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I don't understand

  1. #1
    2mums is offline Registered User
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    I don't understand

    I have been reading a lot of posts about where to live here. I am quite confused now. I just don't understand how so many people (I mean family with kids) start to like to live in apartment high up somewhere in the sky so quickly? I moved here for just over 1 year and am still not get used to living in apartment, especially with kids who eager to have more space all the time.
    I really miss those 2 floor detach/semi detach/town house with gardens. I found although club houses are great, there aren't many accessible green space in most place of HK. Typically, we have very organised landscape in apartment club house. don't we think this is bad for children's development?

  2. #2
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Hi 2mums. Well...I don't think that HK living conditions are ideal for childrens' development anyway...for many different reasons but to live here I think we make a lot of compromises anyway.

    If you want to live in a home similar to what you described you should check into living in a village house in the New Territories. That's where we live. We don't have a garden but there is green space within walking distance of our house. Just a thought.

    To me, living in the highrises in HK is like living in a shoebox/jail cell--that's how I feel and I told my husband that I absolutely didn't want to live in one if I could choose not to.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  3. #3
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    you couldn't pay me to live in a highrise again. it was ok when we were newly married, but once kids came, we moved to the new territories and would NEVER live high-up again.
    thanka2 likes this.

  4. #4
    jvn
    jvn is offline Registered User
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    Everybody is different, I grew up in the country. Lots of green and theoretically a great place to bring up a child, I found it isolating and dull - you couldn't pay me to live in the country now, even the thought of suburbia fills me with horror ;-). Now the countryside here in HK isn't exactly that kind of countryside but all the same I wouldn't live there! I love that my son can be in a playground with lots of other kids or to walk around and see the animals in HK park in two minutes, I love that he's less than five minutes away from ten different friends and that we walk across the park to soccer and get the escalator home from preschool. I love that The Boy and I can walk into town to meet my husband for lunch, I love that he gets to spend more time with his son as his commute is five minutes. Of course I'd like a garden too but I'm not going to get it!

    I'm not saying that all this is unique to where we live, just that I've found the space/apartment/life that works for me and my family. That's me. Nowhere is perfect in any country but there's lots of options to choose something that suits you a bit better if you don't like living in a high rise in town.

  5. #5
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvn View Post
    Everybody is different, I grew up in the country. Lots of green and theoretically a great place to bring up a child, I found it isolating and dull - you couldn't pay me to live in the country now, even the thought of suburbia fills me with horror ;-). Now the countryside here in HK isn't exactly that kind of countryside but all the same I wouldn't live there! I love that my son can be in a playground with lots of other kids or to walk around and see the animals in HK park in two minutes, I love that he's less than five minutes away from ten different friends and that we walk across the park to soccer and get the escalator home from preschool. I love that The Boy and I can walk into town to meet my husband for lunch, I love that he gets to spend more time with his son as his commute is five minutes. Of course I'd like a garden too but I'm not going to get it!

    I'm not saying that all this is unique to where we live, just that I've found the space/apartment/life that works for me and my family. That's me. Nowhere is perfect in any country but there's lots of options to choose something that suits you a bit better if you don't like living in a high rise in town.
    Reading this brought up some thoughts.

    1. "I love that my son can be in a playground with lots of other kids or to walk around and see the animals in HK park in two minutes"
    I also love that my son can also be in a playground with lots of other kids and walk around and see animals like birds, rabbits, goats, sheep, water buffalo, turtles, fish....up close and personal within about 10 minutes ;)

    2. "I love that he's less than five minutes away from ten different friends"
    I also love that my son is less than five minutes away from lots of neighborhood friends and if I need to drop by and "borrow a cup of sugar" there are people within 5-minutes walk from me I can depend on (also to hang out at their house if I lock myself out etc.)

    3...that we walk across the park to soccer
    I also love that our village has our very own community soccer pitch which is easy to get to and not too busy--where my son and my husband can play soccer any time of the day or night.

    4. I love that The Boy and I can walk into town to meet my husband for lunch
    I also love that my son can (and does every day) walk to my work to eat lunch with me and that I can breastfeed my daughter at the same time and people here are laid-back and relaxed about it.

    5. I love that he gets to spend more time with his son as his commute is five minutes.
    I also love that my son gets to spend time with me because my commute to work is about 15 minutes by foot.

    5. I'm not saying that all this is unique to where we live, just that I've found the space/apartment/life that works for me and my family.
    I completely agree. :) Isn't it great that we can kind of forge out the type of life we like wherever we're at in Hong Kong?

