Okay Honey, Call me if You Need Anything

by Jack VanNoord, Jan 29, 2011 | Destinations: Hong Kong / China



This is Katie. She was born and grew up in Hong Kong -well, kind of.

She currently works in the advancement office at the school where I teach.  She was one of three chaperones that went on our Indonesia service week with me and eighteen eighth graders.  During our week together, I enjoyed getting to know Katie and a little bit of her story.

When she was a student, Katie boarded a plane with her mother and flew to Toronto.  Katie had no relatives in Toronto nor did she know anybody in Toronto.  She and her mother went apartment shopping and within a week they signed a lease on an apartment. 

And then a few days later Katie's mother got back on the plane and flew home to Hong Kong leaving Katie behind.

Katie was fifteen years old. She had just finished middle school a few months earlier.

For the next four years Katie got herself up every morning, rode two city buses to school, shopped for groceries, cooked for herself, did her own laundry, cleaned, paid the bills, and moved apartments once.  Oh, and of course it was up to her to make sure she stayed on top of her homework.

It's an understatement to say that the parents -and students- in Hong Kong go to great lengths to ensure their children's success.  Every year, our school has students who finish eighth grade and then leave Hong Kong to go to high school in The States, Canada, or Great Britain.  Typically, they go to live with friends or relatives. 

Katie's story is a little unusually, but not unheard of.


[printed with permission]