Americans Debbie and Chris Hamilton – she hails from California, he from upstate New York – came to Singapore ten years ago, after a stint in London. Though they initially planned to be here for only a few years, they’re still hugely enthusiastic about life in Singapore, their Ardmore Park apartment and their work.
It was Chris’s career with a global insurance company that brought them here. Debbie teaches at the Singapore American School (SAS), providing literacy and maths support to students who need extra help. While they lived in London, she taught the third grade at the TASIS American School for seven years; so we can assume she’s pretty familiar with the US Grade 3 curriculum!
Daughter Kendall, now 26 and working in San Francisco, and son Jeff (22), a senior at New York State’s Colgate University, are both graduates of SAS. Their mother says that they have a real and lasting connection both with Singapore and with the school.
“It’s a great school, with a great parent community, and I really like my work. In many ways, I feel that in my career I have saved the best for last.” Work is clearly important to Debbie. “For one thing,” she says with a grin, “it prevents me from stalking my kids.”
“We’ve been in Ardmore Park for just over a year; it’s our fourth Singapore home,” says Debbie. “The first five years were in a house that was subsequently demolished for development, then we had another house, and after that a semi-detached one.
“This is our first apartment, and we think it’s fabulous. Living in a high-rise with a view is such a treat, despite the noise and the construction work that’s always going on somewhere near you.”
Having experienced the other option, the Hamiltons extol the advantages of living centrally. “Mainly,” says Debbie, “we moved here because we wanted to live closer to town. Chris can walk to his office; when we lived in the UK, it could take him two hours to get into London from our home in Weybridge, Surrey. “What’s more, being in the city is such fun. It’s easy to go out for a coffee at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, or to a movie, and the American Club is right here. We often walk around in the Botanic Gardens during the evenings. In the past, we had to drive there; now it is just a stroll away.”
Debbie says she works a full day, but that’s probably an understatement. She downplays the fact that she makes the daily journey to the SAS campus at Woodlands, all the way to the north of the island. Mind you, when you leave home at 6am, as she does, there’s unlikely to be much traffic. “I could only start doing that when my son finished school; he’d even squawk about having to leave at 7am!”
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