As a parent, it’s natural to want to give your child the best of everything, especially education. That’s why when her child was accepted to a primary school in Punggol, Sujata Ghosh, decided to uproot her life in Tampines and move to Punggol.
"I had been living in Tampines since I first arrived in Singapore in 2011, but when my child got accepted into Oasis Primary School in 2018, my husband and I started to think about moving," she explained.
Sujata did try to accompany her child to school while still living in Tampines but quickly realised that the daily 1.5-hour commute would not be sustainable in the long run. So after one semester, she decided it was time to find a new home closer to the school.
Aside from the location, she wanted a spacious area where her child could play and roam around. "As he grows older, he will become more active, so a large space is crucial," Sujata said.
Foregoing an HDB Unit for a Condo
Sujata originally intended to rent a 4-room HDB flat, but those units were snapped up quickly. Ultimately, she decided to rent a condo unit in Parc Centros, which is only 15 minutes away from the school.
"We knew from experience that HDB flat units tend to be more spacious and affordable than condo units, but [securing a unit] is very competitive here. For instance, we viewed an HDB flat right across from my son’s school. If we lived in that unit, he would only need to cross a bridge to get to school. But I was too slow in making my mind up, and when I informed the agent of my intention to rent, the unit was already taken,” Sujata said.
Unable to secure an HDB flat, Sujata and her husband decided to rent a condo unit instead. They didn’t mind forking out a little more for housing if it meant they could quickly secure a place near their son’s school.
In her search, she relied on PropertyGuru and found the site/app to be user-friendly. With the search and filter function, Sujata narrowed her search to units in Punggol and filtered the units based on her budget and size preferences.
“I had even recommended the platform to fellow Indian expats, and they all said the same thing," Sujata declared.
When she first viewed the Parc Centros 3-room condo unit, the balcony was what sealed the deal.
“From the balcony, I can see the swimming pool and the surrounding greenery. It is very relaxing, so I told my husband not to look elsewhere and get this unit,” Sujata smiled.
The balcony turned out to be especially handy when the pandemic hit as it became a sacred space where she gardened and painted; a place she could (and still can) escape to for a few peaceful moments in the day.
A Stressful yet Rewarding Time During Circuit Breaker
Like any mother, when the Circuit Breaker occurred, Sujata also experienced stress as she needed to adapt to her son’s home-learning curriculum. Still, it ended up being a rewarding one. “I got to spend more time with my son,” Sujata remarked.
While Sujata adopted painting and gardening as her pastime, her husband opted to cook, which delighted Sujata.
"Before the pandemic, my husband used to travel often, so he never cooks and rarely eats at home. Once the pandemic hit and he switched to working from home, the kitchen became and still is his haven. It has helped me a lot since I don’t have to cook," Sujata laughed.
Sujata and her husband also picked up cycling as a hobby. "At first, I just joined because I wanted to accompany my husband, but cycling has turned into something that I truly enjoy," Sujata said. Even now, they make the time to go on occasional cycling dates after dropping their son off at school.
Considering to Move Once School Is Done
Living in Punggol not only allowed her kid to reduce time travel for schooling purposes but also enabled Sujata to travel around Singapore easily.
“The MRT station is within walking distance from the condo, so it makes it easier to travel to different spots throughout Singapore for my work as a performing artist and model,” Sujata explained.
Other nearby amenities also include a mall within walking distance of her home, which is great for obtaining daily necessities and keeping her son entertained when he is bored in the unit.
“We have everything we need here; it’s all within our reach,” Sujata added.
As of now, she’s not thinking of moving, at least not until her son finishes primary school in two years. Afterwards, they are weighing the option of buying a home here as they obtained their PR status last year.
“Even then, I would still like to stay in the Punggol area as I’ve known the area very well over the last few years, but let’s take one step at a time, shall we?”
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