Since the heavy post I made a few months ago, I’ve been a bit stumped on what I should write about on here. I mean, I toyed with the idea of doing posts such as “How to do five countries in three weeks” but I’m sure my Instagram has told that story in abundance. So, I’m coming to you with things I wish I knew before I move to a new place. This could honestly apply to moving to a new city or country, so I’ll keep it short and sweet.
1. Don’t go to Ikea?
It feels necessary to put a question mark on that sub-heading because I’m still slightly unsure about my reasoning, but bear with me as I flesh it out. We always flock to whatever feels familiar when we move to new places. “I need cups, pots and pans? Where is my nearest Ikea” is almost instinctual? Yet I realised that when you’re temporarily moving, its best to find the places local people go to, they’re usually much cheaper with similar “quality” to our beloved Swedish brand. In the case of Hong Kong, I’m sure many locals would actually snob Ikea but the advice still stands!
2. Learn the Language
If you’re moving from one town to another in the UK for example, this just would not apply to you, but if your new town happens to have one of those intense accents you might want to pick it up to make your life easier. On a serious note, try to pick up simple words they will transform your daily interactions . I've always thought that language is one of the best ways to integrate yourself into a new society, and in most cases, it actually does not require much effort. In practice, I'm not a good reflection of this thought because after almost ten months in Hong Kong, I have picked up minimum Cantonese. I blame this partly on the fact that English is spoken just about everywhere, but I know if I understood/spoke it more, the dynamics of my interactions would be different.
3. Avoid Fast Fashion
This is a really strange one, but I know when I move to a new place, just like Ikea, I tend to stick with familiar things. This is also the case with shopping, I feel comfortable seeing Zara, H&M and Topshop, and although they’re all great in their own respect, I think seeking out smaller boutiques and thrift shops is a much more effective way of spending money. Me and Gee on Li Yuen Street has been a live saver, my friends and I are constantly finding gems for cheap prices. Not only is it good for the environment, but also for your pockets!
4. Eat The Food
Our palettes are heavily influenced by the food we eat on a daily basis, so when you move to a new city or country the initial shock of eating different food may be too much to handle. Yet, I think it is still important to give local food a try, I’ve heard one too many horror stories of people looking for Cali-Mex in Thailand because Thai food just didn’t work. We’re all in our own right to put literally whatever we want into our bodies, but I think eating local food at local places, is a good way of forming bonds with people in your new community, and introducing new tastes to your palette. I am now a big fan of foods and fruits that I had never heard of before but have randomly tried and loved.
*Disclaimer – when I began to write this post, I thought I could apply it to moving to a new city, but now I honestly don’t think you can. I keep picturing moving from London to Manchester for example, and I know the food won’t be different, nothing will really be different except the accents and the people. Welp.