#MyDay – December in Hong Kong

December 30, 2013 / by / 0 Comment

December in Hong Kong

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… Well, sort of. Hong Kong’s skyscraper’s have become even more flashy than they were before, now lighting their seasons greetings above Hong Kong’s heads. Sparkling trees are popping up across the city. The supermarkets are playing tinny tonal Christmas songs, which make you want to buy everything you need as fast as you can to get away from the noise. There are cute children singing carols in the glitzed-out shopping malls, and the streets are starting to fill with tourists popping to Hong Kong for their Christmas holidays.


Yet, the temperature is still in the high teens: if I was in Scotland everyone would be ditching the books, throwing on their summer clothes and heading to the parks to barbeque the days away. But here, we are layering up, and avoiding the vicious air con – a blessing in summer, but definitely no longer. The snow of the adverts will stay in the television studios: a white Christmas is about as far from our thoughts just now as we are from home. And because this is what I expect (or at least, a lot of frost and rain), it just doesn’t quite seem like the festive time of year, no matter how much Hong Kong decorates itself.

However, one big reminder that the festive season is here is spending our days huddled in the learning commons, dreading the fast pace with which the December days seem to pass to draw us closer to our looming exams. HKU has suddenly changed from a nice campus where I spent my days, marvelling at the hot weather, lovely food, and fun people and enjoying my classes, to where we are spending long days indoors cramming information in our heads that I could have sworn I’ve never heard before.

The stress of exams and assignments combined with the slight homesickness for a good old cold December with mince pies and mulled wine (I have been craving both since the beginning of December!) has temporarily attempted to take the shine off Hong Kong. It will be only my second time away from my home at Christmas, and my first where I will not see my family, and instead will be spending it with friends on the other side of the world (on the plus side, being 6000 miles away from home means that I get to skip a lot of Christmas shopping stress!).

However, once my hardworking self kicks in (which I seem to have been waiting a while for), and I manage to power through the week of stress, I am sure the city will remind me in no time how amazing it is. It really has been an absolutely incredible semester which has flown by so fast that at this rate I am going to have to be dragged back to the UK next summer. To top off such a great three months, I am lucky enough to be travelling to Thailand and Vietnam with friends for a wonderful, if completely different, Christmas break. I think it will teach me a lot to experience something so different from what I am used to, which exchange is constantly managing to do. I guess the snow can wait for one year, if I get to replace it with a sunny few weeks on a tropical beach…

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

By Shona Buchanan,
Incoming Exchange Student 2013 – 2014
from University of Edinburgh