Big Announcement! *in DJ Khaled’s voice* I packed my bags and moved to Hong Kong for the next four to six months! Crazy right? I know! Considering the fact that 1) I’m married 2) Asia, really? But a girl gotta do what a girl gotta do. My work required that I make this move and seeing as my daddy is not Dangote/Otedola/Adenuga, I had to comply.
Shout-out to my super amazing husband for supporting this move though because if he didn’t I probably wouldn’t be typing this post from my office desk in Central Hong Kong. Hashtag Blessed!
I have been taking my SnapChat followers on this crazy ride with me (yewandesoba) but I also plan to chronicle this journey on the blog with weekly posts. Now I can’t promise that there will be a post every week because I have been told that my workload will have me working till 9/10pm every day but let’s see how it goes. Follow on SnapChat for real time updates.
After dealing with the perpetual high levels of stress that is travelling through MMIA, at 9:30 pm I finally boarded an Emirates flight destined for Hong Kong. I flew 7 hours to Dubai, spent 3 hours waiting and then boarded another 7 hour plane ride to Hong Kong. To say I was fatigued when I landed at 9:05 pm the next day is an understatement but I still managed to take in many things about the environment.
Lol I think I’m the only black person on this flight 😂 Interesting times ahead
— Y (@SLTFT_Blog) February 19, 2016
What immediately struck me was the absence of melanin. I kid you not when I tell you that I did not see ONE back person or even mixed race on the flight to Hong Kong and in the whole airport. ” Interesting times ahead” I said to myself.. Anyway, before I even got to immigration (to be harassed), I was stopped (just me) by a couple of guys with “Customs” written on their shirts. They asked me a bunch of questions and asked to see several documents before allowing me advance. When I got to Immigration where I expected the real wahala, dude did not ask me a single question. He simply stamped my passport and let me into the promise land.
Thankfully, everything here is written in Cantonese and English ( HK was colonized by the British) so I was able to find my way to the taxi rank. Their taxis here are proper vintage cool, the kind of car that you would probably have been stunting with in the 40s.
Of course my taxi driver spoke no English but thankfully there was a “coordinator” at the taxi rank who was able to explain to him where I was going. When we got to the serviced apartment that is supposed to be my home for the next 6 months, I jumped out of the cab with glee, paid the guy and hopped in waiting to be handed the keys to my new crib. The concierge said he had no reservation under my name..LOL… Not today Satan…Turns out I was booked under their sister company which thankfully wasn’t too far off so I got another taxi to take me there where Wilson was waiting for me with open arms.
Wilson is one of the concierges for the building who is the sweetest 60 something (i’m assuming here) year old man ever. He helped me get settled into the flat and made me feel at home immediately. I think that Wilson has assumed the Father role for me during my time here but he doesn’t even know it,, poor guy.
Jet-lag refused to let me sleep after such a tedious journey though so I decided to put my “awakeness” to good use by unpacking my suitcases and settling in proper. This is big for me because it usually takes me about 2 days to unpack..don’t judge me.. I finally managed to sleep around 4 am.
I had to be up early on Saturday because I had an appointment with Cheryl the relocation agent. She was scheduled to meet me at 9:30 am to take me up and about the town to get everything that I needed to do, done. Cheryl is an American woman who has lived in HK for 16 years and she is now more Kong Kongese than any one of the nationals running the streets. She didn’t plan to stay here for nearly as long but I hear that’s what happens when you move out here. You end up staying way longer than you planned simply because you can’t pull yourself away from the city. I feel my husband’s side eye at me happening right this moment…don’t worry hunny! Not happening…unless your company decides to bring you down here then who know? 🙂
Cheryl and I’s first stop was Immigration where she had booked an appointment for me to get my Hong Kong ID card. This is an essential for everyone living in HK similar to what the Nigerian government is trying to do. We were in and out of the building in about an hour and I was asked to come back in two weeks to pick up the card whilst given a temporary one.
Next stop was the bank because a considerable amount of my salary is going to be paid in Hong Kong Dollars (hollllaaaa 🙂 bye bye Buhari and the non-existent naira!) I was trying to stay loyal by opening an account with my husband’s bank here but their stress was plenty..tbh their stress is plenty even in Nigeria so I wasn’t surprised -_-. We then went over to Citi Bank where I started the account opening process but needed to bring back one extra document for it to be completed. After that we went to get a local sim from SmarTone which Cheryl recommended as the best local provider. I paid for 1 GB of data for 30 days which will probably last me because they are most likely not into data thievery like “0809ja”.
All the boring stuff over, it was finally time for some fun. We first went to a lovely French cafe called Le Goûter Bernardaud in the IFC mall. There I had the best tasting Eggs Benedict I have ever had! In Hong Kong, who would have thought? Finished off with a dessert which was a super yummy Strawberry tart and a macaroon (for good measure). I was transported to Paris for a hot minute.
