For my first official blogpost I’ve decided to begin with this series I’ve been planning.
“What it’s like to…” will be all about personal experiences in my life that I think are particularly unique or interesting in some way. So I’m gonna start with a big one, because as I always say, “Go hard or go home”.
Everyone who knows me, knows that I was born in Hong Kong, or at least I hope they do, because I would consider that a fairly big part of my life. I won’t go into details about living there because, honestly, that could fill a whole other post! (And I’m sure it will one day!) My Chinese father met my Irish mother in Cork, they married, moved to Hong Kong and had 1 amazing kid and 2 average ones. ( I joke, I joke…)
I was 7 when they decided to move back to Ireland and, being that age, I didn’t have a clue what I was in for! The only other time I’d graced the land of Ireland was when I was 2 and I don’t exactly remember any of that. ? The move itself went by pretty quickly, mainly because I got to stay at a friend’s house while the packing was taking place so I never had to see the process and hard work of a move. (Believe me I found out after the next 3 moves, but that’s a different story all together.)
As you can imagine, Ireland was a whole different ball game to Hong Kong. Nothing was the same. The weather was cold and always rainy, the food was oilier and obviously western, people even dressed differently. Gone were the days I used to stroll around the apartment in nothing but my underwear simply because it was so humid. To top it all off, my mother enrolled me in a Gaelscoil… HA what a barrel of laughs! A half Asian kid in an Irish speaking school full of curious/ignorant children asking me what it was like to live in Japan or did I know Kung Fu. Of course, I would have got that in any school and I never minded the Irish, even went on to do my entire Leaving Cert in Irish. I guess my mother does have the occasional good idea.
I think because I was only 7 and a generally happy child the move itself didn’t impact me as much as it could have. Of course, I missed my friends but not as much as I think my older brother did and I quickly made new ones. Ironically, I miss my HK friends even more now, but that’s because I’ve grown closer to them from regular visits over. I didn’t really have much family to miss as they only spoke Cantonese and I only spoke English. Heeeelllo language barrier. You can’t really get close to someone you can’t speak to!
Who I definitely missed most, was my father, who stayed living in HK. My first time back in HK to visit him was when I was 14. That was pretty surreal, lots had changed, still so much had stayed the same. The smells and sounds of the city consuming you as you walked through it, the unbearable humidity barely permitting you to breathe. I honestly didn’t know what to think, it’d been so long since I’d been home, back in the same apartment I grew up in. I didn’t go back when I was 15. But, by the time I turned 16, I was itching to return. So I did, and again when I was 17, and again last summer when I turned 18.
This year I’ve had to make the hard decision not to return for the summer. Originally, I wanted to spend my whole gap year in Hong Kong, but life truly works in mysterious ways and for the first time in a long time, I’m much happier where I am right now. Besides, I have a job I can’t afford to ditch and a boyfriend I’d rather not leave for a whole 3 months. Pathetic, I know. ? Growing up in Ireland I always thought I’d be happier if I’d stayed in HK. That things would somehow be different and so much better. It took me 11 hard years to realise that it’s not the place that brings happiness into one’s life, it’s the way you live it, regardless of where you are.