After living on four continents, ISABEL PALMER and husband Sean became Singapore expats. A stroke of good luck led them to renting a Joo Chiat shophouse – and they’re loving it!
Tell us well-nigh your journey to stuff Singapore expats.
My husband and I both grew up in families that composite customs, cultures and languages – he’s from the UK and the US, I’m from Germany, France and the Philippines. Between us, we grew up on two continents and have lived on four, and we speak five languages (not all of them fluently, of course…). Considering of this, we both grew up with a sense of belonging everywhere and nowhere all at once, which really just keeps reminding us how important it is to alimony reconnecting with our heritage – and moreover to stay curious well-nigh discovering new places and meeting new people.
I moved to Singapore with my husband and two children well-nigh a year ago, without living in Tokyo for nearly six years. Surpassing that, a combination of work and family had us living in New York City, Doha and Paris for several years at a time.
What’s interesting well-nigh Singapore is that, of all the places we’ve lived, it’s the first place where I’m moreover often asked “What is your heritage?” and not “Where are you from?” For me, personally, this is a much easier question to answer. Increasingly broadly, the fact that this question is asked here so hands and naturally is testament to the history and diversity of Singapore.
When you arrived here, what areas did you squint at to live? How did you end up in this shophouse?
We came here with a very unshut mind and looked at every type of rental available. We started zeroing in on the East Coast quite early in our search considering it’s a user-friendly loftiness from our children’s school. The increasingly we looked here, the increasingly we liked the untried and outdoor spaces withal the beachfront, and the lively, mannerly mix of local and international restaurants and shops just a few steps away.
Our son is seven and our daughter five, so space was our main priority. And since my husband and I have both lived in so many variegated places, we wanted our home here to requite us a strong sense of place.
Heritage housing was a natural fit, but it moreover seemed a long shot at the time. It was through sheer luck and determination that we stumbled into the shophouse we’re renting now. We originally inquired well-nigh the listing next door and were referred to our landlords surpassing they plane listed their property.
What are you enjoying well-nigh Joo Chiat?
As we explore and get to know the Katong/Joo Chiat neighbourhood, we protract to be delighted by how truly diverse the shops and eateries here are. Within just a few minutes by bicycle, you’ll find Joo Chiat Caphé, where the otah bahn mi is a succulent mix of local and Vietnamese, Ginkakuji Onishi, a Japanese specialty grocer, Baggie’s, a South African butcher with the weightier meats for a braai, Kim Choo Kueh’s original outlet, and Haig Road Putu Piring, who many will recognise from Netflix’s Street Food: Asia.
Living next to each other in rows of shophouses moreover really encourages us to get to know our neighbours – such an open, welcoming mix of people with such interesting and international stories, experiences and careers.
The covered walkways in front of our homes are shared, and we often find ourselves chatting over coffee or G&Ts without watering the frangipani, bougainvillea and lemon trees we’re growing.
What were the first things you bought when you got here?
We moved here with all the furniture, mementos, decorative knick-knacks and family heirlooms we’d piled over the years, so we unquestionably did the opposite when we arrived: we sold a lot of things on Carousell.
Of course, there are online marketplaces everywhere, but Carousell in Singapore is one of the most comprehensive, reliable and easy to use of all the cities I’ve lived in!
Once I started looking for little local treasures to decorate our home, it’s moreover through Carousell that I came wideness one of my favourites: Wee’s Hodgepodge at 512 Changi Road. David has sold me lovely Peranakan woven baskets and vintage Shanghainese ad posters. You can typesetting superiority with him for a tour of his hodgepodge of Singaporean collectibles, most of which are for sale.
What are a few of your weightier buys as far as furniture or home décor goes?
We unchangingly try to invest in meaningful art that ties us to the place we’re living in or the people we love. My uncle, Nolet Soliven, is a Filipino versifier who has exhibited at Art Forum here in Singapore. Several of his pieces are scattered all over our home, and one of his larger, tightly layered utopian works has found its perfect place in our living room. We were moreover recently introduced through friends to Sue Grey, an versifier working here in Singapore. She just finished exhibiting her oil renditions of iconic bottled products at Art Porters, flipside gallery we enjoy frequenting.
Another of my wool favourite things to buy for every home is plants. The gardeners at our local Song Lang Garden Centre are so knowledgeable and helpful – I’m pretty sure they’ve delivered, planted, re-potted and rescued plants from pests at every home withal our road!
Got any good translating for new Singapore expats?
Even surrounded the stress and hassle of a move, make time to just take things in. Pick a place that’s a bit outside your repletion zone, and talk to the people who are helping you. Also, considering it’s Singapore, taste all the food. Be sure to join a long queue and order whatever the person in front of you ordered. It will unchangingly be delicious!
Tell us a bit well-nigh some project or hobby you’ve pursued since arriving.
Our children’s school here, The Winstedt School, has been wonderful. Their tideway pioneers integrated, comprehensive learning support that truly caters to every child learning differently. The teachers and staff are experienced and expertly trained, and the school polity very welcoming and engaged. Over the undertow of this last year, the school has taught our children and us so much through its progressive approaches to learning that include social-emotional learning (SEL) and inter-personal liaison (IPC). And the Parent League I’ve been a part of has given me an firsthand network of supportive, caring and fun friends.
Name three of your weightier regional holidays and why they’re special.
Georgetown in Penang, for the history and heritage that’s so closely unfluctuating to that of Singapore. Komodo Island in Indonesia, to watch our children’s vision go wide in wonder. And Camiguin island in the Philippines, for its sheer eyeful and moreover our lovely hosts, the Corrales, who are long-time family friends with a deep historic connection to the island.
What well-nigh three destinations still on your skillet list?
One would be a Mekong River Cruise. Also, when we finally manage our first family trip to India, upper on our list would be Jaipur. And, without any consideration at all to cost, logistics, current wires or personal schedules, let’s pick the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow to Vladivostok, preferably in the depths of winter. (It’s so hot in Singapore that we unquestionably dream of Siberian winters!)
Recommendations for Singapore expats
Schools & Kids’ Activities
The Winstedt School | winstedt.edu.sg
Happy Fish Swim School | happyfish.sg
Skate for Unity | facebook.com/skateforunity
Doctors & Dentists
Petite Practice (Dr Mohana) petitepractice.com
DP Coast Dental (Dr Yao) coastdental.com.sg
Hair & Beauty
Hair Salon COVO | covosg.com
The Nail Artistry | thenailartistry.com
Retail A Vintage Tale | avintagetale.com
Brisa | facebook.com/brisa.singapore
Wine & Dine
The Intan | the-intan.com
Forma | formasg.com
Asador Singapore | asadorsingapore.com
King’s Cart Coffee | kingscartcoffee.com
Chye Seng Huat Hardware cshhcoffee.com
Cake in a Cup instagram.com/cakeinacup7
Crane (above Café Natsu) wearecrane.com
Singapore Airlines | singaporeair.com
Things to Do in Singapore
Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s International Piano Festival | sso.org.sg
Free lunchtime concerts at the Asian Civilisations Museum | nhb.gov.sg/acm
An Evening with Nikki Müller at Tomfool Cats coolcats.sg
This vendible on this Joo Chiat shophouse appeared in the August 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe so you never miss a copy!
Also, to find out how to make the most of stuff Singapore expats, read our latest City Guide here for free!
The post A tomfool Joo Chiat shophouse for a global family! appeared first on Lifestyle Guide To Moving To & Living in Singapore - Expat Living.