Before the pandemic started, my parents decided to move to Washington because of my dad’s job. Thinking about it now, in context of the current situation, it feels weird and almost illogical to move. Most people would rather stay in Hong Kong than move to the U.S, where the number of cases is continuously rising. But at least our plans haven’t changed, given the rising unemployment rates— at least my dad still has that job.
Since school has ended, I’ve been packing my stuff, getting ready for them to be shipped to our new home in Washington. My family has always been moving. I’ve lived in four countries so far. It’s always hard to start at a new school and make new friends. I know some universities have declared that the 2020-21 year will be held online, and I hope that it won’t happen for my new school. Making new friends is hard enough, but if you can’t physically meet them or strike a conversation, it's going to be hard to form any sort of relationships.
I’m afraid that I will become even more isolated because of this move. I’ve made a lot of good friends in Hong Kong, but soon, we will be in different timezones. It’s likely that they will be asleep when I am awake and vice versa. The only constant in my life will be my family. Although my brother will be attending NYU next year, my younger sister will still be moving with me. We’re one year apart, so we are quite close. Hopefully, we can both meet new people and start school in a classroom, instead of behind our computer screens.
We visited our new home in Washington during the winter break. It’s much larger than our apartment in Hong Kong, and my sister and I get our own rooms. I’m excited to start our new life there. In the past, we only got to see our grandparents twice a year, during the summer and winter, but now, we can see them much more often. Since they live in Portland, they will only be a couple of hours away.
Besides getting ready to move, I’ll be celebrating my birthday in two weeks. Instead of going out, I invited my friends over. I’ve been Zoom calling my friends over the summer, so it will be nice to finally see them in person. I want to make the most of the time that I have left in Hong Kong.
The support that we receive from our friends, family, and peers is crucial in overcoming the isolation and uncertainty that we face during this time.
Written by: Naomi Katayama