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I came to Singapore in 2003 with a plan to stay for a year. My husband came in 2001 with similar plans. We met in Singapore four months after I arrived, and before we knew it, we were married and then lucky enough to become parents to Lex and Jax – both born here. Finally in 2015, we were accepted as Permanent Residents.

#SG50When we both look back on the time we’ve had in Singapore, we just feel massively grateful. Not only did my little family start in this country, but the opportunities for Steve and I professionally have been outstanding. Probably more important than anything though is the life we can offer our boys in this tiny red dot. They are enjoying a wonderful childhood, where they are free, safe and living in a wonderfully rich, peaceful multi-cultural society. I mean, let’s face it, how many countries in the world are safe enough for a seven year old to catch a taxi home solo?

#SG50I know there’s a lot of discussion around Singapore right now, and many people inside and outside this nation have opinions on how the country got to where it is, but just in the time I’ve been here, I watched this magical city come to life. Back in 2003, I saw Singapore through the eyes of a friend visiting and I thought, wow, it’s a really boring city. Wind the clock forward to 2015, and it’s now beautiful. World class. It’s also become creative and more diverse.

When you live in Singapore for a long time, you start to see a side of it that you don’t see as a tourist. Its reputation for cleanliness, strict rules and order is only a tiny part of Singapore’s reality, because there is so much more going on at the beating heart of this nation. Like any country it has its stories, its challenges, its seedier side, and yes, its filth. You’ve just got to go out there to find it, which is why a lot of my adventures with the boys have been all about uncovering the grittier bits of Singapore. I like it and so do they. It’s why we started this blog, to show people there’s so much more to this place than meets the eye. Naturally we like the glitz too, but Singapore is more than its international reputation, much more, and that is why we love living here.

#sg50I work with and have friends all across this island. I listen to the younger people’s gripes and the older people’s frustrations. It is a country that is going through massive transformation, and the next 50 years will see a different Singapore emerge. When it reaches its 100th birthday who knows what we will see? But for now, we just want to say we are grateful to a country that has given us a home for more than a decade, a home where the four of us are able to excel and chase our dreams.

And with that, Majulah Singapore. You’re looking gorgeous this jubilee weekend.