I know that for sure as most of my camera gear is packed for shipping. Minus the batteries. Where will it end up? We shall see.
It is a very strange feeling. I feel little enthusiasm for the move. I am steeped in HK. All my friends are here. My work, such as it remains, is here. Going to Britain is not going to be easy for either of us. I was shocked when we went back 18 months ago. There seemed to be no equivalent of our Octopus card for example. Octopus is a stored value card that can auto-top-up. I rarely use cash in HK. Either the Octopus or a credit card. Britain still wanted coins for car parking meters. How very twentieth century. I could not recognise the coins and my good old fiver (£5 note) was rejected as it was out of date. I had forgotten how to get from A to B, both familiar places but lost not in the mists of time but in the pea souper fog of my memory.
For Mrs. Ha it is a great adventure. I have tried to make sure she has realistic expectations. Not everything will be perfect but we shall adopt the philosophy of the good Dr. Pangloss, that all shall be for the best in this the best of all possible worlds. Of course we may just end up cultivating our garden but we aspire to more than that. Mrs. Ha aims to go shopping (in Winchester???) and I intend to take photographs. Lots of them.
We have started moving into our temporary accommodation on HK Island. It is a nice enough apartment but I can’t see or hear any birds. Not even a Kite. Two weeks without birds and then how long on the other side? My camera gear fills half a room – no jest. I need to downsize. Some other time maybe. For now the removal guys will need a lot of boxes, bubble wrap and silica gel.
I have recycled a laptop and have sold a few things rather than throw them away. There is plenty to go into the facility provided by the movers – they give most of it to the Salvation Army or dispose of it responsibly. Still the process is painful and I have dragged it out over several weeks. An hour or two a day of decluttering. The house is stuffed to the gills and with 5 flights of stairs it is a good work out that frankly we don’t want.
Then I think about why we are going. Do we want to live in a city that is increasingly becoming just an extension of the PRC? Well we are part of the PRC but we hoped for longer before the 1 country, 2 systems structure started to crumble. We knew it would over time but the pace is accelerating and it does not feel good. HK has always had a strong capacity to reinvent itself and we hope it does so again. Hence our decision to keep a home here. In some ways a home in Britain is an insurance policy.
Despite my apprehension I am looking forward to seasons, proper seasons again. I am looking forward to smelling freshly mown grass, seeing Blackbirds on the lawn, hearing familiar sounds like the friendly call of the local jobsworth: “Oi! Stop that. It’s not allowed”. I am also looking forward to a better standard of driving. I can also tend my mother’s grave and visit my father’s ashes which have been blowin’ in the wind for well-nigh 30 years. I can watch rugby live instead of in the the wee small hours.
I discovered by chance yesterday that I had lost over a month of emails from a particular domain. If I searched under the name I found them but they were all marked ‘read’ (which they certainly were not) and then transferred to a folder marked ‘personal’. So they never showed up in my inbox. Hugely embarrassing. After scratching (inter alia) my head for a few hours a light bulb went on and I looked in Gmail’s filters. There I found not one but three filters I would never have created. They were a complete nonsense. I deleted all three and moved the ‘personal’ items back to my inbox. I spent most of the day sending emails of apology to people to whom I had not responded. How can this happen? Have I been hacked? I am baffled. Baffled of Sai Kung I shall henceforth be known as.
With that problem solved I can now return to the more mundane list of chores to be completed before we go. An international driving licence would be useful. My old UK one expired yonks ago and looking at the photo I must have been fairly youthful when it was taken. I also have to pay my tax up to date before I leave. Such are the trials of an international relocation. We are in a dark place at the moment but when we arrive at the pearly gates known as Waitrose I am sure we shall be blinded by the light.