March 02, 2005

why I decided to stay in HK

1. I had huge reservations returning to the states. I don't feel safe there nor do I agree with the government. Sure, it was only for 2 years or so but life is too short being somewhere you don't want to be. I could make the best of it, this is not to say there aren't great things about NYC. But the main draw was getting a MA and being around my friends and family. I found out there may be some programs here where I can work on an MA and have it paid for. And I've already made that mistake twice moving to be with people I love. As much as I miss everyone, I refuse to make that mistake again.
2. Seeing other parts of HK and realizing I don't have to live in Kowloon makes me feel that I appreciate what HK has to offer more than what NYC does. NYC is a beautiful place with much to offer and enjoy but I've been there for 25 years. I really want to live among new scenery and besides HK on a whole has more natural beauty than NYC does. I can see new plants, trees, flowers and rocks here. And that is something I really enjoy.
3. Now, I have found the party culture I seek and finally found where some of the freaks like me in HK are. I've always felt 'at home' here but now more than ever.
4. Being a foreigner, I have a lot more freedom to be myself than I would in the states. Whatever strange ways I have are written off as me being an American which is fine by me as long as I am not seen as a threat. And so far in HK, my ways have been accepted and welcomed. NYC is a very tolerant place but I feel HK is even more.
5. Another reason I wanted to leave was because I felt it was not honest for me to stay doing a job I cannot do. But when I told the boss that in Dec, he said it was okay to just teach English, which I can do. I cut my schedule down and now it is a slack job. I only work like 16 hours a week. But that was bothering me too. I felt like that was taking an easy way out and I want more challenge in a job. The thing is that if I went back to NYC, I'd be even more like a slacker until July. So, I am better off staying with this job in HK until I get a more challenging one. I didn't try to find other work. And many people over the past several weeks have given me new information that leads me to think I can find a great paying job that is not soul sucking and is challenging. If not, then I can decide to go somewhere else in July to teach (like in China) and then reapply to the NYC program next year if I still want to do that.
6. I really felt that I was being too willful in making the NYC thing work out. I knew I'd be facing many hardships being poor, living at my childhood home for like 6 months until I could begin working in NYC. Yes, I could do it but that doesn't mean I should. If the NYC thing was where I could go back in June or July, then I would reconsider. But it's not, I need to interview in March, take tests in April then wait until July and being realistic, that sucks a lot. I don't think I have grown enough to not let that suckiness get to me.
7. I feel my teaching style would meet much less resistance than it would as a teacher in the NYC Board of Education. I've been really thinking about the red tape and school politics drama, if I am strong enough now to withstand it. I'd like to think I am but when I really am honest with myself, I think not.
8. I know living in NYC my accent would come back 100%. And I don't want that, having that accent makes me feel very self conscious of my voice. And I don't want to be around English all the time again. I really like hearing Cantonese, trying to figure out what is being said. The same thing with the signs, I like trying to figure out the characters. The best way to learn a language is to be surrounded by it and in NYC, I would mostly be around English. I get very excited when I can read a part of a sign or understand something being said to me in Cantonese. And there is enough English around so I don't get too frustrated or feel lost.
9. With my education, experience and personality, I think I can be choosy about what teaching jobs I can get here. People who live here have told me that and it makes sense, they have no motive to lie. I can probably get a job here where I make as much as I would in NYC. Aside from rent, cost of living in HK is fairly low if you live simple like I do. In NYC, food and clothes are way more expensive than here.
10. I like the variety of fresh fruit and veggies I can get here. Overall, the quality of food here is much better. I actually like to drink milk now. For a long time I thought I didn't like chocolate but it turns out that I don't like American chocolate. Now that my mom sent me grated cheese and Vietnamese soup boullion cubes, the only thing I miss is pizza. But maybe I'll find a good pizza place here in HK if I keep searching. I eventually found good pizza in Chicago so it is possible.
11. I don't want to be a quitter. I was feeling a bit like a loser giving up so soon. Even though the 4 months has felt like 4 years, it still is a short time.
12. I have somethings to offer my new friends here and they have things to offer me. These things are the different things we have learned in our life experiences. My friend A speaks Spanish, other new friends speak Cantonese and Mandarin (and probably other lanuages too). I can learn to eat better, get new perspectives on things that effect everyone, learn new exercises. And my new friends are interested in the things I can teach them. I much rather learn from friends than in a school or from a book. Some things like poi and Tai Chi, we are all are interested in and want to learn more, we can help one another in these pursuits.
