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.