Contrary to my belief, I was not graced with as much time to write as I assumed. However, I have many descriptions and stories that I wish to share! During my month spent in Hong Kong, I walked around a lot. I thoroughly enjoyed the walking, as it let me see the environment of China, as well as the people who live there. Having took two years of Chinese during high school, I was able to communicate with some of them, however, my pronunciation was so bad that it was difficult to be understood. Because of this, I was embarrassed to attempt to speak to them. I’m told that it’s not unusual to be embarrassed about mispronunciation because it is part of the learning process. I was still quite quiet though, and settled for merely listening to them speak. Sometimes I could understand what they said, although it was difficult to know for sure. I wish I had brushed up on what I used to know, as it would have proved very helpful on my visits into China. I am planning on returning in October, and by then I hope to have greatly improved my Mandarin.
One thing that I loved about Hong Kong was the urbanscape that fills the peninsula and surrounding islands. Over 7 million people are packed into Hong Kong, making it one of the denser populated areas of the world. On weekends, I would take the MTR into the “suburbs” and different regions of Hong Kong, disembark, and walk around for hours at a time. I wanted to take in the sights and smells, listen to the sounds of the city, as well as meet more people. Being in such a busy city surrounded by millions of people really gets your creativity flowing. I had so much I wanted to write down, and yet so little time. My memory still feels strong at this point, and so I should be able to post quite a bit before my mind runs its course.
I have another thing I would like to share before I go back to sleep (jet lag is killing me right now). I believe that one huge idea that I’ve been pondering for a while has been solidified as a part of me. People are people, and places are places. I’ve met people from home who have asked me to tell them how China is, what Hong Kong is like. My answer is typically this: “There’s people everywhere, and meeting different people and recognizing them for who they are was much more exciting than seeing the places where they lived.” I met teenagers that were completely incredible there in Hong Kong, as well as China. I met adults and elders that were amazing people. I honestly began to call the place home. People create the environment around them. Although an environment can influence a person, it’s not as if everyone is the same. People are people. They laugh at the same kinds of jokes, they love each other, they hate each other, and they live. They’re people through and through. Viewing them through their environment and where they live makes you look at them as objects. I was able to settle in and make friends when I realized this. If you are going to travel anywhere, I think that this idea needs to be just as much a part of you as your hand or arm. You’ll recognize this once you stray from the tourist traps that surround many popular travel locations. I would greatly encourage you to think on this. It’s a huge part of the world, and yet I think it’s something that not many people realize is a major truth. People create a home, a safe environment. Buildings and structures alone to do not create a home.