So, we’ve just finished our third week in Hong Kong. The good news? We’re still loving it. We are even picking up the odd bit of Cantonese (OK, I can say two things but I’m proud) and feeling more like “locals” every day.
Of course, mostly we aren’t feeling like locals. Mostly we’re still feeling really confused and mucking things up all the time. We went out for lunch on Saturday only to find the restaurant we’d chosen was closed for renovations. We then almost got lost trying to find somewhere else to eat, and when we finally found a place and ordered our food came out wrong but we couldn’t explain that properly to the barely-English-speaking waiters. The whole experience took waaaayyy too much time.
I would say that has been the biggest adjustment this week – just not knowing where to find things, and how to communicate.
An example is with the grocery shopping. It would be easier to get our groceries delivered, but all the major brands have a three day wait time for deliveries, so I need to learn to be more organised (Harris Farm same-day delivery, where are you when I need you?!). Instead I’ve been going out to the shops. I’ll then take FOREVER to find what I need or it won’t be there. Or I’ll finally find it and it’s so expensive and I wonder if I really need it. Then when I eventually pay for about half the stuff that was actually on my list, I pray that I have enough money on my card because I haven’t got internet banking set up yet.
I also really want to shop exclusively at City Super or Great Food Hall, but should definitely be shopping at Wellcome because I’m not a gazillionaire. I did try shopping at our local Wan Chai wet market last week, only to come home and question my life choice as a meat eater (visit and see what I mean).
Once I’m done at the shops I’ll realise I have no cash in my wallet. Great. Taxis here only take cash, so you always need some on hand – and when you have a pull-trolley (yes! I bought one!) full of groceries and a 15 month old in a sling you NEED to take a taxi. So my next mission is finding an ATM. ATMs in Hong Kong are not located every 50 metres like they are in Australia. It can be a bit of a mission to find one, and ultimately soul crushing if it is out of service.
Anyway, you get my drift – everything is just that bit harder, that bit more laborious. If you get home and realise you’ve forgotten milk, you will cry.
Communication isn’t a huge issue but it does get to you at times. Knowing at least some Cantonese would be really useful to anyone moving to Hong Kong, and I’m thinking of taking a course recommended to me at the YWCA (can’t find a link anywhere so am going to have to double check the details!). Most expats will tell you “you don’t need ANY Cantonese” but some are like me, people who like to chat to their doormen and cab drivers and random old people on the street. I miss that interaction.
We’ve cooked a bit since we’ve been here but today, I really cooked. I spent a good couple of hours in the kitchen while Walter slept, and cooked some delicious chilli salmon noodles and a big, decadent bread and butter pudding and we ate and it felt like home. Sometimes it’s the small things that help you adjust.