top of page
  • Writer's pictureShaneli Chandiramani

5 Things I’ve Learned About Moving to a New City

Everyone and their mother has asked me how my move to Singapore has been, if I’ve adjusted, if I’ve settled. I have the same set of answers: It’s been fine, I’m getting used to the slower pace, I’m finding my feet. I’m about 8 months in, and those answers are still the same.

1. It’s not always an easy adjustment if you have no peeps. That‘s the one thing I’ve struggled with since moving to Singapore. It’s wonderful spending all this time with my husband since we had a relatively short courtship, but I’ve discovered I need my own people.

I used to love frequenting this city as a tourist, packing my long weekends with lazy brunches and hawker centre dinners and discovering indie coffee shops, but I’ve come to realise it’s not real life. I can’t keep treating my “new” life as a long weekend away.

2. The pace is... different to what I’m used to. Hong Kong is all go, go, go, but the Lion City is marginally slower. Not working a full-time job has also affected the pace of life.

Lunar New Year in Singapore: Lion Dance at Sai Centre
© Shaneli Chandiramani

3. Singaporeans celebrate everything here: every traditional festival, every religious ceremony, the works. I thought I had heard of the main ones being a brown girl born and raised in Hong Kong, but boy, was I wrong. They celebrate Diwali a day earlier, because the South Indians celebrate it a day earlier, which led me to inadvertently take two days off. They even celebrate the end (the 15th day) of Lunar New Year.

4. It’s hard to make friends if you’re not working or living in a house-share situation. I don’t know what is scaring me the most: getting around this city (which is an irrational fear, I’m well versed in Google Maps), or doing the whole elevator pitch at “networking” events. Nor am I a new or expectant mother - Singapore is full of young families. I’m lost somewhere in the group of newbie expat wives, like I’m on some bizarre gap year in this city.

5. No matter what your career trajectory is, it’s tricky to find a job that you’ll feel settled in. My situation is uniquely strange: I haven’t moved over for a new job, I’ve moved over for a new family. It’s a weird period of limbo, and the longest time I’ve been without a full time job since I started working.

All in all, not quite what I was expecting in the first year of moving to the Little Red Dot. Let's do a stock take after another year, shall we?

bottom of page