I have now been in Hong Kong for a little over a week and I’m finally starting to adjust. There were a few times over the last 10 days where I felt like perhaps I had made the wrong decision, that I wasn’t ready for such a big move, or that I needed to change drastically in order to adjust but now that I’ve settled in, I’m much happier.
I still miss my friends and family lots, but I am glad that I can now be with both my mum and dad after such a long time of being apart from them.
So here are just some of the things that I have noticed whilst being in HK:
This is perhaps one of the hardest things to get used to. The UK is well known for being cold and rather miserable but HK is hot, humid and stuffy. Every day is over 30degrees C, even in the evening. Humidity is usually around 80-100%, although it has been raining lately and there have been a couple of typhoons so it’s actually cooler and less humid than in the past (Still very hot though!). Even just stepping out of the house you will be drenched in sweat, any make-up you put on will slide off in seconds and you will wish that you could go outside naked.
The first few days were tough as I felt like I was being roasted, but now I am actually OK. I wouldn’t say I was comfortable, but I can go out in jeans without wanting to rip them off. The humidity is not good for my hair either as I have extremely thick and my hair is naturally a bit curly, so the humidity turns me into…well.. If any of you watch friends, I’m like Monica in Barbados.
As a BBC (British born chinese), I get the best of both words, I was raised with mainly asian values with a bit of western style mixed in. However, in HK, this isn’t always good. I’m quiet and polite (The British are known for being polite) but that doesn’t bode well for me in HK. HK people are largely loud and very blunt, which can come across as rude and aggressive.
HK-ers will also point out your flaws without considering that it might actually offend you. If you have a bad hair day, or dark circles, or you’ve gained a bit of weight (or in my mum’s case when she hasn’t!), they will say something. They aren’t trying to offend you or humiliate you, I think they’re actually telling you because they think it will help. It used to make me feel very embarrassed, but now I just let them say what they want to and move on.
Transport in HK is so good. It’s actually amazing. I believe it’s meant to be one of the best in the world and I’m not surprised. There are so many different ways to get you from A to B and it is so cheap and convenient especially with an octopus card. You just ‘doot’ and you’re on your way!
However, getting off the MTR (HK’s train/tube system) I find difficult because nobody seems to notice me even when I’m politely asking them to move, but when a HK-er screams ‘GET OUT THE WAY! I’M GETTING OFF!’ behind me, then people move out of the way.
I actually find that people in HK seem to be a little on the selfish side when it comes to seats on public transport too. They will make it difficult for you to sit in the seat next to them, like putting their bags on the seat or sitting on the outside seat so you have to squeeze past them, even if they can see that there are no other seats available.
There have been many times where I have noticed that people won’t give up their seats for the elderly or pregnant which I actually find very upsetting and if I had a seat, I would have given them mine. I did notice a man give up his seat to an elderly man the other day though and it restored my faith in humanity just a little.
I’m not going to lie, it has been difficult for me to adjust to living in HK. I have been here so many times in the past for holiday and to visit family but it is very different coming back permanently. However, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy when I decided to come back for my PhD and I know that all of this will help to make me a stronger person.
I don’t want to be one of those people that just settles for stuff and stays within my comfort zone the whole time. I want to grab opportunities whenever I can and reach as high as I can, no matter how hard it is or how far away from my comfort zone it is. Only then can I live with no regrets and know that I’ve tried my best in everything that I do.