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Moving to Singapore: Kelley on being fresh off the boat

NAME: Kelley Walls
AGE: 27
JOB: Trailing spouse

Hi Kelley! 

When did you move to Singapore?
November of last year – a job transfer for my husband.

Had you spent much time in Singapore before moving here permanently?
None whatsoever, so it was all a bit of a surprise. I’d never been anywhere in Asia.

Where do you live?
The River Valley area, by Killiney Road.

Why there?
It’s central, we can walk to the grocery store or the French bakery on Orchard Road, or hop on the 54 bus and be in Clarke Quay in five minutes.

What do you like most about the condo?
It’s like living in a small village where you have built-in friends, which is also great for our three kids.

Do you get stuck into the local Hawker food?
Love it. There’s nothing better than roti prata late at night! I also love lemon chicken with noodles and soup.

Used “lah” in a sentence yet?
My Singlish is getting better. The occasional “lah” or “uncle” slips out, but it just doesn’t sound quite right with the Texas accent.

What’s your favourite place for a night out?
The Bank or One Altitude for Ladies’ Night. 

Favourite supermarket?
FairPrice Finest where you can get imported goods and not have to take out a mortgage to pay for groceries.

Biggest culture shock about moving to Asia?
As far as Singapore itself, the humidity surprised me. Stepping outside when we got to Changi felt like being wrapped in a warm wet blanket, but eventually you get acclimated to it. Culturally, people in Singapore are a little more direct in their communication than I was used to in the US. I appreciate that there is no ambiguity in the speech of most Singaporeans. We have a transracial adoptive child and that has landed us some very “interesting” comments so far in Singapore…

Best thing about living in Singapore?
There are so many things to love. As a woman, you can walk down the street at night and feel totally safe; everywhere you need to go is easily accessible by bus or train; you can get any type of Asian cuisine at the food centres for less than fast food in the US.

Travelled anywhere since you got here?
Embarrassingly enough, nowhere yet, but we’re planning a trip to Myanmar and then some of the Malaysian islands soon.

What do you miss most about home?
Tex Mex food!