Interview with bluebalu

No, it’s not an April joke. It’s true. It’s time for another interview. This time, it’s with myself: bluebalu. Isn’t that unusual and a bit too self-centred? Hold on, let me explain. I did not do this interview with myself and for myself. And no, I am not two or more people in one… however, I got the chance to do an interview with InterNations.

Ruth in Macau

Here are some snippets and highlights from the interview:

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Do you have any favourite blog entries of yours?
That’s a difficult question – there are so many things I like. I enjoy travelling, so I do like my series about different locations (these include India, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Vietnam etc.) but I also like to take pictures, so I have a whole section on photography (to which I would love to dedicate more time in the future).

Then there’s the ‘Interview with…’ section where I talk to people that have something to do with Hong Kong. They could be bloggers living in Hong Kong or visiting Hong Kong, or they could run a small business here.

Finally, from a personal perspective, the yearly round-up posts are my favorite ones – just because they make me realize how much has happened in one year! I do know that for the readers these posts might be too long and boring, so if I had to recommend you three posts, then these would be:

Shanghai Street Wing Sing Lane Yau Ma Tei

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

CNY: after I got married, I also embarked on this local custom. I was happy to participate and give my colleagues red packets with money inside. I knew that you should give new notes and if you’re the recipient knows you and your husband you should give double the amount. So to some colleagues I gave 20 HKD x2. Now this might not sound wrong, but giving 40 HKD in one envelope is very bad luck indeed… anything with a number 4 in it sounds like the word for death. My colleagues were too polite to point this out to me initially, but during team dinner and drinks a few weeks later I discovered my faux pas! This year, it’s no more death wishes for my colleagues; instead I will give them two envelopes with 20 HKD each inside!

Red packet 1

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Hong Kong?

  • Be prepared that Hong Kong is small – and living space is very expensive. Don’t bring lots of furniture unless you’re confident that you’ll be living in a huge space. You can get furniture here easily, there’s IKEA and other shops, plus China is just a short trip away if you want to get furniture custom-made
  • Also the rental market might be different to what you are used from back home (there are hardly any good websites to find property yourself, you have to rely on agents – who charge fees, you’ll be quoted gross/net square foot area which can be confusing, most places will have a 12 months contract with 4 weeks notice etc.) so don’t rush. Come to Hong Kong, rent a hotel room or serviced apartment and then do your research, before you move into a new home
  • Get familiar with Hong Kong – read local news (South China Morning Post) and blogs, join relevant groups on Facebook, (e.g. if you are a mum, you might want to find out more about other mums in Hong Kong), check out Geoexpat, Asiaexpat and InterNations to find like-minded people

Canton Street 3 house front

How is the expat community in Hong Kong? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

No, that’s actually the easiest – there are so many opportunities to meet other people (not just expats but also locals). For instance, through MeetUp (that’s how I joined the hiking group, found out about private kitchens, went on burger feasts etc.) or Internations gatherings you can find like-minded people very easily. And it is actually quite easy to chat to other people in a bar … or the usual applies: if you walk a dog or have kids, you are likely to meet other dog-lovers or families too.

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PS: Missed a previous interview with a Hong Kong blogger or expert? Check out my series here & contact me on bluebaluinHK at gmail.com if you want to participate.

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