Hong Kong - March 2017

3/15/2017 10:03:00 AM

Over the course of these few days I've finally been able to get some quality sleep (though I don't really have the time for it) and I've been having these really vivid dreams about friends and family in America. These dreams aren't really out of the ordinary in terms of what goes on during them. They're inexplicable, not quite realistic, but they served as a good reminder that there are still people halfway around the world that I am forever connected to. And I am allowed to miss them.

Moving to Hong Kong has been the most significant thing that I have ever achieved in my life and even after two and a half years, it is still incredibly hard sometimes. I know the patterns that my brain likes to revert to. I can see the signs when I'm feeling like I don't have anyone to lean on, and I know that reaching out is the best way to combat those feelings. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in this constant denial. That there is this sadness of missing loved ones that will never be pacified, but that I can ignore it and push it away for a while in the hopes that it never comes back up. Sometimes I wonder if this is what adulthood is. Just not allowing yourself to feel your feelings because it's inconvenient for functioning like a regular human being.

Maybe I'm just too sensitive to begin with.

I want to be in Hong Kong. As much as I hated it the first two years I feel like I'm beginning to understand the ins and outs of this place. It's strange because my support system here is small and very new which makes me doubtful of how strong it really is, but I'm still betting it'll be better than going home.

Being "home", as in the place where I grew up, feels both foreign and familiar. There are certain things that you remember from your childhood that you feel will always be there, but the way that you look at the world is completely different. Even the people are different. I mean of course they're different. Time changes everything. But they're different because you view them differently, on top of them just evolving as human beings.

There are pros and cons to this new way in which you view the world. The pros are that you're more eager to explore things that you hadn't previously seen. Whether that be places that you never ventured out to, or talking to old friends and realising their perspective on the world is now miles away from yours (but in an interesting and engaging way). Everything is fresh and new. And everything has a thin film of familiarity plastered onto it as if you'd never left. You also appreciate things more. The mundane things that you used to take for granted all of a sudden hold so much more importance because you won't get it when you go back (I'm looking at you Safeway donuts).

You also know different things too. They make you feel more adult than your friends who haven't experienced the feeling of being truly lost and alone, heartbroken, with no one to depend on, crying at 3am on an empty street in an unforgiving town in a foreign country where you don't speak the language.

It's crippling.

You get over it.

You're never the same afterwards.

Everyone is growing in different directions. You know how to change a lightbulb, pay your own bills, fix a toilet that runs on salt water from the ocean (yes that's a thing in Hong Kong), be alone in your house for days at a time without any human interaction, and hang dry laundry in a way that the humidity won't make it smell after it dries. They learn about the 9 to 5 grind, happy hour etiquette, trying to get along with co-workers, how to cope with living with their parents in their 20s, hating their job and doing it anyway, and so many other things. I try my best to remember that the majority of us still feel lost and lacking. Even when everyone I know is moving in one diagonal and I am moving the other way. I try to remember that eventually they will learn the things that I have learned and I will learn the things that they have learned and hopefully we will collide somewhere in the middle.

I was talking to my friend the other day about the places that shape you. Big cities like Hong Kong where there's a huge amalgamation of all different walks of which life breed creativity and innovation. We were talking about how Hong Kong is like New York for us. People love New York; they move there when they're fresh out of school or quite young, and the city shapes them the way that Hong Kong shaped us. Like a second coming of age in your twenties. And whether you like it or not you are forever attached to this city that hurdled you into adulthood (or that you happened to be in when you were hurdled into adulthood).

Hong Kong is now forever a part of me, in the kind of way that my friends and family will forever be a part of me. Ingrained in my being and constantly informing and influencing my present and future. And one day, when I decide to leave, I will miss it too.

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