May is quickly approaching. 8 months in HK. When I was planning this “trip,” this “adventure,” this “foray,” whatever you want to call it, I believed I would struggle to hang through one full year so that I could really experience every month and season in HK, and not turn back prematurely. At one point, I began to get cold feet and thought to just shorten the one year to just 6 months, but here we are in month 8 and I’ve recently put down one month’s deposit on a two year lease (actually, it is a one year lease, with a break clause before the second year begins).
The first time I began thinking a bit more seriously about what I was doing in HK was February, where I first introduced the “WUWU” talk (again, credit goes to Jill for coming up with that witty little acronym). I was starting to feel unsettled, as things in HK were still not quite working out. I’m still jobless, my recent trip to Guilin revealed just how far I have to go to really get fluent in Chinese, and I’d find out in March that Vicky was unable to extend her stay in Beijing and that I’d have to vacate my sublet just two weeks before my second term at the CLC ends!
In many ways, it didn’t really seem as though my time in HK has been all that much of a dazzling success (so far), so perhaps it was time to turn this ship around. But what would I be turning back to? I could go back, and while employment is still quite poor in NY (especially for a lawyer who hasn’t worked in a traditional job since September 2008), I could just build my freelance practice back up, and even fill it out to a full time job. I had enough contacts to jump-start that back, and I definitely miss my family, even though they always feel close to me no matter how far I am.
It would not be hard to see all my good friends again, and it would feel really nice even. But I just felt I could not yet give up, and especially that there is all this waiting still at home (or am I being overconfident about that?), then I really ought to take this risk and keep going forward.
A few weeks ago I had dinner with an older college alum who has been in HK for decades. He is rather well connected and wanted to catch up and introduce me to some lawyer friends. We didn’t do well in making contact with other lawyers, but the alum, another colleague and I ended up having some food and drinks at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club over on Ice House Road, chatting a good while. The colleague is quite an entrepeneur, actually. Not only does he do some finance job, but he has opened a small coffee shop chain in HK and a winery in New Zealand. He said words that really struck me that night, as I was contemplating out loud to these two seasoned veterans about my discomfort about deciding to stay or go — he said that Hong Kong is a place where people take risks, and if that’s the sort of person I wanted to meet (either romantically or professionally), then this was that crossroads — not New York.
I felt he was right, and my curiosity grew. So here I am — one more week of school and I have not re-registered for the summer! Instead, I plan to study for the Overseas Qualified Lawyer’s Examination (OQLE), specifically, the Conveyancing Head (I’d have to apply for exemptions, another great ordeal), and get qualified as a local solicitor. I’ll try to study Mandarin informally, and with the greater flexibility, will hopefully be able to attend TWO weddings this July, do a few more travels (want to go to the Shanghai Expo), and keep up with the job search.
I couldn’t really put a real effort into planting my feet here with one foot here and one foot there — and now it begins – my commitment to Hong Kong!
I know this is just a short post, but it’s been hard to get anything down… will write more about my apartment search process, more “feelings”, and who knows – maybe another CDotD! All I wanted to do here is publish for all the world to know — I’m here for you Hong Kong! Can you believe it??