Friday 5 April 2013

Staying abroad

Last year, a mummy writer emailed me, requesting to share my story of a SG mum living abroad, and here's where the article was published -

Extracted story as below for memento:

Karen, 30, followed her husband to Monterey, US, where he is currently studying for his Masters in System Engineering. They have two children: Jazzelle, three, and Jareth, 20 months. The family has just entered the second of their 18 months there.

We arrived just in time for Halloween. Pumpkins were everywhere, and kids and adults alike dressed up in costumes. Even Disneyland was dolled up for the occasion. Even though it’s not common for Asians to celebrate it, I thought it wouldn’t be too bad to introduce Halloween to the kids and to have fun with the occasion. It didn’t take me long to decide on getting costumes for the kids. We had buckets and candies all ready for going around trick-or-treating in the neighbourhood!


My typical day never fails to include the yelling and disciplining of kids. I find myself getting crazily mad at every little mess or action even as they attempt to be funny. It boils down to being over-protective about child rearing. 

I have gradually noticed how easy the local parents here are with their kids and how independent their little ones are. It sure would make parenting less stressful if we are not as protective. At the same time this would give the kids great opportunities to explore without us being over-fussy parents. Some people told me that living in the States was more affordable than in Singapore. I have come to realise the truth of that statement as our days go by. Cars are so much cheaper here, even most appliances and brand labels. 

Any kitchen mum’s dream — A KitchenAid mixer! — is really cheap here. Housing isn’t exactly cheap, but considering that the space we have comes fully furnished with utilities, we actually pay a pretty decent rent.

Preschools here don’t really drill on academics. Most schools have kids playing all day long till their parents come to pick them up. The kids simply learn through play. It exemplifies how easy it is being a school-going child here.”

Karen’s Monterey recommendations:
• The Dennis the Menace Playground has clusters of outdoor playgrounds and entry is free. It is spacious and seldom overcrowded. A sure hit, even for non Dennis the Menace fans.
The Monterey Public Library is my book resource. I save much by not buying storybooks. We visit it every week for storytelling sessions. There are also some nights when they have bedtime storytelling, with little ones coming in their pyjamas and bedtime buddies. The sessions are entertaining, educational, and interactive. There are different themes each month with separate sessions for differently-aged groups of children.

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