    I grew up in a town that was very rural and it was an amazing way to grow up because I had the best of both worlds--I had plenty of places to have "hands-on play" (dirt, water, plants, animals) which is hard to come by in HK. Which apparently is very developmentally beneficial for children. I also had lots of children to interact with in my neighborhood which was a very free place to live. Children here are literally frightened of getting their hands dirty. I teach a cooking class for primary students and if I spill flour on the table a lot of these kids are alarmed that I "made a mess." Close friendships between children often need to be developed through arranged playdates and formal structures like baby gyms, clubs etc.... I know many people who live in highrises that don't even really know their neighbors despite living there for years...maybe on a surface level but haven't been in their homes. Kind of feels weird to me.

    I also had a lot of practice in imaginative play and "entertaining myself" and bonded very closely with my brother and sister through this. I was able to become a contemplative/reflective learner by a slower pace of life as well--something that has served me really well. The "dull" life of the country taught me to think and not need to "be stimulated/entertained." Actually, looking back, there was really "nothing to do" in my town but somehow I remained insanely busy all of my school days there.

    So, yes it is possible to recreate similar experiences in HK, I find but what comes somewhat naturally in other environments takes a big effort to accomplish here, I think.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  6. #6
    charade is offline Registered User
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    I think apartment-living and space constraints are a function of living in a big city. Property becomes expensive and you live in what you can afford - and if you want to live closer to the city centre or an MTR station that generally means compromising on the space you own.

    The space constraint will hit you more if you're not used to it. I grew up in an apartment in a big city and I never felt my development was compromised - well I started feeling it as an adolescent but that's because I was sharing a room with my 70-yar-old grandmother. It helped that we had a large and wide playground at our disposal and the advantage of living in an apartment block is way more children so you're pretty much guaranteed playmates in your age group.

    I like the apartment with clubhouse set-up because: a) the clubhouse is an option on rainy days, otherwise my son can go to the park b) there really are a lot of children so even if some are standoffish, there are at least a few that will interact. This means I don't have to think about a formal playgroup because I feel my son gets that kind of informal interaction a couple of times a day. c) maintaining a house and garden seems like more work to me.

    Yes, the park is kind of manicured but fortunately people seem willing to break the rules. Like everyone ignores the 'keep off the grass' one. I also let my son get his hands dirty in the plants and mud to the shock of many people. My son is only a year old; as he grows older he might find the park too small but I do see a few older kids really running around and using more than the confined 'play area' to play in.

    Agree that people are not very neighbourly in apartments in Hong Kong. But I've noticed that when you have kids, other people with kids interact a lot more.

    If your kids were used to a bigger space, they will feel the space constraints more. But generally I feel kids are more adaptable and it's us adults who struggle. If your kids are really hating apartment life, there is the village house option but then you and your husband have to be prepared for a longer commute to work unless you're lucky enough to work near where the village houses are. But this would be the same in any big city, I'm guessing - at least in HK, the public transport is great and you don't have to have a car even if you live away from the city centre.

  7. #7
    jvn
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    Ah Thanka, I didn't grow up in thaaat sort of countryside, I grew up in properly middle of nowhere! To be fair my brother loved it, I didn't, there are plenty of positives but it didn't suit me at the end of the day and given a choice I wouldn't want to be that isolated again.

    I've lived in a few different countries and environments and I think I'm lucky to be able to do so, I've found it pretty easy to find the positives everywhere we've been so far even a small rural town in Europe, which I thought I might struggle with ;-). I think my message for the OP was just that some people actually do like it and with a little effort you can work around the things that you may think your child is missing out on like exercise, mess and outdoor play. For example, we live in a small building, I do know my neighbours and The Boy plays with the ones his age and we don't have a clubhouse - that works for us because I am very happy where we are and I do lots of things with The Boy that get him out and running and messy. For others, something else will make them happy.

  8. #8
    jvn
    jvn is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by charade View Post
    I think apartment-living and space constraints are a function of living in a big city. Property becomes expensive and you live in what you can afford - and if you want to live closer to the city centre or an MTR station that generally means compromising on the space you own.

    The space constraint will hit you more if you're not used to it. I grew up in an apartment in a big city and I never felt my development was compromised - well I started feeling it as an adolescent but that's because I was sharing a room with my 70-yar-old grandmother. It helped that we had a large and wide playground at our disposal and the advantage of living in an apartment block is way more children so you're pretty much guaranteed playmates in your age group.
    This is a good point too, my husband spent some time growing up in an apartment in HK (without the grandmother!) and remembers it fondly - don't think it was quite so busy back then but I do think 'missing out' is very subjective depending on what you think a normal childhood is. And actually when I moved to London the space I lived in was much smaller than it is here (pre kids but even so, it was tiny but it was mine and I loved it!).

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