My time in Hong Kong was a quick but eventful journey. By no means is my experience the same as others that have also moved abroad, but here are some of the things I've learnt during my two years in Hong Kong:

Being Alone is Okay.

I used to dislike my time alone back home. I used to always try find company, whether that be surrounded by people in real life or talking on the phone/whatsapp. However, during my time in Hong Kong, I have really treasured time to myself.

Before I left for Hong Kong, I was in a long term relationship. We had a plan for him to come to Hong Kong a few months after me, for a year or two and we'd go back to England to settle together. Unfortunately, we broke up 6 months later. Not due to long distance (other reasons I won't go into). He was the only 'constant' thing I had for the first few months in Hong Kong and after we separated - I was alone during heart break but that was okay. All my friends back home was 7/8 hours behind me so it was hard to always reach them straight away when I needed advice - I was alone during the times I needed some encouraging words, but that was okay. Sometimes I needed to rant and for someone to understand me, but some things were too personal to talk to my family about - I was alone when I needed to let off steam, but that was okay. I was able to learn to rely on myself, emotionally, physically and mentally. I was able to learn to go through heartbreak, to pick myself back up and learn to date again. I was able to reassure myself and give myself time to advice myself about what I truly wanted when I needed encouraging words. I was able to make myself see the positive side to bad situations when I was angry about certain situations. In the end, I was able to learn to rely on myself, emotionally, physically and mentally.

Bad things happen and you have to get back up on your feet on your own and quickly.

Unfortunately, the first 6-9 months, I faced never-ending unfortunate situations. I faced a very sticky situation in my first job, where I had to stick up, defend for myself and stand up for what I believed in even when I was pressured. I was unemployed for a few months, not knowing what to do, staying home all day to apply for dozens of jobs. My nan had passed away in a really unfortunate situation, and I had to grow up in the space of an hour to sort everything out on my own until my dad was able to come to Hong Kong. And so on. Being so far away from my home, it was a big shock to my system when I learned that I no longer had a the support I had gotten so used to when I was back in England. I learnt that I was all I had in these bad situations but dwelling on them and moping around was no longer acceptable. I had to accept it happened, and think of a way to fix it or get on with it.

Things never go as planned. - that's okay too.

As I mentioned above, I went through a very troublesome few months in Hong Kong. I had some expectations of my big move that did not happen as planned. I expected to stay in my first job for at least a year. I expected my long term boyfriend to come a few months after me so I could move out with him somewhere in Hong Kong and we would be together there for a year or two. But none of that happened. But where I was, compared to where I thought I was going to be at the end of my move, was so much more than I could have ever imagined. I met people I never thought I would meet, I spoke to people who I never thought I would speak to and actually they didn't turn out as bad as I thought they would. I went on spur of the moment trips around Hong Kong. I got heartbroken, I got into a relationship, I broke hearts. But if it wasn't for these sudden surprises, I wouldn’t have come back home with any of the lessons or stories I can tell now.

There are crappy people every where you go. But also some amazing people too.

You think you've met 'crappy people' in your teenage years, but you'll be surprised, there can be crappier people anywhere you go. It sucks, and it happens. I met my fair share of crappy people within the first week I arrived in Hong Kong. I thought I'd be friendly and have a little chat with some sales, she gave me the worlds weirdest look and completely ignored me - all I said was 'your nail varnish is really pretty, where did you get them done? '(sorry didn't know that was offensive). I met some horrific people on my first business trip abroad, and my manager wasn't exactly supportive, instead she was pressuring me to think a certain way which I was completely against. But the best thing you can do is try not to fall into their mindset, stick with who you are and what you believe in. I learnt that I won't always have the unconditional 24 hour support from my parents, family or friends. Sometimes you just have yourself and you have no choice but to deal with shitty things on your own .

Timing is everything.

It's such a cheesy line, but it's true. I never really believed in this saying, but after my time in Hong Kong, I really do believe that this plays a big part. I met a friend in a really random situation. He introduced me to my second job. If I didn't wake up from the nap I was taking before my flight to answer my phone to say I got the job, I would have flown back home - I would never have worked in bar far my favourite job so far. I wouldn't have met my closest friends, I wouldn't have experienced any of the opportunities or been given the chances that I had. During my time in Hong Kong, I met some people in surprising circumstances, who have changed my life - just by being in the right place at the right time.

Make the most of right now.

2 years sounds like a really long time to have lived abroad, but actually it has flown by. I can't believe it's already been two years. Time really does fly (especially in Hong Kong, where time is basically not a thing). Any experiences you have or memories you make will fly by and before you realise it, the moment will be gone. So cherish every moment you have whilst they're happening. Don't be scared to say the truth and tell people how you feel about them because if you don't the moment will have passed and you won't get another chance.

There is no such thing as a mistake.

No matter what happens, even if it was a bad experience - it is never a mistake, you shouldn't ever regret the choices you made. Even if they were tough times, they still taught you a lesson. Now you know how to handle yourself, how to handle others and how to handle these situations so hopefully there won't be a next time. You made these decisions because they felt right at the time, and the journey that unfolds is the adventure.

Most important of all...

Stay true to yourself.

This is the most important lesson that I have learnt during my time abroad. At the end of each day and start of each morning, you only have yourself. As well as keeping an open mind to the new culture in Hong Kong and bearing in mind their values and beliefs, it's good to adapt, but always stick to what you believe in, listen to your gut (you're usually right!). You don't need to change your whole self to keep up with them - just be your true self.

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The decision to move to Hong Kong was a decision no one saw coming - not even me.
I was a shy and slightly closed off person. I had envisioned myself to live in England for the rest of my life, I had planned to find a job - preferably in London, get my own car within 6 months and move out a year later. Home is familiar. I knew where everything was, the hidden gems in our local park, the shortcut routes to miss the traffic, I knew the streets inside out. It was home. But the thing is, if you never leave, you will never know what's out there. You will never be able to grow and challenge yourself. Home is always going to be there. You can always return home after experiencing a different part of the world.

