2014 is going to be a really exciting year for Faz and I!
Apart from forging closer knit relationships with each other and our families, we’re going to be planning for our first home, which is the next big project for us. We’re expecting to receive our keys somewhere in Q3 2014, but whether we’ll get them earlier is really anyone’s guess.
I know I should have already moved on to “house” mode, but I’m still stuck in “wedding” mode. I feel like I need to be done with all wedding-related matters like publishing all wedding- and honeymoon-related entries and getting our wedding photos printed before I can open a new chapter, y’know what I mean?
Some of the other things I’m looking forward to in 2014:
- Whipping myself (and Faz) back into good shape! The rate at which we’ve ballooned these two months post-wedding is ALARMING, and it’s got to STOP. Time to participate in some races!
- Spending our first Ramadhan and Eid as husband and wife.
- A wedding in the family.
- Parenting classes. I’ve no desire for kids at the moment, but I think we should be prepared for when it happens. And besides, it’ll give us something interesting to do instead of our usual movie and dinner dates.
- Travelling. I don’t know how much travelling we can do with the house coming along but I’m hoping for at least ONE destination — not too much to ask, is it?
- I really let myself loose these two months, but it’s now time to save like there’s no tomorrow.
- Starting a daily gratitude blog to record the things I feel happy or grateful for as they come so that I can look back in life and remember only the good things. Case in point: I can only remember two things in 2013 — our wedding and the stress of wedding planning.
- Work on my spirituality.
May this year be even better than the last for you, me and everybody! <3
No less than five unfinished entries lie restlessly in my drafts since early September.
So we know it’s definitely not a case of having nothing to say — I have too much!
I apologise, I just haven’t had the time.
I apologise again — I lied. I guess to put it simply, I just haven’t felt like thinking on the weekends, after a whole five days of thinking at work.
A couple are actually ready to be published, but they’re just needing photos. And it’s the photos that I’m lazy about, really. But I’m aware photos are great monotony-breakers for long entries like mine, so I definitely intend to put them up. Hopefully I’ll post something this weekend.
Anyway, I notice people are ending up on my blog quite a bit these days. Whether you found your way here by googling some variant of “dulang hantaran” or “Costa Ris BTO”, do say hello! :)
So June is less than a month away now. If you recall, one of my 2012 resolutions was to book most of the important vendors by June.
That’s going really well. -.-
To date we’ve secured the venue, photographer and videographer. We’ll talk about our choices later on a sidenote, but yes, ONLY these three! I am beginning to panic a little.
After self-disecting my very muddled brain, I now know the true reason why I’ve been putting off making appointments with vendors.
Apart from general indecisiveness (which bridal company to choose, how many outfits I want tailored, etc), I found out that I am actually RELUCTANT to splurge on a half-day affair.
Right now, I would say I’m about 60% reluctant. The remaining 40% is basically me being a brat stamping my feet, going “NAK JUGAK!!”.
Heck, who am I kidding. Ok, it’s the other way round.
Still, 40% reluctance is a stronghold. It’s almost half! Every time I think of how the money can go towards supplementing our plans for our house (I’ve grand plans for this too, much to the boyfriend’s trepidation), the percentage goes up. And then when I think of wedding celebrations — the many people I treasure around me sharing our joy, pretty dresses, how smashing everything in its entirety will look in photos — well, it goes down again. It’s very volatile.
I have a feeling we’ll end up at the “NAK JUGAK” end of the spectrum — simply because my heart wants it. We’re trying to cut down on costs, but it’s really hard because we’ve already cut out the frivolous things and cutting any further would mean a compromise on quality (plus there are a few aspects of the wedding that I just can’t persuade my heart to let go). The reality of it is that I think I would be more upset if we didn’t go ahead with these things than if we chose to scrimp on it. Furthermore, money can be replenished but you only get married once. And I mean, it’s not like we’ll be spending an unreasonable amount to begin with…
/sends doe-eyed looks the boyfriend’s way
Gah, a rather pointless post, I know.
Cynicism aside, we are truly, madly and deeply exhilarated to have signed the Lease of Agreement (LOA) for our Costa Ris unit on the 11th of March, Sunday.
Maybe it was the excitement, but the boyfriend was all hyper and annoying the moment I met him that day. I can’t say that it lasted, because the moment we arrived at HDB, he had simmered down. A little too much in fact, that I knew something was wrong.
Something endearing about him (to me, at least) that you have to know is that when he’s paranoid about something, or worried, or nervous, he will turn quiet. And he will start sweating. Well, he was sweating the first time he met me! Ahh, that fateful day on the 26th of October 2003. Another story for another day, perhaps. ;)
What was quite hilarious was that he was so nervous that he even attempted to sign the LOA with the other side of the pen! I wanted to laugh out loud there and then! But not wanting to go against the serious theme of things (and make a fool out of myself), I had to suck it in.
