Mixed Emotions in Uprooting (Vent) Support Thread

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  1. #1

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    Mixed Emotions in Uprooting (Vent) Support Thread

    I hope that this can be a thread for people to share and ultimately find support for this emotional event; and if need be, vent away in hopes it will make you feel better.

    Let me start...

    I will be leaving Canada to live in Hong Kong with my wife and two children; the oldest being three. My wife is a Hong Kong native so she's uber happy at moving back in October. As for me, not so much. I've traveled a lot and have seen various parts of the world, but never have moved anywhere. It's one thing to be a visitor somewhere with the mindset that you'll be going home at the end of it all, versus living in a foreign place. I have no relatives and a friend of a friend that I don't know well enough to really call a friend.

    There are aspects of Hong Kong I like, but that was when I was dating my now wife. Having kids, I want them to grow up in the same manner as I. Backyard with grass, parks with trees, etc. I'm really afraid of taking that away from them when we go over. It's very urban there, very New York without Central Park if you will. That's something I'm still struggling with. Then there's life without the ability to read or write in Chinese. I can speak very broken and poor Cantonese, but I've seen how far that can take me when I did visit, so with the mindset of living there, it will be a struggle (like finding a good burger that won't cost an arm or a leg).

    I'm rambling a bit here. Let me digress to the points: missing a familiar environment in which I can function and assist with matters, having support from family and friends, knowing how things work, having a job, familiar lifestyle, and knowing how things work. Hmm, that's pretty much everything isn't?

    Perhaps that's in the nature of being uprooted. You are indeed being transplanted in unfamiliar territory.

    Sure, I know what you're thinking. My wife will be a tremendous support though all of this, true to a point. I'm not saying she won't be a key factor of helping (not to mention why we're leaving), but does one point out the "different" things that bother or annoy you to someone who's coming "home"? So I guess this thread will help with that (hopefully).

    I was hoping for a year to prepare myself mentally and emotionally for this move, but is down to a few months. Thus I feel like we're running away from Canada (my home) and found displeasure with that feeling. So now I need to figure what I will take with me to remind me of my home (so going to miss Timmies!) and hope that I can start a career there and in the meantime look for work as a ESL teacher.


  2. #2

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    You might have a problem with the kids. Sounds like you’re not coming over on an expat package, and unless your wife/wife’s family is very well-heeled you’ll be hard put to arrange an English medium education for them – in which case their upbringing will differ from yours beyond your wildest imaginings. Better clear up with your wife what her aspirations are in that regard or you could find yourself getting sidelined. After all, they would be entitled to free education within the local education system if your wife so chose - they're still young enough to adjust.

    Last edited by araucaria; 01-08-2009 at 05:46 AM.

  3. #3

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    hey there,
    thought i'd send you a private message as this note could get very long.

    a bit of background about me:
    37 yr female, married for 9 yrs to hk local
    2 kids, 2.5 & 4.5 (both born in hk)
    moved to hk when i was finished university (u of s)
    i was 22 yrs old and didn't know a soul here

    it is completely understandable that you will be making the move with a little trepidation. afterall, you not only have yourself to worry about, but your kids, too!

    the first thing you have to realise is that it isn't the 1970s anymore. there is NO WAY your children will have the same childhood as you did. it is impossible. things change. i had this same discussion with my best friend (also from canada and contemplating a move here) a few months ago.

    that said, there are a few places in hk that will afford you a similar lifestyle to what you think you will be missing.

    you should look at the following:

    sai kung
    discovery bay
    south lantau island
    southside (hong kong island)

    of course, a lot of this will depend on budget...i think for someone concerned as much about this as you are, you should look at discovery bay first and foremost. i lived there for 6 years and miss it terribly. for what we need, it is now out of our price range, but it may be ok for you and your family. there are 2 residents' clubs with swimming pools, playrooms, playgrounds, tennis courts, squash courts, ping pong rooms etc. there are also two other clubs that you can join if you have the money (they marina club & the golf club). every "village" has a playground. some villages have better playgrounds than others, but there is no reason you can't go for a walk to a better one if you desire a change. there is a beach nearby that is fairly clean. i would let my kids play on the sand, don't know about in the water... prices in db are a little lower than hk island, so you may be able to get a place with a small back garden, a balcony or maybe a rooftop. there is a small shopping centre (plaza) that has all of the daily necessities and the commute to central is a lovely airconditioned ferry ride (25 minutes).

