It looks like we are going to make a big lifestyle-change. I’ve been pushing for it in order to give our kids a cultural exposure to Europe before they enter teenage life. We are looking at a move again, this time from Hong Kong to Berlin. Here are a few things I noticed before we are even ready to pack:
- This year, a lot of long-term expats are leaving Hong Kong. A relocation manager told me he has not seen as many long term residents leaving for Australia, Canada and the US on a short notice before.
- For the first time in Hong Kong, I don’t feel ‘left behind’… that awful sadness that used to creep up when friends shared they would leave. I finally feel sentimental about the best things in Hong Kong.
- I keep hearing how much Hong Kong’s corporate life is changing: many US-or Canada-educated Chinese professionals are joining Hong Kong’s work force with perfect Mandarin. It this really true?
- Expatriatism in Hong Kong is the strangest privilege: it gives you a break from real life. But like with all breaks, at some point we have to come back to chores and taxes.
- Speaking of break: it also reveals a lot about who we are. I don’t really believe in reinventing ourselves, however seductive the term may be. Maybe some of us reveal themselves. In the process, limitations are as important as overcoming limitations. It takes a discerning eye to know which limitations are worth keeping before breaking loose.
- As our expat life in Hong Kong is only a break for many, do make the most of it. Learn! It’s a great time to absorb or refine a new skill.
- Looking back on my time here, it has been a rich experience: parenting two kids, experiencing family, marriage and friendships to the full, deepening my yoga practice in my years of teacher training and beyond, experiencing Plan B. I learned a lot. Thanks to everyone, you know who you are. I include all readers of this blog who have continuously encouraged and followed me. You can all come to Berlin with me.
- I found parenting in Hong Kong is hard for two reasons: firstly, because in Hong Kong we, as parents, make so many choices: how much do we expect our kids to do chores, how much we buy into the competitive education, judge how to help our children, when to push them and when to let go, create a family culture with no extended family, dealing with a lot of excess, wealth and technology… many parents seem to sail through this. But I always struggled. My own upbringing was rich in learning just by being with my extended family and helping at home. It was necessity deciding that for me. I feel my kids have been missing out on that.
- I love Hong Kong for its people – I found people in Hong Kong amazingly easy to be with, except PCCW engineers. Sorry.
- When we moved here 12 + years ago, it was harder to stay in touch than it is now. It does make all the difference. The people we connect with are potentially for life. I love that idea. I also wonder how having lived in Hong Kong has change me. What will be the long term effects? Will the hongkonqueror morph into the Berlinguist? I have no idea.
Please, readers, come with me to Berlin later this summer. But first of all, subscribe, subscribe, subscribe… I would like to keep talking to you wherever we go next! Just ad your email below or in the side bar and keep connected with postings on the hongkonqueror!