Moving to Singapore

We like to make life difficult for ourselves. It can’t just be nice semi-detached place in the suburbs near a good school and done – oh no!! The latest chapter in our adventure is a move to Singapore.

Chuck has got a place at INSEAD – the world’s business school, apparently – to study his MBA. This is pretty exciting as INSEAD is up there in the world rankings of MBAs right below Harvard, Stanford and LBS! It’s a cracking school – plus it’s a one year program where the others are all two. One year living on my tiny salary alone is bad enough!

The INSEAD motto is “one year to change your life” which suits us as ours seems to be “change your life every year”.

INSEAD also has an campus in France but Fontainbleu didn’t sound all that exciting and the lure of year-round great weather and proximity to tropical locales was a little hard to resist… so Singapore it is.

What to move

I imagine most people doing MBAs just rock up with a suitcase full of dreams and a wallet full of cash – many are sponsored by their swanky consulting jobs – but for with a toddler we needed to plan.

We decided to take the opportunity to downsize… most of our household items were sold on gumtree or in our yard sale or packed up into my parents attic. We fortunately don’t own a house so there wasn’t that much to shift anyway but now we barely have anything! It’s quite liberating!

We decided to ship Thea’s bed, quite a few of her toys, all of our kitchen stuff and things like our ironing board and spare bed linen, and a whole bunch of clothes and shoes. Sure we probably could have bought it all again but it would have costed a lot more than the £450 shipment.

So Crown Relocations came and packed for us. This was a revelation! They did everything! I pointed at stuff, they carefully wrapped it up and packaged it. They even took Thea’s bed apart and wrapped it up too. I barely lifted a finger. Why in all my many many moves have I never employed a professional mover? It’s SO worth it.

Shipping stuff in this way takes ages so that’s the pay off… you have to wait until the container is full before they’ll send it but it was only 7 weeks so not the end of the world.


So what was left was bundled into four large suitcases and sucked into those vacuum compression bags. One for me, one for Chuck, one for Thea and one for toys and things we didn’t immediately need including three plastic plates, mugs and cutlery – we meant to pack a saucepan too but we forgot!

Fortunately most airlines will let you take a travel cot and a buggy on for free so we only had to pay for one bag of extra luggage but because the difference in weight allowance over the two airlines we were taking our bags were all meticulously weighed to provide the most cost effective spread. What a pa-lava!

Where to stay

First port of call in Singapore was an Airb’n’b condo we rented in the expat district! So much cheaper than a hotel and with a toddler you’ve gotta have that extra room or you can forget having any sleep – especially when you factor in pretty major jet lag. Ouch!

Thea LOVED it. Daily access to a swimming pool and on site play park? Yes, thank you very much! She’s been in heaven ever since we arrived. Singapore is a fantastic place for children!

She did not, however, love house hunting. Traipsing round lovely apartments in swanky condos and some shoddy ones in rubbish condos, being constantly told not to touch anything, is not her idea of a good time. Thankfully four days later we’d found a place and two days after that we were in!

It’s not hard to find a place in Singapore but it’s not that easy to get a short term contract and landlords can be utterly despicable as they have all the power in Singapore “law”. My advice is to ensure there’s a break-clause in your contract and that you test every appliance and photograph every single flaw then get your LL to agree that you are not responsible for any of these repairs BEFORE you move in. Plus ensure the contract states what the repercussions will be if EITHER party is in breach of contract – not just you.

Also check the blacklist of landlords in Singapore group on Facebook and do your research before you move in. Don’t rush like we did. Trust me we are regretting it! Our landlords are absolute lying, cheating a-holes and there’s nothing we can do about it.


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