Been off the map again for a couple weeks having a really wonderful and overdue trip back ‘home’ to the UK. I really enjoyed being in blighty, relaxing with family, catching up with friends and all the usual shenanigans. It’s true what a lot of expats say though, it’s difficult to figure out where you really feel at home after your time away. And anyway, what really is home? And if you lived in what feels like your home again would it even be the same? Probably not. Well yes, but in a different way.
Whilst I was back in the UK I was in love with the idea of finishing up our time in HK asap. When we spent a long weekend in London I thought about what it would be like to return to our flat in Islington. Beautiful was the first thought – I marveled at the variety of architecture, the different crowds of people on the streets and yearned to be cycling around it all once again. Expensive was the second thought. I still have no idea how much I spent, but it was certainly a pretty penny. How do people get by? Well they don’t always I know…
I was also surprised at just how on edge I was wandering around. I take for it for granted in Hong Kong how safe I feel. I don’t have to clutch my bag tight against me whilst wandering around in HK, I don’t fear the walk from the tube station back to my house in the dark and I hardly ever witness any aggressive behaviour that can put you on red alert during a night out. London is without a doubt, a really fun place to be, but I’m not sure how quickly I would be able to settle back in there and would it feel like going backwards in time, not having moved forward? Would we miss the excitement of living abroad? Where would all our old friends be – still around, or moving onto different stages of their lives? Questions that you can’t really answer until you make the move.
So then we started thinking, what about returning to the UK but not living in London. Remaining close to family and friends in Coventry, but within commuting distance to he bright lights of the Big Smoke? I guess as you get older and think about the future it’s nice to have your original home comforts close at hand. I did really enjoy going back to Coventry (honestly its not as bad as people make out!), the city has had quite a lot of investment over the past few years owing to the growing popularity of the universities there. But I was only there for just over a week, in holiday mode, beaming with the joy of being back in my old stomping ground and the simplicity of everything. The great thing about being in my home town was the people, and being so close to London and other places we enjoy spending time in. Could I live in Cov, or close by long-term? I think I could for awhile but, we would at some point, inevitably get itchy feet and feel like trying something new and different once again.
Then to Hong Kong. Why did I feel such dread about returning? Our life here is so good in many respects – we get to go on amazing holidays, have good jobs, lots of good friends and an excellent social life. Within about 48 hours of being back I remembered the value of all that, and was actually quite glad we hadn’t made some romantic hasty decision to stay before boarding our flight home. I am really happy here, I just wish that the UK wasn’t an expensive and long 12 hours plus flight away. But then, if it was it probably wouldn’t be the same.
And what I think I’ve learned, or what I’m trying to say is (in some sort of rambling way), that my home isn’t about the place, but the people. So I don’t think I will ever see HK as my actual ‘home’, because some of my nearest and dearest are just so far away. But Hong Kong has a very special place in my heart, and is for now, my adopted home for the foreseeable future. And who knows where we’ll be in five years time? I like not knowing, it makes life a bit more unexpected 🙂