No, I’m not back in New York, but I am here – at home in Hong Kong. My first month has gone by quickly, and there’s only two more months before I set foot again in New York, but while traveling in Taiwan (and I promise to post on that experience soon), I found myself calling Hong Kong “home”!
I felt odd when it first came out of my lips, and I’d even take an immediate pause, feeling the guilt of a cheating lover, but I had to face it – Hong Kong is now my home. New York, you will always be my first, and I promise, the love I have for you is serious, but right now, it’s Hong Kong.
Having let go my beloved Chelsea Duplex, I really don’t have my own space in NYC anymore. I was talking about what I had and who I was when I was in NY to a new friend here, and he sagely told me to not be so hung up over that past — because it doesn’t define who I am, and I am most certainly no less of a person having let it all go. Point is – I’ve let it go!
And even though I live very spartanly in a serviced apartment in Wan Chai, free of any of my own furnishings or personal touches, fearful of gathering more belongings than I can carry, it’s still mine. My base is here; whatever I now own is here (save a few boxes at my family’s home in Queens); when I need to get away to rest, this is where I lay down; and when I got off the less than 2-hour plane ride from Taipei, I was anxious to get here. Once I stepped foot in my glorified hotel room, took off my sandals, threw my bags on the bed that overwhelms nearly the entire 370 square feet, I felt at ease.
In the past month, I’ve experienced a kind of excitement that I really have lacked for a long long time. I am constantly learning – and not just Chinese (but insofar as Mandarin classes have been going – I find myself being far more studious than I thought I could be!). I am learning from all the people I meet, whether they be locals or other wanderers who found themselves here; I am learning about what it means to be Chinese, Cantonese, American; I am figuring out where I am, literally and figuratively.
I have spent the last few weeks really digging in with networking to try and figure out where I fit in professionally here in HK, especially having a litigator’s background. I’ve learned a lot rather quickly. While job postings are not as transparent as they are in NY, you can find out a lot of good information once you get yourself out there and start meeting people. Most people, particularly the ex-pats, are very open about welcoming you into their world, and making new friends. If someone can help, they typically will, and I can only guess that it is expected that you do the same when a bright starry-eyed newbie finds you in the near future.
I am anxious to get my resume out there, and I’ve already gotten a good number of leads as it is. I’m cautiously optimistic of finding a job before my proposed 6 months’ stay expires, and I want to. As I was telling my new friend Jaime (from Panama via NY, and now a 4th year HKer), who recently showed me the running path along Bowen Road, I am keen to be a part of the working world here — not just to experience what that life has to offer me here, but to fund my continued stay. I’m not entirely as concerned about what job I take and what it might mean for my “career,” but rather, I’m interested in providing myself the means to obtain a visa, fund my living expenses, and also flights back to NY to see family.
Being here has made me feel like I’m living again, not just going through motions. I’m always trying to find things out, figure things out, get places. I am anxious, I am excited and excitable, I have a direction, goals, desires. What happened that led me so far from all this while I was in New York? Did I really have to come all the way out here to revitalize myself?
While I still can’t believe it completely myself, I am building a home for me here in Hong Kong.