It’s Never Too Late

At Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha)

I cannot stress enough how emotional I am thinking of leaving Hong Kong. What seemed so foreign to me when I got here, has become my reality. The flashing lights, skyscrapers, wealth, poverty, smells, etc. that used to blow me away, now make me think of home. My love for my actual home hasn’t changed in the slightest, despite what the previous sentence may make one think. I love the Northwest and all it has to offer. Before leaving for Hong Kong, I never imagined myself loving something more. I also didn’t think I would ever consider living outside of Oregon. That has all changed.

The experiences that I have had the opportunity to partake in, have given me a new look at life. I always dreamed of living a life of luxury. Traveling in first-class, drinking fine wines, dining at 5-star restaurants, etc. I can tell you with absolute confidence, that lifestyle could not disgust me more. The people I have seen in third world countries who are living in some of the worst poverty I’ve ever seen can give you something that no classroom can: perspective. If I asked you to compare two people side by side, one person who probably makes less than a dollar a day living on the streets in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Thailand, vs. the person that owns city blocks on Wall Street, you may notice something. Why is the person with hardly any money to his/her name smiling brighter than the burned-out Wall Street executive? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot recently. It proves the theory that money does not buy happiness. However, if someone wants to make a case that money does buy food, which does make me happy… I’ll listen.

With less than 3 weeks left in this paradise, the title of this post, “It’s never too late…” has been my motto as of late. This is mainly in relation to the people I have met and begun cultivating relationships within the past 3 weeks. Considering how minimal our time is, few people go out of their way to venture outside of their well-established friend groups. The people I have spent the last 4 months with have become, and will forever be, my family. My very dysfunctional family that is. I could easily rattle off the names and descriptions of each member of my friend group and classify them as members of a crazy family.

As I was saying, I have met and become friends with such amazing people recently. It saddens me knowing that I had 3 months to get to know them, that I wasted. The main people I am thinking of sit right behind me in my Mandarin class! Feels like wasted time, but “it’s never too late”! For such a long time, I had this mentality that once groups had been established, venturing outside of those groups was frowned upon. That is one of my biggest regrets this term. I can only imagine how close I may be with these people had I not had such assumptions. You know what they say about assuming… It makes an @$$ out of “u” and “me” (ass u me).

My advice to anyone, not limited to those studying abroad, is never for a second think that there are limitations on who you can meet and when. A simple conversation can blossom into an amazing friendship, which I can attest to with numerous examples! I can’t express enough how much I’ve learned from the people I’ve met. It’s like a never ending book that I just can’t put down. The thought of leaving these people indefinitely is crippling, though the plans for reunions have already begun.

Until next time,