Danielle: Living In Sin
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Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Singapore, etc.
My name is Danielle, I am half English half Irish. We started moving country when I was 9 years old, we left England and moved to France. Then age 14, when my little brother was only 2 months old, we moved to Canada (Montreal area), then two years later to The Netherlands where I ended up studying (I went to the University of Maastricht). I spent half a year on an exchange in Rome, Italy and then figured out I couldn't move back up North to the cold and did an internship in the South of France in Nice. I was hired full time after my year as an intern and have been at the same company ever since! Moved to Singapore as I really wanted to experience life in Asia as my fiancé and I had been traveling to Asia every year for pleasure and for work.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging before I even moved to Singapore, but about the move. I did it because when I researched the move, I came across the standard expat discussion boards and they scared the life out of me! I then luckily came across a lot of different blogs about Singapore, be it expats or Singaporeans, and the blogs totally reassured me about the move and how I would like Singapore. I blog to hopefully help people moving to Singapore, and also for myself as it keeps me interested and exploring my new home. I also use it to store the photos I take when traveling and exploring Singapore.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
- I love one of my recent posts about my first year in Singapore and tips for new expats.
- I love my World Colour posts which a Twitter friend started as a project where each month we have a colour theme and we collect pictures in that colour. I loved the green and blue posts.
- I love a lot of my food posts too, especially when I remember to take my proper camera with me! I have some favourites like Cherry Garden, Jaan and Artichoke.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Singapore differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Compared to life in France, I would say it is different here in Singapore but not hugely. I still meet friends, go out for dinner and drinks and so forth. I miss the gorgeous blue seas and skies from Nice but Singapore makes up for it in many ways. I didn't have too much culture shock (maybe I am used to moving – this is country number 6) and just found Singapore fascinating. The heat and humidity can be hard to adjust to though. I love how multi-cultural Singapore is and you can have an Indian breakfast, a Malay lunch and a Chinese dinner if you want. Food is a huge part of my life here! I would say we maybe eat out more than we did, partly because there are just so many good options here!
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Singapore? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I didn't have much time to prepare, we signed our new contracts very late in the day and made the move in a hurry. Had we had more time, we would have rented out our place back in Nice and tidied up a bit better before leaving! We would have probably also brought in wine, we were scared of the duty etc, but we have learned that it is just easier to declare it and pay the duty. I would probably have put more things from home in storage like our winter clothes! I would also have sorted more things and cleared things out before coming here.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
They tend to involve taxi drivers! They can be rather funny but also rather shocking! The most shocking one I had was so horribly racist I won't share his comments. But I have also had one hit on my fiancé (oh, you so hansom one!), had one tell me about his wife's kitchen appliances and juicing and invited himself over for dinner, and many other crazy stories :)
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Singapore?
- I would recommend coming to Singapore and wander around the different areas a bit to get a feel for the neighborhoods, the facilities and the transport links (use gothere.sg to map your route to work).
- I would recommend reading the various blogs and getting in touch with people before coming out (I used Twitter a lot).
- I would also say, get into the mindset that this is a different place and your lifestyle will change, and be ready to embrace that, not fight it.
How is the expat community in Singapore? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I find most people so far very welcoming and willing to meet you for a drink and a chat. This could be because I met all my friends via Twitter and you might gravitate towards people with similar values. I have found meeting people quite easy, be it expats or Singaporeans.
How would you summarize your expat life in Singapore in a single, catchy sentence?
Fun and food! :)