Speaking of being transported, Hong Kong is a fusion of a couple of my favorite cities and this makes me suspect that I’m going to fall in love with it pretty soon. It is almost an exact replica of London with the double decker buses, MTR (Tube), Octopus card (Oyster), right-hand drive and so much more. It is similar to Dubai with all amazing architecture and sky scrapers sprawled around the city. Similar to New York in its general buzz…Everyone here seems to be on steroids, moving at dangerously high speeds at all times…talk about a city that never sleeps…
Hong Kong is like London, NY and Dubai all jumbled up on a little island…Love it here already ❤️😊
— Y (@SLTFT_Blog) February 20, 2016
Back to my chronicling…after lunch, Cheryl took me on a tourist tour of the Hong Kong island. We started up north which is called “The Peak” a major tourist attraction, where I got to see the breath taking view of the city! On one side it was hilly, green and relatively untainted and apparently hiking is big in HK because of this. In stark contrast, the other side of the view was the modern, developed city with sky scrapers and everything. It was lovely to have this panoramic view of the city.
We then headed down south and drove through Repulse Bay which is one of the most expensive housing areas in the city. It is surrounded by beautiful beaches and equally as beautiful houses so it’s understandable. Close to Repulse Bay we visited Stanley which is home to a lot of amazing street markets which I didn’t have nearly enough time to explore, I will definitely be going back there. We visited a mall close by called Stanley Plaza and I discovered the Lovers’ Terrace which is like The Lock Bridge but better for the environment. Of course I had to go all cheesy and “lock our love” on there. I guess there is more than a bit of Paris in HK as well!
We made a quick stop at a grocery store for Cheryl to show me the way to buy groceries in Hong Kong. You can either buy local which is cheap or imported which is obviously more expensive. She pointed out some local brands and produce that are actually of really great quality which was really helpful. I had a moment a funny moment at the grocery store btw…
Oh a little white kid was pointing my braids out to her dad in the grocery store 😂 she was like “the black one” 😂 Dad went red in the face 😂
— Y (@SLTFT_Blog) February 20, 2016
By the time I got back home it was 7 pm and I was really tired. Decided to nap for a bit before going out to buy groceries for my empty fridge. Slept and woke up at 10:20 pm. I decided to try to see what I could find seeing as the city never sleeps but i was sorely disappointed, .all the shops were closed. So I ordered take out from this really hood looking restaurant. I’m serious, the place had buka vibes and looked a little questionable but it was all that was open at that time so I decided to live a little.
For starters the waiter did not speak a word of English which further questioned the integrity of the place. Between hand signs and one of the diners helping out, I left the restaurant with rice and beef in broccoli sauce in hand. It was DELICIOUS! Apparently hood restaurants serve just as tasty or even tastier food than the fancy places out here. Be careful though, don’t hold me liable if your body rejects it.
I had researched a few churches in the Wan Chai area which is where my apartment is and I found one nice one that I planned to attend. However the forces of jet-lag overcame 🙁 I finally went to sleep at 6 am on said Sunday morning and didn’t wake up until 4 pm! You know the kind of sleep that you wake up confused? Well, this was it. I still managed to get my church on though by listening to Joel Osteen’s (Papa Joel, as I like to call him #famz) podcast. His messages are always powerful and though provoking so if you’re a Christian you should totally check him out, he releases a new podcast every Sunday and I try to never miss it.
Pray bold prayers- @JoelOsteen 🙏🏼
— Y (@SLTFT_Blog) February 21, 2016
Later in the evening I decided to try the grocery shopping once again and was directed by Wilson to a supermarket not to far off from my apartment called “Wellcome”, yes, double L It was proper stocked with a mix of local and foreign produce and I think I got a good balance of both thanks to Cheryl’s advice. For fruits and vegetables I went all #BuyHKToGrowTheHKD because they have the freshest, sweetest produce here. For stuff like yogurt, cereal, ham, pasta etc…I decided to buy the imported brands I recognized just to keep it safe..
Got back home and cooked some meals because call me weird but I had actually missed cooking and it had only been two days :). Ended up sleeping around 2 am, that was jet lag getting rearing its ugly head, still. ..
|Pan grilled chicken because no oven….|
I woke up around 7:30 am on Monday morning and can I just say that I’m thankful that I am able to do that? If I wake up at that time in Lagos let’s just say I probably have no plans to make it to work that day. At about 8:15 am I was out the door and ready to seize the day. I managed to find my way to the closest MTR and with the help of nice train attendants, I found my way to Platform 2 which was where the train headed to Central was leaving from. The rush hour crowd is not of God though! I was like a little speck of chocolate with a huge sea of vanilla swimming around me. It was a little intimidating but I put my big girl pants on and even elbowed some people out of my way in the process! Got off at Central station and the first Asian lady I asked for directions to One Exchange (where my office is) rudely dismissed me with a wave. I was stunned but in a few seconds a kind American man seeing the rude behavior and my look of confusion came to the rescue and gave me directions. Thanks Mr American!
