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Journals from Hong Kong Baptist University

2012-12-17 Living in a bubble

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A little piece of Portland I found in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

 It was a typical Wednesday morning for me; I woke up, showered, got ready for the day ahead, and went to get coffee and a bagel for breakfast. Sitting down at a table outside with my food in front of me, I opened facebook to see what my friends in HK and back home were up to. Immediately my facebook feed was bombarded with statuses reading: “how could something like this happen in Oregon?”, and “praying for the families and victims”. I had no idea what had happened but whatever it was I knew it wasn’t good. I messaged my friend back home who informed me of the shooting at Clackamas Town Center and of all the information that she had about the tragedy. I checked in with my parents, who were safely at home with my dog eating dinner; they were just as happy to hear from me as I was to see them. The strange and sometimes not fun part of being abroad when things like this happen in your hometown is that you live in a bubble when you’re abroad entirely separated from the events taking place back in your home country and state. I have been detached from the news and happenings of the US for the past four months; since the election in November I have had no idea about anything that has been going on in the States.

When you’re abroad it is so easy to get sucked into the new and exciting environment around you and become detached from what is going on back home. It seems like a strange thing to happen, but in reality it’s something that has happened to most exchange students here and it happens quite unconsciously and unknowingly. This sense of detachment has now become one of my largest fears when thinking about returning home; how different will the US be and how different will I be when I’m back? I think about this but then remember that change is natural and something that you just have to accept. You can’t think of change in terms of being good or bad, it’s just something that happens, the world changes and you change with it. I am not the same person I was when I left Portland four months ago but neither is Portland.

Cheers from Hong Kong,

Erin Dunlap 

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