Having just returned from a truly fabulous weekend in Hong Kong, I’m moved to return to My Favorite Things. Due to circumstances out of our control, the Circus-Broccoli clan maintained a residence in Hong Kong for a mere 23 months…and for 8 of those months it was only Circus Dad as a full-time resident. Which is truly unfortunate, because Hong Kong is one of My Favorite Places. I spent some time thinking about why it is that I love it so much.
I often joke that Hong Kong benefitted by what The Husband likes to call the “loser ex-boyfriend bump”. You might guess (correctly) that The Husband is referring to his own circumstances, whereby I dated such completely unremarkable (or remarkably Bad) guys before he came into the picture, that by comparison he looked like The Catch of Lifetime. Obviously, he would have looked that way regardless of whom I dated previously. I mean, he had a car and job AND hadn’t ever had a stint in rehab. Not to say that living in Switzerland was without pleasures or that we didn’t enjoy or appreciate our experience there…but life in Switzerland with babies was not Easy. In fact, it was challenging at every turn. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that it took me a full four years to receive an invitation to coffee from the local ladies in our village. It’s also impossible to reflect back on a place and remove your own personal circumstances at that time from the picture. I’d just given up my career and was truly finding my sense of self-worth from simply being someone’s wife and someone’s mother. I made fantastic life-long friends in Switzerland….but when I look back on it the thing that bound us there was that we truly NEEDED one another.
Hong Kong is the opposite of Switzerland in that regard. We landed, felt the energy and immersed ourselves in a veritable hot pot of international culture. In Hong Kong, it’s not only possible to employ full-time help, it’s expected. It cost us less to hire a full-time live-in domestic helper in Hong Kong than we were paying our twice-monthly cleaning woman in Switzerland. Having those hours to get out and do things, coupled with the multitudes of choices of things to do with my time…well, By comparison-Hong Kong made Switzerland look like a loser ex-boyfriend.
I don’t think I had enough time in Hong Kong to get annoyed by the idiosyncrasies. I didn’t have to sit by and watch friends move on like I’ve had to do in Switzerland and here in Bangkok. And we got incredibly lucky in Hong Kong. We made really amazing friends. And not the kind that just fill your days. The kind that you take with you forever. You know how hard it is to find friends in adulthood? And then to like their spouse and their kids?
I find re-entry into my weird little bubble-life even harder after a stint in Hong Kong. And it’s not that life in Bangkok is hard. I sometimes wonder if we’d have come to Bangkok before Hong Kong if it would have benefitted from the same “loser-ex-boyfriend bump”. Because life here is easy. It’s just not cosmopolitan. And things don’t always work-like my internet. Or my hot water. Or my AirCon. But, again…First World Problems.
Keeping it al in perspective is important. My life is pretty awesome. I have good friends-whether they are here or elsewhere-whom make me want to be a better human being. I have a ginormous family who seems to love me even though I haven’t lived anywhere near them for a decade. I have fabulous hair (thanks to my genius hairstylist in Hong Kong). And even though I don’t get to live there anymore-I still get to take awesome weekends in Hong Kong. And that doesn’t suck.