While the language barrier prevents me from full integration into the Hong Kong community, I have had the honor to form a lot of friendships and share a lot of memorable moments with local classmates, group members, and strangers alike. The last few days in particular have been jam packed with them. Of these moments, three particularly stood out: a local HK makeup class, 3am homemade 90s karaokeing with roommates, and jamming with my S & I group mate Harry on “Born This Way”.
Last night, I went to a makeup class in Tsim Sha Tsui, courtesy of Groupon. I was interested to see the HK style of make-up, and wanted to immerse myself in an authentic HK environment. Everything was conducted in Cantonese, and I found myself in a small studio with 5 older women who had obviously just come straight from work. 4 of the women came as a group and chatted away about their kids, work, and their desire for whiter skin and skinnier legs. The other girl, who sweetly offered to translate for me when I looked lost, seemed to be around my age. Class started, and I was so surprised when I realized I could actually comprehend almost 80% of what was spoken!!! Osmosis has definitely worked in my favor.
For the next 1.5 hours, 6 women from all walks of life came together over foundation, lipstick, and blush. While I honestly didn’t learn anything new in regards to makeup (and spent 5 minutes wiping the makeup MASK off my face after class), the experience was precious. I was offered a glimpse into the mind of the modern HK woman, fighting daily to balance between career, family, and personal time. At the end of the class, the other girl approached me and we started talking. Apparently she just moved back to Hong Kong from the UK so her newborn baby could grow up bilingual with a great grasp on Chinese culture. She had also worked (and disliked) at a bank prior, so we bonded immediately. Our interaction was brief, but genuine.
12:01am hit, and my flatmate Anna Maria turned 21 years old. Happy Birthday Sweetie! To celebrate, we gathered round the living room table and took turns blasting oldies and singing along way into the morning hours. Homemade 90s karaoke with the flatmates was epic! Backstreet Boys, Slim Shady, Oasis, Coldplay, Mariah = our childhood.
Today, I had an amazing jam session with Harry, my Sex & Intimacy group member. As I mentioned, I’m performing an acoustic version of Born This Way live in class. Harry accompanied me on guitar, and we had a blast jamming away and recording via Garageband. Time flew and our room booking soon expired, but I had so much fun. I’m actually really excited to see how this pans out for our creative final presentation.