Posted by: stephtong | 07 February, 2011

Bai Bai Melbourne

The conversation started as we celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary at Orita’s.

“What do you think about relocation?” asked Steph.

“I thought I will stay in my current job for at least another 4 years…” replied Sam.

One month later, following much prayer and advice from family and our close mentors, one thing was clear: It’s time to relocate… now is our chance before the kids come.

Steph’s side of the story:

The thought came into my mind about July 2010. I was sensing that the events that were happening at that time was building up to something. At that time, we were married for ~7 months and came back from our honeymoon in Osaka / Hokkaido. I could feel that something was shifting, it was leading to something. Something that we were prepared to do, but I couldn’t pinpoint what exactly it is at that time.

Around December 2010, I was chatting with my colleague and he mentioned one of his mates went to Cathay Pacific to work. At that moment, something sparked in my mind. Cathay Pacific? How awesome will it be if I can work for them. I’ve been travelling with Cathay since young and my Dad used to take heaps of airplane photos when the HK airport was still in Kowloon City. Cathay was always my preferred airline – maybe it’s the “Hong Kong-ness” in me.

I didn’t dwell on that thought too much until our 1st year wedding anniversary dinner. The question came out of my mouth – “What do you think about relocation?” That’s how the journey started and now we have decided to relocate to Hong Kong for couple of years.

For me, the relocation decision wasn’t the hardest. It was the first time that I truly experienced… making a decision with my husband. As this thought did come to my mind about 6 months ago, I guess I was more mentally prepared than Sam. Right from the start of the conversation, I know whatever I say or imply will have a big effect on Sam’s decision. Therefore, I tried to spend more time in prayer rather than “discussing” about this with Sam. I know how “influential” I can be with Sam :P, yet forcing him to “decide” to relocate to Hong Kong is the last thing that I wanted. I would like Sam to come to a decision himself, and I really really wanted to honour my wedding vows – “I will submit to you as God has delegated His authority to you. I will have my poms poms ready to be your greatest cheerleader and encourage you to chase your God given dreams, purposes and plans and most importantly, I will follow you.” I knew when I wrote the vows – “I will follow you” is one of the hardest promise to honour. (Asking an eldest child to follow is not exactly intuitive!) It was a tough time to bite my tongue and not sway Sam into a decision. I was so glad that I had my wifey group to support me along the way. The amount of encouragement and wisdom that my girlfriends have is amazing!

Sam will talk about how he reached the decision in the end:)

To cut a long story short, once we’ve made the decision, God has been orchestrating things in a supernatural way. I couldn’t thank God enough for what He has done and is going to do. These things just don’t happen without divine intervention. I can’t go much into details in this public blog, but yes! I will be working in Cathay Pacific, but employed by an Australia business consulting firm. I wasn’t expecting to find a job in just a few weeks after we’ve chatted about it, and now I’ve signed the contract and flying off on Good Friday! And somehow Sam’s company was bought over last week, and guess what, the parent company has an office in Hong Kong and is keen to have people to “cross-pollinate”! My heart is really full of gratitude and thanks, and I really couldn’t say anything else but to thank God. I know BIG stuff are waiting for us in Hong Kong, not only career-wise; but more so in other areas of life – I wonder who will be in our mentor radar? Can we still live by our convictions even when the environment has changed?

Sam’s side of the story:

…so my mind went abuzz when Steph popped that question.  The first clear thing that came up, however, was my career.  The second was the car: I only just started a novated lease! Slowly, my mind raced to various checkpoints within the past year… on numerous occasions I reminded myself: there will be a time when my passion and career collided, but I’m not there yet. The plan was regardless of what occupation I would end up in the long run, I would like to have  a solid go at engineering (perhaps 10 years) and then project management (perhaps another 10), but at certain moments, I found myself actually loving what I did:

  • when I taught English to some high-school students over a 2-week period in 2006 and again in 2007,
  • when I was a leader in Sunday school looking after the (mischievous) Grade 5 boys in 2009

Education was something that had been in the back of my mind for a while – and with Steph bringing up relocation, I thought perhaps this could accelerate things.  After all, if we plan to have our first child in 2-3 years, it is now the perfect time to relocate!  As usual, we prayed and we turned to the mentors who care about us…. interestingly enough two of them mentioned:

test the waters

…the advice was not to totally take the plunge, but rather to take small steps.  As Steph went searching for Hk jobs, I enrolled myself into TEFL to give me a licence to teach in Hong Kong… the relocation is the opportunity to ‘test the waters of a different career path’, vis education.  On the flip-side Jacobs Engineering recently acquired the Process and Construction arm of Aker Solutions, and there’s a possibility I could get an internal transfer to the Jacobs Hong Kong office and continue engineering.

I guess the adventure is in finding out which door (or doors) will open…



  1. Dear Steph & Sam,

    I am so excited for both of you that you have the courage and the opportunity to relocate to HK! Like myself, to relocate to another city is not an easy decision because everyone has their own things that they need to consider (eg: job, mortgage, family etc).

    But I do feel you will enjoy every moment of it because living in Asia, you feel a buzz that is best described as: “exciting” 😉

    Chairman Chow

  2. Hey CC!

    Well said, bro! Thanks for your friendship and for a little inspiration on your part too 😉 Keep those journals coming!


  3. Oh my GOODNESS!!!!

    All the best in Hongkong!!!
    Relocation is never easy, but I believe you two have prayed and thought about this long enough! 🙂


  4. yeah when God’s call, that’s how it happened. Doors just opened and everything is being take care of. 🙂 Is going to take some time to get use to the new life in HK. Enjoy and trust the Lord in every seasons.

  5. How exciting! and so happy for you both. Sam, ROAR will be waiting for you (and Steph!) with open arms when you come back to be fruitful & multiply : )

  6. All the best to you both! Just reading your story is an inspiration to me. it is a testimony of what Jesus said in Matt 6:33 ” …seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well”. You will surely be a shining light for God wherever you go. You will be blessed and be a blessing to many.


  7. […] so we’ve finally relocated to Hong Kong, a little over 4 months since we first talked about the possibility. A month ago we were on a Holy Land Tour in Israel and Egypt. Subsequently, we had less than a […]

    • hey guys! great sharing ! esp loved the wedding video! Wanna do something similar! its great to keep an account of God’s miracles:) xxx Nicole and Caleb xxx

      • Thanks Caleb & Nicole 🙂

        Praise God for bringing you both into our lives. So much to look forward to!

        Blessings, SGS 🙂

  8. […] been 5 years since we made the decision to relocate to Hong Kong.  We’ve resigned to the fact we would try our best to post this […]

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