Thursday, February 6, 2014

Growing Up

As most of you know, I grew up in a small rural town called Hong Kong (population: 7,000,000). I left fairly young, but I've still managed to remember a lot about the experience. So here I am, finally writing a post about it. I figure the best way to talk about this is in tidbits. Here it goes:

A Bit of Background
When I tell most people where I was born I usually get two responses: "Why you no look Asian?" and "Do yah speak China?". As far as the first question is concerned, I don't look Asian because my parents were Caucasian expats from England and Australia. So, as genetics would tell you, I came out looking Caucasian, not Asian. Although, my mum did once mistake an Asian baby for me, but that's another story. As far as the second question is concerned, no I don't speak Chinese. Since Hong Kong was a British colony until the end of the twentieth century, most people I grew up around spoke English, not Chinese, causing my inability to speak "China"

Me and my Filipino amah (nanny)

No Chinese In School
I attended two schools in Hong Kong: an Australian one (to satisfy dear old Dad) and a British one (to satisfy my proper tea-drinking mother). Because the British school wanted the Chinese students to learn English, they weren't allowed to speak Chinese. Although Hong Kong isn't Communist like the rest of China, this strikes me as a very Communist thing to do, and, not to sound patriotic, makes me appreciate the freedom of speech rights I have in America.

Me flying first class on Cathay Pacific, an HK airline my dad flys for

Banana Trees
While China seems to have a knack for eradicating nature, it's still apparent when you visit that it is a beautiful country. Growing up, I remember being surrounded by banana trees, roosters, and lush gardens. I also remember the beautiful cobblestone markets and the occasional breathtaking beach (although, if you plan on going to Hong Kong, don't plan it as a beach vacation. Most of the beaches are disgusting, as it is custom in China to throw all your trash, sewage, and shopping carts into the sea. Nothing against the Chinese, but most of urban China is like this.) Point is, China can be a beautiful place, if you know where to look.

Image courtesy of Garden of Eden

Pacific Place
Pacific Place: a giant mall filled with every store imagined. I consider it responsible for my existence, as my parents met in a taxi que outside of Pacific Place. Also, I consider the bookstore there responsible for my love of books, as I spent a lot of time there buying Rainbow Magic books.

Me kissing my baby brother

There you have it: a snapshot into my life in Hong Kong. My friend Liz also lived in Hong Kong when she was older, so if you want to see what it was like for her click  here. 

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