I had the pleasure of meeting Stacey my second week in Hong Kong. As expats in a new city, it’s very normal to find comfort in meeting other expats via expatriate websites, Facebook groups or Meet-up groups. Thankfully, our husbands are co-workers so we had a pretty seamless introduction.
During our first month in Hong Kong I probably asked Stacey 101 questions; from her experience working, to being a stay-at-home mom, where to grocery shop, to dealing with roaches and mosquitoes. I asked question after question. She was patient and elaborate with every answer, so I’m not surprised she agreed to participate in this interview series!
Get to know our second Brown Mom Abroad Interviewee, Stacey:
BMA: When did you first get your passport?
Staceyi: I received my first passport when I was 21 years old.
BMA: What city or country is your favorite place to visit and why?
Stacey: Although it is my home currently, my favorite country to visit is HK. I love how this place has challenged me to grow in areas and ways I wouldn’t have otherwise grown. Aside from the food, which I love, and the amazingly diverse and beautiful topography, I’ve met and become friends with people from nearly every continent (except Antarctica) since living here. The locals, although not always the warmest, welcoming bunch in my opinion, have definitely challenged my own personal beliefs about the human condition and many of my prejudices. I definitely feel richer for having had the experience of living here.
BMA: What city or country was your worst place to visit and why?
Stacey: I cannot say there’s been a worst city but there have been “worst experiences”. Many of them have occurred here in HK. But if I’m honest I’ve witnessed the types of injustice and intolerance and unlovely behavior everywhere I’ve been.
BMA: Is there any city or country that you have absolutely no desire to visit? Why?
Stacey: As far as not having a desire to visit a country…at the risk of sounding close minded I will add the disclaimer that my reason for not wanting to visit a place ultimately has more to do with the political unrest in that place where safety and security are an issue, than it would have to do with the place. So the short answers is NO, there isn’t a place that given an opportunity that I wouldn’t go.
BMA: Can you list all the places you’ve lived and how many years in each place?
Stacey: Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, USA and Hong Kong – 3 years.
BMA: Have you experienced discrimination for being brown while traveling abroad? Can you elaborate on your experience?
Stacey: I have experienced discrimination while traveling abroad. I’ve also experienced privilege while traveling abroad. I’ve had taxi drivers pass me to pick up the person standing next to me, I’ve had people refuse to sit next to me on the train or on a bus, I’ve had people hold the door for the person in front of me but not me as I approached. I’ve been charged more for purchases. I’ve been followed around shops. But the flip side of that same coin has occurred also. I’ve had people choose me because my grammar is good or they like my accent. I’ve been shown undue extra positive attention as a foreigner as well.
If living abroad has taught me anything its that these experiences are quite universal, meaning they happen to everyone everywhere at some point. It has been particularly eye opening that even my husband who has experienced “white privilege” in a lot of places also experienced discrimination.
BMA: What made you decide to live abroad?
Stacey: Living Abroad was a choice we made primarily in order to experience where my husband spent his childhood. We also felt it would be an amazing opportunity to expand our children’s world view. We want them to understand what it is to be a small part of a greater whole. We want them to understand that a person’s culture and experiences shape who they are. We want them to appreciate and celebrate differences as the spice of life. We want them to understand that it is our humanness that makes us each valuable in the eyes of God, not the color of our skin, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the language we speak.
BMA: Can you list all the cities/countries you visited?
- 29 United States (and multiple cities in each)
- Mexico (Tijuana and Quinana Roo)
- Japan (Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo)
- China (Hong Kong and Shenzen)
BMA: What do you wish you knew before you decided to move abroad?
Stacey: I underestimated the effect of culture shock. I underestimated its impact upon our willingness to see many experiences as an opportunity for growth.
BMA: Did you meet your husband in your home country or while living abroad?
Stacey: My husband and I met in our home country while in university. He grew up in Hong Kong where we now live. He would visit the states each summer as a kid and we later learned we had several relatives living in close proximity to one another in the our home town. We even had relatives who attended the same high school together. As kids we frequented the same parks and shops in the summers and likely crossed paths at some point but never met until university.
BMA: How long do/did you plan on living abroad?
Stacey: We plan to live abroad as long as our life circumstances allow, primarily our income and preferred schooling options. But other considerations include the health and well being of our family (parents) back home.
Want more of Stacey?
Follow her on Instagram: https://instagram.com/wanderingoffs
Visit her blog! http://wanderingoffs.com
Thank you Stacey for the interview…and everything we’ve borrowed in two months: chairs, tools, vacuum cleaner, air mattress and more! Needless to say, expats helping expats is part of the expatriate lifestyle and is what makes the international transition a little less stressful for newbies. We’re really thankful!