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  • 1 Post By browntrout
  • 2 Post By realj0y

Hong Kong (future concerns, should I stay or leave this city for USA)

  1. #1
    browntrout is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Hong Kong (future concerns, should I stay or leave this city for USA)

    Hi forum; need to rather urgent help on my issue here in Hong Kong. Some background first that led up to the situation that I am now in. Met my wife in USA 7 years ago (we were both in university at the time) worked a few years in the states, then in Europe until mid-2012. My wife was born in Hong Kong, but grew up in the US since early age. We got engaged mid-2012, and after a short (engagement trip here) we decided to move to Hong Kong. My firm (finance) was closing anyways, and I thought it would be a great way to meet my wife’s extended family, and get to know a bit more about her heritage as a Chinese. She is from north westerns US, and is also where we both want to settle down one day when we have children etc. Some more background is the fact that I am also very outdoor oriented, hiking fishing, camping etc., so this part of the US fits me to like a glove.

    Now the problem, I haven’t had much luck here finding employment. I got a solid 6 years background with one of the largest banks in the US; I have a MBA degree, but haven’t been able to land a job, been little over a year now. Most of my western friends have left HK, either being laid off or stating environmental issues with Hong Kong. I personally feel that there is a twofold reason. One is that there is a growing anti-expat sentiment, I didn’t believe it at first but I now feel there is some truth in it. I have felt this, and I have heard it from others. I recently had lunch with an old colleague (local Singapore working in Singapore) who is a lawyer in a bank, who told me the same thing also about Singapore, so I know there is some truth to is. Secondly, my area of finance, trading, is massively downsized not only in HK, but also globally. I am active locally, I live in a local area, I love the food in HK, and I am taking Cantonese courses. Did I mention I love the food here in Hong Kong?

    However, since I haven’t been able to land a job here yet, and since we got married this summer we started to work on the resident papers for me for US (EU citizen) should I not been able to find a job, and since we always planned our long term to be in the states anyways. We might just fast forward a bit and move there sooner. Good news is that this VISA is almost done, maybe next week it will be ready, and potentially I could move there.

    My problem is that my father in law lined me up with a fund here in Hong Kong last week, and I went for an interview. This is the ideal role for me, pretty much spot on what I want to do, what I know I would be good at, but more importantly, this is the field where banking will grow the most in the next 5-10 years. Banks will go back to being banks, being more people oriented, wealth/asset management, and less derivative trading, stocking warehouses of commodities etc. I have applied for these roles online, but it’s all Chinese speaking, and focused on China, so haven’t had any luck. I don’t speak mandarin, but also culture wise I wouldn’t be good at these roles I think as a westerner. And while I was excited about this role, I just couldn’t see myself working there in that environment. Everyone was local, and in a small dark office. It’s different from what I am used to, and I couldn’t see myself being happy there. My communication with my father in law is often via my wife, and last night he asked me firmly why I am not moving forward with the role, apparently he knows the CEO. This is another uncomfortable factor, but not a main issue. Like I said I think the role is perfect, but my residency papers for US is almost ready (this week maybe) and I have been planning to move to US, finding a job there, while my wife keep working here for a few months (until I land something) The culture there is what I am used to, cant believe I say this as I feel like someone who can’t adapt, but truth is actually far from it. I have adapted to a lot of places in the world.

    I’m a bit lost to be honest (I’m early 30s now) I love my wife, and will love her forever, but I just don’t see us living here in Hong Kong anymore. This place has changed us, maybe because we are not used to it? My wife first, I have seen a change in her since we moved here; she has less patience, get angry easily. For me it’s more complicated, I have always been open to new cultures, having lived in Europe, north and South America and even in the south pacific for a few years. I just don’t blend with HK well. When I first moved here, I always told my wife and her sister’s family that we should spend more time outside, and do outdoor things. I didn’t know why they didn’t, but now I know. The air is very bad usually, and there isn’t that much to do outside anyways. There are lots of hikes, but after a while all the hikes looks the same. I love fishing, but there isn’t any fish around here for sport fishermen. We spend a lot of time in China as my wife’s father has a business there, I love seeing new places in China. And even though there are soo many negative things about China, there is also in incredible amount of beauty there. I like to be positive about China, by my wife and her family often says the opposite. Most Hong Kong people doesn’t like China (even though they are Chinese) lots of things that doesn’t make sense to me lots of people in China are rude, but the same is true for HK, and it’s their right and it’s how it is. I never thought it had an effect on me, but it has. And lately smaller things have started to bother me too, our neighbor often burns paper in the hallway, I get angry when I see people don’t recycle plastic/paper etc. outside. I know it’s different here, but even the smallest things have started to bother me.

