One of the things about living in HK is the adoption of many traditions that would not be done at home as a result of the cultural melting pot that is this transient city. Halloween is, for example, a big deal and poor frosty turkeys hit the shops a few weeks earlier than they would at home to be sacrificed for Thanksgiving. Therefore, quite a number of friends of different nationalities informed me that I would be needing a baby shower.
This is not really a concept I am all that familiar with. I come from a family where the baby is celebrated only when it actually comes out (family background of high blood pressure seems to make us a little more cautious about this perhaps), and it is considered bad luck to buy very much before the first scream confirms the little one is alive and healthy. As a result, the Boy and I have been quite abstemious in terms of what we have bought so far. We have focused on the basics, such as somewhere to sleep, something to travel in, and something we can take her running in. We have a few clothes, although most of those are second hand and have been given to us by friends. Not a single toy has been bought and the baby's room is still functioning as our study.
However, the combined excuses of me being pregnant, not really celebrating my birthday last week, and the Boy leaving for a business trip in Macau yesterday afternoon meant that I had three excuses to have a little party. So I found myself yesterday evening hosting 12 of my closest friends in HK and plying them with champagne and nibbles - except me and the other pregnant woman who drank a lot of water.
Another thing about living in HK is the way in which your little circles of friends, all of whom you are close to, don't necessarily cross. So last night I had three distinct groups of friends together who would not normally meet - those from work, those from sports, and those from other places (mainly dancing in bars in my pre-Bump days). To break the ice, I had concocted a little game where everyone had to answer a question picked at random. They ranged from the easy (name five things you like about HK), to the embarrassing (what is the worst date you've had), to the baby related (what is the first word Alice's baby is likely to say). It turned out to be great fun, as I found out a few new things about my friends.
What really struck me, however, is how despite being from all sorts of different backgrounds and nationalities (8 nations were represented, 9 if you think Scotland may eventually find independence) how similar our concerns are. We talked about body image, peer pressure on teenage girls these days, finding Mr Right - and what to do with Mr Wrong - and our families. Despite being a group of some of the most successful women you could put in one place (as an aside, I am incredibly proud to call these amazing ladies and one gent my friends), we were discussing things that most likely our mothers, their mothers and many generations back also talked about. There is something humbling, and also rather nice about this.
Of course we also talked about shoes, handbags, and shopping. But then I suspect previous generations of women spent a lot of time discussing these too!