So if you couldn’t tell from some of my nostalgic posts on my visit to New York this summer, I’ve been experiencing quite the change of heart, missing my first and true love that is New York. And having picked up, packed up and moved to a completely new city in about 2 months’ time once before, I know that in spite of having just signed a lease this May, converting my gym membership to a two-year one, and signing a phone contract (all not so dissimilar to my state of affairs one year ago), I am not necessarily by any means “stuck” here in Hong Kong.
Being in New York, I realized some very important things. Firstly, New York is the best city in the world. And secondly, it takes a lot more than an apartment, a gym membership, a phone, even a handful of friends and fun times to call a city a Home. And as corny as it may be – it takes Love.
For me, I realized that Love would come in the form of either a very special partner who can support me in my craziness, and keep me calm in my over-thinking mind, OR come from the passion derived in an occupation that draws me back into the community around me, creating and doing something that makes me feel alive. Let me just clarify for a second here, though — I’m not saying that you can only live somewhere with a significant other or an amazing job, I’m just saying for ME to be so very far from the city I love, where I was born and raised, where my family remains, where all the friends who know me best live or live nearby, and where culture, arts, and diversity continue to thrive in spite of a poor economy, I need one of those two things to keep me halfway around the world, all the way in Hong Kong. Further, insofar as a job is concerned, I knew I could not just accept a job in HK doing the same things I’d do in NY — that it had to be a role unique to my very far-away environs, or else I’d just be keeping myself unnecessarily apart from NY for no valid reason.
It’s a good lesson to learn, albeit a tough one. Hong Kong has been a wonderful experience. I really needed to get away from New York when I did, and I’ve met so many amazing people here, heard so many interesting stories, gotten to travel, and really just begin to experience life in Asia… so where is this post going? Am I leaving Hong Kong now on the eve of my one-year anniversary??
No, not quite. In fact — here is some startling news! I got a job! Here in Hong Kong! And indeed, via pure networking.
This all pulled together in the past two months or so. Shortly before I left for my month in New York, I’d sent off an e-mail to one of the contacts I had made during my big networking efforts in the Fall. This contact was a lawyer who was a friend of a friend of mine back in New York. When we met, I had gotten to HK only a month or so before, and told him my story, and met up to gather data on the legal scene in Hong Kong. He worked for a major investment bank here, and transferred here with his wife and two kids about 2 years ago.
Anyhow, because I’d remembered how kind and supportive he’d been, I thought to shoot him an email to let him know about my decisions to stay in Hong Kong and rent a “real” apartment. This led to a catch-up over dinner with his wife, also a lawyer here in HK, and his announcement that he’d actually be leaving his job at the bank soon to lead the HK launch of a NY-based law firm. I was thrilled with the news, and really did not think he would be giving me a job or anything like that, but about a week later, Bill sent me an e-mail suggesting that I might be of help with this launch, in some part-lawyer / part-administrative capacity, especially given my language skills.
I was more than thrilled about the opportunity. This particular law firm is a sophisticated boutique, and is among very few American law firms expanding, rather than contracting at this time. I thought the opportunity unique enough to warrant quite the interest, and then Bill set the wheels in motion for me to meet with the New York partners during my visit home.
Anxious to hear back, I finally got word once I returned to HK, and accepted the offer immediately. Work begins in mid-September.
So will I be staying put now? Is this enough to make Hong Kong Home? I’d like to say yes, but I have only been extended a 3-month contract to start with, and can’t say what might happen with this job. It’s an interesting opportunity, certainly unique to being in HK, and has a lot of potential to be something huge, but at this premature stage, I just can’t know.
Plus, I’d been rather sullen lately, missing New York, finding HK extremely superficial and vapid in many ways. But the bottom line is that I need to grab each moment for what it’s worth and squeeze the value out of it for me.
Anyhow, while the verdict is still very much out on what I’ll be doing this time next year, life is undoubtedly going to really change for me come next month (my anniversary month, no less!) with a job at long last!