Monthly Archives: May 2014

Travelogue: London!

I am obviously trying to avoid my “permanent” (note how I use these quotes) relocation to New York, by leaving after about only a week’s stay to visit one of my oldest friends, Teresa, in London.

This is actually my first time to the UK.  Though I’ve now been to over 20 countries and territories now, I’ve hardly touched Europe.  Before this trip, the only European country I’d ever been to was Austria for a ski trip in Innsbruck of all places.

But finally I am in London at long long last.  I say finally because I had been such a big Anglophile through high school and college.  I loved reading English authors (P.G. Wodehouse was a long-time favorite), loved BBC programming, Britpop, Royal history – basically all things English. MY undergraduate thesis was actually about the historiography of the famous murder of Edward II.

So given this history, plus the history I have with Teresa, I knew it was about time I came for a visit.  So I organized a bit of a between-jobs break, and set down 20 days to spend in the UK with a side trip to Holland ((hopefully) more on that later).

I’m nearing the end of my stay  and I have to say I totally see it now – London is a magical place.  It is grand and majestic, vibrant, and full of culture and history.  Just look around you and there is something interesting to see – no doubt full of history too.

Unfortunately, I must conclude this city is completely overpriced and there is no way that any ordinary person can survive and save a little tuppence for a future retirement.  You will probably have to work all your life to make ends meet, and have any kind of indulgence along the way, but no savings, that’s for sure!

The Tube is incredibly expensive, with the minimum fare being just over 2 pounds.  Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to have such a minimal commute if you’re going to live here, so multiply that by 2 or 3 or more! Rents are no doubt outrageous, especially if you want to be anywhere within the city confines.  Then the food – though of nice quality – is always expensive.  Most of my meals have averaged about 20 pounds each time (I admit, I won’t skimp on overall quality, and will indulge in either dessert or a drink to go with that).  That is pricey!

Though there are plenty of free attractions (loads of quality museums), most pay attractions will cost anywhere from 9-22 pounds! It seems like highway robbery at some – like the Wellington Arch, where you pay about 9 pounds just to go up to the top to see a not-so-awe-inspiring view of the park, and check out a random collection of photos about something inane like gas stations (I am serious!).

So what can you do for fun if you want to some day retire? Stay in your far far away home and learn to knit perhaps?

It’s no wonder that in London I hardly hear a single British accent – international wealth has taken over and driven up the costs to an unrealistic level.

Fantastic city to visit (with money), but extremely limiting and wealth-depleting to live.  Oh – and I did not even talk about the weather!


Neither Here Nor There… AGAIN!

I have a LOT of blogging to catch up on in order to get to where I am now – which technically, is neither here nor there – a term I have used before to describe my status.

When I wrote that post, I had just come back from a trip to Brasil, and had about one month to go before heading to New York. Oddly, I’m in a similar situation, as I draft this post from London, where I am stationed for about 3 weeks before “beginning” again in New York come June.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have indeed left Hong Kong. I packed everything up into about 7 boxes (home) plus 4 (office), two large suitcases, one more box (excess baggage), and a carry-on and a half (I always cheat with my carry-ons). Quite an expansion from the 2 suitcases + carry-on (and a half) that I came with 4 years and 8 months ago! On the other hand – not too bad, considering I’d ended up staying nearly half a decade!

But I wouldn’t say I’ve quite “returned” to New York either. I brought those 2 suitcases, the one box, and the carry-on and a half with me to NY. I dropped off those belongings in my childhood home, where I plan to reside for the second half of 2014 onwards. But I’m not exactly “back” quite.

I chose to return at the end of April in order to make my 10-year law school reunion (how does time fly!). It was wonderful seeing so many friends, including some of my very closest, altogether at the iconic Waldorf Astoria, where I also attended my high school prom even longer ago. I told friends I had left Hong Kong and was “unofficially” back. I could not bear to admit that I was now resident of New York yet for some reason.

In many senses, I really am not yet a resident – I am still technically employed by my office in Hong Kong, have not yet really moved into my home yet, and don’t have those 7 + 4 other boxes of belongings yet. I haven’t started anything routine at all – not work and certainly not my near one hour (one-way) commute. I haven’t got a gym routine (an important aspect of feeling “schedulized” for me), and what would be considered MY foods have not yet populated the fridge. (Food and fitness are EXTREMELY important for normalizing me!)

I most certainly left Hong Kong. No more flat, no more belongings – but I am not really in New York either. I just can’t seem to admit that I am now someplace other than Hong Kong, and I feel as though I am in a kind of mourning now, missing everything I thought I wanted to leave!

For the time being, I really am neither here nor there.