Before I came to Hong Kong I honestly thought this would be the most interesting place to blog about. I thought the immersion into a different culture, living in a different continent and learning all sorts of cool Asian stuff would make for nice blogging content. I remember reading tonnes of blogs about Hong Kong before I came in 2016 and I could see myself being here and writing about all the amazing things here.
Fast forward to 2018, after counting the number of posts I have written about Hong Kong, I am a little embarrassed. I wrote quite a bit whilst I was here, but I haven’t written much about the place itself. I have only six or so posts about this place, excluding all my posts about the Ph.D. (I sound like a broken record honestly).
So what happened to my plan of falling in love with this place so much that I would write about my escapades with the culture, the food, the people, the places, etc.?
After much reflection, I realized that I hardly write about Hong Kong because the truth is I have not managed to integrate into this society enough to form an interesting opinion. That realization made me quite sad. Two whole years? I realized that I have not had the opportunity to have enough cultural exchanges to inspire my voice during the time I have been here. This saddens me because I know if anyone else was in my shoes, they would be milking this opportunity for all that it is worth.
I attempted to learn Mandarin in 2017 and failed miserably. That is one tough language to learn. It is very difficult to integrate into Chinese society if you do not speak the language. Hong Kong is mostly Cantonese speaking, but I wanted to learn Mandarin because it is used in more places outside of Hong Kong. Although in my academic life English is the main language of instruction (otherwise I would not be studying here at all), my social life has not benefited from my lack of Chinese language ability. I have a few Chinese acquaintances whom I know only because we are in the same department, the delivery guy from my favorite online store and one of the friendly security guys in my apartment. I also have a few people I can call friends from the Christian fellowship and from the church, but we mostly converse in English.
There are many expatriate communities in Hong Kong, but my few encounters with this bunch (read snobbish, out-of-touch with reality types), had me running back to the comfort of my small-circle life. I have spent most of my time on campus studying, which is probably why most of my Hong Kong posts are about my academic life. Plus, I usually hang around with my fellow Africans. This is a popular characteristic of people when they find themselves as the minority in a place, there is a tendency to go towards the familiar. There are a few exceptions of course, I know a lot of African people who do not want to hang around with other Africans in a different country. Anyway, I digress…
Since it is now December month, a lot of people are taking stock of the year and their lives. For me, I am thinking December means I am now left with roughly 8 months to completing my studies and possibly leaving Hong Kong (I still have no clue where I want to be after this). Thinking about this has made me want to do something about the memories I am creating in this place. This is what I plan to do:
- Create opportunities to explore more of Hong Kong in the coming months. I have a deadline for my thesis this December, but until then I can keep my eyes open for interesting things I can write about Hong Kong.
- Challenge myself to do a typical Chinese activity at least once a month. That should be a fun way of immersing myself into the culture. It is never too late. At least I learned how to use chopsticks :). so I will find more activities…for the culture.
- Take solo trips and find simple hidden treasures. I am a firm believer that one can find the most beautiful things hidden in plain sight. I just need to get out more, even if it is a walk by the beach at sunset.
Disclaimer: All images in this post were taken using my Samsung Galaxy S7
Wish me luck,