Moving on up

Well, it’s been a little over a week since Daniel and I finally completed the packing and shipping of our belongings to Singapore. One thing I always looked for when I was searching expat blogs was how the moving process went, but was rarely able to find. So here is the story of our moving process, from beginning to end.

Step 1: The Purge

Dan and I made the choice to sell a lot of our belongings before moving to Singapore in order to 1) purge and 2) make some money to take to Singapore. The things we chose to take were pieces of furniture we bought as a married couple, clothes, a bed (we would not fit in an Asian-sized bed) and pretty much everything in our kitchen.  We sold the majority of the items on Craigslist, but some friends also expressed interested in our stuff. Things we couldn’t sell, we just put under the Free section of Craigslist and watched it go within the HOUR of posting. Vultures.

Some things I could not bear selling, and that was 1) our pre-lit Christmas tree and 2) all my amazing kitchen appliances. These all went to my Mami, who promised to take care of them until I returned home.

Step 2: Inventory time

Before the big move, Singapore American School put us in contact with the moving company in Asia who would be assisting us in our move. Asian Tigers have been nothing short of amazing and thorough and as someone who has moved with the military several times, I have experienced enough moving people to know when people are legit.

In April, Asian Tigers sent us an Excel spreadsheet for us to inventory all of the items we would be sending to Singapore for insurance purposes. Now I always liked to think I lived pretty minimally, but when you have to count every DVD, kitchen item, and article clothing you have and price it, you realize how much shit you truly have. Needless to say, that inventory spreadsheet took about 2 months to fill out, and was sent literally 2 days before the shippers came.

Just a taste of the thrilling stuff we had to count/price from Casa Gach

Just a taste of the thrilling stuff we had to count/price from Casa Gach

Step 3: COSTCO – Everything from birth to death

One thing that I was definitely warned about before moving to Singapore was to stock up on pretty much EVERYTHING you use to take care of yourself because it will either 1) not be available in SG or 2) will cost you your first born just to buy it. Our friend Anne, who has lived in Singapore for several years, sent us the most comprehensive list I have seen and definitely set us up for one hell of a shopping trip.


Fast forward to late May, about 2 weeks before our move. Our awesome friends, Angie and Chris, hooked us up with a trip to Costco where we took our handy list and dropped a lovely $900 on everything from razors to Q-tips to deodorant to last us over a year. Buying 300 tampons was definitely an interesting experience; I’m 99% sure the people at Costco thought I had the world’s heaviest flow or some other sad menstrual affliction.

Looking at this pile for over 2 weeks = Waterboarding for Latinas

Looking at this pile for over 2 weeks = Waterboarding for Latinas

Step 4: Moving Day!

While the buildup to our moving day was eternal and eventful, by the time June 10th rolled around it was done in a mere 6 hours in which I did nothing but chat with Warren and Jesus, our movers from Houston and tell them what to pack. We were forbidden to help them pack anything for insurance purposes, which is probably for the best because they were some moving ninjas.

Phase 1 of the move

Phase 1 of the move

Warren, also known as Michael Clarke Duncan reincarnated

Warren, also known as Michael Clarke Duncan reincarnated

Jesus working his magic

Jesus working his magic

Dan showing off all the packing he DIDN’T have to do


Step 5: The goodbye

Walking around our first home for the last time in almost 4 years was bittersweet to say the least. Dan and I have shared so many memories here, and the thought of saying farewell did not hit us until we starting walking through the echo-y, empty rooms. I can’t say if Daniel and I will ever return to this condo, but it is nice to know we will always have it here if we want to end our overseas adventure. So I close this crazy long blog with the very first picture we took in our first home back in 2009. Here’s to what our next home holds in store for us.

IMG_2278 IMG_2279


8 thoughts on “Moving on up

  1. I can’t believe you’re not in austin right now! I’m jus gonna tell myself you’re in a hot yoga sesh. A very. Long. Hot yoga sesh. ❤

  2. I can’t believe you’re not in Austin anymore!! 😦 I’m just gonna tell myself you’re in a hot yoga class. A REALLY LONG hot yoga class. I love you with all my heart! Safe & happy travels Gach’s!

  3. Hi there! We are moving to Singapore in a few weeks and I was hoping to see the shopping list you linked. It appears that the link no longer works. I would love to see your Costco list as we are just starting to the sort/pack/ship process. Thank you in advance for your help.

