The big move to London was decided around the October of 2013. Prior to this big decision, E and I did toyed with the idea on taking time off Singapore, especially in hope that this chance would happen before our children attend Primary One in Singapore. We did short listed some countries that we were both agreeable to moving to. That being said and done. Nothing happened even after the birth of Baby Gillian. Even when E told me that we might be moving to London in late August, I did not want to give too much thought about it because the reality of it happening just feels too daunting.
In the end, we decided to make the big move to London for these few reasons. In the light of the new year, I decide to pen them down in case I flounder of our decision when I miss my Hillstreet Char Kway Teow.
1. An overseas experience
One of biggest gripe of my university days was missing the chance to do an exchange. *sigh* Let’s not get started on why did I not go for one. It is one endless rant. So, since this time round, an overseas stint was offered on a platter for me, it would be silly to reject it. As a born and bred Singaporean, I love my country(actually, it is just the fabulous people and the amazing food.) to bits but somehow, I feel I need to experience living in another country at least once in my lifetime. It could be Shanghai, New York, Hong Kong…anywhere that is city-like since I am someone who really likes the city life. When E told me that the move was to London, I think my inner self did three somersaults. Heehee.
2. A SAHM opportunity
I always wanted to be a Stay at home mother. That was actually before I realised how hard it was to be one and I forgot how it came along with other job titles like being a cleaner, a cook, the laundry lady and so on. I mean I could manage taking care of the children on my own in Singapore but doing it all by myself in rainy London is a whole new level. There is no day that goes by without me being appreciative towards my own mother who also brought up me and my siblings all by herself without any domestic helper. After a year of hard labour imposed upon myself, I still have to say I would not change it for the world. I am bone tired everyday but everything is just made so much more meaningful when the little ones say,”I love you, Mummy.” or “You are the best!” I suppose there are opportunity costs in doing so but for now, we feel that it is all worth it.
Interestingly, being a SAHM is a much more supported job in London than Singapore. There are so many playgroups for the little ones to go to on weekdays. In fact, when Ryan attends school, Gillian and I are also busy at one playgroup or another. For most playgroups, we just need to pay a token sum of £0.50 to £2 for a duration of at least 90 minutes. That includes a simple craft activity, a sing-along session, snacks for the little ones and the mothers. The children will usually have fruits and water while the carers have a choice of coffee or tea and biscuits.
3. Being able to travel a wee bit more than usual
Living in Singapore is awesome. We are close to so many nice Southeast Asian cities. In fact, I have travelled a fair bit in around the region. The only one time that I went to Europe was on my babymoon to Paris and I was bowled over by how beautiful Europe was and how majestic some building looked. Travelling to Europe from Singapore carries a hefty price tag. Being based in London for now allows the family to travel more. So, click here to read more about our adventure in and around London with the adorable associates. This year, in 2015, we intend to travel more! So do look out for these updates!
4. Greener, more family life
From the conversations that I have with the people I talk to, I realised that most of them are very protective about their after-office hours. So, they usually work very efficiently during office hours. Some even work during their lunch hours. However, come 6pm, many are ready to leave work in the office, head out for time with family and friends. In comparison to our old lives in Singapore, we are living much closer to E’s workplace. Hence, he gets to have more time with Ryan and Gillian.
We also like how there are so many parks peppered around the country. It is a pity that the weather is so cold, sometimes almost unbearably chilly. However, we do go to the parks very often during late Spring and Summer. Being a country with so much nature also means that children get a chance to enjoy and soak in the beauty outdoors. Interestingly, Ryan is a keen observer of the plants and the flowers in the parks. Very unlike E and me who are quite oblivious to nature. He is the one who was the first to tell me that the flowers looks beautiful or the leaves have turned yellow.
Just like in all situations, there would be two sides of the story. Being in London meant that we would be missing out on the happenings in Singapore. After almost three decades of being in Singapore, it is hard to leave the family and friends that we have at home. It would be so easy to just hang out with the same ol’ people who have known you since forever. And education…yes, that is one thing that is bugging me since we got here. The style of learning is very different from the one that I am used to back home. It is very free spirited and children just learn through free play! By contrast, I know of many young kids of Ryan and Gillian’s age attending flash card lessons, brain training sessions, piano/violin classes and whatnots. I mean, how can I not feel anxious when I compare them to the growth of their peers? This year marks out second year, but I am always reminding myself to keep to the positives and just enjoy our journey together. It is hard to tell what the future brings!