    Where I am from people drink cold water, people here drink warm water.
    Where I am from people stay outside when its sunny, people here stay inside or use umbrella

    Additionally, me and my wife are trying to start out family now, so far unsuccessful. We are both super stressed over the whole situation, which I think is a major factor. I stress out about myself, and about HK, and about us and our future. And my wife stressed out about me stressing out, and the fact that she doesn’t really like her job at the moment, about same pay as US/Europe but LONGER hours! I grew up in northern Europe as a child, and I just don’t see myself having Children here in HK. I wouldn’t know what to do with them, being the outdoor type myself; I wouldn’t be able to do that here. In fact I wouldn’t want to take a child outside anytime here I think. I just don’t think it’s a good place for children, and there are already too many people here, almost feel bad bringing in more. And I really want to start a family now, I want to bring my kids out and show them all the beauty of the world. My father in law even offered to get me a nice car a while back, as he knows I love and miss driving here. And while initially I would get excited, I start thinking about where would I go? Would I take my future family to the forest, fishing? Probably not, I would just add to the roadside pollution. Do I sound negative? Yes I have felt that myself, but I don’t know how to not show it anymore. Sometimes, I feel I should show it, I mean I know the issue/problem, and I don’t feel I should shuffle it under the carper any longer. I came to HK with the best intentions last year, but having lived here for some time, I don’t think it’s for me. Most people that live here don’t have a choice, but I do have a choice to live somewhere else.

    Every time we have dinner with my extended family here in Hong Kong, people often ask me why did we move to HK, your country is so beautiful (they came to our wedding in northern Europe) what do I answer? Well for now it’s good? We wanted to come here for a while before moving?

    So what do I do now??

    Do I ignore the job offer I got, and slowly move my family over to US where I feel we would have a better life? I know my wife would be calmer there, I know our children would have clean air and lots of nature to enjoy, and I know the schools are good. The area in US we are planning does also have a pretty large Chinese population, so all the things we like about China we would be able to get there. Like food wise, and later in life, after school language mandarin/cantonese for the kids etc. OR……. Do I take this job that fits me very well, and someone manage to be ok with the negative things about HK (air quality, environment in general, over populated, expensive)

    My cousin told me at my wedding “don’t lose yourself” and while I was laughing at it while he said it earlier this summer, I think I know exactly what he meant now. I feel super happy when I plan my move to the states, how to get this how to get that. I have a long working list and spreadsheets of exactly what I would do when I land in US, converting my driver licence, looking for jobs, etc. etc.
    But then I feel down when I think of my father in law, and my wife’s sisters family which I really enjoying spending time with. Wife’s sisters also have a 3 year old daughter and another baby on the way, and I do really enjoying spending time with them also, and I know my wife really like to be a part their lives growing up. So not only (if we move to US) am I pulling my wife away from her father a bit, I am also pulling my wife away from her sisters family, which isn’t a good feeling as you can imagine. Potential good news is that my wife’s sister is US citizen also and really hates HK, and only stay because her husband likes it here, but he is also set on moving back to the same place we are thinking about within 5 years. Whatever I do now I feel I would lose something. Any suggestions of people that have been, or are in the same or similar situations?

    Did post this here, and on another forum I am also a member of to get more replies

    Helpful for any input
    Redestiny likes this.

  2. #2
    realj0y is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    I think there are many of us out there who feel very similar to you, it seems like we r approaching cross roads n trying to dechiper whether we r just suffering from the grass is greener syndrome, lack of trying hard enough, or a myriad of other mental anguishes

    I have very similar emotions n thoughts to yours, with slightly different circumstances. I followed my husband here. Just daydream about what it would take it make 30M usd so I can live the ideal once in a lifetime lifestyle that would cost me a tenth of that to live in the states...

    Btw, do they have private message here... I wanna chat more abt this but in a private setting
    ricotta and sundayz0 like this.

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