Just like our previous HDB appointment to select our unit, this one was also an information overload. After 5 minutes or so, I just zoned out. I hope at least one of us was paying attention.
Costa Ris will be ready somewhere in Q3 of 2014. If that goes as planned, I’ll have to stay with the parents for about only a year or so. We’re actually thinking of staying apart for this duration, but we can’t say for sure if we will stick to the plan…because obviously once we’re married it’s going to be a whole new ballgame.
I know people will query our decision and say it’s not good. Well, we have our reasons for doing this:
- He can’t move in to my place because with my brother coming back from studying overseas, it’ll be full.
- Even as we speak my parents are thinking of downgrading to a smaller flat, so things are a little uncertain now.
- It’s always harder for the girl to move in with the guy’s family. (Especially when his bedroom doesn’t have an attached bathroom! The horror!)
Of course we won’t be living completely apart. The plan is for us to spend regular nights at either of our places, maybe on the weekends or on random days, just because. If anything, I think this arrangement is superb because it’ll help us ease into each other’s families instead of having to experience a sudden 360-degree change in our lives. Of course we will still carry out our responsibilities toward each other the best we can, given the circumstances.
Thanks to Zila who commented on this blog post, we got to know about a Facebook group set up for future Costa Ris home owners to share thoughts, ideas and site progress updates…with pictures! They’ve even set up a document in which they’ve listed all the blocks, and you can add your name under your respective block. In essence, you’ll get to be the nosey neighbour way in advance and find out who your neighbours are and what they do….even before moving in! If you’ve signed up for a BTO project, do a search on Facebook to see if a group for that project exists. It’ll be useful!
We’ve been counting down to the 17th of August for two unbearable months, and I cannot tell you how excited we are…
…to have selected our unit in Costa Ris!
Nevermind that we were the 515th in queue and that most of the blocks nearer to the train station had been snapped up. All was still good — we checked out the site once and in truth, even the block farthest from the train station wasn’t that far at all.
So over the past few days we’ve been shortlisting our preferred units. Our unit should preferably be:
- no lower than the 7th floor
- facing out instead of facing in towards other blocks
- not on a block with a childcare centre
- not on a block nearby any multi-purpose area
- in a corner, not along a corridor
- not too far away from the refuse area, yet not too close
- of an address fairly easy to remember
I’m quite curious how other people go about choosing their units. Do most people go through a thorough analytical elimination process following a ton of research, or do they just follow their intuition?
For us, I’d say we did a fair bit of research but in the end we just followed the voice inside our heads. We chanced upon a property blogger’s website, where he did an analysis of Costa Ris, and came up with unit recommendations based on factors like whether the unit would be facing the sun and which units have, to a certain extent, “unblocked” views. In the end, we only took some of his points into consideration, choosing the unit we felt most comfortable with based on our likes and dislikes.
I suppose there’s no way of knowing if you’ve made the right choice of unit until you’re actually staying in it. Come to think of it, it’s actually quite ridiculous to be buying possibly the most expensive thing you’ll ever buy in your damned Singaporean life without even seeing it. Feeling it. Experiencing it. If you want those options, well, you’ll just have to be prepared to pay more. But that’s just how it is.
Even after we paid the 2k option fee, I started to ask myself the ‘what if’s. What if there were other factors we failed to consider? What if it turned out to be a horrible choice? What if this? What if that? But as usual, my mother never fails to put all these worries to rest, saying “everything that happens, happens for a reason“. Every single decision we make in our life is predestined, all part of God’s plan.
We’re really, really excited. We’ve been together for almost 8 years now, and we’ve been so carefree and having such a good time that we’ve never felt the stretch. But now that we’ve set something in sight and knowing it’ll take us 2 years to get there….well, it’s starting to feel a bit long.
I’ll let the pictures do the talking for now.
My future neighbourhood, insyaAllah.
Excitedly snapping photos of the 3D models to remind ourselves we have this reward to look forward to after having to be excruciatingly frugal these couple of years.
One of these flats here is ours!
View of the long stretch road just after the TPE Avenue 5 exit.
View of the other end of Costa Ris.
Doors to possibly the most expensive purchase in our lives ever.
These were the tiles provided by HDB for the living room, kitchen and bathroom. As clearly represented here, they’re nothing much to rave about.
A close-up of the bathroom tiles.
We saw the doors HDB provided as well. All very…meh. Having said that, we didn’t opt-in the Optional Component Scheme (OCS). It may have been cheaper, I suppose, but I want a house I’ll LOVE coming home to. The boyfriend is already worried the renovation is gonna cost us a bomb.
2014/2015, I’m anxiously waiting for you!
I am officially aghast at how small new flats are.
Thanks to a friend of ours, we were able to view his brother’s newly-moved-in 4-room flat in Sengkang. His flat was of interest to us because it shares the exact same floor plan as the ones in the Costa Ris project — and also the 4- and 5-room BTO projects in Tampines.
