I came to Hong Kong expecting to be a typical small town girl from some obscure city in South Africa no one has ever heard of. Journey’s Don’t stop believing was on standby for any moment where I started to feel like a “small town girl, living in a lonely world”. I think the thing is though, to moving your life somewhere else, is to not have any expectations. Look at Dorothy when she landed in Oz, she had no expectations and made friends with Munchkins, The Good Witch, Lion, Tinman and Scarecrow on the way! To share my experience of adapting to a new city, country and culture, my “Oz”, I have compiled a list of things that I did not expect from Hong Kong;
1.The heat, slash humidity. Any of my friends that have spoken to me in the last while will have heard me talk about how hot it is here. That constant glow that will be in my photos for my entire duration in Asia is not a glow of happiness, it’s a glow of perspiration.
2. The beauty in the contrast between the Architecture and the natural surroundings. At work I look out onto tall rise buildings that are being renovated on the 30th floor with bamboo scaffolding and just behind that are lush green mountains. As I peer out of my small bedroom window over a sea of buildings, I see the latest cruise liner pulling up from its voyage out on the ocean. As the sun sets on this magical city, lights dance on the skyline and in the skyscrapers, yes in the sky scrapers.
3. The food. I struggled with this in the beginning as I didn’t know what I was ordering and I had no idea where to go to eat! There is no ways I am settling for western fast food while I am in Asia! Grocery stores were also a little frightful, I had no idea what half these fruits and veggies were. After I got over myself I just bought it and figured out if I liked whatever new adventurous item I had bought. I have also made friends with some local girls and they have given me a list of foods to try, plus the places to try them out! I do miss a good Karoo lamb chop though!
4. Hong Kongers are obsessed with being germ free. Face masks, temperature checks, constant sanitation of escalators and lifts, you name it, they clean it.
5. Everyone is fixated with fitness here, especially the elderly. Every day I walk though this little park on my way to work, I have been eating lunch there too, only to discover it is an exercise park for the elderly! I love this idea, they have a whole outdoor park dedicated to keeping the elderly fit, and after work all the old men and women are working out, I am not too sure how they manage in this heat, but they do and its awesome!
6. How advanced and demanding education here is. I am a teacher so this would come up. Today a 4 year old used the word vacation, and English is her second language, VACATION. When I was at university and we referred to it as “Vac” this clearly shows how advanced they are here.
7. The work ethic. People here work hard, Expat, Asian, it doesn’t really matter, long hours and dedication is part of life. It is no wonder we find “Made in <insert Asian Country name here>” everywhere you go.
8. The night life. Everybody works late here, and the shops are open even later. Pop into H&M at 9pm or do some bargaining down at Temple Street Market for some much needed retail therapy, even Sundays. If you are not shopping, then having a beer on the side of the road with a mate or walking through the crazy streets of Mong Kok watching street performers is just as thrilling. I wont even get into the party scene, because a night out at LKF needs a whole post on its own!
So far those have been the things that have made me aware that I am not in South Africa anymore Toto, and it also made me realise that love it so much that I won’t be clicking my heels and saying “there’s no place like home” anytime soon.
To more adventures and following the yellow brick road,