A wonderful student who I’ve adored and taught for years is keeping up through email. The other day she wrote and asked the question, “What is Hong Kong like?”
It took me a while to really find an answer. In my head I kept on finding positives and negatives to share… Keep in mind, we’ve only been here two weeks and most of that time has been consumed with apartment hunting and getting accustomed to ferries. We’ve snuck in a little fun with hikes, walks, movies, library and bookstore visits, open-air market visits, and museum adventures… but we’re looking forward to more fun and exploration soon:
So, I replied simply with positives and negatives, here they are:
1. Living on Lamma Island in Hong Kong- no cars, really quiet and beautiful.
2. Green areas.
3. New smells and sounds (especially new cool bird calls to listen to)
4. Found apartment, will be happy there, off the island and on the mainland of Hong Kong- close to a mountain on one side, pretty and somewhat large- 900 sq. ft. We get to buy furniture and make the apartment a home!
5. Loads of family time so far – enjoying quality time, even when we’re hiding from the humidity in the house in air conditioning
6. Walking and bus rides everywhere- feels healthy
7. Exploring new foods
8. Found nice Hong Kong public libraries, felt like coming home in the children’s book collection.
9. I love all the small shops, feels like many people can benefit from their small businesses versus large warehouse stores that sometimes ruin business for smaller places.
10. Experiencing life over here in Hong Kong a day before everyone over there in Oregon. (Kinda weird- we’re 9 hours behind Oregon and one day ahead!) It is funny to be writing an email at 10pm and know that it is only 7am in Oregon.
11. ALL NEW. Everywhere we go, it is new! We went to see a movie today, Madagascar 3 in 3D- with Chinese subtitles… it was cool to go to a new movie theater. — Movies are released here much later, release day was today! Plus yesterday, we rode on the longest covered escalator in the world to visit mid-level apartments, it was quite interesting! (video below, sorry about the thumb in the video, getting used to the camera)
12. Anticipation= I’m excited to begin meeting people through school, think that will solidify being here in Hong Kong. Especially beginning my Teacher Librarian position!
1. I miss family and friends.
2. No consistent recycling place, feeling wasteful but trying to find solutions.
3. No big stores, taking a while to get used to this- no Costco, Fred Meyers, etc. I REALLY miss Trader Joes, my favorite store and it is so far irreplaceable.
4. No car, ferry reliance for now since we’re living on Lamma Island- this will change soon since we’re moving to the mainland and closer to my new school. So, the reason I’m not keen on the ferry- I don’t like being on open water very much. We are limited to the ferry every hour to hour and 1/2, so if we miss the ferry, we’re stuck- either at the house or on the mainland.
5. Typhoons- they scared me. Really hard winds felt like they would pound our house over. I saw big heavy wide-trunked trees that had been blown over by the wind and rain.
6. Rain- you really, honestly get soaked to the bone within minutes if you’re caught in the rain, even with an umbrella and raincoat. BUT usually when it is raining, it is still 80+ degrees outside, so if the rain stops, you dry off, mostly.
7. FOOD- I miss my normal food brands and habits. Most of my old eating habits are broken. It is weird to try new food and sometimes not know what you’re getting/eating. I’m learning to be quite open-minded about that. Plus grateful to random strangers helping us translate what we need.
8. Language- There’s obviously a huge language gap… Sometimes this can really hurt- like when a banker misunderstands me and gives me wrong information that slows down other important things… Happy to have resolved but I see how language will keep me on my toes!
9. BATHROOMS, I’m not keen on squat toilets. You ever seen them? I have refused to try them, so far. Sometimes, it is difficult to find a sit-down toilet.
10. Heat/Humidity- 80+ degrees normally with 90% humidity- I melt in this weather that some people have reassuring me is better in October- air conditioning- presently I need it all the time.
Here’s some pictures, can you figure out which ones are the positives and negatives?
Also, I’ve been recording really quick videos to communicate with my wonderful, fantastic sister, so here are a few of them for a different glimpse into life in Hong Kong:
Hong Kong Central Library: