Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Living in Hong Kong: First month round-up.

So there it is. A month in crazy Hong Kong. And so far I think we are having a love-hate relationship, Hk and me.

A month and 3 days ago to be exact, I was leaving dream like PhiPhi island to start my life as a master student. Back to words like lecture, seminar and essays. I'm really passionate about my studies (a dignified way to say that yes I'm a massive geek/nerd/bookworm), so I did not mind it, even after the freedom of a year spent traveling around the world. I remembered fondly my years as a student in Kingston, the long hours in the library, the strong bond between students, the warmth of our local pubs after a long day studying, the sports teams etc... basically your regular english university life.

But I'm not in England anymore. And this has nothing to do with before.

Hong Kong is intense, oh so intense. It's not my first time here. I've been coming here on and off for the past 5 years, as my dad works a lot around here.
First of all I had to find a flat. No flatmates to watch Hollyoaks at night anymore. I live by myself in crowded Sai Ying Pun on Hong Kong Island.
There is a few things I'm finding really hard to deal with everyday.
-The pollution: You can feel it, it creeps up your nose and down your throat. It sticks to your hair, and blacken your skin at the end of the day. Give me some fresh air!

-The heat: I love heat. I love the warm feeling of the sun of my skin. When traveling, I loved it. Mainly because I did not care much about how I looked like and I could just run around in a loose vang vieng vest and flip flop. Being back in the city, not Ok. I'm finding it incredibly frustrating to have to go to uni all dolled up to arrive like panda bear in sweat because I have to climb hell of the hill to get to class. And you never feel comfortable. And there is always (like everywhere else) that blond b**ch that look like just out of the box. You know the one I'm talking about.

-The crowded places: I hate crowds. It's overwhelming, too intense etc..etc... Here I have to battle to get past on the streets. I truly think, that NO ONE look where they are going in this city. Please tell I'm wrong if I am. But no one does! They'll happily bash you with their bags shoulder, arms, I feel like I m being attacked from all sides. And also I hate people touching me, here no way to avoid contact. And if you are a little bit in a bad mood, I swear it see you off. Talking about swearing, that what I end up doing a lot. Under my breath, of course, but it's like giving "pardon my french" a whole new meaning (I do swear in french btw).

-The urban jungle: having been living in big cities all my life, I thought of my self as a city girl. I love going out, in fancy restaurants, shopping ect..(Now that I said that I was a nerd, I'm allowed to say that, I gave myself some brain cred) But apparently not. All these ever ending buildings, crazy traffic and then more building. It drives me insane. During the day.

-The language: It kind of annoys me that sometimes I can't go to that place or that place because I just don't know where it is and it's written in cantonese and no one arounds me speak english/french/german/spanish (No fluent in german or spanish, but enough school bits to get directions). While traveling, it was kind of charming to get lost, and pick crazy dishes like russian roulette. But I don't really have time for that anymore. I've got an immense amount of uni work, and all I want is a noodle soup. So I could go to central and get to the western places, but it's far and expensive. But I'm working on my cantonese a lot, so although I won't be able to read anytime soon, i'll probably able to say "Hello, noodle soup please, thank you very much").

Right now there is some positives things in my HK experience.
That jungle is so different at night, it's beautiful, sparkly and thrilling. Endless fancy designed bars, lovely lovely food at every corner, and people here are ready to party.
Coming back to the food. I love it. So many restaurants and things to discover, to mix the flavours, the influences, it's amazing.
The beaches! I always wanted to live somewhere by the sea. I did for a while in Sydney and it was amazing. I love that I can get to a beach in less than an hour, and escape the noise, concrete and people.
The networking: Here is all about the networking, and the people you meet are pretty interesting.
(yes, after being a nerd, and a bubble head, I'm also career hungry)

So there you go. If you were thinking to move to HK, be ready for hell of the roller coaster.
Although I'm moaning a lot, I don't regret at all moving here. Not for a second. And I'm fully looking for the year around.
Stay tuned!


  1. Great post!

    I agree, the pollution in Hong Kong is terrible. When ever I visit I get home and actually find I'm washing black stuff from my face it's so bad.

    Don't worry about the heat though - it'll start cooling down in a month or so! So enjoy rocking the panda bear look. :P

    Look forward to hearing more about your love hate relationship. :)

  2. Your blog is looking GREAT.

    I just started my MA too, in New York. Not exactly the culture shock you're talking about; more like reverse culture shock. Everything is so weird because it's so familiar and over-exposed.

    Anyway, sounds like quite the learning curve for you. Such a difference, right? Between experiencing everything as a backpacker or as a student trying to get things done (I'm a huge bookworm too... I've been disappointed that my program so far has too much people focus and not enough book focus).

    Best of luck with the next month. I'll be reading...