Getting Along in HK: 18 months

Well, time certainly flies, doesn’t it?!  Suddenly we have been here for almost eighteen months.  At this stage, I feel like I can finally write a good post about things that I wish I had known before I got here.  … Continue reading

Fears and Opportunities

We have eight more days until we fly to Hong Kong. When I write that, it seems like a reasonable amount of time but when I say “Friday next week” it seems very, very close. It is less than a week until the removalists come to ‘removal’ our life here. The house has entire rooms that are empty now and once the last few furniture items get picked up by their buyers on the weekend, it will feel (and sound) even more like an empty house. It’s something about the way sounds echo in a room without enough furniture in there. Having been to 13 schools and lived in about two dozen houses/apartments in my life, I like to think I am a pretty resilient person. Usually that echo is, to me, the sound of a new adventure about to start, the fun of a new house to try out and the refreshing experience of change. I am truly one of those people who finds a change is as good as a holiday. So I find it a bit odd that this time round, the echo is just giving me a feeling of emptiness. I am not sure what has changed: is it because I have kids now? Is it because I am older and find it a bit tiring to think of starting from scratch again in a new country? Is it because my parents and Grandma are older and it’s not a given that they will always be there when I return? I think ultimately though, it is that after Hong Kong there is no guarantee that we will ever live in Australia again. My husband’s company is headquartered in NYC so that is where the majority of the senior management positions are and most likely where we will go after HK. And this makes me sad. Not regretful – we made the decision to move to HK jointly as something that is good for us as individuals and as a family – but still sad. I am not quite ready to be an Expat for the rest of my life.

In pensive times like these, a few words always come to mind for me. Wise words that I find help me muddle my way through life: “Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens….” I think you know the rest of the song! Yes, I find that simply thinking of a few of my favourite things when I am scared or worried can do wonders! Or in this case, I try to think of what might become my new favourite things.

So let’s look on the bright side, shall we? Coming into a large expat community like HK shall hopefully mean making new friends will be a bit easier. When you are all in the same boat it is pretty amazing how friendly and helpful people can be. And bonus: You all have something in common already!

There is no denying that having a live-in helper will be a nice experience. I am the first to admit that I really don’t enjoy domestic chores (who does?!) and that I will thoroughly enjoy the ability to go somewhere on my own once in a while. Without the encumbrance of changes of clothes and nappies/diapers, wipes, snacks, water bottles, toy trains, stroller, bottles… This hinges on us finding a good helper though – so fingers crossed, eh?!

If we do manage to get Will into a school, the standard of schooling is very high in HK. Of course, I may have to sell a kidney to afford it but the schools we have applied to have fantastic opportunities for kids to have a very well-rounded education, including Mandarin from the very start. I have always regretted not mastering a second language so I really want to encourage it for my children.

Experiencing a new culture is never a bad thing. May not be the easiest thing, but it really is one of those things I don’t think you will ever regret doing in the long term.

So there are definitely some things to look forward to with this move. But I will certainly miss living in Sydney and this being the view from my kitchen window:

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All the green-ness….
But I won’t miss how ridiculously expensive child care is here, or how ridiculously expensive pretty much everything is really!

And I will not miss our stupidly low clothes line. Seriously, it is right at forehead height for me and being only 5’4″, I am not used to watching my head on things and I once walked right into that thing and had a lump for two weeks! TWO weeks! It is so awkward to use a clothes line at eye level. It has made me curse at least once EVERY single time I have used it. So yeah, not gonna miss that.

See? There are always whiskers on kittens to be found in life 🙂