Tuesday, July 15, 2008

An (Expat) City That's Easy to Love

Back when I was weighing the decision to come to Hong Kong, I was apprehensive about the possible isolation I might face going to a city where I knew no one and didn't speak the language. On the upside, I thought it would be good "cave time" for thinking and self-reflection before starting grad school, not unlike my 2-week hiking trip and 2 days of solo fasting during Project WILD pre-Duke.

I had some solo time my first weekend here, but since then, it's been a whirlwind of activity and new people. There are loads of English-speaking expats here. My neighborhood (the Midlevels) often feels more like Europe than Asia.

All the expats know the "new in town" feeling and are very welcoming. Before coming, I e-mailed every friend of a friend I could find in Hong Kong. Since most of my friends in the States are journalists and lawyers, many of the people I contacted through them tend to come from the same circles. However, my roommate has extended my network to friends in the hospitality industry.

Hong Kong is not a domestic city (perhaps due in part to the ridiculously small apartments). Everyone is always out on the town. So when you e-mail people and say, "I'm a HK newbie. Could you advise me on how to get settled into this crazy town?", they usually offer to meet up within the next few days (or even the same day). I already have a respectable network of friends here, and it's been less than two weeks.

I also got really lucky in terms of my roommate. We've spent a good amount of quality time together. Despite the fact that she leaves for work at 7:30 a.m. and I leave at 11:30 a.m., we tend to get home around the same time. I've lived alone in my D.C. studio for over two years now, and had almost forgotten how nice it is to have a great roommate, even if she does occasionally confuse me by calling a purse a bag, and a wallet a purse. (I know she reads the blog sometimes, but I swear I am not sucking up!)

1 comment:

Scheherazade said...

You have more friends in Hong Kong than I have all together! Some of my e-mail has now been answered so feel free to disregard obvious parts xoxo