Day 14. It’s been 14 days since we moved into our townhome. 14 days without wireless. Now, that doesn’t seem too bad, however, EVERYTHING here requires internet access. Want to open a bank account? Use the internet. Need phones? You can use the internet. Need to order school uniforms? Use the internet. Need to sign your kid up for soccer? Internet. Regular bus? Internet. Activity Bus? Internet. Heck, you can even sign up to get the internet using the internet. We have phones now (finally!), but no wifi. As a result, my data usage is out of control. I’m posting this because I finally caved and added on to my plan so I could make it until we get wifi in our home. However, uploading photos is painfully slow, so we've posted photos from recent events on our Facebook pages.
How has the move to the townhouse been? Well… Let’s just preface this by saying I realize that my problems aren’t really all that big in the grand scheme of life. In real life there are much, much worse things. However, this experience has gone far differently than anticipated.
We moved into the townhouse on August 18th. We wanted the kids to get settled and get bussing for school in place and opted not to go into temporary housing until our belongings arrive. We thought some normalcy and routine would be important for the kids, even though that meant living without most of our things. We anticipated our air freight with our essential belongings would arrive within a week. Our townhome is partially furnished, so we have a sofa, a dining table and chairs, beds for both kids, and a grill. Tom and I purchased an air mattress for ourselves, thinking it would only be for a few nights. We got some plastic bowls and plates and flatware from IKEA and new bedding for the kids. We were set, we thought. It would be like camping, but in a house. So, “glamping.” A cush life, really. ;-)
When we arrived, the A/C wasn’t working. Singapore is near the equator. It gets HOT here. We have 8 air conditioning units. They were all dead. And then the bedroom ceiling started leaking water when it rained. And then the bathtub wouldn’t plug. And then the washing machine became possessed. (Actually, they didn’t take the bolts out that hold the drum in place for shipping. Luckily, Tom forgot to put some wrenches in our freight, so we had two crescent wrenches in our luggage and he was able to fix the problem.) And then there were delays with the kids’ bussing. For the nearly the entire first week I drove the kids to school in the morning, then I drove back to pick Theo up at 1:15, and then Theo and I waited until 3:15 when we could get Amelia, and then we drove home. All in all, I was spending about 5 hours a day driving to and from school or waiting for the kids at school. The silver lining: I got pretty comfortable driving here. At least in the daylight! The kids are FINALLY on the bus, which is great and frees me up to meet repair people. Every. Single. Day.
They fixed the A/C by stealing electricity from the jacuzzi. The jacuzzi still doesn’t work, but it’s really a non-essential item, so we thought we were on the way up! Then the toilet started running all the time, with no access to the tank to stop it. Enter leaky sinks, random items that were not installed correctly, and some minor issues with the kitchen appliances. Then, this week we had a demo for our appliances and discovered the oven element had moisture in it. Apparently, the oven must be run periodically otherwise the moisture builds up and trips the breaker, killing power to the entire kitchen. We have no idea when the oven was installed prior to our move in, but it was long enough ago that the oven became a kitchen killer. A technician came the next day, and fixed all our appliances, including that oven!
Yesterday and today, workers are fixing the leak in the master bedroom. They come back next week to fix the floor. We got a rental bed and rental kitchen supplies, so we can actually cook real food! (Who knew you could rent that stuff?!) Internet and TV are scheduled to be installed next week. We’re learning how to navigate the various stores (because there is no one stop shop here!), driving is no longer a matter of life and death, and I found a Starbucks within walking distance! Things are looking up!
Oh, and those freight shipments that were packed up in the beginning of August in Iowa? Yeah… They’re still in the States. Yep. The company was waiting for documentation they didn’t need (turns out they’ve had sufficient documentation all along). They also wouldn’t answer emails or provide any information. They are finally communicating, and it looks like it will be another week or three for that two-week air freight. Our sea freight will be here the end of October.
So, that’s what we’ve been up to. Tom’s been at work, I’ve been managing all of our crazy. We were told by others who have experienced expat assignments that you need to pack a good amount of patience with you. I’ve run out a couple of times. I’ve only had one, “I’m getting on the next plane out of here!” moment, so I’m taking that as a win. (That moment was the catalyst to the rental bed and kitchen. My husband is a smart man.)
We did have the pleasure of taking the kids to Sentosa last weekend. Sentosa is an island off the coast of Singapore (yes, Singapore is also an island). Sentosa is considered part of Singapore. It has some resorts, Universal Studios, and a bunch of other things on it. We enjoyed the beach and walked to the “Southernmost Point of Continental Asia” which feels entirely like a gimmick, but they have a sign, so we supported Singapore’s marketing efforts and took some pictures. The beach at Sentosa, although pretty, is a bit dirty. We’re looking forward to some excursions to other beaches in this region. Amelia wants to swim where she can see her feet!
Most evenings we are outdoors. (The kids’ toys are all still in those shipments in the US.) We’ve taken full advantage of the massive park across the highway and the pool right outside our condo. The activities become a bit slim when it rains. Theo is learning how to swim (his puddle jumper is in a freight shipment), and Amelia is a fish, swimming the entire length of the pool. The pool is maybe 75 meters long (distance is not my forte) and 1.2 meters deep (there’s a sign that tells me this part!), so Amelia can touch if she needs to. Barely. Having a pool accessible all the time has been amazing, and I’m extremely glad we chose this property because of that! Here’s the view out our living room door.
Tom is in currently in Indonesia on a short work trip where part of their time is being spent improving an orphanage. I can’t wait to hear about his experience! I was going to share some photos he sent me, but that is just not to be this evening.
Happy Friday to all my people back home!