Sunday, 28 September 2014

The real meaning of settling down...

It's been a tumultuous ten months or so since we have landed in Oz.

We've moved house thrice, I'm now well into my fourth job at a car workshop, we've made a heap of friends, and actually lost a few "friends" in recent times. I've been financially burned in a 'business deal' gone sour, to the tune of a couple of hundred bucks. I guess any form of entrepreneurial spirit shall take a backseat for the time being.

As some of you may have read or already know, we've 'owned' our own HDB in sg. We thought back then that we had "settled down". The phrase is usually thrown around with the various meanings such as marriage, having kids, having your own place to call home... and usually a combination of the above. But now that we finally own our home, the feeling is different. (Okay, technically the bank owns our home for now...)

Having recently come from a place where the average person struggles to pay for a public housing apartment on a 99-year lease, and people speak of "landed property" or condominiums with either great envy or great pride (depending on whether one aspires or actually owns), it's a strange feeling to have purchased a house with its own land. Strictly speaking, our home is a "unit", which shares certain components with the neighbouring house, such as a driveway, and  part of our carport uses the neighbour's home as structural support. But while there is common property that is shared, there is what is completely ours, all 325 square metres of it (land area being an approximation from Google Earth measurements). The house itself is completely separate from any neighbours'.

All these, from a humble beginning in sg. Zero financial contribution from either of our parents. No inheritance monies. No get-rich-quick or dodgy schemes. Just a bit of hard work, a bit of luck, a heap of blessings (for those who believe), and a few good decisions made at critical junctures. Ignoring the naysayers who have their noses in the air and their heads in the clouds, but are blind to reality (such as the fact that there are decent places among the western suburbs in Melbourne. 

Of course, it also took a strong push from our birth country, to rediscover the wandering tendencies of our forefathers, and to make a "leap of faith" as what others like to call it.

In hindsight, every trip I took out of sg, every place I've made an effort to visit, was in search of home. I remember discussing the feasibility of Thailand as an alternative to Sg, with A. An exercise in futility because Thailand doesn't really rock our boat any more than sg did. But every option that crossed our path had to be considered.

In recent months, the desire to wander has subsided somewhat. The first weekends after moving were spent doing all the little touch ups that the new house needed. There's still work to be done, but now we have time to relax and enjoy home as it is. There are still many places to visit in Australia, and even just within Victoria State, but those can wait. Maybe we won't visit most of these places after all, just like many of the locals we've met who never ventured much beyond the city and their home suburbs.

Finally, after ten months, we are home.

- S

Who needs movers or to hire a van/ute/trailer to move house? Not us for sure...

Covered lots for two average-sized cars. No "season parking" fees, ever.

Kitchen in its early days of our moving in. It's not huge, I've seen bigger HDB kitchens in the older flats. But open plan. More than enough for two :)

Hanging out with the neighbour, a cute little African boy. He has more vehicles than we do!

Clean simple design, courtesy of the previous owner-builder who renovated this place for re-sale.


  1. Congratulations! :)

  2. Kudos to you and A in finding a nice and cosy home when the masses think 'impossible'!
    And having just changed the spark plugs on my Nissan v6 by myself, I appreciate your decision to be a mechanic.
    Still have a spiral cable left to replace, but that's another story for another day.
    Keep the posts coming! Have always looking forward to new entries on your blog. =)

  3. Congrats! You guys are really an inspiration! Just a qn, did u manage to get a loan for the house or was it paid for upfront?

    1. Thanks AP, we got a loan. No thanks to our CPF being stuck in Sg


  4. Which western suburb are you guys in? Must share lobang for reasonable housings leh.

  5. Getting a little overcrowded here. I've only heard good things about east side.

    For "lobang", try or ;)


  6. Congrats to you both! Finally a place call home. Hubby and I just landed in Melbourne few weeks ago from Singapore as a PR too. So you can imagine, we're going through the same thing as you both when you first landed.... job hunting a priority now...

    1. Hi ST,

      Congrats to you guys as well! Job market ain't great, but I'm sure with the right mindset, you'll be fine.

