Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Sky I'm Under

It's been a while since my last post. 

I just don't like to write if the spirit doesn't move me, or if I don't have anything to talk about. As much as I like the sound of my own voice (and the syntax of my own writing), I can't write for the sake of writing. But enough time has passed for another post, and I've gained enough experience to write a bit.

The weather changed abruptly in Hong Kong. It's the conversation starter that everyone is using. It went from a California early-September to a proper November at the drop of a hat. I've been wearing jackets. I even wore a scarf once. I never wear scarfs. The leaves are changing, there's a chill in the air, and I can definitely say that winter is coming.

November passed without too much incident. It was a lot of studying, a lot of projects. Every person on campus is neck-deep in group projects. Nine times out of ten, a student's obligations aren't with homework, but with other students. And I, for one, am completely sick of it. I'm an American individualist at my very core, and it took me being completely immersed in a collectivist culture for me to notice that. I don't like group work. I want to be graded on my own contributions, at my own pace. I want to set my own schedule and monitor myself. Instead, I'm given group mates of varying degrees of competence, from individualists themselves to the polar opposite, who nit-pick, condescend, and scrutinize. And that's alright. I realize that it's a cultural difference, one that I'll have to acclimate towards or face frustration for another semester. I'm not sure how well I'll do, but I'll give it my best.

The highlight of the month was a visit from my old friends. Two high-school buddies are with a group that travels around the world, teaching kids of all ages a song and dance routine over the course of a week. At the end of the week, they all perform the routine together in one big show. They wrapped up a two-month tour of northern Japan, visiting areas that were devastated by the typhoon. They brought a lot of joy and experience to that area of the world, and I'm exceptionally proud of them. At the end of their tour, they did a three-day workshop in Hong Kong.
It was like a whole new world. Having two of my old friends with me, in a city that we're all unfamiliar with, put the entire experience in a different light. It was one of the most bizarre feelings to be able to hang out with people that I'm so comfortable with, thousands of miles from where we call home. I had a blast, and it really reinvigorated me. Gave me an added boost to be able to finish out the semester with a positive outlook.

Hong Kong is strange. I can't get around that fact. It's not where I'm from, and it's not a culture that I have much experience with. It doesn't always suit me, and I don't always suit it. But at the end of the day, there is no where else that I'd rather be. This is where I need to be right now, for my own development and future. As much as I miss San Francisco- my friends, family, couch, kitchen, and good pizza- I'd miss Hong Kong so much more if I were to leave now.

It's not my home just yet, but every day brings more familiarity.

Mumford & Sons say it best on their song "Hopeless Wanderer," from the  new album Babel. 
"I will love to learn the skies I'm under."

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