One of the least fun things to do now is tell people we are going back home. Of course there are less fun things (like packing and selling things), but telling people we are going back to Sweden is not fun. The reason it is not fun is because we have good friends here, of course. And another reason is because people want to know why we would want to move away from Hong Kong.
To many expats who live here, Hong Kong is a bit of an oasis. It’s this wonderful place where you can live a very expensive lifestyle doing a job that maybe would not give you the same lifestyle back wherever they are from. It’s a place where you can have a “helper” to take care of your children, your dog, your apartment, and you, so that you can spend more time doing those leisure things you like to do. You can eat in good restaurants that don’t break the bank, you can do trips to exotic locations, you can shop in expensive shops, and so on. So when you say you are leaving, people just don’t “get it” about why.
At the end of the day, it’s all about being back in a more “normal” life. Living over here in Hong Kong is not sustainable for us. For example, we don’t make enough money to live here with the kind of lifestyle that would give us a good quality of life (for example eating organic food is out of the question for us here). It also is not sustainable because of the way childcare works here – if I were to go back to work, we would most likely have to get a helper, and that is not something we believe in or want to do.
Additionally, we are far away from family – and that becomes increasingly important as the little guy gets older. Family, and having a connection to family members (in this case those family members in Sweden), has an increasing importance because we want him to have other “non-parent” family near him to learn from and be comfortable with. There is a lot of good that can come from being around cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Since both me and my wife are from different countries, we need to at least have one set of family around – the answer is not to have neither sets.
All-in-all I think people think we did not like it here. And that is not it. We like it here, and there are a lot of good things about Hong Kong (more on that in another post). But when it’s time to go home, it’s time to go home. Especially for my wife who has been living here for 3 years, and also for me who really really would like to get back to work for my own mental health. And also for my son, who I think would benefit from being in Swedish Förskolan (pre-school / daycare). Lots of good, normal, boring things are ahead, and we are looking forward to it!