Anything Under the Sun
Monday, December 29, 2008
Goodbye Singapore Welcome Adelaide
It has only been about 1 month plus and there are already 2 "things" that I miss terribly.
Number 1 : Family and Friends
I miss my siblings, my in-laws and friends. While of course, my kids miss their cousins, best friends and classmates. But thank God for email and phones, we can still keep in touch:)
My sister had a house warming at her new place in JB and the "Gang" was there from Friday till Monday. So, that was one get together that we couldn't be around. But, I know that there will be other times so, we just have to wait patiently when we come down for a visit back to Singapore.
On the 23rd of January, my husband's niece will be getting married. She is the eldest grand daughter for my in-laws. The wedding is going to be really up scale and and grand but we have to miss that too. Fortunately we were around for her ROM and my husband will be back in Singapore during that time so at least he will be able to attend.
Number 2: Food Glorious Food
I am really glad that there are many "Asian" grocery stores available here. I have also located quite a few Halal meat stalls and Halal food shops. However, I just can't walk down to the neighbouring food court and order just about anything. Boy, do I miss the Halal Food Court in Jurong Point!
I can't seem to find those yummy and sour preserved fruits anywhere. Although I could find lots of fresh and dried fruits as well as such a variety of nuts everywhere. I just hope when Chinese New Year is round the corner, I'll be able to grab some of my favorite preserved fruits. Yummy asams :)
Some Distinctive Differences
They are very friendly and helpful. Back in Singapore, if a stranger says "Good morning" when I go pass him on a Zebra crossing, I will do a double take and think to myself, "That guy is really strange". But such incidence are the norm here.
Everyone who serves you will usually greet you with "How was your day" etc. as well as show patience and kindness when dealing with you. For example, once when I was trying to fax a document and it couldn't go through, the librarian bothered to check the Net to find out if I had got the wrong fax number or were there any other alternative numbers to fax to. I believe that is definitely going the extra mile for customer service!
It's huge. So almost everyone drives. When someone mentions it's just 5 minutes from here, they are not talking about 5 minutes walk but, more likely about 6 km away or 5 minutes drive.
I haven't seen one skyscraper yet and I don't think there's any here.
The views are soooo beautiful. I wish I was a professional photographer or artist. I'd probably make millions of dollars with these "Post card" views.
It's cheaper to rent a "landed property" with lots of garden and backyard as compared to a flat. Flats are low maintenance, usually situated nearer to the city and it is also more difficult to find 3 bedrooms in apartments.
My kids simply love the space available. They can play catching, hide and seek, ride their scooters and bikes and have lots of fun. Of course, I end up with a bigger place to clean up and keep tidy. The possibility of insects visiting your house increases many folds.
The weather - It's no sweat!
Seriously - because of the lack of humidity, one does not perspire. Whenever I sweep or mop the floor back home, I would end up drenched in sweat. Not so here, so I can sure save money on perfume huh :)
The daylight hours are very long right now. Sun rises at about 5 am and sets at only 8.30 pm. I am sure glad that by the time we have to fast next year for Ramadan the timing would have changed to what we are more used to. (Sigh of relief)
It's strange but it can be cold and hot at the same time. The sun is intense so all school children need to put on a hat during P.E. While at the same time the wind can be strong and cold. The first few days after we arrived, it was the coldest summer in many years.I heard that it was snowing in Victoria. (Yes it's summer not winter in down under)
The transport system
No MRT, but there trains, trams and buses. They do not come in such short intervals as in Singapore. BUT hey, all forms of public transport (except for Taxis) are free within the city limit.
Outside of the city - you buy a ticket and it can last you for 2 hours. That means you can use it on trains, buses and trains as many times as you wish within the 2 hours.
Getting a driver's licence
I had thought that since cars are so common in Australia, getting a driver's licence would be really easy. I took some lessons in Singapore but didn't have time to sit for the test as the booking for a test has a waiting period of about 3 months or longer. I thought I could just take a refresher course then sit for a test. Unfortunately the system is very different. After I pass the theory test, I will be given the "L" plate. I will have to complete 40 hours of day driving and 10 hours of night driving with a qualified supervising driver. As my husband does not hold an Australian driving licence, it's a bit of a problem for now:( I will also have to hold the Learner's permit for at least 6 months.
The Education System - It's Stress FREE
This was one of the primary reason for our move. There's no PSLE, "N", "O", "A" levels or any other streaming for me or my kids to worry about. The kids start out at kinder garden then move on to primary then later to high school. After which they can decide to take TAFE ( which is similar to polythecnic in Singapore) or to join the university.
The school starts in end January so we have an extended holiday from November to January for this year. Yippee!
It is much smaller and not multi storied like those in Jurong East, Woodlands etc. However, their system is sooo wonderful. Instead of us searching for the books the book comes to us. How is that possible you ask?
You check up the books that you like in the computer catalog and put them on "Hold". Once it is available you will be notified and then come down to the nearest library of your choice to borrow.
You don't get to borrow a miserly 4 books at a time. NO, after 3 months of library membership you get to borrow "50", yup that's FIFTY items. You don't have to pay annual membership fee of $20 to borrow Audio visual materials. For those below 18 years old, there could also borrow from the recreational library stuff such as tennis rackets, soccer and basket balls etc. The children section is really cozy and has lots of puzzles and games to keep to tots occupied while the parents browse and read at leisure.
What is more, the favorite activity of my elder three kids, which is using the Internet, if FREE. (for 2 hours per person per day)
On the other hand , there are some disadvantages such as the opening hours are not as long as in Singapore and the branch here does not open on Sundays. But there are other branches that operate at different times.
It is really a very new experience out here in Adelaide and we hope to enjoy every minute of it. Till we get back to home sweet home Singapore.