Making Singapore Home

. October 1, 2017.
Michael and Annie Gill pose with their three girls in front 
of the iconic Marina Bay Sands building in Singapore
Michael and Annie Gill pose with their three girls in front of the iconic Marina Bay Sands building in Singapore

Annie and Michael Gill both grew up in the nearby town of Pandora, spending nearly ten years calling Findlay home. The couple “loves all things Findlay,” says Annie, including picnics at Donnell Pond, burgers at Wilson’s and chocolate shakes at Dietsch Brothers. In January of 2017, the Gill family moved to Singapore to begin a new adventure with their three daughters, Ailey (5), Callie (4) and Brinley (2). Annie and Michael reflect on some of the differences they have encountered in southern Malaysia compared to back home in Northwest Ohio.

How did you end up
in Singapore?

My position at Cooper Tire in Findlay provided the opportunity to travel internationally and I definitely enjoyed it. I was offered a position at Cooper’s rubber purchasing office in Singapore. After a lot of prayer and consideration we decided that the adventure this would provide our family was something we could not pass up.

What are the biggest differences between Singapore and home?
One of the biggest differences that you notice in Singapore is the heat and humidity. Singapore is about 80 miles north of the equator so the intensity of the sun is obviously very different than it is in Findlay.

How is parenting different in Singapore?
In Singapore, it’s quite common for families to have a domestic helper live in their home. Most homes include an additional room designated for the helper who performs a variety of services for families, including childcare or housekeeping. Singapore is one of the most expensive places to live in the world, so although there are daycares and preschools it’s usually more affordable for families to hire a helper.

What is a Singapore cultural tradition that you enjoy?
Eating! Singapore is made up of many different cultures which all lend their influences to the food scene. There is a great mix of Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, Thai, Indian, and even western influences to the food. Our favorite place is local “Hawker Centers,” food courts that house individual stalls, manned by a ‘hawker,’ each specializing in their signature dish or flavors.

Do you have a favorite Singaporean recipe?
Our two favorite family dishes in Singapore are Fried Kway Teow (stir-fried ricecake strips) and Popiah Rolls (fresh spring roll filled with shredded vegetables, wrapped in a thin crepe and lathered with sweet bean sauce). We have never tried to make them at home. The Hawker Centers here just make them too well for us to try in our own kitchen.

singapore-family-dinner

(Left to right) Ailey, Brinley, Annie and Callie Gill enjoy different dishes at a Hawker Center