All around, Singapore is a fantastic place to live. The laws make it super duper safe, the entire island is eerily spotless, the explosion of international, culinary tastes is a force to be reckoned with, the diversity of individuals who call the island home, the education is rated some of the best in the world, the unemployment rate is considerably low, and healthcare is accessible and affordable to everyone. There really isn’t much to complain about, except one thing…the humidity.
First, I have to address the literal elephant in the room. The location of Singapore is one degree north of the equator, which isn’t saying much. We practically live on the face of the sun, 365 days a year. This means the heat isn’t THAT bad. The temperatures consistently hover between 80 degree nights – 95 degree days. You might be thinking, “hmmm- that’s not so bad! Actually, that sounds lovely…especially if it’s every single day of the year. I am green with envy! It must be nice living in a tropical climate, where you can go to the beach in January and entertain your kids in your condo pools every day. It seems like your life is one long vacation!”
While there is
some truth to the above statement, I honestly have to snicker to myself. No one in their right mind would LOVE living over here because of the weather. Don’t get me wrong, I would much prefer the hot to the alternative! The best way I describe it to outsiders is: imagine the Arctic. It has sub-zero temperatures, every single day of the year because of how the Earth tilts on its axis. There are no seasons around the North and South Poles. Wellllllll, the same applies to equatorial living. Singaporeans, along with a host of other countries around the globe, never experience any amount of cooler weather. Because of this phenomenon (that’s what I like to call it), all of my days literally run together. Some days, I feel like we’ve been in Singapore just a few months. When I recall a memory, it’s difficult to distinguish whether it happened in March or May. Back home, March is cold and May is a comfortably warm thought. In early February, we technically should have bundled up Evan and brought him home from the hospital in snow- not with a sunshade, fan attachment, and a thin onesie with sweat rolling down all of our body parts. The worst part is constantly expecting autumn temperatures just around the corner.
Are you familiar with the movie, Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray?? THAT is precisely my life and how I feel. Even though the actual temperatures are not terrible, the 90% humidity creates heat indexes well over 100 degrees every day of the year. January or July, there is zero variance. Without further adieu, here is a host of reasons why the humidity is the worst part about living in Singapore…
1.) Avocados and bananas are impossible to keep. Consumption has to occur within two days at the latest. A green banana will have brown spots in two days…no lie. You should know we eat A LOT of banana bread around here! These were purchased green the day before.
2.) It was once recommended that I only buy meat on the day I plan to cook it. Moisture creeps into the freezer causing mad freezer burn, no matter how well you think the door is sealed.
3.) Our power bill. That’s all I should have to say. I would’ve said, you were nuts had you warned me leaving our A/C on a comfy temperature (like 74) would warrant us a cute little note in the mail to pay the government over $900. Yes, you read correctly. And by leaving it on a comfy temperature, I simply mean just that…leaving it on. Each room in our condo has it’s own, ceiling unit. Therefore after receiving that first bill, we turn the A/C “OFF” if we are not currently in that room. I’ll never forget one lady (who moved here from Jersey) telling me it took her a few months to adjust to living WITHOUT air-conditioning. Say WHAT?!?! Yep, serious as a heart attack. Come to find out, most people do live without A/C – all windows/doors open + fans on, and mostly turn it on at night to sleep. I fully understand; it’s hella expensive! You guys, we also live in a high-rise, so our place should be well-insulated and much cheaper. I can’t imagine what a single-family home would cost. Well actually, the few times we’ve been to friends’ houses- they didn’t run the air. I won’t lie; some days I’ve adjusted to that. But others, I.just.can’t. especially when I was pregnant. It’s almost impossible to get comfortable when you are profusely sweating. Our goal was to get our power bill under $400. And I’m happy to say after the first few months, we’ve been able to achieve it. Oh and by the way, we also hardly run our dryer for that same reason. Everything but sheets and towels are strung up to dry. That’s also a sore subject and could be another numbered paragraph…air drying takes EONS!
