Our first few days home

We arrived home (local time) Friday at around 7:30pm.  We were met by my in-laws and one of my best friends, Kate.

Ravi, Ella and my in-laws went home.  Kate and I went to Friendly’s, beginning my tour of “American food I’ve really missed and am dying to eat,” with waffle fries and honey bbq chicken strips.  Sadly I was too jetlagged/nauseous to get ice cream, but I was happy.  Once she dropped me off at my in-laws, I was ready to drop.  Ironically, Ellie and Ravi didn’t hit the sack until 1 and 2am respectively.  Sadly, Ravi’s coming to bed and my waking up happened at the same time.  While he went to sleep, I couldn’t manage to get back to sleep.  When E woke up at 5/5:30am, I gave up and got up as well.

On Saturday, Ellie and I went to Isis Parenting to buy a new stroller.  Our current stroller is great, but feeling its age.  Considering that she prefers to walk the majority of the time, I was interested in getting a super light umbrella stroller that would also extend my ability to travel around Singapore more.  I never take her on buses with our current stroller, as it’s not easy to fold and it’s heavy and bulky when it is folded.  I was extremely lucky that Isis has a last year model of the stroller I liked on sale, and that better than that, it was a 50% off on older stock car seats and strollers weekend.  So I got E’s new stroller for 40 dollars (when the new model full price was 120).  I’m feeling pretty good about that deal!

I was SO HAPPY to be driving my car again.  I can not stress enough how much I miss driving in Singapore.  My car has always been a special private place for me.  Where I control the radio, I have the freedom to go where I want and when I want, and I can indulge my need for speed 🙂

I also hit Target for some necessities, including, to E’s delight, Disney Princess band-aids.  She has a little scrape on her foot and getting an Ariel bandage was exactly the right bribe to keep it on.

Ravi, E and I also hit a Destination Maternity, as while my weight hasn’t really changed (or if anything, I’ve dropped a few pounds thanks to nausea interfering with my ability to eat), it is redistributing and my uterus seems eager to stretch back out.  So I needed some ugly (they’re all ugly, let’s be real) maternity jeans and shorts.  I did, however, feel lucky to find an adorable sundress in blue and white that will work well in Singapore.  Horror of horrors, I also had to get a maternity swimsuit (ladies–trying on swimsuits=traumatic….trying on maternity swimsuits==xanax).  My favorite purchase there, however, wasn’t for me…I found a onesie with a New Yorker cartoon on it; picture a nursery with babies in bassinets.  One baby is holding a smart phone up out of the bassinet and the caption says “OMG, I just got born!!!”  As a blogger and social media addict, I had to have it.

We met my in-laws for dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.

I tried not to fall asleep at the table, and passed out as soon as we got home, around 8:30 or 9pm.  Ellie fell asleep in the car.  We both woke up around 5:30 on Sunday morning.

We had a lazy Sunday morning, but eventually Ravi and I decided to run out and get stuff.  We didn’t realize that a lot of places were closed as it was Easter–we’ve been in Singapore too long, where very little gets in the way of shopping.  And if nothing else, Mustafa is open 24/7/365.

Our first stop, Toys R Us was open.  We weren’t planning to, but we picked up a car seat for the baby.  We had epic fights over car seat material with E, so when we found one we BOTH loved, we chose to buy it rather than wait and hope it would still be here on our next trip.  The car seat will just stay at my in-laws for the time being.  We also picked some stuff up for E and a cousin of hers.

The next two stops were closed.

Bed Bath and Beyond was open, and we picked up some more sheets that match our bedding set, a new razor for Ravi, and some other odds and ends.

We picked Ella up from her grandparents, and drove to pick up a friend in for Passover from San Francisco.  We took Mickey to Kimball’s, which I raved about here before.  At Kimball’s we met up with two more friends.  We broke up the party around 10, and Mickey and our family went to dinner together, catching up with one another.

After dropping her off, we came home.  E had crashed early, but managed to sleep until 8am today.  I went straight to sleep and Ravi, who went to sleep later woke up with E, allowing me to sleep in.

Monday Ellie and I spent the day with one of my other best friends, Aimee, and her adorable son CJ at their home.  Ravi and his dad ran some errands, including shopping for some more work clothes.  We had dinner at home followed by Bridge.

I can’t stress enough how awesome it is to see our friends and family in person.  To be able to give them a hug or see them smile at a joke.  To commiserate.  To just hang out.

But while I really do miss being in Boston, I’m already missing some things about Singapore…but I’ll save that for another post.

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10 Responses to Our first few days home

  1. hatchje says:

    I am a fellow Bostonian living in Singapore and looking forward to leaving soon (May).

    Great Blog! Wish I had found it sooner as we have been here for two years.

    Thanks.

  2. sonia says:

    hi there! love reading your blog…we might be moving to singapore soon (currently live in toronto). i was wondering, i noticed that you purchased a car seat for the new baby (i’m currently 3 months pregnant as well!) – do u have a car in singapore ? just wondering why you are taking one back….i’ve got tons of other questions! hope u dont mind 🙂

    sonia

    • Crystal says:

      We don’t have a car in Singapore. We’ve talked about long term rentals (as my husband and I both take cabs 99% of the time for convienence and to save time) and we both did convert our licenses. But it’s unlikely that we would do that before #2 is old enough that I’m not so sleep deprived that I could handle dropping Ravi off at work.