With this in mind, I finished university, moved all my belongings back home for the final time and realised I was bored. I was bored with my life, the routine, the 'knowing what's going to happen tomorrow, the day after, next week', with where I was - being stuck in the same place for 22 years. I wanted a challenge, I wanted a change.

The timing was perfect. I just graduated. I had no responsibilities, I didn't have too much holding me back. I knew if I thought about it too much, I'd talk myself out of it and I'd never end up doing it.

So, I got on my laptop, applied for a dozen jobs.
Several Skype interviews later. I was hired.
I was to start work in 2 weeks. In Hong Kong.

That left me with 2 weeks to pack a new life into one large suitcase and one hand carry.
To say goodbye to my parents. To say goodbye to my friends, to say goodbye to my then boyfriend.
To say goodbye to my hamster, my bed, my belongings that I had to leave behind. To the routine. To my life in England.
I got more scared as the flight got closer. A part of me wanted to cling to everything I knew at home. But a part of me was so excited to see how I would figure my life out on my own. I was no where near prepared emotionally or mentally to move to another country.

These two years have been so worth it, because although change is scary, it's good to try new things. but if you never leave, that will be all you will ever know about the world. I've pushed myself to the limit and constantly challenged myself every day. Every morning, every time I stepped out the door, I broke out of my comfort zone. Once you put yourself in an uncomfortable position, you'll start to change. You'll see that things you thought was fun during school or university aren't as fun any more - the heavy nights of drinking yourself drunk just don't have much meaning. I was forced to learn to live through another culture, to experience first hand another societies values and beliefs, whether or not I was comfortable or not.

“The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself.” - DIANE VON FURSTENBERG

It is true that you get to know yourself better. No other kind of experience can help you learn more about yourself. After a while, you realise what you want for yourself, what you want from other people - friendships, relationships. What you want to achieve in several years time. I thought I was already quite an independent person before after surviving on my own in university, but once you're in another country, you're completely on your own. It's a lot bigger than 'university'. I had to get over the fear of getting lost, not knowing how to say something and just face it on my own - that way, I spoke to people I wouldn't have spoken to before. I discovered and explored new places that aren't 'touristy'. Over time, you fear less, and become braver each time. Because of this, I have become mentally strong, if I'm in a sticky situation, I don't mope about like I used to, or feel sorry for myself. I find a solution and get it fixed, because I have no 'support system' like I did back home.

The first 6 months was hell. I was someone who hated change. I hated when roads were closed off and I had to travel a different route. I hated when a store closed down and I had to find something elsewhere. But moving to another country has made me embrace change. Change isn't bad. Change is always going to happen no matter how much you plan something. I planned to work my first job in Hong Kong for a year, but within the first week, I was stuck in a horrible situation and I ended up working there for 2 months. I planned to stay in Hong Kong for only 6 months, but I ended up staying for 2 years. There was so much that I never saw coming, the old me would have hated it. But now, I realised it's all happened to make me who I am today.

In the first few months after arriving in Hong Kong. I was feeling so alone and so lost. I thought to myself, 'this could be one of the worst decisions I have made' and started to regret moving to Hong Kong. I wanted to give up, pack my bags and get on the next flight home. But now, after all my experiences in Hong Kong - the good, the bad and the ugly, I am so glad I never gave up that day, I am so glad I persevered through all the hard times because if I did go home that day
- that would have been the biggest regret of my life.



What better way to start the beginning of my blog, than to write about the ending of one huge adventure.

In almost 2 years, I have packed and unpacked my bags over 12 times, used and abused 5 different suitcases, exchanged money in 6 different currencies, and commuted more times than I have travelled in my life. Now, even after all of this, I still experience the extreme ups and downs of emotions when I arrive and depart, the hello's and goodbye's. I still experience the indecisions of where I feel is 'home sweet home', the 'umm's and ahh's of choices that could lead me down an entirely different path to what my 16 year old self had originally planned for my future self.

1 year and 9 months ago, on 11th September 2015.
I went to my Graduation Ceremony at 10 AM in the morning.
And caught a one way flight to Hong Kong at 10 PM that night.

I can't read full Cantonese, I can't write full Cantonese, I can speak Cantonese - with a laughable accent. Housing is expensive, the size of apartments are teeny tiny, I had no idea where anything was, I got lost at least 2 or 3 times a day, I had family but no friends, I started my life in Hong Kong from zero. 

After the first week, I didn't think I would make it past 6 months. Over the past two years, I have worked in two companies, met people from all over the world with different experiences and stories to tell. I've experienced unemployment, deaths, break-ups and heartbreaks, but despite all of that, I've experienced employment, life, relationships, friendships, appeared on TV, appeared on the news, appeared online and learnt more about myself here than I have in 22 years of my life.

(I’m sharing the things that I’ve learned throughout my time in Hong Kong as I wish someone had been there to tell me these things before I travelled, and perhaps this can a help you if you're thinking about travelling or moving to another country).

Hong Kong. This vibrant, lively, energetic concrete jungle with 7/11 stores around almost every corner. A city where you never have to worry about starving, with street food stalls filling every path, serving cheap but delicious fresh foods. The towering skyscrapers and high rise buildings - both modern and old, where you constantly have to avoid droplets of water landing on your head from over worked air conditioning. The loud car horns from taxis, city buses and trams that fill the street from the break of dawn to the dead of night. The mixture of western and eastern culture, the lust for life of this city has become my second home - my home away from home.

And so, my two year adventure has momentarily come to a break.

England, I'm back, I'm home -temporarily.