    • Hi Sandy! I am sorry about the shopping list being deleted, here is what was originally on there:

      ** = not available in Singapore


      Shampoo and conditioner- buy it when it goes on sale at places like Ulta when there’s the 2-for-1 deals. Buy the big liter bottles and then just put them into smaller bottles in Singapore. Brands you can buy here, but are very expensive: Kerastase, Redken, Aveda, Biolage (I think), Bed Head, Fredick Fekkai, and I’m sure some other brands too…. plus all the general ones– Pantene, Head and Shoulders, Herbal Essences, Garnier Fructis, etc. (although the formulas are not all the same as the ones in the US)– if you have a specific brand let me know and I can see if they have it here
      Deodorant- you would think that a country so close to the equator would have good deodorant, but it doesn’t. Not a lot of variety and a lot that don’t include an antiperspirant. We always stock up in the states. The US brands they carry here are Lady Speed Stick (and only two options) and occasionally Mitchum. I’ve seen Dove, but it’s not made in the US and I don’t like it as much. Guy deodorant isn’t too good here.
      Bath and Body Works**/Victoria’s Secret** (opening stores, but really expensive)/Laura Mercier/Lancome/Bobbi Brown/etc.- Any “name brand” product is going to very expensive in Singapore and some of it you can’t even get here.
      Make-up/brushes/nail polish/etc.
      Face products- wash, toner, lotion, scrub, masks, etc.
      Q-tips- ok this is silly, but q-tips in Singapore aren’t as soft and padded as they are in the states. I often bring one box back a year.
      Girly/feminine products- if you have a favorite brand and type, buy it in the states. Certain types are hard to find- they carry Kotex, Tampax, and others, but not all the varieties you get in the states. I haven’t seen Playtex or Always in Singapore.

      Ibuprofen (for some reason you need a prescription here)
      Tylenol**- we have something called Panadol (which is acetomenophen too), but I think Tylenol works better.
      Tylenol PM**
      Basic cold stuff
      Vitamins- you can get pretty much everything here, but it’s more expensive. I bought a large majority of my prenatal vitamins at GNC in the US because it was cheaper. When I ran out I just bought it at GNC in Singapore, but it was a more expensive.
      If you have a favorite brand, stock up…check the expiration date


      Socks- who knew socks would be expensive here?
      Bras (Asians are flat, so local bras are severely padded and they don’t come in big sizes. You can buy “western bras” at some stores, but I still prefer Victoria’s Secret. Good stores in Singapore are La Senza and Marks and Spencer- I just bought from La Senza and they were fine- I still prefer VS.
      Underwear- expensive here! And Asians are tiny with no butts.
      Most clothes in general- Banana Republic pants can range between $200-$400 in Singapore. Gap pants are over $100. Alternatives are small- Asians are small! I wear an extra-small/small in the US, but I’m often a large in Singapore (and I’m Asian!!!). My husband can’t buy clothes here- even though he’s shorter, he works out so his chest and shoulders are too big for clothes.
      Men’s shoes- if you have big feet (10+) you won’t have too many options.
      Women’s shoes- they have a good assortment here, but Nine West is all over $100- hit the outlets before you leave the states.
      Men’s Undershirts- expensive here– buy a few 6-packs at Target
      Designer purses– not sure if you are into designer purses and such, but if you are then buy it in the US. Coach purses in Singapore are at least $750 and often over $1000 when they are usually $350 in the states (or $100 at the outlets). Gucci is over $2000 here and around $750 in the states. You get the picture.
      Some jewelry– Tiffany’s is more expensive in Singapore and so are other things like Pandora. However, you can get jewelry custom made for a better price here– we had our wedding bands made and my engagement ring (my husband’s grandmother’s ring) re-set the way wanted it and it was very reasonably priced. I know diamonds are cheaper in the US.

      Work Out Gear

      Brands Not Available: Under Armor, Lululemon, Russell (that brand you buy at sports stores), Hanes, Fruit of the Loom
      Sports shoes: available here– all the good brands too (Nike, Asics, Addidas, etc.), but more expensive than the states. My husband just bought Asics for over $250 here.
      Sports wear: available here– just pricey. No Under Armor though
      Sports supplements– protein powder, protein bars (i.e. Cliff bars, Luna bars, etc.)– you can get all this stuff here (we have GNC and other places like that), but it’s quite pricey

      Organic/All Natural Products

      All organic/natural products are incredibly expensive here! Come to terms with the fact that you will not be eating organic in Singapore…. or if you do, you will have no money for retirement/savings/etc. 🙂
      All natural and organic brands are also expensive here– some brands to stock up on if you like them: Burt’s Bees, Welda
      Electronics- remember: Singapore is 220volts, so not all electronics will work here

      It’s best to buy your major appliances here– TV, washer/dryer, dvd player, etc.
      Buy your cell phone here when you sign-up for a plan– all companies use a sim card
      Apple products are cheaper in the US– also you want to register you products in the US for more access on iTunes
      Buy a dual voltage hair dryer from Target– better variety and cheaper than Singapore
      You will need to buy a flat iron for hair (if you use one) in Singapore unless it’s dual voltage. The ones they sell in stores here are junk. I bought mine at a salon for about $200. I had never heard of the brand, but it works well.
      Keep in mind things with a heating element don’t convert well with power– i.e. we brought a George Foreman grill to Singapore, but no one would sell us a transformer as they were afraid it would melt from the heating element in the George Foreman grill


      Depending on your crafts/hobbies/activities I can let you know what sort of things are available in Singapore and what’s best to buy in the US.

      Craft stuff– pretty much all craft stuff is all cheaper in the US (and likely heavy to bring to Singapore, so just decide how badly you want it– I brought back one tablet of scrapbooking paper because they are just too heavy)
      Sports stuff– most sports stuff is cheaper in the US
      What else?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s