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Hey everyone!

  1. #1
    sunny_mummy is offline Registered User
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    Nov 2011
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    Hey everyone!

    Hi,
    We're moving to HK in January. I have 2 kids - a 5 year old girl and and 3 month old boy. I'm getting really nervous now because whenever I read things on forums people aren't that positive about HK and kids. Is it really all that bad? I mean at the moment in the UK I'm living in a very small town...lots of green/space etc but dull beyond belief! Very little culturally

    We're thinking of staying at the Horizon Suites in Ma On Shan while we find a place. Has anyone stayed there? Is it in middle of nowhere? Is there stuff to do with kids around there?

    We've applied for some schools but my daughter won't be starting until Aug/Sept so I'm going to have to keep them both entertained. I am actually a stay at home mum anyway. With playgroups I'm not sure whether it's the same as here..do you get to stay with them at the playgroup?

    How easy did you find it to find friends for your little ones? Any tips? How did you meet other mums? Has it been easy to meet locals?

    Also we love our arts and crafts so are there any big supply stores around that I should know about?

    Also what's the score on changing the baby when you're out. I'm guessing that there aren't baby changing facilities...what do you guys do?

    I'm really going through a can't wait very excited to go which mutates into omg what the hell am I doing type thing by the evening!

    Well hopefully I'll get to know a few people here too :-)

  2. #2
    charade is offline Registered User
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    Hong Kong may be different from where you are right now - with the usual big city woes but also lots of big city benefits - but it's definitely not bad for kids. It's pretty good in fact. There are loads of expats with kids here and not all of them are moaning. I think you have to keep an open mind to a different experience - for one thing houses are way smaller, your local park may not be as big as you are used to, but the public transport is great, everything is very convenient so that can free up your time to do stuff with your kids.

    Regarding where to live, I'd base that on: a) where your husband works so he doesn't have too long a commute and can spend time with the family b) if you have target schools you'd like your daughter to go to and her travel time to school. Then you can see what fits your budget closest to those places. Most people commute to office using the MTR. Take a look at the MTR map (http://www.mtr.com.hk/eng/getting_ar...ystem_map.html) to gauge your husband's commute. On the MTR site you can actually plot the journey and estimate the travel time. There may be buses from Ma On Shan to his place of work or a shuttle from Horizon Suites, in which case disregard what I just said, though keep in mind shuttles get very crowded during peak hours.

    A lot of expats tend to live on HK Island because they work there. So, for you, living in Ma On Shan might be a bit isolating because as a new arrival you'd need to build a network of friends and I suspect (though I may be wrong) that Ma On Shan may have more Chinese-speakers. You could do a shout-out on this forum to Ma On Shan mums and see what comes up. Living on HK Island is more expensive and you may find yourself compromising on space, but you could choose a location a little closer to it (that might requite just a ferry ride like Discovery Bay or fewer MTR changes like the service apartments in Hung Hom). However, if you've fixed on Ma On Shan, don't panic. Since it's a serviced apartment, I'm assuming it's a short contract and you can then figure out where you'd like to live after you're here.

    I find expats in HK quite friendly and open to new people so I think you won't find it hard to meet other mums. This forum is a good place. And then your kids can meet up. My son is only 1-year-old so not really into 'friends' but he does interact with other kids in the apartment playroom and park.

    Most malls in HK I've been to have baby changing facilities. About the playgroups - though I haven't been to any - my understanding is that at least for the younger children, you can go with. Not sure for 5-year-olds though.

    Hope that helps...

  3. #3
    Obiwan is offline Registered User
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    Want to add that Hk is not big like the UK so it's really not inconvenient to go anywhere as public transportation is very good.

    You will find that people here are so 'pampered' by proximity that often anything more than 10 minute ride is considered far :)

    One thing that will 'hit' you first is the size (and cost) of the apartments here. So get ready for that. But if you don't mind travelling there are alot of size options out there.

  4. #4
    alfa is offline Registered User
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    Agree with the above - all depends on your husband's job and your budget plus the schools. HK is great for kids although not in the conventional big garden+lots of parks way:) It's easy to make friends through both this forum and your local playground, playgroup. I find HK Mums much friendlier than anywhere else. Places like Saikung/Clearwater bay/Discovery bay are green, kids friendly and full of expats. On the HK Island Pokfulam has lots of greenery and so does the Southside but the latter is rather pricey and a bit congested in the morning in terms of traffic. I dont know much about Mao O Shan but there might be othe Mums who do. Will you get a chance to come for a visit before the move? It will probably give youa better idea. If not look up one of the Estatte Agency websites sucha s HKhomes to give you some idea about the prices. Bare in mind that if it says that the app is lets say 900 sq meters it will be less than that as the calculate things like common areas, balcony and somethimes even the lobby so you get 70 percent of what is being advertised by the agents. Older apptments tend to be more spacious.Good luck!

  5. #5
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    PMed you :)
    “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
    sunny_mummy is offline Registered User
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    Thanks guys. All this information is really really helpful. Really glad to hear positive things about your experiences in HK. My husband is going to be working at the Chinese University so that's why I was talking about Ma On Shan/Tai Po but we're open to living further out too. Having said that we applied to Renaissance College for my little girl but again everything is still up in the air as far as schools are concerned. I've also been getting my square feet and square metres confused so I'm really in for some fun with the size of the appartments ;-)!!! I can see us arriving with 2 kids and 2 suitcases now. I think it would at least be wise to book a place to stay before the arrival. Where did you guys stay when you first came over? How long did it take you to find an appartment?

  7. #7
    charade is offline Registered User
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    Oh, then it makes sense to stay there I think. You might meet other staff who live around there and the university campus might be nice to hang out with your kids too. I moved a year after my husband so he was already set up in an apartment... he works in Central and we initially lived in Kennedy Town, which at the time was a very non-expat area but I loved it. He was put up in a serviced apartment for a month I think when he first arrived and then found the apartment. We didn't have kids then though.

  8. #8
    babydoll is offline Registered User
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    The Horizon Suites in MOS is a good choice as a temporary stay until you find your feet. Its close to RC (one train stop away) which should be holding the interviews from Jan onwards. Your husband should still be able to go to work at the CUHK using the public minibuses or the MTR. The hotel has got some shuttle bus to various locations....you can find out from them whether there is a direct shuttle bus to the University Train Station which is based at the lower level of CUHK.
    The hotel is very close to a public library, park and swimming pool at MOS. There are lots of shops around for food and shopping. There is also the Waterside Mall which provides after school private activites, eg. dance studios, music classes, tuition classes, a playgym called Bumbletots.The population there is very local but friendly.
    Last edited by babydoll; 11-15-2011 at 10:31 AM.

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