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Will we ever leave Hong Kong?

  1. #9
    nicolejoy's Avatar
    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    When we first moved here, it was for "2-5 years". We've been here for 3 years and one baby - and now it's "10-15 years"!! In some ways, I LOOOVVEEE being over here. Travel around the world is much easier than from Australia. The pay is much much higher and tax is much much lower. I do sometimes have my days where I just want to move back "home" - because HK doesn't really feel like "home"... but I try to stay positive and look on the bright side. There are SOOOO many great things about living here!! And I know in my situation, if I EVER said to my husband that I 100% couldn't take it any more, we'd move back. I try to visit a bit more often now that we have a baby - I want her to grow up being close to our family there... But I try to really look at it from the positive as well. Hong Kong still feels "right" for us - and it does have it's ups and downs - but overall, I am glad that we're still here.

  2. #10
    LeahH is offline Registered User
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    Babymommy2 - you can have a yard, grass and space if you live off the island in the NT, Sai Kung or Clearwater Bay. It's a trade-off commute wise if you or your husband work in central, but a lot of people have amazing homes out there. The air is marginally better out in those areas, but you are right in that ultimately there is no getting around the pollution...

    Regarding materialism, yes it's all over. But only fractionally more than other places I've lived (Canada not being one so I guess it's very different). I've found that if you surround yourself with different types of people, from different walks of life, you can get balance.

    The availability of comparatively low cost home help here means you could also work.

    More generally on this topic - I'm talking from an expat perspective with no local family here - I have found that life in HK can cement you, your husband and kids as a stand alone family unit in a way it might not at home. As you have no extended family around, you wholly rely on yourselves and become a tight knit little circle.

    Also, the little tensions that big family dynamics often create (MILs etc..) don't exist here. I'm sometimes amazed at the interaction I see when I go home - created mostly by just being in each other's pockets.

    Again, I'm sure this doesn't apply to everyone, just a observation.

  3. #11
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
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    I feel really bad for you. Enjoying one's environment and place of abode, feeling at home is fundamental to our happiness. It seems so wrong (and unfair) that you should just have to stay positive or put up with it. We only have one life after all.

    I would go absolutely mad if my husband decided he wanted to stay here longer than our plan (3-5 years). HK is just not a place where I can walk outside and feel inspired by nature, breathe in clean air, look at a beautiful blue sky (a real blue!) and feel that all is right with the world. I love Australia (and most other places around the world!) because its beauty inspires me. I look outside in HK and whilst some days it is beautiful in its own way it's just not a place I ever feel very relaxed in. Weekends in Oz are such a pleasure. I was feel relaxed by Sunday night, like I've had a good chance to unwind. Here if anything i find weekends stressful. We're always trying to figure out what we can do with our young boys and the result is rarely interesting.

    Anyway, I hope you can find a real solution that doesn't require one of you to be unhappy.

  4. #12
    Shenzhennifer is offline Registered User
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    I also have been thinking a lot about how long we will be staying here. I have lived in Asia (Japan, Thailand, China, HK) for the past 6 years or so and the longer I stay away, the better Canada looks, especially now that we`ve just had a baby. But because of the economic situation there, compounded by the fact that my husband is very much not a native speaker, we don`t have a great chance at success there.
    Also, nowdays in Canada, all the young families are working their buts off just to achieve or maintain the status quo. Which in Canada is a big house and all the furniture for it, 2 cars, lots of appliances, vacations, etc. That means daycare for the kids from at least a year(after mat leave). And then what? You just work work work to pay your mounting bills, only to barely see your kids and be stressed out about seeing the extended family. That`s how I see a lot of young families nowdays.
    People say that HK is materialistic. I think Canada is too, all the western countries and more. But maybe Canada looks less materialistic because all those `materials`, you are just expected to get(the status quo) and most people live the same way in the same class.
    LeahH made a lot of good points about not being surrounded by family here so you are your own tight little unit. I really like that about living abroad. Especially not having to live near the in-laws, woo hoo!
    But it`s getting to be a toss up - HK is a bit too city, with little escape (that doesn`t involve lots of public transit for us), it`s expensive, I don`t know how we could afford another kid, let alone put our current one in school when the time comes(of course that`s an issue of our own financials - seems a lot of expat families here wouldn`t have that problem). And well, I would love a square of grass to plop my baby onto, plain and simple(btw, we can`t live in Sai Kung or like places as it would be too much of a commute for my husband).
    So where is perfect, where is ideal? I have not found that place yet, and I have lived in quite a few.
    But you do what you gotta do, sometimes for economic reasons, sometimes for familial reasons, or whatever. I don`t have any good advice here - I just wanted to share my own experience and thoughts.

