Updated: Jul 9, 2018
How we decided to move to Hong Kong, this amazing city where East and West meet, in just a few days...
Choosing a new destination is often on the mind of digital nomad families. As our children were growing up, we always felt that an experience in Asia would be beneficial for their development. By their teenage years, they had already lived in Russia and Spain. They had traveled all over the 'western' world for significant periods of time, but their exposure to Asia was limited to short visits to Japan, Korea and Thailand.
First Visit to Hong Kong
60% of the world's population lives in Asia. Yet, most westerners know little about this continent. Its history and geography are rarely studied, the diversity of its cultures are not understood, its transformation over the last twenty years is widely underestimated.
In the next 50 years of their adult life, our children are bound to interact with Asia, and China in particular (for good or for bad). Having some understanding of its subtleties will be a competitive advantage for them.
In August 2014, we embarked on a ten-day visit to Hong Kong. We stayed at the impressive Peninsula, the emblematic hotel of this city state. The sun was shining. We were captured by the tall high-rises, the energy and the succulent food. The city was in the midst of the strikes of the Occupy movement, but the civility of the protesters and the festive ambience around the camps were striking. The students were cleaning the areas they were occupying. They had set up living zones, study zones, speaking zones. They were so organized and civilized in their protest. Everybody was wandering around safely and leaving marks of support. This was such a contrast with any strike or rally you could experience in Europe or the USA. Although we did not understand all the nuances of the situation, everything seemed wonderful, and the entire family was totally captivated. This was a perfect place to ease a transition into Asia without disrupting too much the children' education.
Shall We Stay?
We asked the children the inevitable question: what about finishing high school in Hong Kong? Our son had two more years left to go, and our daughter four years. They were both very good students and enjoyed their current school, but had over grown their life in a small town by the beach. They were eager to experience the vibes of a bustling metropolis safe enough to roam freely and independently. They were game for the new adventure.
We were two weeks away from the start of the school year. We just needed to find a school... Only a few schools taught the British A-level curriculum they had been following all these years. We immediately arranged an appointment with Kellett British International School for possible acceptance. Seeing the newly built campus in Kowloon Bay relieved any doubts they could have had. The school is spacious, beautifully designed, very well equipped and completely modern. It is indeed an impressive building.
The school had space for them provided they met the required level. They organized an entrance examination for the next day. The vacation was taking an unexpected turn. We arrived nervous for their evaluation. Only three children were present: our kids and Tiffany, a local girl accompanied by her parents Louie and Carol. They kindly offered to take us for a coffee while the kids were taking their three hour test. They became our first friends in Hong Kong.
It's a Done Deal
The three kids were accepted. School was starting the following week. We were now facing a new, exciting reality. We had first to go back home to deal with some visa issues and collect a few things. Keeping with our minimalist approach, we only took the bare minimum. You can buy anything in Hong Kong!
So, we moved with only one suitcase each.
We came back to Hong Kong a month later, settled in a serviced apartment. The transition was amazingly smooth. The children started their school year a few weeks late but they were received with unusual warmth and support from their classmates. They integrated right away.
Our Asian experience was starting. It was another opportunity to create lasting family memories while enhancing their (and our) education.
Most obstacles are in our mind
Many people were surprised by the suddenness of our move. They should not have been. Once your objective is clear and your commitment strong enough (in this case: providing an experience in Asia to our children), then action is obvious. The path may be more or less simple depending to one's situation, but the path is always forward.
Wanting something or wishing for something are two completely different concepts.
We tend to complicate our lives with many excuses and imaginary obstacles. If you want something, just do it! If not, it was only a meaningless wish.
Please share stories showing how you really wanted something and went for it. Thank you!