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What would you have done earlier if...

  1. #1
    HK2008 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    What would you have done earlier if... had known that you are staying in HK longer than expected, or even for good?

    Hi ladies, some help again, please. Right now we are here on a 2-year contract. I found it very hard to do any planning for many things. For example, I don't know whether I should enrol my kids to the right school from the start, or just settle first for a nice and convenient kindy from downstairs across the road; I don't know whether we should start looking to buy our own apartment; or even buy a car; I wouldn't mind taking a long holiday by not bothering to look for a job at all(and it's so hard anyway), if it was only for two years...I AM studying Cantonese very diligently though, so at least that's something considered useful???

    Please help me out here. Do you have any list of things you might have done earlier? I really don't want to just take any day as it comes, for fearing that I might be wasting/missing out on any opportunities...

    Thank you very much for sharing!

  2. #2
    wwg2102 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Ap Lei Chau

    Hi there
    Just to say that i share your sentiments although I've only been here for 1 month. Although I have no useful suggestions, I thought you'd like to know that you're not alone in feeling/thinking about these things.

  3. #3
    fingerscrossed is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Tin Hau

    Yes, this is a common story. I was only supposed to be here for 2yrs but it's turned into 14!!! Since then I've done a masters degree, married the guy whom I came over with, and had a child with him. One thing to really do is go on more holidays. I regret not going on more holidays when I could have. Now I have to wait until my child turns at least 3 until I'm game enough to step on a plane again. We own our flat, which I'm happy about because I couldn't imagine still renting after so many years. With respect to finding a school for your children, I suppose it depends on how old they are. If they aren't school age, take them on short holidays around Asia. If they are school age, then going to school may not be a bad idea for them. They might be able to pick up some mandarin/chinese if they teach it at the school. Also, it might be a good experience for them to meet some other kids of the same age.

    Hope this helps!

  4. #4
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung

    i came for a 1 week holiday, 14+ years ago....

    everyone has regrets... luckily, mine are small.

    we dont' own our house, don't think we'll ever own anything in hk, it's just too expensive.

    we are going to live here like we would where-ever you live. you can't put stuff off because it will only be 2 years. as you say, it could get extended and then you WILL have lost out because you haven't done anything.

    if you don't HAVE to work, enjoy your time! if you do, find a job you LOVE (this holds true no matter where you are).

  5. #5
    Bumps Guest

    HK2008 - I empathise. I have just had a little mental episode regarding the same... I have always been a very 'structured' person with goals but since becoming an expat everything is either put on hold, just a dream I once had or something unsure. At the moment I am torn with the fact that my husband and I love Hong Kong, yet I need my family right now for numerous reasons and they need me. I regret that I will never get back the past many years I have spent away from my family, especially my niece and nephew, brother, mother and grandmother. My life feels messy; I have things in storage all over the place, accounts here and there; arhh - when will this nightmare end? My problem is that when I get 'unstructured' and unsure about things I get self destructive. Not good.

    Babble babble babble.

    To answer your question: What would I have done differently? Simply, I would have given my family more time. Sorry, probably not the practical response you are looking for.

    Last edited by Bumps; 07-24-2009 at 09:59 PM.

  6. #6
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2009

    I would take time to really fall in love with Hong Kong--for some this happens automatically and for some it takes time (I'm in the latter group, for sure). This means going off the beaten path a bit and being adventurous--if you're really new here (been here less than a year) then I promise you you haven't seen and experienced everything HK has to offer.

    I would branch out beyond the expat community if possible and make friends here in HK--local friends--that will help you immensely with your Cantonese and will give you a sense of understanding of the city and its people. (Of course, having good expat friends is great too and those should be sought out too).

    I wouldn't waste time pining over the things that you've left behind and can't enjoy/see right now. (I wasted a lot of time doing that!)

    But, I do agree with Bumps in that I would take more time for family--whenever and if ever possible. Travel is great. Doing things is great. Working is great. Having a house and car is great. But in the end, the time we spend with the people we love and the effort we make to stay connected is what matters, I think. Just make people your priority and experiences and things secondary and I think you'll have a good time in HK.

    Maybe this is an opportunity of a lifetime so why not live like the locals live as much as you can and then give that experience to your kids?

    When it comes to the practical things. I wouldn't rush out and buy a car or a house if you don't have any solid plans beyond 2 years here. Believe it or not, 2 years will be gone very quickly.

    HK has a great public transport system and why give yourself the hassle of paying for a car and all that goes along with it when you can avoid it altogether--I don't know where you're from but I've been in very few cities that are as well-connected as HK as far as transport goes.

    The only exception I would think would be if you just have a lot of money and don't really have a tight budget and/or you have a lot of small children and/or you live out in the middle of nowhere.

    Housing? I don't know what your residency status is but as I understand it you have to have a lot of capital to invest or have permanent residency here in order to even buy land/property. It says something about that on my visa that accompanies my HKID--even though I'm married to a permanent HK citizen. So, buying a house in HK is easy if 1) You're a capital investor 2) You have permanent residency or the right to own land here. But, on the other hand, as carang said, it's expensive--it could be seen as a real estate investment but I'm not investment adviser so you'd have to have a professional talk that over with you.

    Schools? Gather as much information as possible and then just do what's right and feasible for you. I think with these decisions, after awhile, what is right for each person eventually emerges and that's based on your priorities. If your children are only kindergarten age, as I've seen it recently mentioned here on this forum, sending them to a cheaper and/or more convenient local kindergarten isn't going to really matter that much over sending them to a private or international kindergarten--especially if you speak English with your child at home and they are in all other regards developmentally and socially on course.

    Take it one day at a time and like I said, before you know it, those 24 months will be gone and by that time you'll have a better idea of where you're going.

  7. #7
    0ze_Kid's Avatar
    0ze_Kid is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    DB, Hong Kong

    DH's career means that every 18 months we have the dilema of planning and moving. Either within Australia, or Hong Kong (I am thankful that this is about to change with a permanent move to HK in the works).

    Before kids it wasn't so hard but now, moving 4 people is making it much harder and now that they are about to start primary school it is all the more difficult.

    DH's last job was in "country" (OK, 25K out of the city, but it may as well be country) Victoria for 18 months (he took it as opposed to staying in HK because we wanted to come back for family) and we knew at the end of it we would be moving again. As a result, I just couldn't get into life and here we are 14 months later and ... nothing has changed. I didn't make any friends, just couldn't be 'bothered' knowing that I would be moving (that said, the people here were not very friendly either).

    I have learned that is not the way to go. I now plan for what I think is going to happen (so for the past 6 months a move back to HK) - deposits in schools etc and if they change OK (and some money lost) but at least I am feeling alive again and I will deal with any changes it comes up.

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