American expat Jennifer Daniels talks about fulfilling her dream of living abroad, and how the new Ardmore Residence has been the perfect fit. Driving up to the gate at Ardmore Residence and telling the guard the unit number I’m visiting, I’m greeted with an “Ah, yes, Mrs Daniels,” from security. This personal touch is to be expected once you find out the Daniels were one of the first couples to move into the brand new condominium, which opened in 2013.
Their 19th-floor apartment has wide views across the Orchard and Stevens Road area. It was initially this central location that drew Jennifer and her husband Tim to their new home.
“When we first came to visit Singapore in July last year, we looked into a lot of different areas, but I wanted a location where I could walk to plenty of places. I didn’t want to be out on Sentosa – I worried I’d get too comfortable and would hardly come into the city. There’s so much energy here, it’s such a hub, and I wanted to be where the action is,” says Jennifer.
Then there was the decision between a house or a condo. As their two daughters were back in the US (Madison boarding in high school and Alyssa at college) they decided a house would be too much space for the two of them.
“For us, the location was the number one thing, then a newer place, then a decent view. We went for a high-rise modern condo, something totally different from our home in the US,” explains Jennifer.
Following their initial visit, Tim relocated a little before Jennifer in August 2013. He viewed Ardmore Residence just after it had started to be shown. “My husband is one of those people who want things yesterday, and so we’d moved into our condo by September.”
Furniture and Furnishings
With their own furniture left behind in their Chicago home, Tim’s company agreed that they could lease furniture here. Asian Tigers, their relocation agent, recommended they use realtor Peter Tao, who in turn recommended Window to the Past, The Furniture Company (WTP) for furniture rentals.
Tim had already met with WTP before Jennifer arrived, and given them a chance to measure up the new apartment and take pictures. “We had chatted through email about style: I wanted modern, but not ultra-modern. We discussed colours and focused on blues; I can’t do white because of Bella, our dog. I tried to do as much on the internet as possible, but most of the furnishing decisions had to be done in person.”
Jennifer landed in Singapore one Tuesday morning at 5.30am, and that afternoon she was at WTP picking out pieces for her home. “The owner of WTP, Mimi, is one of my ‘go to’ people; she’s been so helpful and generous with her time. She even took me to Giant when I arrived. She helped me figure out things here, and made the whole process very easy.”
With both daughters at a more independent stage in their lives, it seemed like the ideal time for Tim and Jennifer to relocate from Chicago to Singapore, pursuing Tim’s job with a private education company. “My husband had lived in London in his 20s, but this was my first international posting. I’d travelled internationally a lot – my dad was an airline pilot – but I’d always wanted to live overseas. It never quite seemed to happen when I was younger, so I told my husband that if an international posting came up, I’d consider most countries.”
Given the option of either Hong Kong or Singapore, they felt Singapore would be easier to acclimatise to. “I grew up in Southern California, so I’m used to heat but not humidity; that’s been the hardest to get used to,” says Jennifer.
Since arriving, Jennifer has joined the American Women’s Association (AWA) and is learning Mandarin. She plans to learn how to play mahjong, and has her sights set on exploring Bhutan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Australia, and going sailing in Bali. She’s an engineering undergraduate, and has an MBA. “I’ve worked in industrial sales, marketing, management consulting, teaching and in a non-profit business. If somebody needs something done, I’ll step up.”
She’s clearly going to make the most out of her expat experience!
Jennifer’s tips for life in Singapore
Friends of the Museum (“the Monday morning lectures are interesting and on a variety of subjects”)
My Little Spanish Place (“great food – favourites are the jamon selection and the octopus”)
619 Bukit Timah Road
Nam Hai Resort (“beautiful and with superb service”)
Hoi An, Vietnam
No Menu (“delicious, authentic family-style Italian food”)
21/23 Boon Tat Street
Red Bridge Restaurant & Cooking School
Hoi An, Vietnam
Shinji (“fabulous sushi, but expensive”)
Raffles Hotel #02-20, 1 Beach Road
Tiong Bahru Wet Market (“for flowers and fresh fruit and vegetables”)
30 Seng Poh Road
Wild Honey (“great for brunch”)
6 Scotts Square #03-01
3 Kung Chong Road
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