Haidee: Expat Mom Diaries
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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.
I am Haidee, presently a stay-at-home mom with two adorable kids. From our home country, the Philippines, we moved to Singapore in November of 2012 to be with my husband who works here in the Lion City.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging when we moved in Singapore. Initially, I just wanted to have a hobby and at the same time chronicle the highlights of our stay here. I wanted to have something to look back to when we repatriate or move elsewhere. As time passed by, blogging became so engaging and enjoyable so I simply kept on writing whenever I can. I am delighted to see people from different nationalities following or visiting my blog and all the more happy when I read positive comments on something I have written on my blog.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours? Please add the URL link as well.
My favorite blog entry is my very first post Kopi, Teh or Me. It is a special post because I wrote it just a few days after landing in Singapore and it summarizes my excitement, my fears, and my mixed emotions about living overseas.
Another favorite blog entry of mine is My Creamy Mongo Sauté and Katipunan Stories. This post had the most likes from fellow bloggers and it was my first post highlighting a Filipino recipe I cooked in my own kitchen.
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?
I believe there was not much of culture shock because we have been in and out of Singapore as tourists before we permanently settled here. We had some ample time of "immersion" if I may say so. The transition also became easy because Singapore's system of government is very organized, efficient and fairly accommodating to foreign workers. The people are noticeably law abiders and generally friendly. Everything appears very much in order. Although, initially, understanding Singlish (Singapore English) was a challenge but then we get familiar with the language as days go by. I feel the biggest difference really is the immediate presence of our support system as many of our relatives and friends are back home.
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 think we were fully prepared when we moved here two years ago but what we did not expect is that I get pregnant again and consequently raise a baby here. My eldest is already 11 years old, a Primary 6 student in a local government school here while my baby is only 4-month-old as of this writing. Hiring and maintaining a nanny here is a bit of a challenge financially because we would have to pay the government some levy aside from the nanny's salary on a monthly basis. The other option is to bring the baby to a child care centre so I could return to full-time work but we are not comfortable with the idea so we decided that I stay at home for the mean time and take care of the baby myself.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
There are several occasions that locals mistake us as Malay (maybe because Filipino physical features are much alike to Malays) so they spontaneously speak to us in Malay, and we just smile and tell them, "English only, please."
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Singapore?
- Understand and respect the diverse cultures in Singapore.
- Learn the public regulations and abide the enforced laws.
- Study the job market and make necessary preparations (i.e., learn Chinese, take professional tests, obtain recognized licenses, etc.)
How is the expat community in Singapore? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Most of our acquaintances are fellow Filipinos and from there we meet friends of friends and grow our network.
How would you summarize your expat life in Singapore in a single, catchy sentence?
We found a beautiful haven on the tiny red dot!