modern-day expatriate

Adventures of a Tai Tai: One too many expat events

They say that one of the biggest issues expats face is alcoholism and as I sit here fighting the urge to and join my friends for a glass of wine in the sun at three in the afternoon, I can more than understand how this could be an issue. However, I do pride myself on the fact that I have thus far successfully avoided the pitfalls of excessive drinking and I can stand proud and say, “I am not an alcoholic” (they attend meetings don’t they?).

When you experience life as an expat you start to realize that people living in foreign countries don’t so much have alcohol problems, just lots of alcohol opportunities. Every single social event I am invited to attend seems to involve some type of drinking… be it a “meet and greet” session in a local bar or a full day drinking session on the beach. Worse still, I seem to get the worse hangovers known to man since arriving in Hong Kong. I regularly put this down to the excessive heat and the fact that I am probably dehydrated. However, the reality is that I, like many expats here, drink too much! My husband regularly chastises me as I lay on the settee bemoaning the fact that I am severely hung-over again, “why don’t you just say no?’ he asks as though I am completely missing the obvious. In my case, however, “just say no” has as much chance of stopping me from partaking in drinking sessions as “have a nice day” does of curing chronic depression.

However, things have recently taken a turn for the better. I met Healthy Person. Healthy Person works out every day, doesn’t eat meat and regularly drinks a juice concoction that, for me, causes as much pain as it supposedly relieves. Healthy Person has helped me to see the error of my ways and encouraged me to take up something I had done a lot of when I lived in London, running.

Healthy Person and I meet nearly every morning at the break of dawn to go for a 12km run before it gets too hot. This appeals to me in two ways. Firstly because of the hour that we meet, I can no longer get involved in the mid-week late-night drinking sessions, aka “ladies nights”, with my friends. Here in Hong Kong said nights involve free drinks for females and the bars throughout the city run them on different nights. This means that it is entirely feasible for a woman, or anyone resembling a woman, to drink for free every single night of the week- a very dangerous proposition indeed.

Secondly, since starting the daily training my body has become a temple and I am now training to run a marathon. My main motivation for this involves the fact that I one day wish to have something to tell my grandchildren about that doesn’t revolve around Jägerbombs and Flaming Sambucas. My husband, incidentally, snorted openly when I told him this, commenting on the irony that someone like me, who believes that children should not be seen OR heard, is able to contemplate with any type of conviction the fact that I will ever have grandchildren. I can adopt a teenager can’t I?

The running has, indeed, done wonders for me and I certainly recommend sport for any expat who is growing bored of the booze filled social events. There are clubs and events available in many expat destinations for every single sport available… see our city guides for much more information.

I’ll let you know how I get on with my marathon training!

David Tompkins
Author: David Tompkins