      We've got a bit of readership from here as well, probably from the sg "diaspora", so feel free to self-promote in a comment and who knows, you might get picked up for a job opportunity by someone!


    2. Thanks S!

      In all honesty, though coming from an IT mid management job in SG, I've applied quite a fair bit - IT/non-IT, entry level, junior, mid level, management etc kinda job. Had a couple of calls and attended 1 interview. Still waiting but like you said, having the right mindset is so important. I'll also suggest to your readers that it's also important to make sure you have sufficient financial support to last you for a couple of months.

      So with S 'blessings' to self promote, anyone looking for casual, part time, perm, temp, contract, full time..... I'm all in for everything :)

  7. Dear A and S,
    This is Preethi and Arvind from Singapore. Congrats on your new house and happy times you are having over there. We are great fans and followers of your blog. Your blog has been a life changing experience for us. As we have taken it as an inspiration and gone through this entire process of Aus PR application, here we are with a successful grant. All thanks to you. We started this process being inspired by you guys and having taken every post as a reference we owe you a big thanks.
    I do maintain a blog sharing my experiences with your posts as inspiration.
    We are making our initial landing in Melbourne this Oct 27 for few days and we plan to migrate permanently by march 2015 settle there as well. We are excited but the same time anxious with too many questions and doubts popping over our heads. It would be great if we could meet you over a dinner or a coffee whichever is convenient for you guys. We are staying at a hotel in swanston street and would be glad to come to meet you in whichever location you would prefer.
    Here is my personal Awaiting your response.
    Preethi & Arvind

    1. Hi Preethi,

      As a general rule, we do not publish comments with personal contacts such as email, but it seems like you might prefer your comment published.

      We'll get in touch via email.

      If you wish to have the comment deleted for privacy's sake, I'll definitely oblige.


  8. Congrats to everyone from Singapore that have made it here to Oz. With the situation right now in SG, I think you have made the right choice migrating.
    Jobs may be hard to find at first for some.... but the feeling of freedom is priceless...

  9. Bro S.

    I don't know if you remember me, I am the one who wrote to you many moons ago in MCF about Oz, before you migrate....

    Glad to see you made it in Oz.

  10. S, Thanks for all your sharing

  11. Hello A & S,

    i'm Mr N from Nix's blog. Congratulations to your progress in Oz.

    I have always been a silent reader of your blog, Nix's and WD. It's always inspirational to read about the experiences of others, while getting ready for my own in 2016. Its always great to know that people who are adventurous and "took the leap of faith", really made it, and define their own lives themselves.

  12. Congrats! The place looks great!

  13. Hi A & S

    Glad you guys settled down and its great encouragement to me! I am a childcare teacher and my hubby a social worker, as we have a 3 years old now. We are hoping to make the big escape but wonder if the pay in Australia generally will be better? We heard rosy stories from the agents but I hope to have more sources.

    Thank you so much.

  14. hearsay you guys returned to singapore?

  15. Wrong. Hear from?

    In any case, if we ever visit THERE, we RETURN TO Melbourne :)


  16. Hi, I stumbled upon your blog while searching for Singaporeans' migration. I am in Auckland, NZ, I made the leap of faith like you did in 2012. I am going through the expensive and lengthy process of studying to PR, as my husband and I do not have the necessary qualification. I find comfort in reading your posts as the uncertainty of student visa to PR is really stressful. Thank you for taking the time to share your journey.

  17. Hi guys, I came across your blog while researching the stories of recent migrants. Just wanted to say Hi and congratulations, you are making it through step by step! I am from Russia, I've got the Australian PR in 2013, but am going to arrive permanently to Melbourne in a couple of months. So all those steps of finding first accommodation, getting papers in order, long term accommodation, job, car, buying a home, etc. are all ahead of me. Your story makes me happy and gives me confidence. Thanks for sharing it! Hope everything will continue to go well for you!


  18. Hi Yana and G Francesca, thanks for checking in.

    G, are you from Sg? No idea about pay, but generally higher for the same industry. Tax rates ARE higher though.

    Yana, I didn't know we are read from as far away as Russia! But the internet really makes the world a tiny place in this regard. You'll be fine :)