Happy belated anniversary to me. I can’t believe that I just let September 2 come and go and completely forget that that date marks my THIRD year in Hong Kong! How time is flying – to the point that I don’t even notice it! I wonder if the fact that I don’t feel anything special means that I’ve finally come to a place in Hong Kong where it is my (current) way of life and there is nothing to really celebrate.
I never exactly celebrated the years I was in my hometown New York, or even Boston — though I mainly believed Boston was limited to the years I’d be there for school. So is forgetting to celebrate another year in Hong Kong necessarily a bad thing? In any case, I’d still like to reflect on my third year in Hong Kong (gosh, that means I’m on my way to a fourth now!):
Travels: In contrast to my first year in Hong Kong, I spent a lot more of my travels on visits to the US. According to my records – 47 days in the US! However, that time was not all spent in NY with family – as I made trips to DC, Virginia, and attended weddings in Puerto Rico and Chicago. I revisited Taiwan before my sister repatriated to the US, and also visited China. I don’t think I went to Shenzhen as much as I did in years 1 or 2, but I revisited Beijing for the first time in 6 years and saw a new city – Nanning, where I attended a local wedding. My highlight trip of the year would have to be my big Easter trip to Indonesia (with a stop in Singapore). There I tried scuba diving for the first time in my life – and must highly recommend snorkeling or scuba diving in Amed, Bali. I also summitted the very daunting Mt. Rinjani on Lombok. It was most certainly a trip of a lifetime that I will never forget. Even though high water levels in the lake did not allow us to complete our 4-day hike, we at least were allowed the main event of making it atop the volcano. (I really should have done a travelogue post on this!)
Work: I started my new(est) job during this year, and am about to hit that anniversary in a few short weeks. I have really enjoyed working as a Hong Kong solicitor and have constantly been in awe of the differences in US practice and HK/Commonwealth law! My work is truly international here, and I really do feel lucky to be working in such a wonderful environment.
Personal: I try not to get too personal online anymore, respecting the privacy of those who are close to me, but no doubt, the longer you live in a “foreign” country, the more personal strains can tug. This has been made more evident with the first marriage among my siblings this past year, health issues with another family member, as well as more babies born in my circle of closest friends. Being far away when these big important things are happening affect me deeply, but atleast I can report to having grown still more this last year in Hong Kong, learning more about myself.
So what’s next? I still can’t be sure. It seems each year I’ve been in Hong Kong has brought about great experiences and huge personal growth. Any goals? I think I need to organize my travels a bit better, and aim to hit more must-sees in the region – including Cambodia and Southern Vietnam, Southern Thailand, Australia and New Zealand, and hopefully also Korea and Japan. Admittedly, Korea and Japan are not high on my list, because I think I’d visit those sites from the Western hemisphere, and I’d like to find less traveled spots that are more readily accessible from here – like perhaps Guizhou or Sichuan, Mongolia, Burma, etc. I also need to find a way to see my friends and family more – but how with these competing travel goals? (Will none of my friends/family come travel with me to these sites then?)
Stay tuned… onward on year FOUR!