19 November 2006

Flight to Singapore

We arrived in Singapore Wednesday morning, after an 18 hour flight from Los Angeles on Singapore Air. The flight was great, as was the food and service. I must admit that I’ve never flown for 18 consecutive hours before. The most interesting fact to note is we flew in total darkness the entire flight!

Tiana enjoyed the lie-flat seats as she spent the first hour or so ensuring her seat was comfortable. She enjoyed the flight so much that she declared she wanted to fly on this plane everyday! Kelly & I laughed after hearing that. Kiara was asleep within the first 30 minutes of taking off. She did not rest on the flight from Cincinnati to Los Angeles, thus was very tired. She actually slept through the first dinner serving, which is unusual for her.

Since it is a long flight, there are 3-4 main servings with snacks if you get hungry in between. The service was outstanding as the staff was there to cater to your every need. The instant your glass was about half full, there were there to see if you needed a refill. What a stark contrast to Delta, as on our flight from Cincinnati to LAX we were served a beverage and received a snack that consisted of a heavily processed cheese spread and crackers.

As for the entertainment, they had movies on demand and they watched Cars about 3 times each. They had all sorts of movies as Kelly watched a few of them. I finished watching the last 11 hours of "24" season 4. Let’s just say that I now fully understand what Tom Ervin was talking about in my kitchen in Stockholm. Season 4 had to be the most intense, but now I want to watch season 5 on DVD.

The flight concluded with a nice breakfast at 4:30 AM. We arrived in Singapore to a heavy military presence due to Bush’s arrival later that day. Before leaving LAX, we knew our bags did not make the connection, so we proceeded directly to fill out a claim for our bags and to our surprise; we were compensated for our delayed bags. They were coming on the next flight (3 hours later from LAX). So instead of collecting 11 bags, we strolled out of the concourse to meet the person who would take us to our "serviced apartment" @ Somerset Cairnhill.

Living in Singapore

Everyone is doing fine! We are quickly adjusting to the new surroundings. After arriving @ 6 AM, we checked into our serviced apartment around 7 AM, got showers and made it to breakfast by 9 AM. We met the real estate broker & relocation advisor @ 9:30. The movers were at the condo waiting on us when arrived. After approx 8 hours of unpacking, we returned to the serviced apartment very excited and tired after unpacking! Since the kids were jetlagged, Kelly took them before lunch back to the apartment. This allowed me to focus on the movers and start the initial unpacking. Kelly, being the best wife that she is, saw to it to order me lunch from Pizza Hut! I don’t remember eating a pizza quite so fast before, but it was consumed in record time!

It is safe to say that our first day in Singapore as a family was a long one. We started unpacking boxes immediately after the movers unpacked the furniture and wardrobes. We decided to unpack the kitchen and other ancillary boxes. I almost passed out when I realized my weights and storage rack was shipped here instead of going to storage in the US. The living conditions here are nice, but we do not have the similar space as we had in Stockholm. For comparison, we have approximately 3800 sq ft here as opposed to 5200 sq ft in Sweden, and we do not have the large basement for storage here.

As we were unpacking, Tiana and Kiara were going bonkers seeing and playing with their toys that they had not seen in a few months. They especially missed their beds as they simply wanted to lie in them. Kiara was so excited to see her favorite pink blankets; she hugged them for the next hour!

We spent Saturday afternoon at the pool, after shopping in the morning. It was interesting seeing the kids splash around in the water. They especially got a kick out of me diving into the deep end. Kiara thought it was hilarious and requested me to do it again! Go figure, Kiara seeking fun and excitement. While poolside, we met a nice family with a 3 year old daughter who is a great swimmer. They have been in Singapore for the past 3 years and their youngest has been in the water since she was 6 months old. We will enroll the twins in swimming lessons to take full advantage of the pool here.

Driving in Singapore

We ventured out on the roads a few times. Kelly volunteered to be the first driver to test the waters. In Singapore they drive on the left side of the road and the driver seat is on the right, as it is in England. She did well with no incidents. However, she did panic a little upon leaving the complex. I think she realized the difficulty in having to drive on the opposite side and having all the controls flipped around. The gear selector is still in the middle, but you have to engage it with your left hand. The wipers and turn signals are on the opposite side as well.

Even seasoned Singaporean drivers get lost, so we have a great map that shows schools, grocery markets, shopping centers and even gas stations, banks and post offices. The rental does not have a navigation system aside from the map and a trusted set of eyes!

I drove to Carrefour’s (large European grocery chain similar to Wal-Mart Super Centers), located in a huge shopping mall downtown Sunday. That was interesting to say the least! I’ve never felt more lost in a parking garage. I guess I felt more at home when an older woman asked me to get her an item from the top of the third shelf. I guess that was my contribution to Singaporean society!

This morning, Kelly was waiting to get a cab and then she realized that no cabs were readily available. I guess it was my lucky morning as I got to drive her to the airport. We got her there on time and we made it back home without getting lost. I guess I’m getting used to driving here now.

Kids School & Swedish Friends

We enrolled the twins in Eton House in the Kindergarten 1 class and they will start in early January. Their school is very close to the office, so we will take them to school in the morning and then they will ride a bus home @ 3:30 each day. We’ll have to buy school uniforms for them. Kelly bought red Crocs yesterday, as the school uniforms are red, green and white. Their school provides breakfast, lunch and two snacks (morning and afternoon) daily. They will also learn Mandarin Chinese as a second local language. Eton House’s website is www.etonhouse.com.sg.

It is not quite Futuraskolan in Sweden, but we hope Tiana & Kiara receive a similar education as they did in Sweden. They still ask about all their friends from Futuraskolan, including Otto, Frida, Robert, Stella, Victor, Eszter, Lucas, Robin, Hugo, Tobias, Marias amongst others. They are still very fond of their teachers – Jessica, Camilla & Emelie. Words can not express our sincere appreciation for what that school did for us and out kids.

Last but not least, we miss our dear friends, the Ihrsen’s: Niclas, Cajsai, Otto and Lova! Of all the people we met in Stockholm they were one of the first to welcome us and the last to say goodbye. It was difficult saying goodbye to them as they became a huge part of our acclimation in Sweden. We became such good friends that Niclas talked me into going long skating on a frozen lake in Lidingo, our old neighborhood! We’re fortunate to have met and befriended them.

Staying Connected

We want to say thanks to everyone for making our transition from Sweden to Singapore very special. Though we are really looking forward to living in Singapore, we realize that we have moved far away from our many friends and family members. To make communication a little easier, we have a Birmingham-based Skype number that will allow you all to call us via the computer for free.  The number is (205) 383-4860 and you’ll need to download Skype to access it.  You can download it from www.skype.com

Once downloaded, you will be able to see when we’re online. Our Skype logon is Terrence & Kelly Anchrum. If you search under Anchrum, you will see us. They even sell Skype phones that you plug into your USB port.

We’ve taken quite a few pictures that I need to download and upload to our website. I need to really update that thing as that is one of my many things to do this week!

For those in the States, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

The Anchrum Family