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Having a Hard Time Adjusting to HK with 11 months old baby

  1. #1
    diannemarinescu is offline Registered User
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    Sep 2017
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    Having a Hard Time Adjusting to HK with 11 months old baby

    I am a stay at home mom to an 11 months old baby boy. We came to HK from central Europe, where we had almost no crowds and the forest plus walking paths, basically at our doorstep. My husband hated it there, but loves it here. I'm exactly the opposite. Although I have some good things to say about living here, such as career opportunities, posh shopping malls and the seaside, I find it very hard to fully settle here. The crowds are giving me a headache, especially when I'm strolling with my LO. The air is sometimes impossible, due to pollution, and during those days I stay indoors all the time. Shopping is not my thing, although I've started wasting money on things I don't need or use, out of sheer boredom. It's not a stroller friendly place and my baby is too heavy to be carried around in a sling. Beaches and nature paths are often inaccessible by stroller. There's very little to do that's entertaining for both mom and baby (I know some of you think babies don't care where you walk them, but when we go to places that are somewhat green, he's a lot happier and more excited than at the stupid mall. An outing in 'nature' takes a lot of prepping and both parents, because one needs to carry the stroller up and down steps, while the other takes care of the bags. I don't have a car yet, so I have to rely on the MTR (kind of annoying by stroller, due to the crowds and lifts, steps, etc) or taxis (the taxi drivers are so crazy, they always go so fast and squeeze into traffic, they get me really nervous. There's not much fresh meat to buy around my place (Tsim Sha Tsui area) and so we've all but become vegetarian (my son cannot eat street food, so naturally I cook for him. I have to give him the 1 year vaccination, but I don't know if the government facility is going to accept me because he doesn't have a HK ID and cannot get one since he wasn't born in HK. I don't even know how to enroll him with a pediatrician, as it was the system in Europe. If something goes wrong with him, who do I call? And how do I know something is wrong since nobody's checking my son's development? I took him once to a private pediatrician when he had a cold and the overall experience was very good, but he hasn't been checked since. We have health insurance so I don't worry much about money, yet my biggest problem is that I don't understand this system.
    I buy formula only in Watson's or Mannings because in the Chinese pharmacy shops they sometimes sell fakes (as one of them told me, after asking why the same formula had different prices in 2 shops. Who would fake baby formula for goodness sake?!
    The heat doesn't even bother us anymore. It's the other things that are unnerving.
    On the other hand, my son seems to be doing fine, eating well, growing up, etc. I don't know how well he's doing on a deeper level. I only know he seems fine, as I feel as a mother. But I feel very uneasy and even unsafe. I even refused going on a holiday around here, because of the possibility of the baby getting stuff like dengue fever, etc. I'm trying very hard to make this place work for me, but so far I feel confused and I fear, spiraling into a depression.
    Any advice?

  2. #2
    twelve98 is offline Registered User
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    Lots of concerns but I think you need to talk to more people - perhaps join a playgroup in your area so you can meet other stay at home mums? Just a thought

  3. #3
    diannemarinescu is offline Registered User
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    Totally agree with you, but there's nothing around here (I asked, searched the internet)

  4. #4
    twelve98 is offline Registered User
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    You live in TST and HK is a small place where travelling anywhere takes no time. You need to look a bit harder

  5. #5
    scarftraveller is offline Registered User
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    Hi, I've just arrived in Hong Kong for 2 months and I have 13 months old baby boy. My baby is vaccinated in his first birthday in HK at Health Centre in my district near my apartement. I think it's easy enough if you want to register your baby to Government Health Centre and give him vaccination in his 12 months old. Just come to the Health Centre, and show your baby's passport and bring you or your husband IDcard. The officers will proceed your baby's data and you will be invited to meet nurses to have some interview about your baby development. After that, you will get appointment slip for vaccination schedule.

    Fyi, I suggest you to come couple weeks/ a week before your baby's getting 12 months old to make an early vaccine schedule appointment. So, when your baby is 12 months old exact, he will get his 1st year vaccine on time.

  6. #6
    diannemarinescu is offline Registered User
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    Oh, thank you so much, that's a sigh of relief! I hope we'll have no problems, because they kept asking for my boy's ID when I booked. No, I booked the vaccination 1 day before his birthday, but I don't think he can get it that easily because he has allergies, including to egg and in such cases they send people to the hospital (at least that's the rule back home). Anyway, I asked his former pediatrician about the timing of the vaccine and he said it's normally given between 12 and 15 months, so I shouldn't stress about it. If everything goes well and the government facility is not sending us away, it's all good. If not, I'll go to a private clinic, where I took him before when he was sick.
    Still it's odd. Do they have that vaccination card here? Or a booklet with all the vaccinations and each check up? And do children here go regularly for check ups till they are 2? I'm curious, because in Europe, we had to go almost monthly. After the 1 year mark, I think there are less check ups, but I reckon a minimum of 2...
    Thanks a lot for the intel. I'll tell the nurses if they are giving us a hard time.

  7. #7
    diannemarinescu is offline Registered User
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    I found such groups on the HK island, not in Kowloon. No, I don't find it easy at all travelling here with the stroller. It's impossible with all the steps and obstacles, so if I can't find anything in TST, I'll wait until the baby can walk, by which time I'll probably go back to work and not have time for such meetings anyway. Such is life

  8. #8
    kazkm is offline Registered User
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    I'd say give it a time. Things will get better.
    I felt the same in my first year here (though no kids nor married then), 10 years later I call Hong Kong my second hometown.

    Having said that, I don't think I could survive the last ten years if I were living in TST. That place is the concentration of all the negative aspects of Hong Kong. Have you visited other places that are relatively more "relaxed" and somewhat westernized such as Sai kung, Discovery bay, Stanley and so on? Hong Kong is a small city but not all about TST and you'd be surprised to find many different faces of it.

    On a separate note, I can understand why your husband likes it here. I thoroughly enjoyed going out and trying out the new hot spots before I didn't have kids. A life with kids can be quite different from the one without. I'm sure you'll find here like home in the next couple of years once your son starts his preschool or kindergarten. You'll get to know with a lot of moms and that would give you a sense of community. You could also find moms with similar aged kids on Facebook if you're on it? There are quite a few groups like HK playdate matching and play, tumble, laughs, etc.

    I wish you a good luck!

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