Then I made my way to the office building, 33rd floo,r to the beautiful place that is my office! I mean our Lagos office is decent to be fair but doesn’t come close to the HK one at all. Why do regional offices of multinationals always get the short end of the stick? Anyhoo, I was led to my desk by Carmen, one of the lovely ladies in the office who made me feel well at home because Monica (who I was supposed to meet) was not in yet. Thanks Carmen! 🙂 When she led me to my huge cubicle, I was a bit shocked. In Nigeria, only a manager could have this amount of privacy and such a huge space…talk about an upgrade.
Speaking of managers, mine here is actually currently travelling so I don’t get to meet her till Wednesday. She had asked Monica to “take care of me” till she returned and take care she has been doing. Immediately Monica came into the office she came to meet me and I liked her instantly! She gave me a tour of the office, introduced me to everyone, took me out to lunch and paid!! I was really overwhelmed because I know that foreigners don’t play with their money. In Nigeria it’s somewhat normal to pay for someone’s lunch but out here not so much, I really really appreciated it. Not just the food but her general sweetness. She made me feel very welcome.
S/O to Monica for being so lovely and helping me on Day 1 😊
— Y (@SLTFT_Blog) February 22, 2016
Oh and in case you were wondering, I still haven’t found anyone with melanin yet, not even in the office…The search continues…
Overall my first day was great! The office is pretty dope,, I mean apart from the lovely space there’s free drinks, coffee, tea, snacks, fruits etc…Lagos office, WYD??? Left the office around 7:30 pm which apparently is early…People outchea be working till 10/11 pm on a daily…Stay tuned..
Things I won’t bother buying here:
They share it like party pack everyday in this office 😅
— Y (@SLTFT_Blog) February 24, 2016
|From the office pantry|
Oh and I got missing on the walk back home from the train station but after struggling with Google maps for about 20 mins, I managed to find my way home…sigh
#PSA Learn how to read maps…Don’t be like Yewande and only care when they’re your only option 😭😨
— Y (@SLTFT_Blog) February 20, 2016
I left a little later on Day 2 because I heard people usually get to the office around 9 to avoid rush hour traffic. I overdid it though and got to work at 10 am. Don’t judge me, judge jet-lag.
Today was pretty calm at the office. Got to chat a little more with some colleagues- Hi Adam and Sarah. Oh and shout of to Terrence from IT for being a stand up guy, he’s helped me with all my tech issues!
I brought my own lunch into work today because man cannot continuously live on takeout…bad for the body and the pocket. That said, food is really cheap out here. You can get a decent meal for about 50 HKD which is about 6 dollars. Ironically, I brought in my lunch to be healthy but pigged out on the office snacks. Who am I deceiving? Sigh..I will do better tomorrow.
I ran into a subway on my way back home and decided to give it a try..EPIC FAIL..When in Asia, Asian food is always the better choice..
Fun fact, I got missing on my way from getting the sub-standard Subway and it was actually quite scary. I kid you not when I tell you that the train station is literally 5 mins from my apartment but it is so tedious to make my way back because there are different exits out of the station and I’m usually heading back at night!
Finally met my manager today and she seems like a great sport. A MAJOR workaholic though so I’m sure this assignment is going to push me to my limits and beyond and I’m kind of excited for that. She overseas a team spread across 10 different regions so you can imagine the amount of work and ungodly hours required to keep up with that #ThereIsGodO.
There’s a third member of my team who’s from Scotland, really nice guy. He has been living in HK for around 4 years and as is always the case was only meant to be here for about a year, lol. To be honest, I have only been here for a few days but I kind of see why people fall in love with the city and never want to move away. HK is a well rounded city- work, tourism, social, fitness, you name it, there’s something for everyone. The public transportation system is super efficient which is always a plus. Oh and its a really small country so everything is literally 20-30 mins away, talk about stressless living! Then there’s that X factor that I can’t quite put my finger one.. there’s just something exciting in the air around here,
We went out for a team lunch at the International Finance Cente (IFC) which is basically the hub for commercial activities in HK. We ate at a restaurant called Zentro Loft which had really delicious food with a nice view of the harbor.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a fruit cart being pushed around the office later on that afternoon. Apparently it is the tradition here that everyone gets fruit served to them on Wednesdays. They really spoil them in this office but I’m not complaining..At least while I’m here 🙂
Work began in earnest though, left the office at 9:30 pm but God sent me a consolation prize for the late finish- I RAN INTO TWO BLACK PEOPLE NEAR THE STATION! They asked me for directions which I was useless at providing but I got so excited that I shamelessly asked two strangers to take a selfie with me!
