Relocating to a new country with your family is a major upheaval. Christina, however, took the proverbial bull by the horns. During her solo three-week reconnaissance trip to Singapore, she found a place to live, furnished it, chose a school for her children, and became a member of the American Club.
Christina is anything but the trailing spouse. Sent to Asia on an international assignment, she is the driving force behind the family’s relocation. When I ask her how she coped with the challenge, she is quite unfazed. “My company provided us with cultural training before we moved here.
They plotted the emotional highs and lows we would be likely encounter on our journey, something they referred to as the emotional rollercoaster. It gave us a sense of what to expect.”
Christina’s husband, Doug, was due to take leave from his job in the US and join the family about a month after I met with her. “I can’t wait for him to get here,” she says. “In the past we have both worked, so this will be a completely different role for him. It will be his job to find some art for the apartment. As you can see, it’s a bit bare at the moment.”
The new family home is a large, three-bedroom ground-floor apartment in Cairnhill Circle. “I chose this area because I wanted to be within walking distance of Orchard Road,” Christina says. My inner shopaholic nods approvingly.
“The children like visiting the shops in Plaza Singapura. My daughter, Grace, particularly likes the Build-a-Bear workshop,” she says. Seeing my puzzled expression, she explains that this is a toy store where children create their own teddy bears.
The patio doors lead into a small garden, and from here the family are a hop, a skip and a jump away from the swimming pool. However, I can’t help noticing the close proximity of several cranes and the familiar sound of drilling. “The noise doesn’t really bother us much,” Christina says.
And that’s a good thing – lucky is the resident who manages to escape the looming cranes and brain-rattling hammer drills that liberally dot the city.
One for All
With only a short period in which to furnish the family home, Christina turned to Gallery 278. Recommended by her property agent, they were able to lease her everything that she needed. Filling the apartment with beds, sofas, consoles and tables, they also provided some sturdy outdoor furniture for alfresco feasting.
“My favourite piece is the dining-room table. I will probably buy it from them when I leave,” she says. With a simple glass tabletop supported by wooden beams made from railway sleepers, it adds a touch of drama to the clean white space. “My husband is a carpenter, so I think he will approve,” she adds with a smile.
Gallery 278 also added a touch of magic to Grace’s bedroom. With a bright pink netted canopy attached to the wall, it is fit for a princess and guaranteed to delight any little girl.
Schools and Clubs
Ten-year-old Alex and eight-year-old Grace attend the International School of Singapore (ISS). The kids are really happy and settled,” she says. “Best of all, they are within walking distance from the school.”
The Wagners are also members of the American Club, where they spend much of their spare time. “There is a summer camp during the school holidays, which has been great for the children while I’ve been at work. They have gone banana-boating and pony-riding and have played mini-golf on Sentosa.”
Christina also uses the club’s hair salon, and enjoys the art exhibitions that are held at the club every two months. “In the last exhibition, held by Red Sea Gallery, they were displaying work from a very good Australian artist.” She adds that the club is a great place to meet people, and that several of her colleagues are also members.
Thoughts on Singapore
The only problem Christina has encountered in Singapore, she says, is the long waiting lists at some of the international schools.
“Originally I tried to get the children into the American School, but it was full.” Her only other gripe is the lack of drive-through restaurants. “I miss being able to whiz out and grab a soda!
“Generally, our move to Singapore has been quite an adventure,” she relates. “Last week I took the kids to Sentosa and we spent a lovely day by the sea. We all said how much we love living here.
“Personally, I’m enjoying the contrast to our life back in the States. We come from a rural part of southern Illinois that is surrounded by farmland. Living in the shopping district of Singapore is a far cry from that. My son thinks that taking taxis is absolutely brilliant!”
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