Tag Archives: Moving to NYC

Project Grateful 194: Travel plans and perspectives of moving to a new country

If you remember in this post, I mentioned that I was going to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). America is huge and I feel like the need to learn to drive. To put things in context, NYC (Manhattan and the 4 boroughs) is 781 km2 large and Singapore is 721 kmlarge in terms of land space alone. I never really felt the need to drive in Singapore, but if I ever want to get out of NYC, I think driving is absolutely necessary especially in the suburbs. The entire land area of the United States is 9,826,675 km2.in case you were wondering.

Any how, I arrived at the DMV and was given;

this book

DMV book


However, unlike Singapore I don’t have to register for a test date. I just need to read the book and show up anytime, pass the written test and get a temporary learner’s permit, hop into the car of a 25-year-old and practice on the roads, become relatively competent and go take the actual driving test. All sounds really simple? Except we don’t have a car, so of course being the Queen of Procrastination, I went ahead and started reading



and this instead!!




I did go for my ‘honeymoon’ in the US Virgin Islands, but technically we picked that because

A) It was down south near where Kris was supposed to go for his business trip

B) 4 days is hardly a real honeymoon 😛

C) I couldn’t leave US territory while waiting for Advance Parole (AP), which is something I need before I can leave the country, while I’m waiting for the green card. Our dream honeymoon place was somewhere in Europe, I wanted Paris because its supposed to be the MOST ROMANTIC city in the world!!! (Well done tourism board of France!) and Kris wanted London because its one of the rare European cities he hasn’t visited. So because of the long wait to get my green card, I’m grateful to have 2 honeymoons. YAY!!!!!!!!

Turns out that being not able to leave the country for 6 months was a blessing in disguise.  (Let me clarify that, I can leave of course; I mean USCIS cannot detain me for leaving America. Which trust me, I was tempted to, many times in sheer frustration, because of all the difficulties we had faced with this immigration process. I told Kris plenty of times, to move to Singapore instead because it only takes 3 months (in contrast to the 24 months of more that I have to wait to get a green card) for him to get a PR in Singapore!!

However WE”RE NOT QUITTERS! Plus, it means that the past 18 months I’ve waited towards getting the Green card would have been in vain because the moment I leave the country without the AP, I would have to restart the entire Green Card application process again. You heard me right, start it from SCRATCH. i.e. circa back to Feb 2012.

More importantly his family is American and as his wife, I need to be able to enter and exit the country because he will always want to come back here, or rather we would always want the option to enter the US when we want to visit family for extended periods of time.

I cannot believe it has been 18 months + (????) more months in total that I have waited for this paperwork to be done. I think the East glorifies the West to a certain extent and my expectations of what America really is,  has been greatly (ahem) humbled. I used to think that Singapore had so much things to be improved, but coming here, I’ve realized that Singaporeans have had it pretty darn good. In terms of  (holistic) livability, I would put America and Singapore on par. Because of kinship and friendships, and my job as a teacher, I would honestly think that Singapore would be more ideal for me if I was single. But now that I’m married to an America, I guess that greatly changes the equation. However, I’m glad of this new perspective, and I know that if shit hits the fence, I can always go home. But for now, this is where I have chosen to be and I just have to make the best out of it. Realistically my life here is not harder, easier, happier or unhappier as compared to Singapore, it’s just different and humans have a tendency to always want to venture into familiar territories.

The US is unfortunately not what I thought it would be, but perhaps its due more to unrealistic/imagined expectations of what I thought it would be for me as a person and my career. I’ve read up extensively about immigrants and according to many research studies, apparently I’m not alone in feeling this way about moving to a new place. I take comfort in being validated of my emotions I guess. Ironic isn’t it? Coming to a country that champions freedom and individualism but yet still take comfort in sharing the herd mentality.

*I am SHEEP!. Bahhhh Bahhhh Baahhhh*

In all seriousness, I think moving to a new country is challenging but rewarding in many ways; most because you get to ‘start afresh’ and it forces you out of your comfort zone and my preconceived notions of the world.

I have met so many people from so many different cultures and learn so many things about them. I have forced myself to move out of my whats innately comfortable to me and to immerse/adapt myself to social situations that are unfamiliar and sometimes even frightening. I feel like (imagined or otherwise) that I now have more nuanced perspectives of what the world seems to be. I am introspective by nature and this move has made me question a lot about my life in Singapore and my role in this global world. I feel like I am now no longer just a citizen of Singapore but a citizen of the world. The world is becoming so mobile and I’m lucky enough to be able to go almost wherever I want to go (not with its associated sacrifices that come along with it), but I think the opportunity I have to be just given the choice in itself, makes me very very lucky and very very blessed. So today I am grateful for being given this opportunity to move to America, despite it not being the utopia that I thought it would be. 🙂

PS: My last statement was only said with half a pinch of salt.



New York after 3 days

So! I’ve finally arrived in NYC after 25 hours on the SQ A380. Its a nice new plane that’s really quiet, so it was a smooth ride for the both of us. We got it for cheaper than Emirates or US carriers too. Score!

Here’s a picture of the happy bots in the A380!


Random facts about New York after 3 days.

1) High rise buildings in NYC act like wind tunnels that funnel cold cold air to unsuspecting tourists!

2) Doors are heavier in NYC. I am mortified of revolving doors!

3) Pizza is super yummmy in NYC

4) New YOOOOrkers walk really quickly, my little trotters struggle to keep up.

5) Eating out is terribly expensive! I paid like 12 USD (including tip) for a duck and wanton noodle. It feeds 2 Asians  though!

After 2 days, we found the perfect apartment for us. Its pretty straight forward for us actually, just saunter into the management office of apartments (found them online) that we deemed suitable for us and ask for available units for immediate move-ins.

Upsides of our new place!

1) 2 mins from Kris’s office

2) Nice gym and concierge

3) Wonderful view on the 51st floor overlooking the statue of liberty

4) Lots of light (Which is quite rare for most NYC apartments because they are always so close to one another that some building always blocks the light, also the higher you go, the higher the prices go. Its really expensive living in NYC)

5) Friendly and helpful peeps at the management office

6) Near basic amenities yet quiet after office hours. Even in rush hour, its nowhere near as crowded as Shenton way or Orchard road.


1) Tiny odd shaped bedroom + Tiny Hall

2) Really really expensive

But oh well, I guess you can’t have it all. I’m really excited to build our first nest together! Its really exciting! *jumps up and now ecstatically* I’m also very lucky to have such a capable fiancee! Coz it looks like the application for a work visa for me, isn’t going to be all that quick. Probably about a year or more. Anyhow, I’m sure I’ll find something useful to do. Like blogging about my experience in NYC.

Tomorrow is also Valentine’s Day. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! We’re going to try out this 1-star Michelin restaurant, because I causally mentioned, hey I wonder what a Michelin star restaurant is like. And the best fiance of the year! decided that we’ll have dinner there!

Here are some pictures of the food and sights of NYC thus far, enjoy!


Bird at Pier 11


Robot looking extremely cute!


Me trying to look chic!


Me craving Chinese food