Expat Life

Happy New Year from Singapore!

Happy New Year from Singapore! I thought I was going to have something a little more interesting to share with you today, but you know what they say about the best-laid plans… Make them, and a giant monsoon will come through and wreck them all.

Okay, maybe that’s not what they say. But that’s what happened.

Happy New Year From Singapore!

Our plan had been to go down to the Marina Bay area and watch Singapore’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show from across the water. I’d been looking forward to it for months and even knew exactly where I wanted to sit for the best view with the least amount of people. (Gardens by the Bay East, in case you’re curious.) It was going to be just like that time we watched the New Year’s Eve fireworks in London, but without the triple layers of clothing and threat of frostbite.

And then the monsoon came through.

It arrived with gusto during the night on New Year’s Eve Eve. Waking all of us up with its thunderous arrival, I actually smiled to myself, thinking Oh good, we’ll just get all this pesky rain business out of the way now! But when raindrops were still pelting against the window by late afternoon the next day, we realized we were going to need to rethink our evening plans a little.

Since none of us were up for dressing in ponchos and sitting outside in a monsoon for hours for a fireworks show that we weren’t even entirely confident would still be on, we decided to take advantage of the fact that we live on the 28th floor and try to catch the show from the comfort of our own apartment. That was when I discovered the best view we have of the Singapore skyline is actually from a room I’d never even used before.

Happy New Year From Singapore!

The maid’s bathroom.

Almost all houses and condos in Singapore come outfitted with a tiny maid’s room and bathroom off of the kitchen. We use our maid’s room as a pantry and storage for our luggage (which should give you an idea of just how small these spaces are), and since we have two other bathrooms that aren’t made to airplane specifications, we tend to forget about the cramped one where we could technically shower and brush our teeth at the sink without ever leaving the toilet.

This is, I suppose, how we have managed to live in this apartment for 1.5 years without realizing our maid, had we had one, would have had the best view in the house. I’m talking clear view of both the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer, among several other recognizable buildings.

So of course I did the only logical thing one can do when presented with such an opportunity, and spent New Year’s Eve in the bathroom.

Happy New Year From Singapore!

Happy New Year From Singapore!

As luck would have it, Singapore had not just one fireworks show, but five throughout the night – one mini-show every hour from 8pm, all leading up to the big one at midnight. I set an alarm on my phone for each one of them, and so every hour on the hour, we’d pause what we were doing and I’d run into the bathroom and climb up onto the ledge and try to capture the show as best I could. (This is exactly why it took us all night long just to watch one movie, by the way.)

It was a good thing they had more than just one show, too, because the only one I ended up being able to get even halfway decent photos of was the first one. By some miracle (which had us doubting our decision to stay home until it picked up again a few minutes later), the monsoon pressed the pause button on the torrential rains and the clouds lifted high enough that we could see the Marina Bay Sands just as the first show was beginning. We caught both the light show and the short fireworks display before the rain began to fall again. (Thanks to Cory for the fireworks shot – his telephoto lens can practically look into the rooms at the MBS!)

Happy New Year From Singapore!

The rains got progressively heavier and the cloud cover thicker throughout the night to the point where, by midnight, we couldn’t even see the Marina Bay Sands anymore. The picture above is the best I could get. It’s definitely not the clear, colorful fireworks shot from across the water I was hoping to get that night, but that’s alright. There will be more fireworks and more New Year’s Eves in the future. We still had a wonderful evening staying dry, eating junk food, and watching movies with friends. It definitely beats last year’s New Year’s Eve which I completely slept through since we were en route from the US to Singapore over the entire day and night. (I’ll never make that mistake again. First time I missed welcoming the new year since I was a little girl!)

Anyone making resolutions this year? I find the older I get, the less inclined I am to make these. Probably because I know myself quite well at this point in life, and realize I do equally poorly with a strict set of resolutions as I do vague ones. I have much better luck when I give myself projects to complete, which I do all throughout the year. These are generally small goals that, once complete, lead to other small goals, and so on until I ultimately end up completing something quite important and/or changing some aspect of myself for the better (usually).

With our move back to the States coming up this summer (that news is here if you missed it), I know full well this is not the time to be taking on more than I already have, so for 2018 I hope to simply be able to keep doing what I’m doing without getting overwhelmed. And that includes blogging. (I have no plans to give all this up again anytime soon!) As far as where we plan to travel this year, that’s all a bit up in the air right now. I’d like to spend every weekend traveling around Southeast Asia while it’s still close by, but the likelihood of that happening is slim when we have a townhome to save up a down payment for and two cars, plus pretty much everything that plugs into a socket, to buy when we get back. That doesn’t mean we won’t be going anywhere, though. We just won’t be going very far. There’s still quite a bit more of Singapore I’d like to see before we go, too.

So here we are. A new year. Another move to prep for. And a return to the place I love most. Happy 2018, my lovely friends!

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  • Mrs. Match
    January 19, 2018 at 9:17 PM

    Wow, what an amazing fireworks display. That’s so crazy that you have a maid’s bathroom. I love seeing these glimpses into another world, basically. I’m looking forward to reading all about your adventures this year.

  • Rachel G
    January 7, 2018 at 9:51 PM

    Happy new year to you! A big move is a lot to get ready for in a year! We use our “maid’s room” as storage for luggage, too…also, storage for my parents’ luggage because they have way more stuff in their place than we do, haha! No windows in either the “maid’s” room or bathroom, though!

    • Sarah Shumate
      January 9, 2018 at 5:06 PM

      Our maid’s room doesn’t have a window either. I think it’s actually a bomb shelter, now that I think about it. There’s a sign on the door with a bunch of important-looking text on it in Mandarin (?) and after asking our agent about it, he said it could also be used as a bomb shelter. I remember thinking at the time, How often does Singapore get attacked to need bomb shelters in homes?! I don’t know the answer to that, but 1.5 years in, so far so good! :)

  • angloyankophile
    January 4, 2018 at 8:14 AM

    Happy New Year, Sarah! You’ve got an exciting year ahead. I didn’t make particular resolutions this year, though I’m feeling pretty positive about 2018.

    • Sarah Shumate
      January 6, 2018 at 12:24 AM

      I’m so happy to hear that! I am, too! :)