As Repunzel will tell you, living in a tower can be very boring and restrictive to your personal and social development. I was lucky enough to grow up on a farm in southern England, chasing cows and setting fire to things. I told myself this is the life I want for my children, and now I'm raising two children in a 65 storey tower block on reclaimed land. Life comes at you fast.
The towers of Tung Chung and 99% of the rest of Hong Kong are polar opposites of their UK equivalent. In the UK, tower living means putting up with lifts that smell like wee, drug dealing in dark stairwells and stabbings in badly lit carparks. Here in Tung Chung, it's all manicured gardens, 100m swimming pools and club houses with bowling alleys. We're so lucky to live here.
I was worried about how my kids would play; not having a garden for them to camp in or a tree to climb. I was worried about their safety and whether they would have the freedom to grow up and get into trouble, safely, that I had. But I needn't have worried, as people living here all look out for one another. If anything, I need to teach them street sense for when and if they chose to move away. I took a trip back to the UK recently with the kids and there were gangs or marauding youth playing in the road, beating fists like a group of angry limas and stealing candy from shop selves. It was a regular sight and frankly, shocking. Thankfully all we only have to worry about overly jealous security guards.
I was worried about how we'd meet people, but all you need to do is spend 5 minutes in a local bar or park and you soon get chatting to someone. Speak to a stranger in the UK and they'll look at you like you've got two heads or you're about to try and steal their wallet.
The sense of community in Tung Chung is one of my favourite reasons for living here. People are always willing to help, whether with advice through the Tung Chung Tower Communities Facebook page, physical help if you're struggling with a cumbersome wardrobe (you'll be surprised this has happened to me!) or a random polite 14 year old boy teaching my younger kids how to 'drop-in' to the ramps at the local skate park. It's ace!
I've met friends living in Tung Chung that I'll have for life. My children have met friends here they'll have for life, even given the transient nature of expat living.
The shared sense of living away from home, on reclaimed land at the mercy of typhoons and the Pearl River Delta is a great way of bringing people together.
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