The morning after we arrived back from our holiday in Phuket marked our first anniversary of living in Hong Kong. I guess the fact that I’ve only sat down to comment on this a week later is a good thing but, one year????? Seriously???!!
I don’t really know how to summarise how I feel about this. I mean a year is a significant amount of time and an even more significant percentage of our life in Hong Kong. So part of me is just proud of myself that I’ve made it this far, I’ve survived, made friends, watched the kids flourish, watch Dan succeed in the job he came here to do, I’ve seen summer, winter and everything in between. I’ve walked probably hundreds of miles, seen views that take my breath away on some days and on other days are hidden by clouds that literally float past me. My morning walks when I’m plugged into my music are one of my favourite times.
My friends at home are amazing, never making me feel as if I’m missing out on anything or that our absence will change anything. I know that is a mark of true, lasting friendships. That doesn’t stop part of me panicking about the ever growing chunk of time that we’ve missed with our friends, their kids and the things we haven’t done together.
And on the opposite side of the spectrum, I can look back on a year filled with greater experiences than any of us would have done in London and know that one day we will look back on this time and know that we did amazing things together and hopefully we will all land back in London one day enriched and more worldly as a result of this other life.
We’re lucky to have made some great friends here too. Friends are your family in the expat world. You spent Friday nights, weekends and yom tovs together as you would with your real family. The bonds form quickly.
I know that after a year, many families have fallen in love with Hong Kong, the expat life and all it has to offer. A couple of years stretches into five, or ten, kids are born and the desire to go home becomes less strong, sometimes disappears. I think that after a year, a person can gain a pretty clear understanding of their own feelings and desires once the dust has more than settled, life is being lived and cycles start for the second time.
My feelings are that we’re have a good life here but both Dan and I are both homebodies. We miss our families, friends, house, garden, stairs, cars, Tesco, affordable shopping centres and affordable food! We have clearly passed some of this on to Joshua who still misses all his old friends and talks about them frequently. This is quite unusual for a kid of his age after this amount of time. He is happy here 99% of the time but the other 1% can’t be ignored and he needs a lot of reassurances. Eden is of course much less of a worry in this area. She is a ridiculously happy child who has now spent almost half her life in Hong Kong and probably remembers very little about London. For these reasons, and many more, we haven’t yet turned into an expat family who is happy to let time roll away and see where it takes us.
We’re still sticking to the plan. Year 2, we’re ready for you.