4.) I’ve only dried my hair 3 or 4 times in the year we’ve been here, because I s-w-e-a-t while using the hairdryer…like rolling down my temples kind of sweat. Plus, it takes forever and a day to blow dry my hair even with super thin/fine locks! You’ve been in a sauna? Imagine drying your hair there…
5.)In places that should be air-conditioned (and you expect it) like doctors’ offices, it’s really not. The air may be circulating, but I would not call 80+ degrees cool.
6.) Baking is upside down compared to back home. Proofing dough from scratch or waiting for a cake to rise takes on an entirely different meaning than it use to. Talk about adaptation.
7.) I had to toss almost every white piece of clothing we had upon arrival. You see, when items are housed on an enclosed shipping container for 8 weeks and mostly live on the ocean in super humid climates with little air circulation, they become yellow…not dingy looking, but a putrid, dirty yellow. That yellow also never washes out. Don’t even get me started on the funk in our towels. Ewwww.
8.) While we are on the topic of clothes…I have only worn jeans twice while living here in a year’s timeframe. Once for maternity photos (which were inside) and secondly just because I could. I was elated to fit back into a previously worn pair prior to getting pregnant with Jack. We had people advise us against bringing any pants, especially jeans. I was in denial. Hah! I mean, everywhere has cold snaps, cooler days, or even airy nights, right?? Wrong! Not here. I have a stack of jeans in my teenie closet taking up way too much space. I haven’t touched a long-sleeved shirt and honestly can’t stand even a short-sleeve top…and I’m a cold-natured girl!! The humidity + heat is that intense, you guys.
9.) First of all, I have to make the disclaimer that we live in a nice, well-maintained complex. I honestly feel brutally terrible for those who do not – for the tropical bug problem alone. Even though our building management
sprays fogs for bugs (especially mosquitos) around the exterior and we pay our own bill to a separate pest control company to spray and lay traps around the inside of our condo, and we STILL get creepy crawlies! Luckily, we’ve only had one cockroach appearance (that I know of) and to my luck, it happened while Josh was out of town. I’m surprised my shrill didn’t wake up the boys! I learned in college, it is almost impossible to kill the scoundrels, so…he lived under a glass on our counter for almost a week until he died. Pat yourself on the back if you have the guts to crush them. I do not. I can’t stand to hear it or feel it under my hand. Ironically enough, the exterminator told me this “kind” is affectionately referred to as the American roach. Blech. I was proud of myself for catching the nasty thing. Those suckers are FAST! It’s also not uncommon to find miniature critters in pantry items, such as rice, flour, cereal, cookies, and crackers. I learned early on that all such products will live in the fridge or freezer! “Air-tight” containers do not stand a chance over in these parts.
My hand is for sheer size reference
…I also wish I didn’t know about ghost ants. They are EVERYWHERE, and the pest control guy didn’t even bat an eye at them. Hello?? Ants in the house are not normal where I’m from.
eye roll, eye roll, eye roll
And about the mosquitos…they suck…literally. Every single day, I have to lather in repellant to run errands – even in broad day light. When Jack goes to the playground, we are all covered with spray and even wear patches. Forget the fact that none of us but Josh can use the good stuff with DEET. Hello…pregnant, breastfeeding, babies, toddlers? Three out of the four in our household have fallen into that category at some point over the past year. Ugh! I really should buy stock in these companies. My friends and I keep them in business. Fact.
If you know me well, then you know how much the bloodsuckers LOVE me and I’m also highly allergic to their serum and get pleasantly raised welts from every bite. My children have unfortunately inherited my skin. Poor babies! Sometimes the miniature, striped boogers will fight through any kind of repellant. Sigh… Due to the construction of buildings in tropical climates, nothing is air tight when shut – doors, windows, etc. So occasionally I’ll get a mozzie bite in my own house…on the 9th floor…more eye rolling. Side note- those mosquito nets you see in ads of tropical resorts are there for a reason. They will find you! This was walking out of our building and getting into a cab. Literally a few steps. Poor buddy…
They do not discriminate to age either 🙁 I nabbed this one right after he lunched on Evan. How the rest of the world fears zika; we fear dengue, which can kill you if not treated asap. It’s prevalent, real, and there is no vaccine or cure. Look it up.
