Saturday, May 5, 2012

Just Keep Moving...(Part 1)

I came to Singapore in December of 2004. It was my first Christmas away from my family. It was also the first time I've been on my own, away from home. I spent that first Christmas in a rented 3-bedroom apartment which I shared with 5 adults and 3 kids. For the next few months, I adjusted to living alone and living with strangers. I learned to queue for the bathroom, to take turns doing laundry, to pay my share of the rent and utilities on time, to do ironing, to wake up in time to take the bus to work and to subsist on canned soup and noodles. It was a cheap and quite pleasant arrangement. My housemates introduced me to new friends, one of whom would later become my husband, and made sure I wasn't lonely. But I also missed having privacy and having a place where I could relax and just be myself. So when I heard one of my old officemates was coming to Singapore, I got in touch and asked her if she wanted to share an apartment with me. Soon after, we found the perfect apartment and moved in together.

I loved our first apartment. It was on the top floor (4th floor) of a relatively old building, which meant bigger cuts, bigger space. The landlord just renovated the place so it looked like a condo, with all new fixtures and furniture and unlike other owners who scrimped on renovations and would just splash new paint on the walls, this landlord was a graphic designer who wanted the apartment to look nice. We had accent walls, pendant lamps, modern furniture mixed with antique furniture pieces, and granite flooring for the bathrooms. And she splurged on the kitchen as well. All the kitchen equipment was Ariston, there was a double sink, a humongous 6 foot refrigerator and even an oven. Everything was sleek, shiny and new. Win-win all around. Sure, there was no elevator, but hey climbing up and down those stairs was good exercise. The two of us would eventually share that apartment first with my sister, then two other friends and then my fiance. However, all good things soon came to an end and the dreaded renter's dilemma happened...our building was up for en bloc sale. We had to move.

       Our first apartment at Shrewsbury Road

By the time we moved out of the Shrewsbury apartment, there were six of us sharing it. We moved literally a stone's throw away to an apartment on Moulmein Road. Now this apartment was the complete opposite of our old one. Whereas the old one was sleek, shiny and new this one was the kind of apartment you could describe as lived in, homey and had character. It was again an old building, more of an apartment complex really and this time we were on the second floor. Again we had lots of space, windows all around and overhead fans in all the rooms so it was very airy. Technically, there were only 3 bedrooms but we converted the storage room into a tiny bedroom so it fit all six of us. We rented it unfurnished and brought in our own furniture. Some of the furniture from our old apartment made its way to the new one (bought from the landlord) and we added new pieces as well. By this time I had gotten married and that was my first home as a newlywed. That apartment was also where I started to learn how to cook. However, that was around the time of the economic crises and after months of renting, the owner decided to sell the place. Despite having a 2-year contract in place, we eventually came to an agreement with the landlord to move out after a year provided the owner compensate our moving expenses. And so we moved again.

Our apartment in Moulmein Road

With our next move, we realized how difficult it would be to look for a 4-bedroom apartment and considered splitting up. But we thought we'd try looking first before deciding anything. And good thing we did. Our next apartment was quite a find. It was a split-level penthouse apartment on the 17th floor of a newish condo. It had 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a balcony and outdoor rooftop. Big enough to fit all six of us. The views were quite stunning and there were lots of floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy such views. It was a great place for parties and there were a lot of things to celebrate. Here was where I got pregnant and where we brought our first baby home to. You could just imagine how fit a pregnant woman I was climbing up and down stairs inside my home everyday. But again (I'm sure you know the drill by now...) the owner decided to sell the place. And no, that's not a euphemism for the owner decided to throw us out. So we moved, yet again.

 Scenic Heights (our third apartment)

1 comment:

  1. OMG Ate Rara, memories of our first apartment in Singapore, love it!!! Miss you guys, see you soon again xx