Monday, July 11, 2011

Goodbye Hong Kong

After more than a few months of denial, it is now our time to say goodbye to Hong Kong. Over the years, we have seen families come and go. We have gone to going away parties, made photo albums for departing friends and went along on final trips to the Peak, to Ocean Park, to Lamma Island. All of these other goodbyes reminded us continually that our life in Hong Kong was on the clock. And that clock was ticking. And now our time has come too.
Many kind friends over many kind goodbye get-togethers ask what we will miss the most about Hong Kong. The obvious answers come to mind first. Our apartment on the twenty second floor with its stunning views of the South China Sea. The Manhattan pool where we spent countless hour swimming April to November of every year.  The many nearby beaches all with their floating rafts to swim out to, their alarming shark nets and with their many safety announcements issued. Our favorite hikes through Hong Kong’s green country parks. The friends who have bumbled through a foreign culture with us. The friends who explained it all and made it seem that much less foreign. 
Beyond all that, there are so many other things we will miss too. Less obvious, less iconic but no less special. We will miss the little boy Royce called her "prince charming" after the first day of kindergarten.  We will miss the man who sells belts in Stanley and who gave us band aids over the years when we fell in front of his shop. We will miss the small patch of grass at the American Club where Adam played so many pick-up games of soccer. (We will miss the American Club but that belongs in the list of obvious things!) We will miss Division 2 swim meets where Tori had to go to marshalling by herself,  all of it done in Cantonese. We will miss home delivery of groceries and the boxes those groceries came in and all the trains we made out of those boxes. We will miss watching the night fishermen. Some of us will even miss the occasional gecko loose in the apartment.
It is hard to say goodbye to this place because we like it so much. We have been happy here and the kids have grown up here. We came with strollers and sippy cups and leave with kids who ride rip sticks and no longer even order off the kid’s menu. But we, like many other transient people, know that other adventures await. We know what to do. We have given away outgrown clothing and toys slowly over the past few months. In recent weeks, we gave away bigger things like appliances. Our slow cooker to a Swedish family who did not really know what it was but smiled politely. And now we start to talk about the new place, the yard, the space, the food. The kids won’t be little there of course but they will be bigger and maybe even better. Here we go!