Meet Lexie, a Kiwi expat in Singapore.
Where have you been living as a Kiwi expat?
I have been lucky enough live in Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and most recently Singapore.
Wow, what took you to all these places?
My dad’s work took our family all around the world – I was pretty much born an expat, living abroad my entire life until I came back to New Zealand for university. I grew up as what’s known as a Third Culture Kid – a person raised in a culture that is not their own or their parents’ culture.
How did you find living in New Zealand when you finally came back?
When I came back to New Zealand in 2010 to start university, my parents were still in Singapore. I felt pretty alone at first, especially when I experienced culture shock for the first time. It sounds really weird for a Kiwi to experience culture shock in her own country, but it’s true. Before coming back to NZ, I had only lived here as a baby for less than two years, and my only experiences in NZ were shaped by my yearly visits home during my school holidays. I realized that there was a significant gap in what I thought NZ would be like to live in, and what it was actually like.
What are your favourite spots in Singapore?
Holland Village, hands down. It has everything you could want – bars, restaurants from around the world, and a bit of shopping if you really want to. It also has a hawker center in the middle, so you’re sorted whether you feel like going to the Japanese place for some sashimi, or if you just want some Hainan chicken rice and stir fried kangkong from the hawker stalls. I also love Dempsey Village for food, specifically Jumbo Seafood. Their chili crab is indescribably amazing and delicious.
What do you miss most about New Zealand?
Authentic fish & chips, meat pies and L&P. They seem so basic but their scarcity abroad meant that they were treats reserved for when we came back home during school holidays.
Worst thing about living there?
The traffic. Granted, it’s not as bad as Jakarta…
Best thing about living abroad?
Living abroad allows you to cultivate a unique worldview which you can almost guarantee no one else has because of the individual ways that people perceive and absorb the same experiences. The best thing about living abroad in Singapore is that if you ever get itchy feet, the rest of South East Asia is a cheap flight away.
What would you recommend doing in Singapore with only a weekend?
Good thing Singapore is tiny because you can do a LOT in a weekend there!
If you’re interested in amusement parks, there’s Universal Studios on Sentosa Island. There’s also the Zoo and Jurong Bird Park to visit if you like animals, so those three could probably take a day and a bit of the night, if you decide to do Singapore Zoo’s Night Safari.
If you love food like I think that you absolutely MUST do some food trails. Singapore’s cuisine is intensely varied and influenced by many of its close neighbors, and a food trail is one of the best ways to try everything Singapore has to offer with a limited amount of time. The last thing I would recommend to wrap up a weekend in Singapore is shopping – Orchard Road boasts many designers, but there are definitely some great bargains to be found too.
What’s the best experience you’ve had as an expat?
It’s so hard to specify just one because of how I treasure all of the time I spent growing up there. I know it’s not very exciting but I have to say the overall experience of growing up in such a cool places.
To find out more about Lexie check out her blog, Nail Girl.