13. I think I found a group to start gaming with- A's children :-) They are very intelligent and creative and they never heard of RPGs. I think they would enjoy gaming a lot and this is beneficial to them and also to me. Some of them like games like Diablo so I think D&D and Exalted would be up their alley.
14. These new friends are very perceptive and honest people and remind me a lot of what draws me to Toronto.
15. If I get a better paying job, I will have more opportunities to visit places I've always wanted to since I am much closer being in HK.
16. I think what I needed was to know that I do have other excellent options, that I am not stuck here. When I was upset with the job situation here and aggrivated by Kowloon life, I felt that my only choice was to go back to the same old thing and that made me feel really upset. Now I know that is not the case, and I feel much better knowing I am choosing to stay here, not that it is the least of the evils.
17. I can see a future for myself here- beach psy trance parties, living on a semi tropical island with 'civilization' only 2 ferry rides away (45 mins total). Having lots of freedom and feeling safe. And maybe if I get myself established, I can help friends make a new life here.
18. I found books in English when I went to the central library :-)
19. I thought about my mom and dad. They are opposite people but I am a lot like the both of them. I don't want to wind up like them though. My dad sacrificed his sanity by working at a job he hated and trying to conform. I remember when I was little, he'd suggest to my mom we just pack up and move to Australia to live a simpler life. And here I am, with the desire and opportunity to do something like that. I don't feel that I should force myself to conform or live a life I don't want to, especially since no one is dependent on me. I do have my mom's ambition to not just drop out of society. I feel here, I may be able to strike a balance between the two.
20. And this morning on the way to work, I had a realization. This life I live here is so unusual. I bet I could count on my hands the number of North Americans who live (or have lived) in Yau Ma Tei and worked in a HK housing project. I was thinking, how did I wind up here (heh, this reminds me of a Talking Heads song). And when I think back to how I did, I was thinking how did I wind up there. Thinking further back, how did I wind up there. And so on... And I realized that these strange paths will present themselves because of prior actions, as long as I keep my heart good, stay self aware, and have courage to take chances. I stagnate while living a 'normal' and safe life. While I do feel I was born with good luck, I also see that because of choices I have made, this has given me even more unordinary options. I shouldn't fear my luck will run out because I do have some control over what I choose to do. And in choosing what is compelling (as long as my heart is good and I am fully self aware and courageous, these strange paths will continue to open for me. I realized that taking strange paths will show me more strange paths. I cannot deny anymore that I am drawn to the strange. And as I age, I will gain more wisdom and knowledge so I can I feel more confident in taking these strange paths. And I will continue to grow and live life to the fullest. And really, isn't that what life is all about. I've already put myself on a course to let the wind take me where it will and it always works out. It seems silly to force myself into a situation where I think (according to the mainstream) I will be a better person and be more secure. I have proven to mysef time and time again, that if I got what I thought I wanted, it would lead to a dead end. I just need to stay confident, true to myself and most importantly, stay self aware, go with the winds. I am not saying that I am relinquishing my free will. It is a choice I am making to let things I never expected to happen and then soul search to decide. I am starting to feel more confident that I am aware of my evil side and when I make a choice, I am being considerate of myself and the greater good, without being a martyer.
21. I am also becoming more trustful that the friendships and family I was born with and have chosen will stay with me and love me, no matter how physically far away I may be. That if I do something hurtful or makes them angry, they will let me know. That they understand how I tick and will allow me to make some mistakes to learn from but if it is something they feel may destroy me or is dishonest, they will speak up and call me on it. My idealized self is very different than my real self. But I need to trust that my loved ones see my real self and love me as that, not that they love my idealized self.
22. When things like this weekend happen when they do, it is humbling. I realize, I know very little. I can analyze and plan all I want but anything can happen, possibilities are endless.
23. At first, I had a #23 just to end at 23 ;-P But a moment later, I realized there is another reason. I finally feel being here, I am making a difference. I am contributing to the kind of world I want to see and live in.
24. heh, okay there is a #24 but 3 times my fave number is 8 so 24 is good for a 'tard like me to end on ;-)... fuck Northern North American winters, snow and 0 degree (F or C) temperatures. I love that the coldest it has been here so far is 6 C :-D

Posted by Christine at March 2, 2005 10:06 AM