A Garden's Window into my Singaporean Stint

This article was written by Dave Kurega, a guest contributor.

Where I’m from.

It was late 2017 around October or November when I got the call from my, then manager. I was sitting at my desk and started my first, of almost a thousand, google(s) of a tiny island called Singapore.

I was being relocated as our Asian office needed someone to head their creative team. Now, a single man in the bustling city of Sydney, receiving such exciting news, should have been jumping at such a chance.

To be honest, I was rather apprehensive. I was nervous. I had known most of my adult life here in New South Wales. I didn’t really have family around neither did I have anyone special in my life. There wasn’t really anything tieing me down. Well except my job which was the reason I had to move.

What I had to do.

After a meeting with the board and some serious thought, I was sold on the idea that this move would be a good thing. I got a chance to travel (which a lot of people have told me to do more of), I would be able to climb the corporate ladder (something I have been striving for ever since starting professional work) and it’s Singapore. I mean, Singapore is great. Right?

I didn’t even know one thing about the island. Other than the fact that it was about 8 hours away. Not that far. So I googled again.

What really helped me out was a call I got from my Human resources department. Allison told me that they hooked me up with great apartment options with good facilities. There will be pickups during the first month of stay and my company will do what they can to help me settle in as easily as possible.

So I packed my bags and said hello to the expat life.

Where I chose to stay.

While looking at the choices of accommodation I had before me, It didn’t take much to sell the idea of serviced apartments. I mean, let’s face it, work is going to be my life for most of it once I go overseas.

Getting used to the new office, different working culture and new colleagues won’t leave me with much time to tend to menial tasks such as cleaning and mending my apartment. I figured, why not a serviced apartment?

As I was looking through all the options given to me, I realised that there were only a few things that needed to matter.

My new serviced apartment needed to be/have:

  • A Gym (cause I like to stay active)
  • Nice surrounding environment, I appreciate a lot of greens
  • A washer and dryer
  • An oven

That’s about it, to be honest. I didn’t need a big place cause it was only going to be just me there. I didn’t really need more than one bedroom. However, a balcony would be nice (this was me stretching luxury).

So it was settled. A nice apartment called Garden’s Window was to become my home for, at least, the next year and a half.

First Impressions.

The first time I entered the property I was greeted by a great sight. Now this place was huge. I must admit that it could be a bit confusing when coming here for the first time. With over 13 blocks and a labyrinth of interconnected basement carparks, it is easy to get overwhelmed. But one gets used to it after time.

Along the ground floor, the visual landscape is tranquil and full of greenery. Seats and benches at around every corner, seamlessly incorporated into the property. It’s almost like a huge garden everywhere you look.

The apartment itself was a nice fit. Garden’s Window did give me that one bedroom, washer-dryer, oven and even a quaint balcony. The microwave was a nice touch and the toaster just meant mornings would be smoother.

The layout of Garden’s Window, for most of it, was sensible. There is an odd space to the left as you enter the door but I’ve learned to use it for storage and laundry prep. Most windows are placed towards one side, all facing the same direction.

This allows for a nice flow of natural light during mornings and a sweet hum of illuminance during evenings. What I also have grown to appreciate is how big these windows are. When fully opened, the bedroom windows and balcony sliders allow a flood of wind which turns your apartment into a tropical penthouse.

This is actually a thing. I don’t know if it is the positioning of the entire block or just this apartment, but the winds here are something I have come to love. I even have had nights without the air conditioning switched on. It’s that breezy.

Getting in and out.

This apartment sits in between Farrer Road MRT and Holland Village MRT, but closer to the former. I wouldn’t say that it’s a location at the heart of Singapore but if you lay it on a map, it’s pretty close to the centre.

During my first few weeks, I found it much easier to book a private car to send me from the MRT back to my apartment. Services like Grab or Gojek ferried me easily for about $6-9 per trip. It’s a 3-5min trip from MRT to Garden’s Window.

The day’s when I have some time to spare or could do with a walk, you could just head down Farrer Road. That would take you about 7-10mins. It’s pretty close to the MRT station so commutes in and out of the property are pretty easy. But remember the size of this place is huge. So from the front gate to the block itself, is a pretty hefty walk.

A car will take you straight in if you’re feeling lazy.

Things to do besides just living.

The ultimate beauty of Garden’s Window, however, isn’t the serene views from your balcony. Neither is it the lush green walkways and awe-inspiring architecture, which was designed by the renowned Zaha Hadid, but it lies in the community of fellow neighbours.

A case in point would be a time I wanted to have a quick barbie session with my friends. Knowing that I had to book a pit in advance, I wanted to try my luck and see if no one was using them.

When I reached, I met a caucasian family having a nice afternoon cookout. Slightly disappointed, I cracked a smile and started to walk back to the apartment. Before I could, they stopped me and instead invited me and my crew to join them!

I mean, who would invite a group of strangers to what seemed like a private family affair? We gladly accepted the invitation and had a great time. I made an even greater friend in a neighbour.

The whole property is filled with pro-community families and individuals who greet you and every day with a warm smile and an always-available hand to help.

Garden’s Window is a beautiful place and I don’t just mean visually. The people there made me feel like I had a home in a totally new place. They welcomed me without a second thought and I believe this is essential for any expat moving to a new country.

The support group that I was able to find made the move to Singapore painless and progressive.

Garden’s Window allowed me to see past my initial fears and I would definitely stay there again.

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