cars made the temptation to recreate what we have in America very strong. I did really love this house, but we ultimately decided that if we are going to do this, we are going to get as much out of the city that we can.

We are currently on our 2nd realtor and apartment hunting is again on the docket for today. It took about 2 days for me to get used to the vast differences in living style here. The "dry" and "wet" kitchen is very interesting and is seen only in the newer apartments. The "dry" kitchen is what we would consider a normal kitchen off of the main living area. The "wet" kitchen is separated and often with no "air con". It consists of a sink and gas stove area and is used for typical Asian cooking which can be very smoky.

This was a brand new apt and was very nice, and very tiny. You can see to the right
the glass door that you can close because that whole area with the washer and dryer and "wet kitchen" is not air conditioned.

The apartments have a back door near the washer and dryer that can be accessed by the service elevator. When I asked why it would be needed, I was told it was for when you go to the market and come home with dripping fish and don't want to use the front door. Dripping. Fish. I think our back door will probably see ZERO action while we are living there.

All the apartments have their washer and dryer on what would be like a back porch, except that it's not a porch at all, it's just exposed to open air. Long gone will be the enormous washers and dryers we know, instead I will be re-visiting the washer and dryer type that we had in our first apt. Basically, it will take all day to do the same amount of laundry I can do in about an hour back home. The answer to that concern? Hire a maid and have her do it. Which brings me to my next observation.....

All but 1 of the apartments we've seen have a very small, windowless room off the back of the apt near the washer and dryer, with no air con, that is the maid's room. It is very much the norm to have a live-in maid who stays at the apt 6 days a week to do absolutely everything, right down to the cooking. It costs about $1,000 Sing dollars (@$700 U.S.) a month. I honestly can not imagine asking someone to live in a tiny, hot, room and do all my work for me, never mind how strange it would be to have someone live with us. I would really rather have the storage space!

There were several apartments that did in fact, have a bomb shelter. Our agent was very nonchalant the first time he opened a big door near the kitchen to proudly show off a bomb shelter. I stopped dead in my tracks with my jaw to the floor and started to ask the very obvious question:

"Um, honey? Why in the world would I need a bomb shelter?"

Apparently Singapore had about 6 years, from 1998-2004, where all plans approved for building had to include a bomb shelter. I don't know if there was heightened paranoia or what. The crazy thing is that we were told for those apartments that don't have a maid's room, yep, you guessed it, they put the maid in the bomb shelter.

You have GOT to be kidding me.

Needless to say, we will have seen upwards of about 20 or more apartments by the end of our stay here. There have been some days we have been excited and encouraged, and others where we have completely forgotten that we even like each other. I am hopeful we will find the perfect fit for our family.

This is a picture of the pool for the apartment that is currently our favorite. It is the ONLY apartment I took zero pictures of besides the pool. Garrett and Nathan, I promise to try and get more pictures to show you if this is where we are really going to live!

1 comment:

  1. Hehe, interesting...the whole maid thing, bomb shelters, wet and dry kitchens?? I guess if you want to look at the positives: IF you had a maid, not only would your work be done for you but if ever a BOMBING she would be safe, and as for the kitchens this sounds like a perfect man and woman's kitchen thing to me. Let him bbq and mess up "outside" while you cook in your cool and comfy kitchen. Hmmmmm, maybe I will implement this into our next house plans...



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