It is now a mere THREE SLEEPS until move in day, so today felt like a good day for me and the kids to actually go and check out our new place. It's a goodun. I've never lived in an apartment or a very modern style property before, I've always gone for homes with "character" (interpret that as you will). But this felt like the ideal time to shake things up a bit. Also, properties with character in Singapore translates to no air-con, probably no pool, no kiddie playground on site etc. So not at all what we were wanting. Basically we knew we wanted somewhere that had space (>1200 sq.ft), 3 bedrooms, a modern development with a good pool and gym, in a family friendly location but with good transport connections to the city centre and for it to come in under budget. Yes, we wanted everything. As I was still in Europe up until a week ago I've not been able to have much say at all in the home search. At all. I've left it entirely in my husbands hands to look around condo's and find somewhere that ticks all of our boxes. Well to give the man credit he came up trumps. However, even an hour and a half in the new place this morning and I've already realised a few things about Singapore property (or just property, I don't know)....
- If you have a phobia of lifts or claustrophobia you won't enjoy it here so much. Also, if you have really sensitive ears be prepared for the pop as you shoot up and down at lightening speed. This place is so built up (and down) that we've all become pro's very quickly at lifts and escalators.
- Most modern condo's come with built in bedroom storage (great) HOWEVER check the wardrobe hanging space is not only large enough but that the drop for hanging garments is long enough. I don't know if the built in storage is designed predominantly with men in mind, but there is no way the drop is long enough for dresses, unless they're really tiny. Which mine aren't, for the most part. So that's something to check for in any future home's, and a definite afterthought (although not a deal breaker as there are ways around these things). Did I hear a whisper of IKEA?
- Daytime and nighttime curtains are a thing. I had no idea. But they are. Daytime one's are like net curtains, but way fancier, and nighttime one's are blackout curtains. So there you have it. It's just like your nan's house, but updated by about 50 years and costing about 50 times as much.
- Flooring's are a nightmare. They're made out of expensive materials that can be scratched by furniture, or stained from plant pots (on the balcony), and basically not at all practical but they are pretty. And the marble is cool and therefore acts as a free toddler cooler when you instruct them to just take a lie down on the floor. Bit of an odd look from the agent as my daughter rolled her t-shirt up and pressed her hot sticky belly against the living room floor, letting out a sigh of satisfaction at the same time, but only because all of us adults were secretly jealous we couldn't do the same. Well, not until next week anyway...
- Condo's here (or atleast those built since about 2002) come with a bomb shelter built into the apartment. They're a small windowless room made from reinforced concrete with a huge heavy door. I think they're designed to offer protection in the event of a nuclear bomb, but I don't know how really because the building around you would have been destroyed, so how would get out? So alien to me. Besides, it seems most families use the bomb shelter as somewhere for the helper to live, which is even more alien to me. So I think I'll be using mine as a nice little utility space. At least in the event of a bomb we can surround ourselves in fresh linen, crates of water, economy packs of bog roll and whatever else one keeps in a utility room.
- Pool etiquette. I'm yet to work this one out. But so far I know that where we're living at the moment I've been one of only two women using the pool wearing a bikini, and her's was more of a substantial tankini. So I'll be happy to see some more expats flashing the flesh poolside at the new place, hopefully. Also I'm not sure how other pool users feel about kids and inflatables. Specifically the giant shark and our new game of trying to jump onto the shark from the side of the pool. It involves lots of splashing and a delighted, if a little fearless, 4 year old squealing quite loudly. With any luck we'll find ourselves a crew of little pals to cause mischief with and go with a strength in numbers approach.
So much to think about over the next 3 nights and 2 days. Monday morning can't come quick enough, I'm so ready to be reunited with all our belongings. Less than 60 hours to go!!!