Finding home

I‘ve lived in alot of different cities, but most were temporary moves limited to a year or less – Paris, Beijing, Stockholm, Hong Kong (back in 1996), Shanghai… the one major move in my life where there was no fixed end point or expected outcome was to London. And now, Hong Kong.  My first week here has been alright – though yesterday all of a sudden I got a bad case of homesickness. So what does a girl do? Why, she heads to the best foreign supermarket she can find, loads up with a bunch of japanese, american and european baking goods and heads home to make these (the rest are in the fridge for the 36 hour wait time – will bake them on Sunday):

Warm cookies and cold milk are a comforting duo. Since I had a bunch of baking stuff, I decided to make some buttermilk biscuits for DH in the morning as he is off to Beijing today for a meeting with his Beijing office colleagues. Stinky boy isn’t back til late on Saturday.

Apart from the fact that our apartment complex is totally not dog friendly (there are signs EVERYWHERE that prohibit dogs from peeing/pooping anywhere in the estate which is a pain. There are so many hideous statues that I would love for Deuce to pee on…. but alas we have to go off the estate which is what all the other dogs do so the stretch right by the main entrance has a very concentrated whiff of eau de piss), the other aspects of it are quite nice. We have a very relaxing view from the living room and two of the bedrooms (the Cyberport Waterfront Park is the green space on the right):

When you look to the right you can see our neighbouring towers in phase 6 and the pools on the podium level below.

To the left are other towers of phase 4 that are a little uglier, but which themselves have unobstructed views of the islands and the sea.

The podium is a very relaxing landscaped area with quite a labyrinth of walkways, nooks and crannies to sit and watch the world go buy.

There are loads of playgrounds and a grassed area (but of course with signs saying no walking, no cycling, no ball games, etc etc). I am learning that, despite, or perhaps because of, the relative laissez-faire attitude HK has towards the economy, it has a bewildering array of seemingly draconian rules, or rather, do nots. This is one of many signs in the Cyberport Waterfront park.   Yes that does say no kite flying. And no leaning on the fence.  Because… well, if anyone were to fly a kite or lean on a fence I am sure anarchy would ensue.  So the park is virtually empty of community activity which is a shame.  Mostly moms pushing prams, domestic helpers walking dogs, and expats jogging.  I have yet to see a kid in there playing.

Wandering around the supermarkets has been fun – our local one had an apple slicer

and for those who are unable to wield a blunt knife to a banana, or are just plain lazy, a banana slicer

Some things are eye wateringly expensive. On principle I try to avoid battery chickens – which are ubiquitous here in HK (H5N1, anyone?) – so when I was hankering after a roast chicken imagine my horror when I saw the cost of the free range, antibiotic free, organic chicken at the local supermarket. That sucker cost an astounding HK$249. That’s about £20 or USD35. Ouch. I guess we aren’t going to be eating chicken all that much. And when we do… we are going to make it last and last and last.

Today Deuce & I went off to Horizon Plaza which is home to a gazillion (literally) furniture shops, and one large pet store called Whiskers n Paws. Deuce had a good time sniffing around all the aisles (especially the food and treat aisles), and I got him all sorts of goodies – new bowls, treats, a new dog tag with my HK number on it, and some cool new food called The Honest Kitchen. I’m really excited about this stuff – it’s human grade, dehydrated food from sustainable, often organic sources. They don’t source anything from China (seriously, who would with their safety record for pet food, not to mention food meant for human consumption).  The pet shop also has a “Bark Park” which is an outdoor playground for their four legged customers.  There weren’t any other barkers out there when I went with Deuce but we met a lady with two pugs heading over from San Fransisco – maybe we’ll see them there sometime.

I found an Italian deli – selling tinned plum tomatoes from Italy at a fraction of the cost from the supermarkets.  And lots of great olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I’ve been hankering after a really good pasta dish with a rich tomato sauce….

I also got to stop in at Sift, a great cupcake place on the 22nd floor. They had a branch around the corner from DH’s first serviced apartment, but we never made it there.  I got a salted caramel cupcake that was really lovely – moist chocolate cake and a lovely salted caramel icing.

While I’m still missing my friends from home, I’m slowly finding my way day by day, helped along by the occasional cupcake and cookie.


18 thoughts on “Finding home

  1. I totally agree a bit of baking does wonders when you are a bit out of sorts. I like to make bread and wonder at my creation! Come back to UK soon and to Cornwall say HI. I loved HK, Happy Valley Races and Dragon Boat Race. all the best Rebecca

    • @Tricia, I feel pretty confident no one is seriously going to ask me to muzzle Deuce. First because he’s about as aggressive and scary as a wad of cotton candy, and second the little man has no muzzle! Him trying to fill out a muzzle is just comedy.

  2. Missing you loads too! If you need any care packages sending with your favourite goodies let us know. xx Have to say there was a slight resemblance of the pic of the landscaped area that had a little of Chelsea Harbour about it.

  3. Aww, moving locations must be so tough….I have to ay that I felt the same when I moved to jersey back in ’84 with 3 young children. took me ages to settle but I made friends with the local newsagent who asked me about the machine knitting magazine I ordered. She invited me round to lunch with a load of girls that ordered machine knitted jumpers from me and the same group of girls taught me to enjoy a tipple or two on a Friday night get together…I am still in touch with most of those girls. You will soon find your feet and make new friends.

    I’m with Mel, if you need anything, just shout, I’d love to send you a parcel of goodies xxx

  4. Wow – that’s a lot of ‘do nots’! Loving your view though. My Dad went to HK a few times for his job years ago and loved it. Wish he’d taken me along for a trip too!

  5. I’ve spent time in HK, but I never saw an oven in anyone’s home – there was always a washing machine where an oven would be, under the gas burners in the kitchen. It made me sad and no one seemed to know or care what they were missing which made me sadder. I’m glad you’re able to bake, it really does the trick when you’re feeling homesick.

  6. Love to read details of your new life in HK, lovely view from your apartment, hang in there, I am sure you will cope well in no time, looking forward to seeing you all in 2 weeks. Will bring losts of good stuffs for you . Hugs .

  7. Bai Tu — Log on to Ravelry, stat, and find a Hong Kong knitters group. Maybe that will help with the adjustment (something familiar). I can’t believe there is a 22 story mall — scary. Those cupcakes look great.

  8. I miss HK so much : it was so fun to live there !

    And I remember Horizon Plaza so well : amazing home decor mall. Shopping in HK can be so exhausting with these huge vertical malls. I mean window shopping is just not an option, you have to go floor by floor and explore shop after shop but it is sometimes worth it -thinking about my old and worn out afghan rug.

    Living in HK is sometimes tough for the wives as the husbands are travelling a lot. But you will settle down, find a bunch of nice people to hang around with and enjoy HK.

  9. The sign in the park should just read “NO FUN OF ANY KIND”. I agree with eg find some knitters and you’ll feel at home in no time.

  10. Awwww Alice your cookies look fab – any chance I could have the recipe for the Buttermilk ones please?

    The pictures are amazing, can’t wait to see more, and hear more about HK !!!

    Glad you’re ok



  11. I can’t get over that banana slicer!!! Really made me chuckle. I hope you manage to find cheaper sources for some of your favourite comfort foods. I’ve never been to HK – it does look like an extraordinary place to visit!

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