This time 5 years ago I arrived starry-eyed in London. I had no idea what life was going to throw at me, I was starting my first ever job, and I was ready to take it all with a lot of caution and apprehension, but yet excited about the new challenges ahead. It took me a long long time to establish my little corner of Evie-ness, build my network of friends, feel like a Londoner, be happy and self sufficient in the new town.
My experience in Hong Kong is very different. First of all, I already knew many people here from the start, including some excellent friends. I had a whole network through work, and was not feeling as insecure about the new job (well I was but at least I know what work was like before, contrary to the early London days). I am much more self confident now, and have less difficulties to meet people and make friends. And last week, after barely a couple of months in the city, I got the Coming Home feeling.
I got it in the airport, just as I was passing through the immigration section, in the special area for "local" residents ie non-tourists. I was happy to present my local ID card, and for the first time in months, got that feeling of Coming Home. I felt the welcoming arms of the city open up, and even chuckled when watching the tourists look a bit clueless in the airport express train.
It took me several long months to get this feeling in London, and I started to get when I felt the city had adopted me. I would always feel it when coming home late at night, either from business trips or week ends back home, when driving at night in a cab from Waterloo over to Westminster, along the Embankment, taking in the sights of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben shining in the night.
Now I watch the IFC tower, Bank of China tower and Victoria Harbour all lit up at night and wish myself a big welcome home.
Message from the Customer Services Centre: Yes the tone has become all dripply these last days. We apologise for any inconvenience and endeavour to return to the usual worried, witty and wicked self-analysis operations as soon as possible.