Guest Post Author: Matthew Daley
Before I tell you about life in Hong Kong, I want you to take a second and get a picture of Hong Kong in your mind. Got it? Are you thinking skyscrapers, concrete, traffic and lots of people. This is the image most people have, and actually it isn’t inaccurate, but there is so much more.
About six years ago I went traveling like most graduates, we did the usual places like Thailand, Australia and New Zealand, but also Hong Kong. The stop in Hong Kong was scheduled to see my wife’s parents, who returned back to their hometown after more than thirty years in the UK. I remember thinking that I would hate Hong Kong, in fact I hate cities full stop. True to my prediction I did, life was hectic, people were rude and I felt exhausted after the trip.
Now, you may be thinking why am I living in Hong Kong now. Well, that was the first trip. A year later we returned, and this time we didn’t do the tourist activities like ‘The Peak’ or the Mongkok markets. Instead we relaxed and did things that you wouldn’t expect to do in Hong Kong, like visiting a wetland park and hiking in country parks. It was at this point we decided that next time we return would be to live.
Two years after that trip we came back. Fairly soon, my better half found work in administration, but I had no idea what I was going to do. I applied for banking, personal training, laboring work and more, anything that I was qualified to do. There was a major problem, this wasn’t the Hong Kong under British rule. These days you need to be fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin to have a chance.
Here I was wondering what to do when a (now) good friend offered me a summer job teaching English to young learners. Much to my surprise I enjoyed working with the students, so I studied for my CertTESOL and spent two years teaching kindergarten. Now, I teach vocational skills in a tertiary level institute and manage a website to help teachers find teaching jobs. So, you know about my background and my work life, but nothing about my life in Hong Kong.
Well put simply, Hong Kong life is good. Ultimately, the life you have here will depend on location and personality. For me and my family, we live partway up a mountain surrounded by trees and animals, such as snakes and toads, yet only 10 minutes walk from a bus or taxi. On the weekends I try to go mountain biking or spend time at the park with the family. When the summer arrives we head to the beach for a swim and BBQ with the extended family and friends.
For younger expats, they like to live in Kowloon or Hong Kong Island enjoying the many types of street food and partying at one of the nightspots. One thing is for sure, Hong Kong is not just a concrete city with skyscrapers.
About The Author
Matthew Daley has been teaching in Hong Kong for close to three years and resides in a town in the New Territories in Hong Kong. Professionally, he teaches at vocational English and runs www.dreamtefl.com, a job website for EFL/ESL teachers.