I can't believe how quickly time has gone by. It's been a whole year since we got off our flight and stepped foot here - 6000 miles away from our families, our friends - our home. Here's a summary of the highlights and some of the things I've learned from living so far away...
When we took a cab from the airport to our Air BnB - (this is where we stayed) - did I mention how much I love Air Bnb? We looked out of the window, past zooming traffic, excited. A bit tired - worried we had too much stuff and freaking out a little bit.
The room - yes room - not flat - we were staying in was ideal. However, the lift on the way up was tiny and one of those old school lifts where you have to open the door, to open a door to get in. I think the thing that stood out the most then was the heat. It was so warm and humid and my trousers were just way too hot.
We gave ourselves 2 weeks to find a flat to move in to. We had previously been in touch with an estate agent before we moved, which in hindsight made life much less stressful.
We saw a lot of flats - rooms I mean - over 2 days. Some were fabulous with baths and fancy interiors. We didn't pick one of these. Oh no. We picked a flat right on the top of a tower, right in the middle of Soho. With a massive (small) roof and a seriously fabulous view.
Don't get me wrong - first port of call anywhere outside of Honkers is a bath - don't care where, just want to be submerged in warm, scented water with bubbles. While my laptop plays documentaries. With wine.
We also tried to find furniture in this time. We failed because we spent most of our money on the cat and the insane deposit and had non left over for seating, or even tables at this point - but it's OK because we had a little family - and a plant. Oh - and the rug I brought over from Peru. Score?
A few months after we moved I started my blog! Will write a post all about a pretty great year in the bloggosphere soon.
The rest of November we felt a bit lonely to be honest - not so much missing our mates - but more, wishing we had mates. We would wonder around Central and lurk on groups of people, young, professional and tipsy, laughing - slapping arms and cheering with drinks. Friends? We would ask ourselves if we had the nerve to go up and ask them if they wanted to be our friends. We bottled it and carried on lurking.
December was mostly spent mourning the loss of winter. Maybe we're crazy, maybe we're special - but we miss the cold. I miss the cold. The stuff in the shops were saying cold cold cold - but the weather was saying - in your dreams you idiot. Jumpers really suit me - don't they suit just everyone?! Boots are my favourite thing. I also really love coats. And hats. I like to be cosy - and I'm so bored of skin - it's the only thing I've had to wear for months. BORING.
I started working on the 5th of January. It was such a nice break from doing absolutely nothing apart from taking a whole load of selfies with the cat.
Valentines Day! I'm such a soppy mess. I love Valentine's Day - and we had a really good one! Other than that - one of my BFF's from London came to visit me, it was the first person who had come to see what was going on over in Honkers and it was so nice to have a girlfriend stay! I showed her all the food and places to drink and we got hungover a lot and ate a lot of cheese - it was also Chinese New Year.
We had a party on our roof for the New Year and didn't realise how many people we had met and made friends with until they all turned up. There was quite a lot of shoulder slapping and cheering and drunk hugs. This is when I really began to feel at home in this special city. Seeing the view from the roof with the fireworks going off in the background. It was kind of amazing.
April rolled around and I had the best present ever. I got whisked away to the Philippines for my birthday and it was nothing short of the best gift ever. I'm quite easily entertained to be honest, so you can only imagine when surrounded by the most beautiful landscape I've ever been in - billions of tropical trees - lol - palm trees (I do love me a good leaf) and the super pretty and turquoise Philippine water - how excitable I was.
For months I've been promising to do the blog post for it (but promises to yourself are silly - bit like saying - promise I wont eat that cake - WHY - WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?) But I promise you little reading angels, that I'll write it up - because it was so wonderful - but mostly because the pics are AWESOME.
Around May, something started going on with the weather here. Not sure that I loved it. It was wet and warm. Not chill. I think this when I started to realise that we actually lived in a Sub Tropical climate and sweating on the way to work became normal.
I went back to England for graduation in June, a cheeky girly holiday and to see my family.
Graduation was not as awesome as the first one. I think at undergrad we all actually really loved each other and spent a lot of time together and going on holidays with each other. Part II was kind of stressful, people were super stressed 100% of the time. Plus, not every one of my chums from Part II could make it for graduation - and this made me sad - sob.
Girly holiday - now this was unbelievably good. A long weekend away and it was so perfect. I never thought I would be able to squeeze in a girly holiday with some of my favourite girls ever. Especially when I lived all the way over in Hong Kong. St. Tropez was awesome and we had a ridiculously good time. We made a bad habit of over ordering everything - jeroboams of rose we couldn't finish, truffle pizzas we didn't eat and a LOT of tarte tropezienne which magically disappeared every time.
Family time was a funny one. I had mixed emotions about missing home, feeling a bit guilty for moving so far and feeling even worse for missing Hong Kong.. I guess this is another hidden feeling you get when you move away from home - the guilt of actually being so far away, making your life and enjoying yourself. Sounds crazy right?
Back to Hong Kong. Oh Lord.. Seriously the weather. It's wet all the time, not with rain, but more with humidity and sweat. No one is really going anywhere during these times because walking is unacceptable.
I think it was around this sweaty time where we made some new friends. Before I delve into friendship rings let me say: when we first started making friends, I thought everyone was wonderful. That everyone was such a nice person and that I couldn't be happier to have met the people that I had. I'm such an honest heart on sleeve, that it's basically my face - kinda girl that when I realised some of these friends were a bit different - I got a bit upset. I realised that maybe not everyone I was in love with was what I thought they were. That's kind of something I've learnt about living so far from home and from my friends. Not everyone is as fabulous, loving and as honest as my wolf pack back at home. Not everyone has poor taste in humour and a passion to talk about Keats and Edward Said at 2am. Not everyone gives out 100% of who they are and not everyone is going to get on with you. I'm still learning loads about life and people and in a way I'm happy that I've learned that. The cycle goes on!
Steam, straight up steam. From the weather of course. Lots of hanging out - indoors might I add and boozy brunches and loving life in general in between the downpours and humidity. I learnt that no-one is looking good in August in Hong Kong. I miss the English weather - a LOT.
Which brings me right back to September.. One whole year later. I can't believe it!
I didn't put too much thought into coming to Hong Kong. We didn't plan a whole lot apart from the flights and the first place to stay. Everything just sort of, fell into place. It couldn't have been easier to move so far away.
Things are very different when you relocate, be it 60, 600 or 6000 miles from home. You learn a lot about yourself. I was sad of course to wave goodbye to my loved ones - but there was something in me that knew I wanted more. I craved so badly to make my own life for myself - outside of the comforts of home and my family - and I think this was pretty obvious. Looking back now, I know that it was the right thing to do.
If you asked me a year ago how things would turn out, of course would have been optimistic - but I could also have imagined how this would be an impassioned story, a dreary emotional window into a sad, turbulent roller coaster that was our struggle living as expats in Hong Kong. But it's not. It's nothing like that, and it couldn't be further from the truth.
I know that I am so lucky to have had the opportunities I've had - and I think a lot of the ease and comfort that I have found living here is down to my housemates. They've been so supportive and positive - so wonderful and loving, they've really made it feel like home here. Although I am sick of the hair which gets everywhere and also getting pretty tired of being woken up in the middle of the night for no good reason - that's the cat. My other half doesn't shed. Phew.
I'm so happy we moved. I love Hong Kong! Here's to another great year :)