2 January, 2013
What's On HK

Life after Hong Kong – what you’ll miss… and what you won’t!

2 January, 2013

We’ve recently said goodbye to a few of Team Sassy, who have flown the nest and left Hong Kong for good *sniff sniff*. One of our departing bloggers was the fabulous A.C. – and now she’s been out of the 852 for a few months, she’s realised quite how different life in the Fragrant Harbour is! Here’s her list of what’s better, what’s worse, what she misses, what she doesn’t… and a little bit of everything else different too!

So for those of you thinking about leaving (or long gone) or those of you coming back in the new year, see how many of A.C.’s thoughts you recognise or agree with – and feel free to add any more differences you’ve experienced in the comment section at the end!


I’ve officially been home in the U.S. for over four months now (which, wow! is hard to believe) and, unsurprisingly, life here is the complete opposite of how I’d lived in Hong Kong. Since I’ve been away, I’ve contemplated all that has changed in my life and how strange and different my life has become… or maybe how normal it’s gone back to!

Here’s my life now…

  • I must wait 15 minutes for the train to come and it’s either freezing outside (damn Chicago winters!) or sweating in the train (no blasting A.C. everywhere?!).
  • My house could hold 7 of my Hong Kong apartments.
  • Everyone uses a dryer to dry their clothes… crazy concept I know… and no one hangs their clothes out to dry.
  • I eat dinner at 6pm and go out with friends at 8pm. Super late nights out are a thing of the past.
  • Everyone here in the Midwest sounds like me and looks like me. My blonde status gets me nothing new and no more stares.
  • Because everyone sounds like me, that means no more British accents to swoon over (insert sad face here).
  • Food at the grocery store didn’t travel on a boat to get here, which means it no longer costs a small fortune.
  • Travelling anywhere insanely cool takes at least 15 hours.
  • Dating is back to white bread (read more of my thoughts on the HK dating scene here and here!).
  • I can actually breathe properly!
  • There’s no need to carry an umbrella at all times, although I do keep mittens in my coat now instead.
  • There’s no need to have a spare deodorant in my purse. Instead of sweating bullets, I am now an icicle!
  • Food comes from grocery stores and farmers’ markets; no more wet markets and random juicers on the street.
  • The first time you meet someone doesn’t include the questions, ‘Where are you from?’ and ‘How long are you here for?’
  • Sunday night Skype dates are replaced with good morning and good night every day. That also means no more calculating 13 hour time differences!
  • I can watch live TV and almost all channels are in English. It’s the end of the downloading torrents era!
  • Space heaters are replaced with heating systems and insulation.
  • Less walking means more weight gain… but the fact that there are less cupcake shops means maybe only a few extra pounds!
  • The same restaurants are still in business from before I left for Hong Kong over two years ago.
  • 7/11 does not take travel cards or sell instant noodles. 7/11 is actually hard to find!
  • Kids carry their own backpacks… and moms pick up their own kids at school.
  • Grass, glorious grass!
  • Hair stylists of all kinds can touch my hair. When I look through the phone book for a beautician, I can pronounce all of their names, which means my blonde tresses won’t turn orange.
  • Drive-thrus exist! Well, driving a car exists, now that I think about it…
  • I can stop dividing every price I see by 8 (insert own home currency conversation rate here!).
  • All clothes are made for the average Westerner body – boobs and all.
  • Flat land everywhere… yes, everywhere!
  • Press ONE for English… and usually the person who picks up truly knows English!
  • Prescriptions are needed for birth control.
  • No sick notes from the doctor so that I can take a day to catch up on my TV show downloads or go to the beach with my friends!
  • American football and baseball reign supreme.
  • Less colourful and quirky clothes are the norm – unfortunately, that means no more cartoon character t-shirts… or grannies wandering about in patterned pyjamas!
  • Boats are a far less common occurrence – no more ferries or junk boat parties.
  • Birthdays have less meaning.

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