Snakes, salamanders, lizards, spiders, and other rodents specific to tropical climates can also be found around the island. A lady found a poisonous snake in her car door when at school pick up the other day. Eeek! If you are a visual person, picture creatures in the Amazon rainforest dumped into a big city setting. Yikes!
10.) Heat rash sucks. Period. Especially for wee ones 🙁
11.) Because the humidity is so severe and it’s year-round, nothing ever dies here. EVER! If you have parented a child through the toddler/preschool years, then you are well aware of the little germ factories. The worst part about all of that in this region – someone in your house is likely sick with some type of viral infection every week: stomach flu, sore throat, bronchitis, sinus infection, skin infection, and don’t even get me started on diaper rash! Side note: I’ve also discovered it takes forever for wounds (think c-section) to heal properly in the dense conditions. Our eldest, has been through a laundry list of pills, liquids, vitamins, nebulizers, inhalers, steroidal nasal sprays, essential oil treatments, supplements, antibiotics, and even been allergy tested both by blood and skin panels. The poor chap had chronic bronchitis, January – June, and the only concoction that has proven maintenance is Zyrtec 2x/day and an inhaler 2x/day. If we keep his sensitivity at bay, the likelihood of a viral infection taking hold again is slim. Oh those months were rough on my momma heart, especially to hear him croup cough like a frog all through the night.
Skin infection, right here. Guess who can’t wear her wedding rings anymore? This gal.
12.) No matter the day of the year or time of day, you can always count on one thing in Singapore – SWEAT. If you step outside, you will sweat. It doesn’t matter how little clothes you are wearing; the beads of perspiration will form and slowly roll down your back, chest, and forehead. Wearing make-up, sunscreen, and lotion is worthless. I use to feel sorry for Josh, (he has a 20 minute walk mixed with the train ride) since he wears jeans to work. But I REALLY feel sorry for the folks who wear suits every day. The heat really takes it out of you! Think of how you feel sightseeing during the summer months and how drained you feel in the afternoon. Yep! Me, right here!
This poor guy…look at his shirt. It’s 9am!! And yes, people go to work like that!
Both of these were taken after dropping off Jack at school. A ten minute walk at 9:30am. The first one I’m wearing Evan, and the second one I’m not. Doesn’t matter, sweatiness STILL happens.
So, the next time you complain of scorching temperatures or ridiculous humidity (think August in Atlanta/Columbia/Tampa/Houston/any humid city in the south), remember little ol me, melting, over here, on this side of the world… How you’ve felt the past couple of months has been me for the past year. Gasp! People often joke how living in the south is perpetual summer. Nope, wrong. When we lived in Texas, we would often hear how summer is forever. Nope, wrong again! I distinctly remember school closing for a week due to ice. ICE! If ice fell from the sky in Singapore, I know Jesus would be right behind it.
While fall is just around the corner and you will likely be dreaming of pumpkin spice lattes, crisp autumn leaves, football games with gloves and scarves, remember me over here as I cook in 100+ degree weather wearing my baby to the grocery store or pushing a double stroller uphill. And don’t get me started about Christmas time! I would have paid someone good money to ship me enough snow to fill a bath tub! I was pregnant as a whale last year, and adjusting to the swamp heat was almost the end of me. Whew…not so good memories there! Good news is, we’re heading to Australia in a few weeks. Can you guess what I’m looking forward to the most?? Yep, the weather! Oz is in the southern hemisphere and has flopped seasons from the northern hemisphere. So while all my friends in the States are just now coming out of summer season, the folks down under are rolling from winter into springtime. I’ve never been more elated to see the thermostat read below 90 in all my life. Wahoo!!!! Meanwhile, I believe Jack has the right idea.