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Moving from San Jose, Ca in Feb - Nervous wreck - help

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Michelle Martin
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Moving from San Jose, Ca in Feb - Nervous wreck - help

Postby Michelle Martin » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 8:29 am

I have so many questions I don't know where to begin. I failed to accompany my husband on a trip to Singapore to look at places - and after reading so many posts about materialism (believe me I love my good shoes and clothes and all that especially coming from Silicon Valley where money (used to be) everywhere...but I am happy in sweats too, laws *perscription drugs - afraid Im going to end up on Locked up Abroad, etc, etc questions...

1. Housing: We were given a housing allowance of $10000 SGD then reduced to $6000 - is it possible to find a place like this? We had set on Martin Residences (funny given the name) but also looking at St. Thomas Suites? I can't tell if any are nice or not - they all post the "nicest" pictures. Additionally, we don't want to take any furniture - have 2 girls (4 and 8), they have too much "stuff" we assume renting furniture or buying at Ikea? thoughts? Fully furnished just too much.

2. School: My oldest has been accepted to Stamford International American (SAS wait list too long and didn't find anything else) - youngest is on wait list. and due to start kinder in fall, I assume I will home school until then - any other thoughts on schools? Feel like I have looked at all and wish I could just send her to a "public" singapore school! :o)

3.Phone: I have an iPhone4 with AT&T - of course in the middle of my contract and can't change anything until march...do I have any options or do I just get a new phone there or scrap it all together and Skype and email with family and friends...sounds lonely. I don't know if ATT has an international option that will work with the services over there? Probably not

4. Work: I want to work over there but not sure how to go about that being on a dependent pass *I don't know all the abbreviations used in this forum - makes my head spin so I will spell them all out* I think my husbands company can get me a pass

I have found a couple of great blogs from expats but most do not have children that are blogging - good info but wondering how current.

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 9:09 am

1) This all depends on your expected living standards. You can find yourself a decent three-bedroom rental for as low as $3000 a month; every above that is generally what amenities and facilities you expect in your new rental, and the location. Are you OK living in Milipitas/East San Jose, or do you expect a Downtown Palo Alto address? (Keep in mind the crime associated with those areas don't exist though :P)\

2) no comments

3) Your AT&T Phone is locked to AT&T. Can't use it here except on roam. Try and sell it if you can, and just get a new Singtel iPhone when you get here. The price is comparble with contract, and a lot less per month than AT&T. The phones sold here are *not* locked, so you will be able to plug an AT&T SIM card back in when you visit the US.

4) On a dependent pass (DP), you can get a "Letter of Consent" (LOC) from Ministry of Manpower (MOM). This will allow you to work, but sometimes you need to educate your future employer on this option as they're not always aware of it.

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Postby Michelle Martin » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 9:23 am

[quote="zzm9980"]1) This all depends on your expected living standards. You can find yourself a decent three-bedroom rental for as low as $3000 a month; every above that is generally what amenities and facilities you expect in your new rental, and the location. Are you OK living in Milipitas/East San Jose, or do you expect a Downtown Palo Alto address? (Keep in mind the crime associated with those areas don't exist though :P)\

LOL! thank you for the response on this and no I don't want to live in Milpitas or EPA! We live in Willow Glen, it's fine, middle class, but lately with cuts in police force there have been many many break-ins for "stuff" i assume to sell so they can basically live in these economic times. I am ok with wherever we live geographically, just want a clean, relatively new place, doesn't need to be big - my kids can share a room (i assume a room would be big enough for bunk beds or two twin beds). thank you for putting it in perspective for me and for the info about the phone!! great to know!!!

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zzm9980
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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 9:40 am

If you're OK with a two bedroom, then your budget is way more than sufficient.

