Is it time to shake things up and relocate with the family? A Mama shares her tale of growing up and now raising her children, in two cities.
Relocating is a bold and exciting (and potentially scary) move. But moving to a new city with kids in tow? That is a whole new level of challenge! In this series, we chat with Mamas who have made the move to answer all your burning questions about relocating with the family.
This month, we chat with Instagram star and relatable mum Mandy Yuen (@mandeeeee), who has established a social media presence with her IG reels packed with motherhood humour and an incredible sense of style. She tells us about her journey relocating from Canada to Hong Kong and back.
Can you tell us a little bit about your family?
We are a family of four, growing two more feet in October to a family of 5! All of us are from Hong Kong.
What brought you to Hong Kong originally, and what prompted your move away?
I was born in Hong Kong and I moved to Toronto at the age of 6. When I was 14 years old, I met my husband at a Chinese school. After we graduated from university we decided to live in Hong Kong, a place we consider home. We tied the knot after a couple of years and were blessed with our first child soon after!
When we were pregnant, we decided we would move back to Canada when our eldest turns 5 years old. Meanwhile, we continued to grow our family and moved back to Canada before our eldest entered primary school.
How long has it been since you and your family moved to Canada?
It will be two years as of June 2023! Time flies!
What’s your favourite thing about living in Canada?
All the open spaces for the kids to run around, the full four seasons that we get here for them to experience (including the beautiful, albeit short summer weather), and having play-based learning even in the public school system.
And what’s the thing you’ve found most difficult to adjust to?
The thing we’ve found most difficult to adjust to is not being able to conveniently get groceries on foot because I don’t live in the city but in the suburbs. We have to drive everywhere; grocery runs have to be planned and happen more in bulk.
How is parenting different from in Hong Kong?
There is much less pressure of parenting a certain way and less conflict between the parent and child to make them complete school work. There is also less pressure to enrol them in too many extracurricular activities (because in Hong Kong, some schools REQUIRE you to enrol in more in order to be accepted!).
In Canada, there is also a greater tolerance and acceptance of the uniqueness of each child.
How has it been making friends and establishing a social network?
To be fair, I have friends from having grown up here so it was just a matter of reaching out and getting together with them. As for mom friends and other influencer work-related networking, I am grateful that it has come naturally and I have met wonderful new friends through events and community centre classes that I have put my younger son into.
I think it’s about getting out there and doing things in the community. If you have a child you are bound to meet mom friends, if not, then doing things you love will bring you closer to people of similar passion and interests!
Top tips or recommendations for families moving to Canada?
If you have never visited before, I think it’s best to rent a place and see which area you like best. When you get more familiar with your daily activities here, you’ll know which property is best to invest in.
There are also certain vehicles that are more prone to being stolen, so do your research before you invest in a car (because you are definitely going to need a car!).
What do you miss most about Hong Kong?
I really miss the food in Hong Kong and how easy and quick it was to get around to places via MTR. It was much more convenient to get groceries and go shopping in Hong Kong. We now have to always factor in commute times to get places!
What don’t you miss about Hong Kong?
The crowds, the lack of storage space at home, and having to look put together every time I step out of my flat because there are always so many people around!
Is there anything you do regularly with your kids to remind them of their time in Hong Kong?
We speak Cantonese at home 98% of the time. We listen to Cantonese and Mandarin songs in the car often. We also try to put on TVB shows from YouTube and watch as a family like we did as children.
Any last comments you’d like to add?
We can’t wait to visit Hong Kong again as a family of 5 and see how the kids like it now that they have left for a few years!