In 1987, Hong Kong was still a British colony, but three years earlier, an agreement had been reached between the British and the Chinese that in 1997 control of the city would transfer to China. The fashion industry at the time was booming in Hong Kong and the industry opened major opportunities for those who could get a job in it.
According to the New York Times, between 1985 and 1989 an estimated 40,000 people immigrated from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong annually, many of them settling in California. Like many others, this person came to the United States to get an education, which she hoped would help her one day get a job in fashion in Hong Kong, though she ended up staying in the U.S.
I was born in Beijing and when I was teenager we moved to Hong Kong, but other than that when I never went anywhere. In that time Hong Kong is like, you know, it's very trendy it's high fashion city. Anything that related to the fashion design and industry it's, it's a big, big job opportunities there and I apply to school in LA and my major was in Fashion Design and Merchandising and so I left and land at LAX. That was in June, I believe. In the 80s, yeah, 87. I was 24. That was first time, very first time I left. I hope you know, hopefully I can get a good education in fashion design and become a fashion designer and you know go back to Hong Kong. And I had a friend from Hong Kong that—who introduced me to his friend. And which she is a Canadian born Chinese, but she doesn't speak any Chinese and so she picked me up from the airport. She was 30 minutes late and I stayed at the airport looking outside. I look outside, it looks so familiar. It's like I've been here, even though I don't speak the language at that time all I feel is like this, this place is, it's familiar. I need to learn the language. I need to learn whatever I need to learn to do, whatever I need to do here.
* The contributor of this story has asked that their name be withheld.