A 4-bedroom apartment in One Oasis that is home to the Harding family. “Its a nice expat community and very people friendly”.
Sam and Andrea Harding have been in Macau now for 3 years. They first lived in Ocean Gardens and whilst they enjoyed their apartment there, the brand new One Oasis in Coloane soon beckoned, with its wide range of clubhouse amenities and in particular, the superb facilities for young children. Being parents to two boisterous boys, Brady, 4 and Brogan, 1, it’s a godsend having lots of indoor and outdoor play areas within a minutes’ walk from their apartment.
“The clubhouse is fabulous. Brady’s started to do swimming lessons and football classes. And some of the towers, ours for example in Tower 7, have their own small gym on the ground floor which is convenient.”
The relatively new ParkNShop, though small is “super useful. The restaurant, ‘Jaks’ next to it, serves good food, international cuisine, pizza, steak, fish, that kind of thing. And for the mums with babies and toddlers, coffee shop ‘Jam & Butter’ is everyone’s meeting place!”
How Sam and Andrea came to live in Macau makes for an interesting story. Both Brits, she from outside Wolverhampton in the Midlands, and he from Surrey, they both had a hankering for travel. “We met on a cruise ship …. Like the old TV programme, the Love Boat!” Andrea chuckles. After taking a 3 year degree in nursing at London’s Buckinghamshire Chilterns University she was working in Hammersmith Hospital and kept receiving emails from a recruitment company about working on cruise ships. “I got so many that I thought ‘this is a sign’ …. I applied, and the rest is history. I was the ship’s nurse and Sam was the accountant! Our first date was dolphin swimming in Cozemal in Mexico. We worked together for 2 years on the Princess Shipping Line, and after that we moved to Staffordshire in the UK where Sam was GM of 2 hotels in Alton Towers.”
From there they moved to Kuwait which was for Andrea like coming full circle as she’d been born there when her father was handling the building contracts for the Kuwait airport runway. “Our first son Brady was born in Kuwait too!” Sam was GM of Kidzania; he set it up and ran it for several years. “I practiced nursing, lecturing and teaching at the bedside. At the time Kuwait had no triage system in emergency and one of the things I’m most proud of in my life is being part of setting the triage system up for the Aladan Hospital there and being involved in enhancing the hospital’s safety procedures.” Being in Macau, “I do miss not working”, she says wistfully.
From Kuwait they made the move to Macau as Sam had been offered a job with Studio City, Melco, where today he is Director of Attractions, Operations and new projects.
In moving to One Oasis, the Hardings upgraded from their 3 bedroom Ocean Gardens apartment to one that is 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms plus housekeeper’s room. The extra bedroom and ensuite bathroom is useful; “Living in Macau I miss my family a lot, but we’re very lucky as Mum and Dad visit often and for a couple of months each time.”
The apartment has a balcony overlooking the central One Oasis park and clubhouse. Bathrooms and kitchen are modern and well appointed. When furnishing their home, Andrea had several pieces made for them by a furniture shop in Old Taipa, such as the dining table and some cupboards, with mixed results! The beds and lights came from the furniture store on MacDonald’s roundabout in Taipa, and then good ol’ IKEA for the rest.
There are several delightful hangings on the walls, one in particular that charmingly outlines some family rules. The visitor to the Harding home gets the feeling that these rules exemplify how this clearly loving family approaches life.
On Sam’s days off, he and Andrea enjoy trying out new restaurants and bars. “Our top 2 restaurants are the very family friendly La Cucina Italian in Old Taipa Village, fabulous. And we really like Moretons in the Venetian.” When it comes to bars, their favourites are the Ritz Carlton’s bar on the 51/f, and “for a whole different atmosphere at the other end of the scale, the OTT (Old Taipa Tavern)”.
“We enjoy our food, but I long for better vegetables, I really miss fresh vegetables, the lovely farm fresh flavours that you can find in UK. I’m a vegetarian, and have acute taste buds. I find the veg here tastes very bland. I even brought home a cauliflower from Marks & Spencer in Hong Kong the other day and we all agreed it tasted totally different to the cauliflower we buy here; it had a fresh, almost nutty flavor. I went to CitySuper in Hong Kong too and was in my element, I didn’t want to leave! Amazing fresh meat counter – I buy meat for the boys – and there are so much meat replacement choices”.
In spite of the challenges, Andrea admits that “I love Macau because its very easy to get around and its convenient for us living here in One Oasis, as we both enjoy jogging the Coloane family trails just across the road from us. Besides, One Oasis is a nice expat community, very people friendly. I know it sounds strange”, she laughs, “but here you can walk past people you don’t know and 9 out of 10 they will look at you and say hello. It doesn’t seem to happen elsewhere in Macau.” And in the complex, one of the bars, ‘Bottles’, “is fun, especially on Friday and Saturday nights; there’s lots of familiar faces, and people join your table.”
Photographs by Eduardo Martins for Macau Closer magazine