Stopped by another hood restaurant recommended by Wilson on the way back and ordered wontons and noodles for dinner. The wontons were beyond delicious, loved them! Definitely going back for more. The noodles on the other hand were not nice. Firstly, I wanted Vermicelli which they didn’t have so I opted for flat noodles, not a great choice. It was also really lacking in seasoning. I went to bed an unhappy bunny.
I think by the time I’m done with this assignment, my skin will be glowing. My life right now is zero stress and I hope it stays that way I mean my commute to work is about 15 mins in total. Can you beat that?
Ok it takes me 15mins to get to work 😬 il def be looking younger by the time I’m back in Nigeria 👸🏽 #StresslessLife
— Y (@SLTFT_Blog) February 23, 2016
My manager is really sweet. She brought in some warm clothing for me because I didn’t bring any with me to HK. Someone fed me BS that HK is hot 365 days in a year and that’s actually a fallacy. Since I’ve been here, the weather has been quite chill, in actual fact cold. The HK summer usually starts around May though and lasts for many months. They say its proper hot and humid, so much so that people go back home to have mid-day showers…we will have to see about that.
Today I decided to take the plunge and join a couple of Meet Up groups in Hong Kong. Meet Up is an amazing website that connects you to people, often foreigners like yourself in a new city. There are different groups depending on the activities you enjoy and these groups plan outings that you can attend. My activities of choice are Food, Drink, Party and Fitness so I signed up to all the relevant groups. The first event I RSVPed to is a Thai cooking class happening in March. I’m still on the fence about hooking up with a bunch of strangers, I feel like I might chicken out but we will have to wait and see.
Please has any of you ever tried Meet Up? I was a bit hesitant because paranoid Nigerian 😂 thoughts of what if they use me for jazz
— Y (@SLTFT_Blog) February 25, 2016
I started taking Cantonese classes online which really is a waste of time, lol. I don’t see how I will ever learn the language but no harm in trying right? I have been practicing how to say my name but haven’t made much progress so far.
#TGIF! Boy, am I glad that the week is over. It’s been tough having to come into the office on little or no sleep because jet-lag…I’m hoping I can correct my sleeping pattern this weekend though, fingers crossed.
A couple of us from the office went out to a Chinese tea house called City Hall Maxim’s Palace for a traditional dim sum lunch. It was an experience, I loved it!
A dim sum is kind of the Asian version of an all-you-can-eat buffet, only difference is that the food is in small, bite-sized portions and it gets pushed around in carts by the servers. I have only seen a dim sum on TV before so I was excited to experience it all. The little Chinese ladies pushing the cart around all the tables, the excess supply of Chinese tea, the crowded restaurant, everything. .The ladies pushing the carts didn’t speak a word of English though so I relied on my colleagues to translate what each dish was before making a decision on what to try. My motto whilst eating out in HK is “look before you leap”.
Everything I tasted was delicious! Seriously, what we have all been considering really good Asian food is nothing compared to what’s available here. I had a range of things- Spring Rolls, Dumplings, Wontons, Octopus legs, Chicken feet, Pork-Stuffed Sticky Buns to name a few but I enjoyed the Sticky Rice the most, it was really good.
The ladies literally keep wheeling the carts by till you can no longer accommodate the food, very similar to a Brazilian buffet. After trying about 15 different dishes, we all threw in the towel. It was a great time out, I really enjoyed myself.
This evening, I will probably meet up with my husband’s uncle’s wife’s cousin (the hustle to make a connection is real, lol) who has been living in HK for quite a while. Check me out! Meeting 3 black people in two days after experiencing dearth since last week Friday! Yass! We should meet up in Central to have drinks, looking forward to seeing what the bar scene is like here.
Tomorrow, I plan to go to the Flower Market because my apartment is in serious need of some nature. I will also probably have a mosey about the shops and see what’s out here. Thanks to Emirates LOUSY luggage allowance (30 kg for two suitcases)and criminal excess luggage charges (I paid $440 for 8kg extra ) I couldn’t bring nearly enough clothes.
And thus went week 1….
Peace & Love,
Hong Kong Fun Fact
P.P.S: Will you guys rather read my recaps on Monday so that I can include stuff from the weekend? Otherwise if I post on Fridays then you will only get information on the weekend’s shenanigans the upper Friday. Please leave a comment and tell me your preference. 🙂