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Monday, August 1, 2011

Hong Kong Entry #14

This past week was a very important week here in my Hong Kong stay, in fact you could even call it life changing.  On Tuesday I found out that EF Englishtown wanted to make an offer to me to work as a Social Media Specialist full-time!  Hearing this offer come out of the head hunters mouth over the fun actually made my heart skip a beat and I immediately had mixed feelings.  I became very excited, but extremely nervous at the same time.  It is definitely a terrific opportunity to do something very different than many young graduates back home, however it is very far away from many people I love back home.  It's been hard not seeing my family and Tara for two months, I can't imagine how a year would feel.
Another scary thing, is that it will be very hard without good friends.  Yes I have made many close friends during my team hear already, however in a week they are all going back home, because they have to go back to school.  So I will be fairly lonely with not as many friends.  I will still have Tucker, Stanley, Coco but that is about it when it comes to people that I have hung out with, and even they already have friends here so I don't always want to be the wheel for them to bring along.  So that will definitely be a challenge.  However luckily I am someone that welcomes challenges and has no problem working hard to succeed and achieve.  I will still keep in touch with people back home as much as I can, I already plan on joining a fantasy football league with many of my college friends, so that should be fun.
I had a couple long talks with my father and after them I have really concluded that working out here for a period will be something that most likely will be more rewarding then hurtful, it will give me a solid base of international experience working, versus a two month internship, which I believe future employers will look at and respect.  Also it gives me more time to explore another culture and see some things that I have not been able to.  I really feel that looking back at my life, this will be one of those things that I look at and say "Yeah I am really glad that I did that and had that experience."
So since accepting the job, I have been passing the news and super busy trying to get everything I need for the work VISA together, and of course trying to find a place to live.  Tucker also needs a place to live, so we have been looking together.  One area where we looked at multiple apartments was Stanley, which is on the other side of Hong Kong Island and right near the beach, and the famous Stanley Market.  We viewed 5 apartments on Friday and out of 5 we decided 2 of them were suitable for us.  One of the two that we liked cost $18,000 Honkie per month so $9,000 per person each month.  This would be about $1,156 US a month. YEAH I KNOW Ridiculous! However that is what real estate is like here in Hong Kong, because there is really no where else to build and it has such high demand.  However this apartment was in prime location as it is right above the bars in Stanley and right on the water.  You have a really amazing ocean view. However the layout of the apartment was a little weird and Tucker and I were not sure how much we liked it. The larger bedroom was connected to the living room area and instead of a regular door had one of those Japanese style sliding doors, so it was a little less privacy.  Also the kitchen was not its own room and was also a little odd setup.  Lastly only one room had a bed in it so we would have to buy another one.
The other option that we were contemplating was a tiny bit smaller but much cheaper.  It was only $12,500 Honkie per month so about $6,250 Honkie per person which would be about $803 US a month.  It's kind of odd because my friends back home who pay that or less for their apartments have much more space. O well they don't get all the tax breaks on items purchased that you do here.
Anyway before the Realtor showed us this place she asked us if we want to see a really really cheap apartment, and we said sure why not so we would have something to compare the other ones to.  However when she opened the door to the apartment it blew my expectations away.  I thought that this place was going to look like absolute garbage, however it was really nice. It was fully furnished and redone.  It had a flat screen TV and futon in the living room, a nice little two person table a totally redone kitchen and bathroom and two bedrooms.  However the problem with this place is that one of the bedrooms was pretty big with an armoire and a double bed.  The other room was a tiny little square that could barely fit a twin bed and nothing else.  Neither of us really wanted that tiny room but the rest of the apartment was really nice and it was really cheap so it was a tough decision.  So with these two in mind we told the Realtor we would think about it over the weekend and get back to her. She said okay, but did remind us that this time of the year is the busiest for real estate as many teachers come back to rent apartments for the school year so that we should act quickly if we could.
From there Tucker and I met up with his friend Meghan who is also interning here in Hong Kong and headed to Mr. Wongs to meet Stanley and large group of his friends who were eating there.  As I said last time I talked about Mr. Wongs it is a really fun environment to have dinner and is the best deal going. For $50 Honky you get all you can eat and all you can drink (beer).  Mr. Wong and his crew bring out an assortment of Chinese food which goes down real easy with the beer.  The other great part about Mr. Wongs is the environment, the reason is because most of the people who actually go there are foreigners.  They all show up to eat, drink, and meet people so everyone is in the same boat.  Mr. Wong makes meeting people easy as he puts the tables together to create one huge table to dine at.  It really is a little hidden gem of Hong Kong located in Yau Mau Tei and comes highly recommended if you can find your way there.

Here are some interesting videos about the unreasonable size and price of apartments in Hong Kong.

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