After 4 years in Bahrain, we decided it was time to move on to greener pastures… or, at least, greener hillsides.
I would say we found new jobs in Hong Kong, but the truth is, the new jobs found us. We were invited to apply for science and math positions at a school in The New Territories. We were also invited to visit the school in December for final interviews. When we were offered jobs while dining in a local pub, we knew we’d found our next home.
Then COVID19 hit.
The next months were uncertain. The school in Hong Kong transitioned to online learned at the end of Chinese New Year in February. Our school in Bahrain did the same February 25. Travel stopped. We did not know how this would affect our transition, if it all.
By May, plans for the move were in full swing. We were unable to go to the US for the summer due to quarantines, but we had tickets for departure for Hong Kong in July. We arranged shippers to come pick up our household items. We began making arrangements for our cats. We started purging and packing. We started our goodbyes. And then our flights got cancelled.
In all, we had 5 flight cancellations and rebookings. With our last change just 2 days before we were supposed to leave. Luckily, we were put on a new flight that left only 9 hours later. However, our travel path went from a 1 hour flight, 7 hour layover, 8 hour flight to a 7 hour flight, 12 hour layover, 12 hour flight!
We finally boarded a flight in the early morning hours of July 20. The first leg of our journey brought us to London. We were afraid, due to rising numbers of COVID19 cases in Hong Kong, that the country would close it’s borders and we would end up stuck in London. That didn’t happen.
What did happen is we were told by the ticket desk manager that we would not be allowed to board the plane to Hong Kong without showing copies of our marriage certificate and birth certificates for our boys. We did NOT have these on us. The manager said this was a new requirement by Hong Kong. We contacted our Administrative Assistant (an amazing lady!) who clarified that this was an airline issue and not a Hong Kong rule. She sent documentation that, as work visa holders, we were exempt from this requirement. The manager was not going to accept that. Good thing I keep documentation of everything and was able to find digital copies of these documents. Whew!
We found some comfortable places to sit, rest, sleep, eat, and be far enough away from others to be mask-free for a bit.
We boarded the plane to Hong Kong at 6:15pm, July 20 (London time).
At 1:30pm, July 21 (Hong Kong time) The New Griswold Hong Kong Adventure officially began… with a 14 day quarantine.