Whether or not you decide to take a part in the activities, Hong Kong seems to be ever-ready to excite. Banners like “Every night is Friday night in Hong Kong” really evoke this feeling. In order to get in on the fun, I decided to join the Rowing Club, one of HKBU’s many clubs, late in September. This university has clubs that address a fairly wide range of interests like martial arts, hip-hop, finance, and religion. In comparison those at Linfield I’ve ever been a part of, the leaders of these groups conduct affairs in a highly business-like manner. Titles such as “Financial Secretary,” “Internal Vice President,” and “External Vice President” decorate the business card of a hiking club I joined. Despite the methodical way club affairs are conducted, the members of the Rowing Club welcomed me warmly and I had the privilege of learning how to row in Cantonese. That day my understanding of non-verbal gestures and context clues was really put to the test. I may have succeeded if you don’t count the time my boat capsized. Overall, learning how to row motivated me to pursue more Nature-oriented activities in Hong Kong as well as in Oregon when I return.
I can’t forget to talk about the beaches and outlying islands while on the subject of nature. Though the locals (and non-locals) don’t enjoy swimming at the beach so much because of the polluted water, it’s nice to lie in the sand and get a tan despite the cloudiness hiding the sun. The outlying islands offer the perfect escape from the polluted water and constant stress of the bustling city. A ferry from Hong Kong Island to Lantau Island, for example, suddenly transports you to what feels like a completely different place. Since there are many fishing villages on the island, the pace of daily life is much slower than Hong Kong Island. After removing yourself from the city, you can compare the feeling of being in a large city versus not. Somehow, the pace of the city can affect your level of stress and anxiety. Perhaps, then, finding enjoyable activities will help distract you from these effects of living in a big city and the city may seem a bit more like home.