    however, db doesn't suit everyone. some people love it (me) and some people hate it.

    you may also want to look at sai kung. it is cheaper than db as the commute isn't as easy to central. in sai kung you could get a part of a village house, or maybe even a whole village house, depending on your budget. we now live in sai kung country park. we are about 15 minute drive from sai kung town (the closest supermarket etc). we are really out in the boonies. but we've chosen to live here because of the space that we can have for the money we pay. we pay well less than $20k/month and have 2100', garden, rooftop, 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms.... we would NEVER be able to afford this anywhere else in hk. our village is made up mostly of expats. there are other kids around and the village has gotten together and made a little playground at the front of the village with a trampoline and some other things for the kids to play on.

    anyway, it is a very long message and i apologise. just wanted to ease your mind a little. please feel free to respond or not.

    good luck with your move!

    ps> schooling will depend on where you live.


  4. #4

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    Thanks again for everyone's support. We're looking for a place to rent in the Southern side of HK island, since it will be close to my wife's workplace. Since I don't have a job yet (anyone need a published comic book writer?), well go with looking at: Stanley, Ap Lei Chau, Wong Chuk Hang. Did a little reading of threads and feel that a "move in" place is what we are looking for. We're still trying to figure our budget for rent, so that will be added as we figure it out. Posted via Mobile Device

    Last edited by scriptmonkey; 02-08-2009 at 12:44 AM.

  5. #5

    I'm extremely stressed out about moving to Hong Kong too. I'm 25/f, born in Hong Kong, grew up in Canada. I haven't been to HK in years, definitely will take a lot of time for me to get used to the environment.

    The reason I was moving to HK was because my boyfriend of 4 years had moved to Guangzhou China for work last year. I thought well why not give it a try, I was born there, I can read and write and speak the language, I'm fluent in English, I have overseas working experience, and most importantly I can continue my relationship with my boyfriend.

    But things hit rough waters. My boyfriend and I broke up recently, but I am still going to move to HK in hopes of finding a job, starting a life, and of course patch things up with him.

    I have a few friends in HK, don't have a job yet, renting a place to live and just starting a new life. I'm absolutely TERRIFIED. Not only am I dealing with the money and job and relocation issues, I'm also dealing with the breakup which is killing me.

    I tried posting on here asking others what they usually do to kill the time and not feel so lonely. All I got was people telling me to grow up, not to make the move, should just stay in Canada. No support at all. I mean what's wrong with worrying about what's going to happen? I just want to know what to expect and how to deal with the concerns that I'm having.

    We all have reasons why we have to relocate. I guess I speak the language so I wouldn't feel as stranded as you would. But on the other hand, you have a loving and supportive spouse to be there for you. I don't.

    God I'm so depressed. My flight is in less than 2 weeks. I will definitely miss timmies and other things in Canada, but at the same time I can't wait to get out of here. Staying in Canada is too painful when going through a breakup when there are sweet memories everywhere I go.

    This is a major life change for me, I'm stressed out and terrified and depressed.


  6. #6

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    the problem with 'PLANNING FOR THE WORST TO HAPPEN' is that it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. you have COMPLETELY the wrong attitude.

    you are NOT expressing a few reservations about the move, you are coming up with EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE problem and dwelling on it. THAT is why you are not garnering any sympathy at all. think about it... you are coming to an expat forum and talking like this is the worst thing that could happen in your life... to people that HAVE packed up everything and moved here....MANY of us in worse situations than you.

    comparatively speaking:

    you are 25.... i was 22
    you have some friends here.... i knew NO ONE!!! NOT ONE PERSON!
    you speak the language.... I didn't
    you have are scared stiff about it.... i thought of it as an adventure and i blossomed.

    IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE, you will do well. IF YOU HAVE YOUR ATTITUDE, you will fail miserably, fulfill your doomsday prophecy and run home with your tail between your legs.

    you say you are scared of being lonely, so we suggest looking at a different kind of accomodation... you say, "oh, i might meet the wrong people!" YOU DON'T WANT TO SUCCEED.... at least THAT is the attitude you are protraying to us. the tone of your posts is VASTLY different to the one portrayed by the man who is moving with his wife and has 'concerns'... you don't have CONCERNS you have life-stifling FEARS....


  7. #7

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    Carang is right. Attitude is 90% of the move. You need to want to do this or it is not going to work and you will be miserable - or make your wife and child miserable.

    I first moved to HK when I was 27 with my husband; who got a job in HK after visiting some work mates who said it was a cool place to live. At that point I had never dreamed of living outside Australia but considered myself pretty adaptable (how wrong was I!). I read "Culture Shock HK! packed our stuff into storage and set out on my 'adventure' thinking I was prepared and Hong Kong would welcome me.

    I HATED HK from the first weekend when I ate fish at Mad Dogs pub (no longer in business) and got my first bout of food poisoning (actually, it could have been when we got off the plane at the old airport with short roofs and security with machine guns lining the halls - that has all changed now too). It just got worse from there. I found a job but didn't know how to really work in Chinese environment so I didn't fit in (even though it was full of expats). I thought that I would just fit in - the same me and my Aussie attitude and way of being. After 6 months I wanted to leave and return to Australia.

    Everyone said it takes 6-12 months to settle in and I wish I had listened. I resigned from my job, giving two months notice and time for me to find a job back in Australia. I told my husband that he could stay or come back but I was getting out.

    However, something happened over those two months. I began to relax a little and actually enjoy SOME parts of Hong Kong life. Not enough to change my mind and we left after 9 months (may have been a bit more now I think about timing). My husband came back and finished his job a few months later (about 5 months we had apart with me flying in every 6 weeks).

    By the time my husband returned to Australia permanently, I was ready to go back to Hong Kong and live. I guess the pressure was off when I came back during those months that my husband was still working in HK.

    We now have two kids and are about to move to Hong Kong for the third time.

    My point... I didn't have the right attitude the first time around (and while preparation helped, without the right attitude it made little difference). As soon as I was willing to adapt and let "hong kong" in for its good and bad - I was much happier and fell in love with the city!

    I still have trouble eating seafood in HK though. And always rely on guinea pigs to eat the same seafood as me first to ensure it is OK!

    Last edited by 0ze_Kid; 03-08-2009 at 11:17 AM.

  8. #8

    Scriptmonkey, our paths are very similar. I just moved to HK three months ago with 3 small kids (oldest being 5 and 2 year old twins). My wife is from HK, I was born and raised in NY, am well traveled but never lived in HK. My Cantonese is wickedly bad, but I studied Mandarin in college and I can get by. (Survival tip #1 - I can't read, so if I go out and eat without my wife, I need to go to restaurants with pics or English menus). I have no friends or family in HK. My wife is here for work and I am trying to get a business going in HK. Hmmm, I'm your American counterpart?

    I looked at my move as a family adventure. You definitely need a positive attitude to make your move successful. So far, HK has exceeded my expectations. My kids love HK, mostly because they live so close to Disney (annual pass), my wife enjoys being "back home", and well, I am just here enjoying my time in HK. Yes, you will miss family, friends, food and all things Canadian, but look on the bright side - you will be with your wife and kids enjoying a new life, in a vibrant city. PM me when you get settled and we'll get a beer and talk about North America. Good Luck.


  9. #9

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    not to worry, OZE, i'll happily go with you and family for the most awesomest seafood dinner! no problems being a guinea pig for that!!!! LOL!


  10. #10

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    scriptmonkey

    Can't you carry your work as a comic book writer from HK?


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