The final countdown is underway. I’ve got one week left at work and six weeks, to the day, until I leave Hong Kong. I’m feeling a lot of mixed emotions about it. I’m very excited for my long journey home, being reunited with friends and family, cheap cheese, long summer nights, but I’m scared of what I’m leaving behind… friends, a boyfriend, an incredible city and the best three years of my life.
I thought it would be easier to leave on a high, quit while I’m ahead – all that jazz. But, in fact, it’s making it a lot more difficult. The sun’s out, people are emerging from their winter shells and suddenly the decisions I made on a cold, miserable grey day are looking a little more frightening in the summer light. Junk boat invites are being sent out without my name on the guest list and people are looking ahead to the warmer months that I’ll be 7,000 miles away from.
Hong Kong is the best thing that has ever happened to me. That is something that I can say without a doubt in my mind. I came to this city a shell of the person that I am today. I have learnt a lot about life, love and what’s important. I am a walking, talking cliché that travelled to Asia and figured some shit out.
The people I’ve met here I know I’m stuck with for life. They’ve seen me at my best and my worst but kept me gin-fuelled and laughing all the way. Throw in the start of a six month long-distance relationship and you’ve got the makings for a very difficult goodbye.
And this city! What can I say? It’s so weird and so wonderful, there really is no other place like it in the world. Hong Kong will always have a piece of my heart, it’s where I’ve felt more at home than anywhere and the only place where I’ve believed I can do anything.
I’m going to end my ramblings with a quote I read in the book ‘Fragrant Harbour’ by John Lanchester, as the narrator talks about the idea of ‘settling in’ in Hong Kong.
“At various moments over the next year or so some well-wisher or other would ask whether I had ‘settled in yet’, or how long it had taken me to ‘settle in’. Even by local small-talk standards it was a stupid question. What would it mean, for an expat on the make (any expat) to have ‘settled in’ in Hong Kong? It’s not a ‘settle in’ kind of place. I felt a near-continuous mixture of exhilaration, panic, culture shock, and alienation, mixed in with another, perhaps deeper feeling of being finally at home.”
Hong Kong. What am I going to do without you?