Singapore Adventure

Thursday, May 26, 2005

packing out (venitha)
by jima

Packing, moving, unpacking! We're in the midst of a week of insane activity: we packed out our air and sea shipments to Singapore on Monday, and Marilyn (Jim's mom) is moving into our house today. The timing of all of the moving has worked out great so far, but it's left all three of us pretty exhausted and feeling a bit ungrounded. It's wonderful that we've still got two weeks (only two weeks!) left, so we don't have to leave Marilyn with a big mess!

On Monday, three wiry Hispanic guys packed and moved our belongings destined for Singapore, making us wonder what ethnicity the guys who do the unpacking will be. At least we speak enough Spanish to be polite; we're going to have to get busy listening to the Pimsleur Mandarin class I just got, although Jim's bet is that the unpackers will be Malay. If that's the case, all I know is "tida apa", meaning "it doesn't matter" (though to a degree far more apathetic than is indicated by this literal translation), which I would hope isn't a phrase I'll have to use as they unpack broken dish after broken dish.

I'll be very surprised if anything is broken, though, because they used a shocking amount of paper and tape, wrapping absolutely everything VERY well, making us wonder if moving our belongings like this can possibly be cost-effective. We're actually taking up very little of our allowed space: the truck they brought had the 20-foot container that we're allowed, and it was laughable how empty it was. We get this same amount of space on the way back, so I guess we just get to shop a lot while we're there. Shopping is a favorite pasttime of Singaporeans, so if this passion infects us, we're likely to return after two years with a full container and a lot of debt. This would require quite a transformation on both of our parts: neither one of us likes to shop.

We're taking almost no electronics (our stuff won't work there) and for furniture just a bed, two recliners, and three end tables. I've read that one of the top complaints of expats in Singapore is mildew, so hopefully it will all survive the weather. We're not taking any pictures that can't be easily replaced, but thanks to digital photography, lots of all the great photos of family and friends that we had up in our house here will go with us and help turn our apartment into a home.

We have yet to stumble across any huge cache of our belongings that we forgot to ship, so now we just have to hope that it all gets there safely and that everything we're intending to carry with us will fit in our suitcases. And, of course, that Marilyn's belongings will all fit into our house now so we aren't out renting a storage locker this afternoon! (I'm currently at my house, awaiting the arrival of the full moving van from Marilyn's house.) All of this really does make me think that we all have waaaay too much stuff, and hopefully I'll manage to make this attitude last for a while in Singapore.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Things we won't miss
by jima

We're in the midst of packing up now. The movers show up on Monday and it's now Saturday! We're in pretty good shape, but we've still got what seems to be a mountain of work to do before Monday!

As we've been going through our daily lives, we've both had several moments where we realized that this was a "last". Last time to see certain friends, last time to eat at a particular restaurant, last lazy Sunday morning walking Maggie over to get the paper; even down to counting out how many of particular food items we have to see if they will last or if we'll have too many! (yes, I know that's pretty geeky)

While some of these are somewhat sad, we've also spend some time thinking about things that we won't be so sad to leave behind. So, without further ado, here is a list of "Things We Won't Miss"

  • Shovelling snow Not much chance of us getting a snowstorm in Singapore!
  • Dry, itchy skin The humidity is usually pretty high - think Winconsin in August!
  • Yardwork We're probably going to live in a high-rise apartment
  • "W 04" bumper stickers Doesn't really need a clarification, does it?
  • NPR fundraisers We'll likely stream NPR over the web. We've been trying that out the last few weeks and it seems to work great!
  • Late night conference calls OK, these will be traded for early morning conference calls.
  • The tape player in our car It is just flakey enough to be annoying
  • Owning a car! We're both psyched at the prospect of two years with no cars of our own to fill with gas, pay insurance for, take in for oil changes...
  • Searching for places to park No car means no parking problems (of course it also means trying to catch a taxi in the rain, but that's another story)
  • Barky dog! An annoying and scary yellow lab who always accosts us on walks around the block.
  • Our phones Both our cellphone and our main home phone are just flakey enough to be annoying, but not bad enough to be replaced. Fun to think of how cosmopolitan we'll feel instant-messaging each other on our cellphones in Singapore on our ways home from work!