You won't have crime problems anywhere. If you're OK with Willow Glen, you'll be OK with almost all of Singapore. No where will you have crime like that. (Just don't get involved with loan sharks :) )

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Re: Moving from San Jose, Ca in Feb - Nervous wreck - help

Postby nutnut » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 9:57 am

Michelle Martin wrote:I have so many questions I don't know where to begin. I failed to accompany my husband on a trip to Singapore to look at places - and after reading so many posts about materialism (believe me I love my good shoes and clothes and all that especially coming from Silicon Valley where money (used to be) everywhere...but I am happy in sweats too, laws *perscription drugs - afraid Im going to end up on Locked up Abroad, etc, etc questions...

1. Housing: We were given a housing allowance of $10000 SGD then reduced to $6000 - is it possible to find a place like this? We had set on Martin Residences (funny given the name) but also looking at St. Thomas Suites? I can't tell if any are nice or not - they all post the "nicest" pictures. Additionally, we don't want to take any furniture - have 2 girls (4 and 8), they have too much "stuff" we assume renting furniture or buying at Ikea? thoughts? Fully furnished just too much.
Both the condos are very expensive, but, I know St Thomas Suites and the units there are very nice. (I have a friend staying in a 3 bed unit there for around $7.5K pcm) Furniture here is not too expensive and there are two Ikeas so you'll be fine!

2. School: My oldest has been accepted to Stamford International American (SAS wait list too long and didn't find anything else) - youngest is on wait list. and due to start kinder in fall, I assume I will home school until then - any other thoughts on schools? Feel like I have looked at all and wish I could just send her to a "public" singapore school! :o)
Depends on how long you intend to stay here and where you would send them if you return to US, the Int schools obviously follow the same school year and curriculum as a particular nation or IB curriculum, so it's up to you!

3.Phone: I have an iPhone4 with AT&T - of course in the middle of my contract and can't change anything until march...do I have any options or do I just get a new phone there or scrap it all together and Skype and email with family and friends...sounds lonely. I don't know if ATT has an international option that will work with the services over there? Probably not
You may be able to get your phone unlocked if you speak to AT&T, see what they say, if not then sell it and get a new one over here. You will need a cell phone in Singapore IMO.

4. Work: I want to work over there but not sure how to go about that being on a dependent pass *I don't know all the abbreviations used in this forum - makes my head spin so I will spell them all out* I think my husbands company can get me a pass If you get a dependants pass, then you will need to get a letter of consent to work as a minimum or a employment pass on your own merit, dependant on your skills, experience and certification and in what discipline you have worked in before. - the LOC is applied for by the company that gives you a job. Oh, and you'll get uysed to the abbreviations in Singapore, they are rife!

I have found a couple of great blogs from expats but most do not have children that are blogging - good info but wondering how current.


There are plenty of expats with kids in Singapore, you'll be fine!
nutnut

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Postby aster » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 10:07 am

I would stay in a Serviced Apartment for the first month and then find something more permanent once you're here. I assume finding a place to stay will involve a compromise between where your husband works and what school you choose for the kids?

I would also check out some of the other schools that offer a US curriculum/diploma if that's what you're after. Plus the Canadian school looks impressive with their new campus, though it's a bit far away in Jurong. ISS, OFS and possibly one other school are located right behind Orchard Road, and could well be worth a look.

As mentioned by someone, you will need a cellphone in Singapore, but you can just get a prepaid number that you top up from time to time. If AT&T won't unlock your phone, you'll need to get a new handset here. Calling the US is probably best done from home using the likes of Skype, but prepaid mobile phones here usually have free calls to the US included as standard, so you can call home and only pay as if you were making a local call.

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 10:19 am

I can guarantee AT&T will not unlock your iPhone, even if your contract is completed.

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Postby nutnut » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 10:29 am

So, you'd say it's definitely not worth a telephone call to ask them then? Or should she at least try?

I thought the same about O2 in the uk, ut they unloacked my wives phone, then she promptly dropped in the swimming pool when she got here.... lol
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Postby Barnsley » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 10:59 am

aster wrote:I would stay in a Serviced Apartment for the first month and then find something more permanent once you're here. I assume finding a place to stay will involve a compromise between where your husband works and what school you choose for the kids?

