After delays, fire alarms at Heathrow airport and being terrified of flying, I did make it to Hong Kong. The feeling when I stepped off the plan was like saying hello to an old friend, one which you’d not seen in ages. It was the first time I felt that I could breath again in my life, like I’d waited 10 years to feel this leave of comfort again.
Me and Adam (my husband) were picked up from the airport. It was night. The car had huge windows, and I just remember taking in all the lights from the buildings. It was like seeing a place I know well through fresh eyes… at the same time 10 years can really deteriorate ones memories, I had to claw to the corners of my mind to remember some of the places. Of course there were many new buildings, but the feeling of HK felt the same.
We arrived at mother Choice guest flats. It was in old colonial building, white, just how I remember these old buildings. The flat it’s self was just a typical hong kong flat, even down to typical fixtures to the smells and feel of the building. I was so thankful to stay in flat rather than a hotel. The flat over looked Central were all the main buildings are, yet it was peaceful. Me & Adam made it our little home for our time there.
The other great thing was that Mother’s Choice was right next to my old high school, Island School. I loved my high school… I wasn’t popular, if anything I prob was a pretty lax & laid back teen and probably not remembered by many, but my time there was some of the happiest of my life… there was a school spirit, a genuine feeling that they wanted us to find our strengths no matter in what form that manifested. I visited it, all the teachers I remember had mainly left… but really was surprised that it still felt the same, but some how updated for this century. The multi cultural aspect of the school always made me feel that it didn’t really matter what your ethnic background and allowed us to appreciate may different cultures. I realize now how sugar coated it all sounds, but honestly that’s how I feel. Especially when contrasted with the all girls grammar school that I attended when I moved to the UK, which was it’s totally opposite.
I was lucky enough to met up with a lot of old friends. I was surprised with how much I remembered. Also nice to see where people have gone in 10 years. Somehow I remember my time in HK like it was yesterday. But most importantly I was able to have Adam met them. I have talked and talked and talked about my time, my friends and places in Hong Kong, yet I’ve never been able to share that with anyone from the UK. It was Adam’s first time in East Asia! His understanding of my origins has been vital to my adjustment to the UK and life in general… but now he’s seen it with his own eyes I really feel that we know each other on a whole new level.
Sadly Adam was only able to stay for a week. I did always tell him we’d need mini of 2 weeks on our first trip. But as he started a new job, it was hard to take that must time off. Thankfully he was able to go to some of the Adoption Festival events. I dragged him to the airport kicking and scream that he wanted to stay.
It was interesting to hear what Adam had to say about hk. He thought that language would be an issue, that he would not be able to get buy without knowing any chinese. But as he said, everything is sign posted in English, and everyone knows a basic amount to get around without any problems to a point where living in hk would actually be possible without many problems. It’s strange, cos I lived there until I was 16 and it was only when I got to the UK that I was like “oh my god, I can understand what everyone says” =P.
I definitely dont miss everyone assuming I speak Chinese. Though in the past, pre hand-over, if I spoken English I would sometimes get a very negative reaction. I was expecting that to still be the case, but I was very impressed to find people being more understanding with my now strong English accent. What I did miss was walking around and just blending with everyone and not sticking out.
Me and Kat managed to get in some site seeing, but not as much as I would have liked. One day I’ll be able to go back with kat and stay for a extended time =).
It was surreal coming back to the UK. A few feelings come flooding back about why it was so hard to leave hk all those years ago and some of the things that made it difficult…. yet at the same time I felt more at peace. I really needed to visit hk, like my soul needed it.