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Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Countdown to happiness (part two)

By on Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Two years have passed since we first came to Hong Kong to work. In this seemingly short span of time, I can proudly say that we were already able to adjust to the climate, the language, the culture and life in general. If we were in Singapore, this same amount of time would allow us to be eligible to apply for permanent residency. But we're not in Singapore; we're in Hong Kong, where eligibility for permanent residency is not two years, but seven years, of continuous stay. Can we last that long? Or better yet, are we interested to pursue permanent residency here? The answer, my friends, is no.

Hong Kong is a good place to visit. Or maybe even to work. But to live? Look at the photo below of the town in Hong Kong where we decided to temporarily reside.

Does it remind you of the Philippine countryside, ie home?

Look at the wide open spaces. We love that. It gives our eyes a good relaxing retreat from all the crowded streets of Hong Kong island and Kowloon, and gives our ears some of the peace and quiet of nature.

Then, look at the distant buildings. Somewhere there is where we actually live. Our flat is a nice apartment with a view of the mountains. Small but clean. Friends who occasionally visit love it. We also love it. It's a bit far from where I work, but after a stressful day at the office, it helps to keep some distance away from the urban jungle.

So why are we not interested in staying here permanently? Because, we only came here to work. We came here to work so we can earn a lot of take-home pay so we can afford to quit our jobs as corporate slaves and pursue our life-long dream of owning a house with a music studio. Instead, our salaries go to rental payment, that even in a tiny flat away from downtown is very expensive and is getting more expensive the longer we stay here. But why not buy our own flat? Are you kidding me? The cost of our tiny flat in the middle of nowhere in Hong Kong is about as much as a big house in the Philippines with a garden and a swimming pool and other stuff that would make your neighbours turn green with envy. I think it's more fun to have a pool party with green neighbours than turn down the volume by 7 pm so as not to get a complaint from the neighbours.

Also, I've gotten past the horrible experiences I had in the Philippines prior to moving to Hong Kong. They were so horrible that I didn't even bother writing about them here. Maybe I'll write about them someday so I can help my fellow OFWs learn from my ordeal with the POEA and the immigration officers at NAIA. But not now ... I have other things to deal with.

Our condition in Hong Kong might be better than our condition back in the Philippines, but we pay a high price for it. This whole experience as an OFW made me realise that one can still achieve a good status of living in the Philippines, if you know what you want and if you are content with what you have. I may not know what I want 100 per cent but I am getting there. As I'm keeping an optimistic mind, let the countdown to happiness begin.

Iza A.

Iza A. is a former writer and freelance editor in the Philippines. She now lives in Hong Kong and works in an office. She enjoys blogging during her free time, which explains why she doesn't blog as frequently as she used to anymore.


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