      With Elanor, I just use the lap belt in the taxis, but with a newborn, I’ll be happier (at least early on) with them in a bucket car seat (which you can just strap into the cab with a seat belt, without using the base). This will also let me use either a car seat attachment on my Bee or more likely (since I have it in Singapore as part of the gear I hauled there when we moved) my snap n go (warning…you can’t purchase them in Singapore…I have no idea why…or at least I’ve never seen one and I’ve been in a lot of baby stores in the past year).

      You are under no obligation to use a car seat at all in cabs, and you see plenty of moms just use a sling. I have a very bad back and can only use slings for a limited time before my back craps out on me. I think it’s something where you need to figure out what’s right for your family.

      For older babies/toddlers, there is a car seat cum stroller that I see some moms use with their toddlers, but I’ve tried it out and it seems like both a lousy car seat (the safety ratings aren’t fabulous) and an awkward low to the ground stroller that I’m just not interested in hauling around.

      Also if you need an OB recommendation, I have someone I love, and would be happy to pass her name/email/phone along to you.

      Happy to answer any and all questions you want to throw my way 🙂

  3. sonia says:

    Hi Crystal,

    thanks for the response…i will bring my bucket car seat along! would love to have the OB recommendation…in which area is the OB? we are thinking of settling down in the East Coast…close to the Canadian international school…not sure yet but thats the plan…which area are u in? love your place its really nice!

    thanks for the help!

    • Crystal says:

      I’m over by Great World City, about 1.5 km or so from ION Orchard Mall and Orchard Road. My OB is at Gleneagles Hospital, which is a bit of a hike from East Coast (although it’s a lovely area if you have a car…can be tricky without one). I’ll send it to you via email in the next few weeks. I think I have her business card here with me in the US, but not on me at the moment. As soon as I track it down I’ll send it to you (or worst case as soon as I’m back in SG)

  4. sonia says:

    awesome that would be great!

  5. Sonia says:

    Hi crystal, can u give me an idea of what your monthly expenses are like? I’m budgeting $3500 for rent and $800 for grocery a month . Is a salary of 180k sufficient? Did u get any allowance from the company? We r wondering if we shud negotiate something into the offer letter
    thanks

    Sonia

    • Crystal says:

      Ravi’s employer only does local deals. They paid for the move, a month of corporate housing when we first arrived and a signing bonus and otherwise it’s straight salary.

      Keep in mind that we are spoiled spoiled spoiled…

      Rent–4800 (would be 6k, but we’re next to construction, so we have a break in the rent). We have a 3 bedroom plus maid’s room with 2 baths on the 6th floor (higher floors, higher rents…but you never want to be on the 4th or lower because of cockroach infestation issues). We also live very centrally…if you look at a map, we’re at the corner of River Valley Road and Hoot Kiam, which is just over a km up the road from Orchard Road. There are much cheaper areas to rent in.

      Food–1600-2000 (including eating out). We love Western food. We pretty much ONLY eat Western food at home. American groceries are super pricey. Ravi also hits Starbucks every day to the tune of 14-20 dollars a day. A dinner for two at Outback is easily 120 (sans alcohol) as is dinner for 2 at Friday’s or Chili’s. McDonalds is usually 20 bucks (I think). Ellie gets McD’s 2x or 3x a week. We don’t do hawker food for the most part. If you’re more gastronomically adventurous, you’ll have a far lower grocery bill than I do.

      Water/Electricity (including Air/Con)–600/700 a month. BUT we run the air con 24/7. Partially I’m pregnant and always hot. Partially I just can’t deal with waiting for the apt to cool down after being out. Partially the kittens are home all the time. Our room is far cooler than the living room, as I prefer sub-Artic temps for sleeping. The rest of the house is somewhere between 22 and 24C (70’s, I think).

      Taxis–I usually blow through 150 dollars worth of cabs in a week. But keep in mind right now I’m not supposed to be walking much because of the tendon issue in my formerly broken ankle, so I skip the bus and the MRT right now. Ravi takes cabs both ways to and from work (he does 14+ hour days regularly so it’s all about him spending the most time at home). So he drops approximately 150-200 a week on cabs (there’s a 50% past midnight surcharge, as well as a peak hour surcharge in the am).

      School—Ellie’s pre-k program (Growing Up Gifted) is around 250 a month (I pay per semester so I may break that down wrong, but it’s something like less than 3k a year. Her gymnastics classes at The Little Gym break down to about 30/lesson, which is fairly standard.

      Ravi has a higher salary than 180k SGD (he prefers I don’t disclose exact figures, sorry) but if I recall that you were interested in private school, that may make things quite tough. I know most of the private pre-k’s I looked into (ones that were affiliated like SAS and Stamford American, OFS, etc) were in the 14-17K a year range. If you have the option to negotiate, I would strongly urge you to push for a schooling allowance of 25K a year (once she’s in P1, you’ll need it), and a housing allowance of 6-7K a month. When we move, we’re expecting our rent to go up significantly next year.

      Feel free to email me at cnanavati at gmail to talk more in depth about money.

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