Hong Kong

I arrived in Hong Kong last night. A friend of mine was still in town on the tail end of her trip, and so I had someone to eat with and walk around with and talk to. This was a great blessing, and I was so thankful for it, starting Hong Kong with a friendly face, a welcome. Today was my first alone here, my day to just wander. I began it by visiting first my new office, then all the apartments I have shortlisted, seeing how far each was from the office. There are a couple which are literally less than five minutes away, and the area around each is pretty busy. I gave my info to an agent here as well, and he called me once already. After I met him and walked out of his office, having realized that my budget, expected size and bedrooms, area, etc. was reasonable, doable, I felt a nice taste of hope. The place I’m looking for will be big enough for friends to stay here when they visit, which will be often, I hope. The thought of having a place where friends can frequently drop in and/or stay delights me. I want to have a place that is a hub for friendships and a character in memories. Several dear friends in Shanghai taught me that opening your doors can mean something wonderful, just by being a common place to learn and live and laugh and grow together.

I wandered from Wanchai/Causeway Bay, where my office is located, to Happy Valley, then later to Sheung Wan and finally to Central. I revisited some of the places which I came to very briefly the first time I was in Hong Kong. Back then, of course, my eyes weren’t viewing everything with the knowledge that I would be moving here in less than four months, so when I saw it today it was like discovering a lot of it for the first time. In Central, I started to get overwhelmed. There was too much money floating around. It was everywhere, incessantly beckoning for you to make each place your next good time, to forget everything else. Shanghai has the same type of areas, but they are less concentrated; you can breathe. Here it was over saturated, dripping. Usually it doesn’t overwhelm me like that, but here there were no friendly faces with me, and I was tired. Contrary to its surface, the ritzy center area felt cheap, plastic, compared to the Hong Kong I was looking for. I play things out in my mind, and it was easy to imagine the two distinct directions life here could go – straight to this area or similar ones the majority of the week, where it would be easy, fun, with friends who are the same as me, or the other direction, the one I’m searching for now, with more substance, more weight, more wonder. There is something more here – communities, adventures worth having, treasures worth seeking – and that is what I’m after. There is growth and a purpose to be found for my own life, and somewhere, the regeneration of this city thrives. Somewhere, there will be wonder! I’ll find it soon.

I saw a store full of intriguing old knick knacks and went in. Quickly I found a cardboard box full of books – in English! My mind rapidly switched back to another time, when I would scour the shelves of Half Price Books in Plano and McKinney, reading every title, looking for those special few which I would recognize as soon as I found them. That box of books whispered to me about finding something I’d lost a long time ago, without realizing I’d lost it. It made me think Hong Kong was a place where I would find many things, many treasures, some old and familiar scattered among the novel and foreign. I walked out with a new treasure of my own, a book called Mysterious Things or something of the sort, about Nessie and yetis and batteries from Babylon (don’t judge me!). It was a rediscovery of something which, some years ago, would tend to awaken wonder in my heart.

“I did not ask for success (in this life).
I asked for wonder.
And You gave it to me.”

-Abraham Heschel

I will find Your wonders here.


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