Just how many new HDB projects share this very crappy floor plan, I wonder. Toilet right smack in front of the bathroom sink?!
My first reaction when I stepped into the flat — at the risk of sounding like a total diva, complain queen or whatever but I’m not about to lie — was that of horror. I wasn’t expecting the living room to be that small from the floor plan. If I didn’t know better, I would’ve mistaken the whole flat for a 3-room!
Just to be clear, I’m referring solely to the size of the flat. The living room didn’t feel like the living room of a whole house — just a part of it. It felt more like a chalet or like a small hotel room where you’d stay a few days, not where you actually live.
I sat on the couch, feeling a huge disconnect with the house. With the government. With Singapore.
Crappy floor plans, influx of foreigners (not racist, just feel Singapore’s losing its original identity), skyrocketing prices of housing that are shrinking in size….what the hell, Singapore? This isn’t the Singapore I once swore never to leave!
Anyway, point is I felt really claustrophobic. The home is supposed to be a retreat, a place for you to wind down. But I could never give birth to inspiration within those four walls.
That is, unless I add more walls by breaking down the bedroom next to the living room. But doing this ensures we can’t live there for long if we plan to have children. And we do.
This is where the disconnect extends into a dilemma. I’m thinking if we should get a resale flat instead. This’ll save us the hassle of having to move again after five years, and after having grown attached to our house (despite the major space constraint, I’m pretty sure we’ll manage to make it look fantastic). Then there’s also the question of whether we’d be ready to finance one in two years.
It’s strange, though. The boyfriend, who is grizzly-sized, doesn’t seem to mind the small space! I strongly think that his excitement has clouded his judgment.
Somehow the rest of the house didn’t matter as much to me as the living room because the latter’s the first thing people see when they enter the house. It’s where people congregate and hang out, so it’s got to be nicer and more spacious. The rest of the house is already so small — I need to have at least one area where inspirations can be born.
Despite my gripes, I still really am looking forward to it. There is absolutely no doubt my anticipation far outweighs my anguish. Our house may be small, yes, but I promise it’ll also be nothing short of fantastic.
Admittedly, there hasn’t been much development in research and preparation wedding-wise over the past few months.
And this is the case because our attention has been momentarily shifted to matters of housing! The mere mention of it makes me quiver with glee and excitement. I can already envision how the interior is going to be! What images can you conjure in your mind when I say industrial loft?
Last May saw us taking part in what was apparently the largest BTO exercise to date. We’ve applied for a 4-room flat at Pasir Ris Costa Ris, in which 688 4-room units are up for grabs.
Good news is we got a queue number below 688. Not so good news is that we’re the 515th in line.
Unless majority of the people ahead of us pull out or don’t follow up with their application (which I’m thinking isn’t so likely now, since MP Khaw Boon Wan has said in his blog post that a large number of applicants who participated in May’s BTO is made up of first-timers applying under the fiancé scheme, all probably eager to secure a house), we wouldn’t be able to get our ideal unit.
We do hope Costa Ris will go in our favour, but if not, we’re open to the prospect of a resale flat. Then maybe we can finally get a house near my parents in Woodlands. It’s the only way to get to stay near them anyway, since past BTO exercises in Woodlands have been for studio apartments and 3-room flats. And in old, run-down Marsiling. There’s just no more space for new flats in Woodlands.
Ideally though, only a brand new flat would be befitting for the start of this new chapter in our lives. It’ll be something we can build from scratch, a clean slate. No hacking away remnants of other people’s lives, some of which are built around some of the ugliest tiles and built-in cabinets — and having to pay for their lack in taste, to top it off. *throws hands up in exasperation*
For now Woodlands and Pasir Ris are the only two options for us, or rather for me because yes, I’m picky like that. The boyfriend is more accommodating. But in my defense, it just makes more sense to stay near our parents, and in a familiar environment. A new neighbourhood could potentially contribute unnecessary stress — as if adjusting to living together isn’t going to be stressful enough.
So the latest news is that HDB has approved our housing loan application. Right now we’re in the riveting process of waiting for our flat selection. Thanks to the Mobile@HDB iPhone app, everyday is like an anxiety attack checking if the units we want are still available. To date, 65 units have been taken, leaving 623 units to choose from! Two months from now, who knows what we’ll be left with? I dread to imagine we’ll be stuck in a beggars-can’t-be-choosers rut.
Well, we’ll see.
But my mother always has this to say, and it never fails to comfort me (if even for a while, till she reminds me again): If something is meant to be yours, it’ll be yours no matter how many obstacles are standing in your way. No amount of stress can make something go the way you desire if it wasn’t meant to in the first place.
Meanwhile, we’ll try to enjoy this feeling of “domesticatedness” while it’s still new and exciting. We’ve even started looking at furniture!