Sitting in a very American coffee shop while I write this entry makes me reminisce of my long hours spent in Starbucks attempting to study, but mostly socializing.
I had been planning this study abroad since the fall of 2015. Thus, it felt as though it could not have been further away. I always talked about it as if it may never come. Even in the short days prior to my departure, I still felt numb to the reality that I was soon going to leave the best earth (Oregon), wind (Oregon air), and water (wanted to pay homage to a favorite band of mine even though I substituted “water” for “fire”).
Flying across the world by yourself can be a relatively daunting undertaking. If it weren’t for modern technology and a little experience traveling, who knows which country I would be writing this entry from.
A little flight delay during my connection in Vancouver due to a medical emergency set me back a few hours. That can stress one out… Especially when they are stuck on a plane without cell service, meaning they are unable to reach out to those picking them up in 14 hours. Once seated, I watched as what seemed like 99% of the passengers were locating their respective seat numbers and attempting to settle in for the long haul. I became extremely optimistic as the rest of my row remained vacant. One of the final passengers to board the plane was carrying the one thing you do not want to see when your row is one of the only open ones left on the aircraft. A baby. I said a little prayer hoping that they would kindly pass me. I think you know where this is going… Yes. They motioned that the two seats next to me where indeed theirs. I then spent the next 14 hours watching various movies offered on the plane/getting woken up every time I would get close to sleeping (without fail). If there is one thing that can really make someone’s mood take a nose dive, it is sleep deprivation. This made the already long flight seem a little longer. Nothing a little Justin Timberlake can’t fix, right?
Arriving a little late to the airport meant we were unable to stop at Ikea for basic necessities like sheets, pillows, and towels, which I of course, brought none of. I was too concerned with bringing shoes. I was kicking myself, almost literally as I spent a chilled night flutter kicking attempting to keep warm. I kept hearing my family’s voices saying, “Are you sure you don’t need those?”. If you’ve never heard the phrase “mother knows best” … you may want to familiarize yourself with it.
The following days were spent at various orientations and tours of the city. I am quite confident that I heard upwards of 30 people tell me “don’t be stupid” in 30 different ways. That just about sums up the orientation J. The tour is when things started to get interesting. Driving around Hong Kong in 3 buses is not the most stylish means of transportation. Especially because of the cars that are frequently driven in this country. I wouldn’t be surprised if Elon Musk made his entire fortune off Hong Kong residents. There are more Teslas than Toyotas.
We visited a temple, a market (that had amazing noodles), and Victoria Peak. As cool as these places were, they were relatively anticlimactic in comparison to the journey down from Victoria Peak.
Driving in Hong Kong looks a lot like the old arcade game Galaga. Cars slicing and dicing, somehow not hitting one another. It’s chaos. As we were driving down the hill from the peak, we rear ended another bus. It was a relatively decent impact, causing a few bumps and bruises. If I could look at one face for the rest of my life, it would be my tour guide’s face just after we crashed. I have never seen someone’s eyes get so big before. Anyone who knows me, understands I struggle with laughing at the least appropriate times. This was no exception. I almost fell out of my chair, and that wasn’t even because of the crash. My feeling soon changed as we waited for close to 2 hours for another bus to pick us up. I was banking on the bus coming much quicker. My arsenal of jokes ran dry after about 20 minutes… I had to bring out the dad jokes as a last resort (e.g. “what do you call a guy with a rubber toe? Roberto).
At that point, it could only go up from there right? It most definitely has! I have made friends from all over the world. My Scottish accent now sounds like I came straight out of Edinburgh. We have traveled far and wide in search of the best noodles Hong Kong has to offer, and boy have we found them.
I now have a week of classes under my belt, though it seems like much longer. The lectures are 3 hours long here. Getting hungry an hour in can come close to killing someone. Imagining the next food adventure is the only thing that pulls me through. Look forward to updates in the coming week! Got some big adventures coming up this weekend!