In the evening, sitting on our balcony back in August 2014, Singapore seemed a wondrous place. We were surrounded by the lights of condominiums around us, housing hundreds, probably thousands of people. It made me feel small, but not in a bad way. I was one of many expatriates lucky enough to be living and working in this place.
Singapore is a place of contradictions. It is dominantly Chinese but also Western, along with influences from Malaysia, India and Indonesia. It is high tech but also not. It is innovative and creative and so, so not. Singaporeans are generally friendly and helpful but can also be closed and private. It is a country of opportunity for Expats but barriers also exist, which can be trying.
When the universe decided that my career in the UK would be short lived we had to make a decision about where to live, barely two months after moving to the UK. The decision process was long and fraught. Staying in the UK required moons to align, which as far as 2016 was going did not happen. Did we want to go home? To Australia, a country with a barely moving economy and to a place with questionable politics and increasingly conservative views? Though a place with beautiful beaches and friends and a place that is familiar and easy?
Or did we want to stay overseas for longer? After 6 months of some harrowing and stressful times Australia did seem like a good option. But would it be giving up? Giving up on the experience of different cultures and feeling like you were giving up on the opportunity to experience different things in our career that are not available in Australia? And also giving up on providing our kids with a multicultural view of the world?
In December 2016 we changed our mind constantly about where we were moving to. We had decided that we would leave the country mid-January 2017, but apart from that we didn't know. We were applying for jobs and searching for opportunities in Australia, Asia (Singapore and Hong Kong) and the Middle East. We had a deadline of 5 January 2017 to tell the removalists where to send out stuff! Man did we flip-flop on the decision! For a few days it looked like we were going to Abu Dhabi, and then for the next week to Sydney and then our visa's for Singapore got approved so without any firm job offer from anywhere we made the decision to move to Singapore.
So why? Well it was the place we lived in before the UK, so the most familiar. It seemed to have the best job opportunities for both Arran and I, and we have some great friends here. The International schools are really good and had vacancies and we wanted the boys to be able to return to something familiar after the previous six months of upheaval. The weather is warm, the lifestyle is good and the food! Oh my, this country has the best variety of the most amazing food going. The low tax rate and availability of relatively cheap help in the home may have also swayed us!
So here we are.....just two Aussies with six months to find a job! Wish us luck.