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Know your volunteer – Ania Pakula-Ranchet

Tell us something about yourself…

Hi everyone, I’m Ania!

I have been living in HK for almost 2 years now and seriously I have no idea how this time has flown. Maybe it’s always like this, time just flies when you like being somewhere.

Image: that’s me in Tamar Park promenade

I am Polish but we moved to HK from Paris since my husband is French. Living in HK is very different from living in Europe. Sometimes I feel like they are two completely different worlds. And I don’t mean just a different weather 😉

Image: walking with my daughter in Kennedy Town, near Victoria Road

After spending 3 weeks in a service apartment in Causeway Bay, we settled down in Kennedy Town. We loved the vibe of this little community. Quite quickly it started feeling like home.

Image: looking down from HKU garden - one of our favourite spots in HK

We have an amazing 2-year-old daughter who actually lived the majority of her life in Hong Kong. She was nearly 5 months when we moved and she adapted very easily, probably the smoothest transition in our little family 😊

Image: best view ever - picnicking in West Kowloon Cultural District, another favourite place

Recently, a new chapter of our HK life started, we moved to Sai Ying Pun. Just one MTR stop away from our previous location haha but for us it’s a completely new land to explore. We love travels, so exploring new areas is what we like the most 😉 We already have our favourite places, playgrounds, cafes where our daughter gets her “babyccino”.

Image: walking streets of SYP with my best companions

Another amazing thing about HK is that nature and all kind of outdoor and indoor activities are at your doorstep. I haven’t been hiking that much in my whole life 😊. Here I also deepened my journey with yoga. I’m doing a yoga teacher training at the moment with great yoga masters and I am really thankful for that.

Image: hiking Dragons Back en famille

How did you join Localhood?

I was lucky haha. About a week or two after we moved Facebook suggested a hike organised by Localhood as one activity I might be interested in. And I was 😊 In registration form the last question was about ability to volunteer. I had some time on my hands so I thought – why not? 😊 I met Pooja, we talked, we laughed and she invited me to a Street Party celebrating CNY 2019 organised by Localhood. We went and we met so many great people, who welcomed us so warmly. That was the beginning 😊

Image: funny faces with other Localhooders at one of our volunteer-meet-ups

How are you involved with Local Hood?

Initially I wanted to involve only in organising events because I associated volunteering mostly with direct action. Later have I learned that Localhood offers so much more and I can be a part of it in a broader picture. I became a member of a content team (each section has its team 😉) and I started writing articles for the Localhood blog. Writing wasn’t easy, it’s still not haha but I think I have to challenge myself a little. Besides, I really like the every-month-meetings of our teams – we share ideas, stories, anecdotes, interesting local and expat customs and traditions. It is a good balance. We can learn from each other and we can explore our cultures.

Image: me and girls from content team

I really like taking photos so I thought why not adding content to Localhood’s Instagram account - @localhood_official 😊 it gives me a lot of fun and satisfaction.

How has it impacted you on a personal/ family/ social level?

First of all I met amazing people and I started feeling a part of a community in the new foreign place. Thanks to Localhood I was able to explore HK in many different levels – new locations, new interesting buildings, monuments, heritage trails, hiking trails, food, drinks, festivals but most importantly new people! Being a part of Localhood community gave me more awareness, mindfulness and appreciation for HK culture, traditions and people’s beliefs. Also, thanks to this incredible variety of cultures and backgrounds of its members I was able to broad my personal horizons even more and open up my mind and my heart even wider.

Image: Localhood volunteers dumpling tasting – celebrating Dragon Boat Festival

What would you say to others wanting to join Localhood?

Do it! 😊 seriously! Joining Localhood is definitely a great chance to meet people, exchange experiences and have a feeling of belonging which makes it feel like home. Becoming a volunteer or a simply a member gives a great opportunity to get to know HK even better. Taking part of events organising by Localhood or reading a blog about our neighbourhood brings us – Hongkongers – together! And last but not least, Localhood offers some nice discounts for vendors in the neighbourhood, so it is also a good deal for your budget haha 😉.

Image: Localhood volunteer party – me and Myriam – always up for the task for the stupidest face ever 😊


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