I would also check out some of the other schools that offer a US curriculum/diploma if that's what you're after. Plus the Canadian school looks impressive with their new campus, though it's a bit far away in Jurong. ISS, OFS and possibly one other school are located right behind Orchard Road, and could well be worth a look.

As mentioned by someone, you will need a cellphone in Singapore, but you can just get a prepaid number that you top up from time to time. If AT&T won't unlock your phone, you'll need to get a new handset here. Calling the US is probably best done from home using the likes of Skype, but prepaid mobile phones here usually have free calls to the US included as standard, so you can call home and only pay as if you were making a local call.


I haven't used them but one of my colleagues used one of the Starhub prepaid cards to call her hubby when he was in the US for work and its pretty cheap calling mobile to mobile, I think its around 2c or 3c a minute.

Sadly this is not the case for calling a UK mobile number. :(
Life is short, paddle harder!!

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Postby aster » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 11:25 am

They charge you at local call rates to call the US, which is a great deal for calling abroad from a mobile.

For the UK it's the same but unfortunately only to landlines there. :) Singtel charges 39c/min "happy hour" and 47c/min at other times to call UK mobiles - not sure if that is a good deal?

In general the cost of local calls (or calling the US for instance) is this:

Singtel or M1: 16c/min 8am-8pm, 8c/min at other times and throughout the weekend

Starhub: 16c/min for first minute, 8c/min thereafter

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 12:21 pm

nutnut wrote:So, you'd say it's definitely not worth a telephone call to ask them then? Or should she at least try?

I thought the same about O2 in the uk, ut they unloacked my wives phone, then she promptly dropped in the swimming pool when she got here.... lol


Not worth the phone call. Previous employment makes me intimately familiar with this subject. :)

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Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 12:26 pm

zzm9980 wrote:I can guarantee AT&T will not unlock your iPhone, even if your contract is completed.


How long ago was this? Last year, at Christmas, AT&T would not sell me a prepaid voice and data SIM for my unlocked Singtel iPhone.

Now, unlocked iPhones available and AT&T sold me prepaid voice, text, data, with nary a word.

Have also unlocked non iPhone with just a phone call.

Not sayin' it aint so... AT&T never plays nice... just wondering if times have changed.

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 12:33 pm

Also, for even cheaper to the US, get a gmail account and install the Google Voice plugin for your browser. You can make calls to North America completely for free. Quality is pretty good too. Definitely sounds better than the Singtel or Starhub IDD calls. (As long as you're on a proper broadband connection)

Skype for about ~$18 USD for 3 months will give you the same deal, but also give you a US number you can accept calls on. You can even install the Skype app on your iPhone then.

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 12:37 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:I can guarantee AT&T will not unlock your iPhone, even if your contract is completed.


How long ago was this? Last year, at Christmas, AT&T would not sell me a prepaid voice and data SIM for my unlocked Singtel iPhone.

Now, unlocked iPhones available and AT&T sold me prepaid voice, text, data, with nary a word.

Have also unlocked non iPhone with just a phone call.

Not sayin' it aint so... AT&T never plays nice... just wondering if times have changed.


They'll sell you the prepaid cards all day. I buy these every-time I travel to the US for cheap data. But they will *not* unlock the iPhones they sell. You need to buy an unlocked iPhone directly from Apple, or buy one from a carrier that doesn't lock them. I even just sent an IM to a friend who used to work at the Produce company with me, and he confirmed this is still the case.

(Technically, AT&T and the carriers can't even unlock the phone; they can submit an automated request to Apple. It is Apple's systems that can then unlock it. This is all tied in to the systems Apple uses to prevent you from downgrading your iOS version.)

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Postby sfgirl » Sun, 08 Jan 2012 11:18 pm

My spouse and I will also be moving from San Francisco to Singapore in a couple of months. What's your email address? We can talk offline.


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