Other than my native New York, I have never lived anywhere as long as I have lived in Hong Kong. I have traveled extensively and have spent weeks places, even months, but never the nearly four years I have been there.
Hong Kong is really far from New York. I know all about airplane travel and Skype and of course Twitter and Facebook, but I also know that my relationships at home have suffered the distance of these years abroad. However, I am going home and I will pick most of them up where I left off. When you go home it always feels like you were there just yesterday. When I decided to go to Hong Kong for a professional opportunity it was a quick and easy decision, but it was never my intention to stay there permanently. I always knew I would go home.
Leaving Hong Kong was a much bigger decision. It is a much bigger move. And saying goodbye was also saying goodbye to this period time in my life, looking back and saying “Thanks for the memories.”.
In the same breath I am happy and excited for something new but I am also acutely aware of the things I will miss. I was planning a sarcastic blog about the things I can’t stand about Hong Kong ( oh let me get in a few) like the way people walk – no crash- into you on the street, the way people assault that door close button in the elevator just as you are about to get in, and of course let’s not forget the worsening air pollution situation.
What I realized during my final days however, was that I didn’t want to focus on that. I started to think about the things I really would miss. Perhaps not so surprisingly they were mostly the little things. So little I almost took them for granted daily, but when I was leaving my eyes have opened a little wider to the world around me to really ‘see’. I will miss the little Ginger cat that sits on a leash at the local restaurant by my flat.
I will miss the sweet baristas at Starbuck’s who all know what I order. I don’t even have to ask. I will miss the very fact of being an expat.
And I will miss the buzz and excitement that is Asia. Most of all I will miss some very special people that have shaped my life over the past four years. I said to my friend tonight that I hate saying goodbye, and she said “so say see ya later.” So “see ya later” Hong Kong and thanks for the memories.