How the Coronavirus Has Impacted Our Move to Singapore

[Jonty] We are due to be moving to Singapore in July 2020, our initial plans setting us up to depart the UK around July 14th. But the recent outbreak and global pandemic of COVID-19 has put the world into lockdown. Flights have been grounded and countries have stopped people from coming in. So how has this impacted our relocation?

We both work in education – I (Jonty) am a teacher and my contract in Singapore is due to start on August 1st, with my current school term ending on July 3rd. Millie is a Teaching Assistant and handed in her notice to finish work on June 12th – this is before we realised schools were going to be closed. Our kids, Milo and Aspen are in Year 2 and Reception respectively.

This lockdown has really helped us begin to get our house organised and packed. We aren’t taking a huge amount – we have been given an allowance of 5 square metres, which initially, didn’t seem like much at all, but we have decided not to take all of our furniture so it’s quite a good amount for what we have left!

We have been selling various bits and bobs, mainly using Facebook Marketplace. With social distancing measures, people have been picking up items from our doorstep and posting money through the letterbox or sending it through bank transfer. We have still been busy at home, schooling our children (which has been very tricky at times) as well as teaching from home via Zoom and YouTube, as well as an app my school subscribes to, but being home means that I can steal ten minutes here and there to take pictures of things to sell etc. Millie has been a girl on a mission, binning and selling old clothes, toys and the random things we kept in our garage forwSo the main bit you are probably wanting to read about – are we still going to Singapore? Has our timeframe changed? Singapore IS ALL GOING AHEAD but our planned timeframe HAS CHANGED a little. The school where I will be working has kindly emailed us to confirm that they are honouring all contracts which was a wonderful email to receive! – Our kids have generally been fine during lockdown, but we have noticed that they are a little more unsettled than we  would like. To be honest, it might just be the limitations of lockdown – not being able to see their friends, missing school, missing church – but, we feel they may be even more unsettled due to the pending move. A few things may have contributed to this. We have sold their wardrobe and chest of drawers. This may seem like a small and insignificant thing, but their bedroom feels very different and a bit empty. There are lots of other things slowly being packed up or sold, and so their home is constantly feeling less like home. For this reason, we have decided that we will try to bring forward our departure, from the 14th July to anywhere as early as 4th July. We think that getting out to Singapore will give us a chance to settle the kids sooner, rather than extending their unsettled feeling. We had hoped to spend our last 10 days in Norfolk, seeing family and friends, but social restrictions are likely to still be in place, so we will have to resort to Zoom-ing, which doesn’t limit us to time.

HOWEVER, Singapore is currently on their equivalent of lockdown, which they are calling Circuit Breaker (or CB – Singaporeans love abbreviations), and so schools are not open and the whole country is limited to social distancing and shops are mainly closed. Singapore is not allowing many people into the country – Singapore Citizens, people with Permanent Residence and long-term working visas are allowed in, and may have to abide to a 14-day quarantine on arrival. The Government over there has booked out a load of hotel rooms and so we would stay in one of those. We are slowly stock piling up little activities to take that can keep our kids entertained! There is rumour of a test-on-arrival situation, which will hopefully clear us to move towards relatively-normal-life quite quickly. So in all honestly, it’s all still a but up in the air, but we think we will know more details of our move by the end of this week, so watch this space!

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