Not An Outsider EP14 | Cantonese-speaking Nepalese girl: HK is my first home
"Is Hong Kong your second home?" "No, this is my first home." Born in Hong Kong, Naomi went to India to study in secondary school and returned to HK after graduation to study early childhood education. She admits that she is more like a guest in Nepal, and Hong Kong is her home.
Naomi's parents do not speak Chinese, but when it was time for her to start elementary school, they insisted on sending her to a school where Chinese is the teaching language because they saw it as the first step in integrating into local life in HK. "I couldn't understand anything at first, and when the teacher asked me why I didn't do my homework, I couldn't answer," Naomi said. At that time, what she could do was knock on her neighbor's door for help. The experience of learning Cantonese in elementary school stuck in Naomi's mind, and when she returned to HK after secondary school, the memories of the Chinese language from her childhood came back quickly.
When she first came back to HK, Naomi was not used to the fast pace of her studies, but her love for early childhood education soon helped her find her own pace of life. Yew Chung College of Early Childhood Education (YCCECE), where Naomi is studying, is located in the Southern District of HK Island, and she lives with her family in the Northwest of Kowloon, which means that she has to travel across half of HK and by several means of transportation in order to get to the school. To make efficient use of her time, Naomi sets a strict schedule for herself. She studies at school from 4:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and works part-time at a community fitness center twice a week as an assistant kindergarten coach. On weekends, she spends her free time with friends picnicking in West Kowloon or traveling around HK. When she speaks Cantonese, strangers are always curious, so Naomi will share her experience of growing up in HK, "So she's a Hong Konger, too." Naomi was delighted by the sighs from strangers.
"Early childhood education is my favorite profession because children are very innocent and I love how they accept you no matter how we are or what we look like," says Naomi, who enjoys the simplicity of "being myself" in front of children. At the YCCECE, Naomi's favorite part was the Pamela Peck Discovery Space (PPDS) - a space that simulated various social situations for children, where she had to observe how the children interacted with each other, and learn how to effectively accompany and support their learning through "games". This silent accompaniment is the highlight of Naomi's dream of working in early childhood education.
"There's a dragon boat show in my neighborhood." Living in HK has taught Naomi about Chinese festivals and rituals, but what she can't let go of is the Chinese people's deep-rooted attachment to family. For Naomi, the tradition of sharing a reunion meal with a large family and the company of family members is a warm experience. She enjoys both the spicy Mapo Tofu and Black Bean Fish with Black Bean, which is relatively light in flavor. In the future, she would like to visit more cities in mainland China to experience different cultures and share her story of growing up in HK with more people in Chinese.