  5. #13
    ladybug is offline Registered User
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    [QUOTE=Shenzhennifer;918587]
    Also, nowdays in Canada, all the young families are working their buts off just to achieve or maintain the status quo. Which in Canada is a big house and all the furniture for it, 2 cars, lots of appliances, vacations, etc. You just work work work to pay your mounting bills, only to barely see your kids and be stressed out about seeing the extended family. That`s how I see a lot of young families nowdays.
    People say that HK is materialistic. I think Canada is too, all the western countries and more. But maybe Canada looks less materialistic because all those `materials`, you are just expected to get(the status quo) and most people live the same way in the same class.....

    But it`s getting to be a toss up - HK is a bit too city, with little escape (that doesn`t involve lots of public transit for us), it`s expensive, I don`t know how we could afford another kid, let alone put our current one in school when the time comes(of course that`s an issue of our own financials - seems a lot of expat families here wouldn`t have that problem). And well, I would love a square of grass to plop my baby onto, plain and simple.
    So where is perfect, where is ideal? I have not found that place yet, and I have lived in quite a few.
    QUOTE]

    Funny I hear that argument quite a lot around HK. People debate going back to their home western countries and give up their quality of life in HK and then give up a lot of their quality of life from their home countries to live in HK. It all depends on where a person places their values. I know HK is not for me. The pollution, paying ridiculous amounts of money to buy imported and "safe" foods that don't come from mainland and live so far from immediate family and crowded living conditions aren't for me. I don't mind going back home and not having a domestic helper clean and watch my children- I actually can't stand the idea of having one. I don't need to keep up with the Jones' or have ridiculously expensive appliances to keep me happy. Some people fit well into the HK lifestyle and some people don't. It is what you value that will decide for you. But you are in a marriage that hopefully is mutually based and therefore you shouldn't have to live where your partner dictates without having some voice. When your baby arrives your focus will completely change- it isn't just hormones. Hopefully, your partner will fall into sync with that. Your little one will arrive and and things will become much clearer for both of you. Yes, the global economy is not healthy right now but it will turn around. You might have to sit tight in HK for awhile or make sacrifices to return to your home country. My husband and I always debate about which is a better place and he prefers HK to the west. The grass is always greener. But for us, family of utmost importance and why we could never live here long term. We want our children to know their grandparents. We do want a plot of grass to plop our children on.

  6. #14
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    shenzheniffer,

    you COULD live out in sai kung, get a cheaper place and buy a used car. we've done it.

    we are paying less than $20k for 2100' home. 5 bed, 4 bath, garden, 2 car parks.

    we bought an el cheapo car ($8000) and i use it to commute daily to tsing yi. it still works out to be MUCH cheaper than most places. it takes me 45 minutes door-to-door.

    ideally, i would love to live a little closer to work, but that is just not in the cards. i would rather be on the road an extra 20 minutes per day and enjoy the space we have.

    it is a trade-off though.

  7. #15
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
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    Carang, whilst Sai-Kung is definitely better on many fronts it is still not the solution. For many people the commute is too long, you are too isolated and there is not enough 'life' (nice cafes, good restaurants, interesting shops etc) out there to make it worthwhile.

    But that is really irrelevant, the main issue I see is that husband and wife don't agree on where their future is. This has to be addressed or one will end up being a martyr. My mother did that and it doesn't work. It will end in divorce at some point even if it's 20 years down the track (as was the case in our family). It is possible to put a smile on and live with something you don't like for a certain amount of time but when you can't see an end in sight it really sucks.

  8. #16
    carang's Avatar
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    i agree it isn't a solution... i'm still suffering the "will i ever live in canada again?" complex.

    however, i realised very quickly when i was visiting friends in OZ and Canada, that my life in hk wasn't so terrible...

    at my friends's house, i caught myself saying..."wow, you have a playroom AND a garden...aren't you luc..." then i realised i have those, too!

    like i said, it is a trade off... for us, the slightly longer commute was/is worth it... may not be for everyone, though.

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