Few Firsts

Today (April 30, 2014) was a day of many “firsts” for me.

MoM

Today we were called for interviews/FP (finger prints) formalities to the Ministry of Manpower, Singapore. I must say, I was absolutely impressed by the efficiency and professionalism exhibited by the staff here. Everything was done in exact 10 minutes. I was in awe.

House Hunting

Another first for me, especially a first with a housing agent who drives me to see houses in his own Honda City. The guy speaks Singlish with the “la” of Malay thrown in. If you are confused, most of my Malaysian friends and industry colleagues finish their sentences with the word “la”. When asked, they said that it’s a habit of the people staying in Kuala Lumpur in particular.

I didn’t like the house I saw. Though it was in a beautiful locality (I find all areas of Singapore very beautiful, neat and well maintained), it had some issues. The house was on the 4th (top) floor and the building had no lift (elevator). If our parents were to visit, they would find it really difficult to climb so high. Another thing I didn’t like was the strange triangular room structure. There is a possibility that my simpleton partner would even get lost in the rooms (kidding)! :p Basically, it was bad Vastu/Feng Shui (yes, I do believe in it).

MRT

Compared to the taxis here, MRTs are cheaper and extremely convenient. I asked the agent to drop me at the Novena MRT station so that I could return from there (I wanted to try the MRT alone). Getting off from the car, I decided to have my lunch at the Novena Plaza first. The best part about MRT is that every station has a shopping mall in it. Or, should I say every other shopping mall also has an MRT station at its basement!

I looked around and found a food court inside the Novena Plaza. Another tip I must give here is that having food in a food court is much cheaper than any restaurants. At just S$3:80 I had a satisfying full meal. I browsed the mall for a little while and took the MRT going towards Jurong East. Big mistake! I should have boarded the one going towards Marina Bay. Silly me! Realising my mistake, I got off at the next station (Toa Payoh) and changed to the correct MRT and reached home (hotel). Enough adventure for a day.

Salts

I went to the Cold Storage (it’s a big departmental store) at Novena Plaza. I was thrilled to see “salts”. Wondering why? Well, I must admit, I have never seen so many varieties of salts in one single shelf like this:

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Hello Singapore

We reached Singapore on Saturday at 8:30 am local time. In the immigration area, after seeing my DP, the officer joked saying, “Oh, you are travelling with him to support him huh?” I smiled and said yes. He winked and smiled. He was a jolly person. But I didn’t really get his humour. He asked me for how long I would be staying here in Singapore. I said let me see!

Later, we collected our bags. I have never travelled with so many suitcases in my life! The combined weight of the suitcases must have reached 100+ kgs! We went to the car pick up area where we were supposed to be received by an office car. Just before getting out of the airport, I suddenly remembered that we forgot to collect the tripod from the conveyor belt! I ran towards the belt with my Passport and boarding card in hand. I informed the security officer what had happened and requested her to help. She said, “No problem, go to that information centre and ask them for a re-entry pass and come back to me.” I did as suggested. The officer screened me and kept my Passport and boarding card with her. She then told me to go and collect the tripod first and collect my Passport and boarding pass after the tripod. I did as suggested. The tripod was kept on a tray near the conveyor belt. What a relief!

The car finally arrived. Seeing our luggage, the driver suggested us to take one more taxi as his car didn’t have enough space for all the suitcases. I offered to go by the taxi, as I know the place and have seen the hotel we were booked in. The driver told me to wait in the hotel lobby upon reaching. 

On the way to the hotel, I was looking at the many condos (condominium) on both sides of the road and was wondering where to stay. Every time I visited Singapore, the omnipresent Singapore flyer and the breath-taking Marina Bay Sands always made me feel at home. I have visited this place many times before. The city always treated me nice. I was happy every time including this. Tired and happy.

View from the hotel window

Finally we checked in and freshened up. It was already time for lunch. I offered to take my partner to a South Indian restaurant. We ate there during our last visit.

Restaurant Nalan was just next to the hotel. We both had lunch there. I love the food at Nalan. Earlier, it had many other branches throughout the city. But I recently came to know that they have only one now. The food here can be custom made to some extent. 

The weather was pleasant. We decided to go to Clarke Quay and hang out there. We also decided to experiment with the MRT today. After walking for 3 minutes, we reached the City Hall MRT Station. We took a standard ticket each to go to Clarke Quay. We were supposed to change from the red line to the purple line at Dhoby Ghaut which was the next stop. We got off the red line at Dhoby Ghaut and took the purple line immediately. Funny thing! We forgot to consider the direction of the train! The result? We reached Little India instead of Clarke Quay. Both were one stop on each side of Dhoby Ghaut. We took the wrong train. We got off at Little India and took the opposite train back to reach Clarke Quay. It was fun and funny!

DP & EP Approved

Today (April 15, 2014) I was told that the Employment Pass and Dependent Pass for both (my partner and I) of us got approved by the Ministry of Manpower (MoM), Singapore. This means we only have 10 days to move winding up everything in Mumbai.

Though I have been packing on and off in the middle of work and travels, it was not enough. It was time for the movers and packers to do the final packing.

Very soon we realised how moving within the country and moving to a different country are two hugely different things. There are rules and restrictions in every step. Moreover, Singapore is infamous for having rules for everything. But we are positive and prepared. 

Most of our things are to be left behind. The reason being, majority of Singapore houses for rent are fully furnished. We will not need any of our things like dining table, refrigerator, washing machine, microwave, gas and any other household goods. We decided to move everything to our apartment in Guwahati. We decided to go to Singapore only with our clothes.

The movers and packers surveyed the house and the things to be moved. They assured that even my plants in the balcony will be moved without damage or death. I was relieved. They will do their work this Thursday and Friday. The clock is ticking! In the middle of this madness, I also have to go home (Guwahati)!

The Moving

The moving preparation begins. Yesterday (April 12, 2014), some cardboard boxes and cartons arrived on request. Those I wanted before the movers and packers start their packing. I have learnt it from experience that the moment the packers start their work at home, it’s a chaos. They pack up everything and I always forget what was kept where. Though they do the marking of the boxes, small items get lost in their endeavour to utilise empty spaces in the boxes. I especially wanted to wind up the office myself as I didn’t want to lose anything.

 That’s me today and I had to fill just 6 such cartons. I can use a little help. Who’s listening?