Four weeks. It’s been four weeks in what I once called one of my favourite cities in the world. It hasn’t been easy, it hasn’t been that difficult either, but it’s been different. Change is something we all look for at some time or another. Maybe for a little excitement, maybe for a little experience, or maybe because we just need to get outside of our comfort zones and do something that could potentially change our lives forever. Keeping that last thought in mind, I came to this city in the hopes of discovering a home away from home; a place I would grow to love more than I already did, people that I’d have long-lasting friendships with, and experiences that would enable me to see things in a new light.
Fortunately or not, it’s been surprising so far. It didn’t occur to me that visiting this city would be that much more different than living in it. There are things here that I used to consider ordinary, but now find fascinating. Similarly, there are also things that have begun to irk me; things that I never thought much of before.
1) Everyone has the perception that the weather here’s gloomy and depressing. Truth be told, it’s not. It’s actually just annoyingly unpredictable. Half the time, it can’t even make up it’s mind and decides to be sunny, cold and rainy all at the same time. And I thought HK was temperamental…
2) The people. Granted, HK-ers aren’t the friendliest people in the world, but they’re far better back there than they are here, and that’s saying something coming from a person who derives immense pleasure from screaming at people constantly in her way. Here, they show no mercy.
3) The Tube; i.e. the bane of my existence. Closures/maintenance works every weekend? NO. Do it overnight if you have to; how am I supposed to get to Central London the one time in the week I need to, under an hour?
4) The ignorance. Despite having been told, joked about and reprimanded over the years, people here continue to believe that Hong Kong is a part of Japan and people there don’t know a word of English. The number of times I’ve heard “do you speak Japanese?” and “why is your English so good?” has made my ears bleed and I will punch the next person who dares ask me. Side note: I’ve also received “if you’re from Asia, why are your eyes so big?”. People just never change.
5) I had to learn how to cook. It wasn’t fun and broccoli hates me.
6) WHY IS EVERYTHING SO EXPENSIVE? NO, I DON’T WANT TO PAY 6 POUNDS ON TRAVELLING EVERY SUNDAY, ESPECIALLY WHEN I’M USING YOUR STUPID RAILWAY REPLACEMENT BUSES.
Having said that, I’ll give London one thing: the food here is SO MUCH BETTER. It’s no surprise I’ve put on weight in the one month that I’ve been here. Knowing the fate of my own cooking, I can’t possibly be rambling on about that, but eggless waffles, crèpes and pancakes? GIMME MORE.
Also, it’s a pretty place. It doesn’t have HK’s unbeatable skyline, but it’s got Tower Bridge which almost makes up for it.
Unless I choose to ignore the differences between here and back home, I’m never going to make the most of the place I chose to spend a year in. Until then, I’m back to finding ways to cook my broccoli.