This year is a trial run for life post-grad. I love living in Shanghai, but also think about the possibilities for after this year and this fellowship. So each time I travel to a new place in Asia, I think of it as not only a vacation spot but also a potential future home. What makes a place a home? Could I do this “for real”? So this is my HK pros and cons list.
1) The view from the bus if you venture beyond the downtown = beaches, green mountains, tropical sunsets. Heaven.
2) Everything is dirt cheap. Maybe not as cheap as it would be in Shanghai, but still very cheap.
3) Nature is everywhere. I feel like if Jamaica and New Hampshire had a love child, it would be Hong Kong.
4) People can understand me when I speak in English. It’s beyond marvelous.
5) It is also a great hub for the rest of Asia. And they have Disneyland.
1) There are really creepy, creepy dirt fat old white men who are in HK for one reason and one reason alone. The hiking. Obviously. Just kidding. They probably have never hiked up the stairs let alone a mountain. They look at Playboy magazines on the newsstands and when they emerge from buildings huffing a bit you wonder what they’ve just being doing.
2) Cantonese. It’s not Mandarin. Why do all the characters have so many more lines and squiggles? Why? Why?
3) I am missing a few key components to be a part of the Hong Kong expat community. A) A mature banking husband that can buy me a house on Victoria Peak for the small ticket price of 20 million USD, B) a nice nauseatingly cute baby that we can take on hikes where said ridiculously rich husband from Australia (or New Zealand, whichever works better) will carry my photograph frame ready munchkin in a little child backpack thing up the mountains when we do our weekly Saturday hikes around Hong Kong, and C) I have not spent ten years in Mainland China, done the whole “I’m in my 20s exploring THE BIG WIDE WORLD woot!” thing and then decided I want to be mature and in my 30s and spend that time in Hong Kong having birthday parties with my other “white couple with two year old child” friends in the parks on top of Victoria Peak.
So it definitely has potential. I loved the mix of the cultures, the fact that the rest of Asia was so accessible, that it felt a little less “in your face” China, and that everything was still dirt cheap. But the creepy white men and the fact that I’m not 30 were definite drawbacks. But one day, one day. Perhaps this blog will turn into “Charlotte’s Web of Travels. Ten years in China and now 30s in Hong Kong. Let’s do this!” and you will still be reading my blog posts or perhaps they will be holograms where a 3D fake version of me jumps out of your iphone and talks to you about my time in Hong Kong and what hike I did that weekend. Technology.
Until then, it’s back to Shanghai – the land of 15 cent breakfasts, Mandarin speaking cyclists, and pollution – that I go.