When I was living in Hong Kong, all I thought about was how I could move abroad. This wanderlust led me to moving overseas. For almost ten years now, I have been living my dream as a Hong Kong expat in Germany. However, I would still identify myself as a Hongkonger, rather than a German. Hong Kong is where I was born and raised. No matter how much I love my new life in Germany, there are things that I still miss from Hong Kong, that I want to share with anyone planning the same move.
Good Transportation Network
In Hong Kong, there are metro stations almost everywhere. Buses, mini-buses, trams, and taxies are all popular options, so you can easily get around Hong Kong without having the use of a car. Taxies are relatively cheap, and you can grab one easily on the street. The metro runs almost until midnight and there are also night buses if you decide to stay partying after the clock strikes 12. In contrast, taking a taxi is perceived as a luxury in Germany and public transport is preferred.
I did not realise how much I love Chinese food until I moved abroad. Chinese food, especially "Dim Sum" or "Yum Cha", is a luxury to me now. While you may occasionally find a good Chinese restaurant in larger German cities, most "Chinese restaurants" in Germany are "Asian mixed" and the menus cannot be compared to what Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong offer. It’s not just the quality of the food that’s different but also the price – be prepared to pay much more in Germany compared to what you used to pay for Chinese food in Hong Kong. Not only is Chinese food cheaper in Hong Kong but you can find all types of cuisines there. Some restaurants are even open all night, so you will certainly never go hungry! Street food in Hong Kong is also something I’ve missed since I moved.
Hong Kong has an excellent nightlife and you could never get bored there. Your day is just starting at midnight, especially in places like Lan Kwai Fong. There is something for everyone in Hong Kong and lots of types of entertainment to enjoy with friends like karaoke, watching movies, going to bars or clubs, or even just having a dessert at night. If you are used to the nightlife in Hong Kong, you may find the variety of entertainment at night in other countries very limited.
In Hong Kong, you have the choice to visit either a conventional doctor or a Chinese doctor. Chinese medicine focuses on your overall health, instead of just tackling your symptoms. It uses natural treatments like acupuncture, cupping, qigong and herbs. There are some Chinese doctors here in Germany, but it can be expensive to visit them. Another major difference between life in Germany and Hong Kong would be after having a baby – in Hong Kong many women believe in Chinese confinement after childbirth. Which means they don’t eat raw food, drink cold drinks, wash their hair or even go outside after giving birth. This is definitely very different to having a baby in Germany and is hard for me to explain to my German friends.
I was so used to shopping malls while living in Hong Kong that I forgot this might not be the case in other countries. Shopping malls are everywhere in Hong Kong. Their extended opening hours (sometimes until almost midnight) mean you can shop at almost any time –including after work or on the weekend. A big difference between Germany and Hong Kong is that in Germany shops are closed on public holidays and on Sundays and this is strictly adhered to.
Remember how you’d bargain when shopping at the Ladies' Market in Mong Kok? The feeling of buying a shirt for just 20 HKD, when the initial price was 100 HKD. For HongKongers, bargaining is part of life. In Germany however, people don’t bargain or haggle down prices for everyday items like clothes or food, they pay the price advertised. Often for larger items or purchases, Germans do bargain for example new furniture or a car. In Hong Kong, you can often get a better deal (jetso) on everyday items if you just ask for it.
My Life in Germany
Despite all the things I miss about Hong Kong, there are a lot of great things about living in Germany. For example, there is a better work-life balance in Germany, the ability to travel to European countries easily, social benefits, and more living space. That was why I chose to move to Germany, and despite the differences listed above, it was still one of the best decisions of my life.
Photo by Portuguese Gravity on Unsplash
This article is written by Sindy, blogger at My Life in Germany.
My Life in Germany was established by Sindy in early 2019, with the aim of providing info to expats about studying, working and living in Germany. Sindy is originally from Hong Kong. Her vision is to provide useful info and advice through My Life in Germany to anyone following her footsteps on subjects like finding accommodation in Germany, adjusting to life, citizenship and more.