First day

Having spoken to people both in the UK and over here I feel I’ve made the right decision over whether to stay or not, and it is definitely good to have ended the uncertainty in my own mind. The messages of support and urging me to go for it were appreciated.

The actual transfer process from being a UK employee to being a Hong Kong employee was certainly quick. I had the offer letter arrive by Thursday, and as of today I’m now employed by the Hong Kong office. I must admit it was a pleasant experience to realise that yesterday was, for the time being, my last day paying UK tax. Goodbye 40% tax rate, hello 16%.

This does mean, however, that I have to get my life in the UK sorted out and I’ll be heading back for a couple of weeks towards the end of August. No dates set as yet, so I haven’t yet been able to figure out when to have a proper leaving celebration. As I see it I’ll have to sort out the following:

  • Flat to be rented out as soon as possible. (I’ve got an agent who is keen to get it done by the end of August)
  • Sell car.
  • My stuff crap to be cleared or sold.
  • Bank accounts/credit cards to be informed of address change.
  • Utilities stopped. (Electricity, gas, council tax, tv license, and the one I’m dreading the most… Virgin Media)
  • Tax office informed. Pension (although apparently I can keep contributing to my UK pension).
  • Hong Kong bank account to be set up.
  • Exit Hong Kong and re-enter on my work visa so I can apply for a Hong Kong ID card.
  • Accommodation in Hong Kong to be sorted.

All in all a pretty long list of ‘stuff’ that needs to be completed. I’ve decided to try and rent my flat out without offering the garage. If I can keep the garage for my use then I can use it for storing my stuff that I either can’t get rid of, or stuff I want to keep but don’t want to ship to Hong Kong. Even if I wanted to take everything from the UK to Hong Kong it wouldn’t be feasible as I won’t have as much room in Hong Kong as I’m used to in the UK. Besides which, I don’t think I’ll have much need for the Kilimanjaro kit over here (amongst other stuff).

Nothing much unusual for me over here lately which is probably a good sign that I’m beginning to feel a bit more settled over here. I took a trip to the beach at Shek O on Sunday with a group of expats – shark nets at the beaches like in Australia, although the water is definitely not as warm as it was in Queensland, and not the same shade of blue. Closer to grey in fact. The water is still considerably warmer than Donegal though. The shark warning flag was flying as there have been shark sightings in Stanley which is quite near to Shek O, although this didn’t seem to deter anyone from entering the water. I am not, and never have been, a person who tans in the sun so unsurprisingly I managed to get sunburnt – on one leg, just above the knee. Why it was just this one leg is a mystery – I had sun cream applied to both equally. As I wore sandals whilst on the beach I’ve also got various suntan sunburn lines on my feet, which I didn’t really care about as I only own that one pair of sandals so it won’t matter. This, I’m told, is a typical guy attitude. Enjoyable day out though, even if the authorities are a bit on the killjoy side: no ball games, no kite flying, no saucer games? Turns out saucer games = frisbee.

Latest odd food eaten would be thinly sliced raw octopus at a Japanese restaurant. Can’t say I would hurry to eat it again – it’s chewy, and has a slight seafood taste to it. You can tell exactly what it is by looking at it; being slightly purple in colour with the outline of the ‘suckers’ very distinguishable. Nicer than jellyfish though which I still don’t see the point of eating. Despite not being much of a fan of seafood when I came out here, and still preferring a good steak, I am able to eat most seafood now. I still have a real problem with prawns however.

Watched the Transformers movie (silly and brainless, but good fun anyway), and have been playing hockey (no goals to add to my tally of 1 sadly). Which reminds me, another item to add to my list of things to get done is to join a gym out here. There is a Hong Kong marathon which I could be tempted to run. Maybe.

Hoping to get to Shenzhen this weekend, which apparently is the home of really cheap copied stuff, so another chance to buy a copy watch. It’ll be first use of the multiple entry Chinese visa I’ve got and also get me back into Hong Kong on the working visa. My first day as a Hong Kong employee hasn’t felt any different.

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4 Responses to “First day”

  1. johniebg Says:

    Good stuff – Virgin Media made me laugh having sat through the pain you went through to get the thing setup. Such is life aye!

    Look forward to catching up.

  2. Stuart Ervine Says:

    If you need any help with any of it, let me know!

  3. Chris Neal Says:

    On the property rental front: you should be able to rent out the flat without the garage no problem. That’s what we have done with our house, and we’ve filled the garage with furniture etc. that the tenants didn’t want and that we couldn’t bring with us.

  4. jonnye Says:

    Yes, I must admit I’m putting off the inevitable conversation with Virgin Media. That one week of HD TV was bliss though…

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