Sunday, July 10, 2011

Expat Experiences: Hong Kong - Jade, The New Territories

Who are you?

I'm Jade, a 30-year-old originally from Melbourne, Australia, and now living in the New Territories of Hong Kong. With my husband, 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter, I live in a tiny village in the middle of a tropical rainforest with views of the South China Sea. Apart from the stench of drying fish (as seen in the photo below), we've found we've unexpectedly living in a lush paradise. We share our village with coloured finches, snakes, butterflies the size of my hand, cows, dragonflies and whole selection of other unidentifiable insects - as well as lots of locals who are happy to encourage us in our appalling attempts to master Cantonese!

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

We moved in December 2009. I am a court reporter and originally worked in the Federal Court of Australia. We moved here when I was offered a job in the High Court of Hong Kong. Our decision to move ultimately came down to making a decision regarding that perpetual question that plagues young families - security versus adventure - and choosing adventure!

What challenges did you face during the move?

When we moved, my daughter was only 10 months old. We shipped a lot of our stuff from Australia to Hong Kong, and it had to leave Australia about six weeks before us. That meant we spent our last six weeks in Australia without our beds, most of our clothes, and the kids' toys and books. We basically all slept on a futon in our empty loungeroom. Our last day in Australia was Christmas Day. We arrived in Hong Kong with 90kg of worldly possessions and moved straight into a temporary serviced apartment that my employer had arranged for us, which was 400sq feet. We couldn't even open our suitcases. We'd also sent our cats on ahead of us from Australia and had to wait six weeks for them to clear quarantine, so we spent a lot of our early days here traipsing to the cattery to visit them. And avoiding our 400sq feet of "space". I was still breastfeeding my daughter when we arrived, as well as starting a new job, and settling my son into full-time kindergarten. It was...

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