Today, I spent a good hour in class planning out my friend Chris’ weeklong visit to Hong Kong next week. Zoning out the guest lecturer on HK men chasing Chinese girls over QQ, I perused endless websites on “Top things to do in HK” and “Must-See Attractions”. I opened up a google doc spreadsheet, and my fingers started typing away furiously.
Then, I sat back and thought about it. I have a little less than 2 months left in Hong Kong. Looking back on these past 3 months, I’ve done a lot, gone to many places, but I can’t come even close to say that I’ve seen all Hong Kong has to offer. I haven’t seen Noah’s Ark, any of HK’s amazing museums, Discovery in the Dark, the private kitchens, gone to Ozone or any of the skyscraper bars, haven’t gone to Tai O or Sai Kung, haven’t tried Kau Kee’s amazing curry beef brisket noodles. And the list goes on and on…
So why is it that only when I have someone visiting do I really think about all the amazing places and attractions that Hong Kong has to offer? Is it just common for people to move to a new environment, enjoy temporary newness and excitement, only to have it normalized once routine settles in. Does it make the city and its offerings any less amazing?
Living in this city has changed me. My footsteps are quicker, and I have adapted to the fast rhythm of the city. No longer am I bothered by the huge rush hour crowds on the MTR, squeezing into claustrophobic elevators, or fazed by a crazily speeding mini-bus driver. Nowadays, I’m impatient when someone stalls up the MTR train ticket entrances when they can’t find their Octopus Card, walk straight past any hustlers/sales associates, and bargain with the intensity of an angry female puppy. Now I wonder, when my footsteps speed up, do my senses become numb to all the amazing sights, smells, and sounds that make up the craziness that is Hong Kong?
I know its natural to adapt. But why is that when we call a place “home” or settle down for awhile, we are most likely to stop appreciating our surroundings and cease exploring? Only now that I’ve left my beloved Bay Area behind do I truly appreciate its beauty, diversity, convenience, and sophistication.
I resolve to leave Hong Kong with no regrets.