I moved to Singapore on 5 April, and it’s been a good but eye-opening experience.
One thing I absolutely love about the country is how child-friendly and family-oriented it is. There are so many great activities to do with children, so much free entertainment, and there is always something happening.
It’s always a big decision to move your family, especially when your new home is halfway across the world, but it has been a fairly easy transition for Johnny Nunez, Amaia Nunez, and myself so far. I feel like “The Lion City” is a great melting pot of cultures, and I’m somewhat used to that from America because of the cultural diversity there.
Years before I even moved here, I mentioned in some interviews that I could see myself living in Singapore in the future. It has always been one of those things in my mind, but for it to come to fruition in 2019 is kind of crazy.
Sometimes, I feel you can speak things into reality, and I’m really excited to be here right now because there were times where it didn’t seem like it would happen. It’s crazy how fast dreams can turn into reality.
My second trip to Singapore was for a seminar I hosted at Evolve MMA in 2016 and after that, I fell in love with the country even more.
This past February, I attended my first live ONE Championship event — ONE: CALL TO GREATNESS — and I was just blown away. The hospitality was top-notch, as food and drinks were catered right to your seat. It’s just very unique when you’re sitting at ringside. Plus, the atmosphere was electrifying, which made it another memorable outing in Singapore.
During that period, ONE Championship helped me find our future home. We toured around the city center and found a partially furnished place. But still, I could not comprehend what it would be like living here.
All that changed a few months later.
We packed our bags, got on our flight, arrived in Singapore, and suddenly, the central business district became our home. It felt surreal, but as I mentioned earlier, this had been my dream.
I’m a pretty shy person, too, so when I first moved in, I didn’t speak to very many people. If I’m going to the gym, I’ll just go to the gym without talking to anyone I don’t know along the way. I’m just focused on what I do. I believe the perfect term to describe it is that I’m somewhat of an introvert in a free flow setting.
It took some time for me to get to know a couple of people in my unit, but it all changed on 3 June, Amaia’s first birthday.
There were some parents who were down at the common area by the pool, and one of their kids played on Amaia’s slide. We started conversing, and later on, she invited me into a WhatsApp group chat filled with all the mommies in our condominium.
Now I’m friends with all of them. We get together sometimes to have a play day and exchange toys for a couple of days. Kids do lose interest in their toys really fast!
Apart from that, it is still my usual daily routine – mixed martial arts training, working, getting some cardio done, and spending time with my family.
The biggest struggle I have faced is navigating my way through Singapore.
I remember the first couple of days after moving I was trying to find a 7-Eleven that offers a portable Wi-Fi, and it took me ages to find it. Someone told me to head towards one direction, while another would tell me to head the other way. Little did I know that the outlet was actually underground.
This is also the first time in my life I don’t own a vehicle.
I’ve owned a car since I had my license at 16 because, in the United States, you need to drive to every destination. That felt strange for a while, but I’m really loving the public transportation system and Grab service here. I walk to many places now and really enjoy the city life.
Singapore is vastly different than any place I have ever lived in before, and I find it very exhilarating and fun.
In America, everything is so far away, and although Singapore is small in comparison, you get the feeling that it is a pretty big place despite everything being close and convenient. There are so many layers to this city, and the architecture is just exquisite. I’m honestly mesmerized every day.
Last but not least, I can’t forget to mention one of the best things about Singapore — the food!
The food here is so good, and one dish that I’m obsessed with – which is becoming an addiction (laughs) – is laksa. It ignites every tastebud with its creamy coconut base, noodles, and spiciness.
Overall, if there is one word to describe my stay here in Singapore so far, I’d say perfect.