I left New York a couple weeks ago, without much fanfare or tears - in a car filled to the ceiling with all my material possessions. I forgot to look back at the skyline and say goodbye, but it may have been because I was too preoccupied in preventing myself from being suffocated by my things. I had a stuffed dog balanced on my head, a potted plant in my lap, even my legs were curled under and stuck holding a random box in place.
I came back to New York later to fly to Hong Kong out of JFK. My brother volunteered to ride the bus up with me and then drop me off at the airport. It should have been a simple enough thing, but unfortunately, I discovered a whole corner of things in the apartment I'd forgotten to pack. We spent all night packing and stressing over what to throw away, while everything else was packed and tied up in plastic duane reade bags.
In the morning, as we got to the airport, we ended up abandoning more and more things, like a trail through JFK.. a nearly full bottle of febreze, the bottle of Gain, a box of cereal, clothes hangers... my fake snowboots. It made me feel like a refugee or one of those pioneers headed west, leaving things one by one at the side of a river.
I said bye to my brother.. it wasn't a very sentimental goodbye, mostly because I had to watch him stumble for a subway with plastic bags tied to his arms and strapped to multiple duffel bags, while balancing 2 pillows I refused to part with. sorry sorry.
I had bought a huge suitcase from Chinatown for my move. It was the biggest I'd ever seen; I could probably have lived in it. Even though Chinatown had failed me so many times, I figured the suitcase was just so big it had to be a good bargain, and besides how could a suitcase really go wrong anyway. The saleswoman promised it was good quality. She made a big show of zipping every zipper and pulling all the straps and showing off the pockets. There was even a combination that would lock the zippers into place.
It was the zipper lock that really persuaded me, I'd never seen one before - although afterward I was told that almost every Asian suitcase has a zipper lock and it's not really that special of a thing. hmph. I should have known better.
By the time I got to HK airport, when I pulled the suitcase off the luggage strip, a wheel fell off and bounced across the floor. Looking closer, the sides of the suitcase were coming apart, the seams were open and part of the fabric holding the top together was gone.
I was disappointed, but thought maybe the zipper lock could be redeeming. However, on opening the suitcase, nothing would get the combination lock to open. On the bright side, one thing that was lucky about it being so cheaply made was that I was able to pry open the zippers from the lock with a pen. Rawr. *shakes fist*
I like Hong Kong - it's always felt like a kindred city somehow. I think the landscape is really lovely, and the lights - well it's why I liked the city so much in the first place. And I get to see and hear the ocean everyday, I never would have thought that possible.
I've even gotten to like the sound of Cantonese, which I am currently learning. I'm determined to become good at it. If most urgently because I have to be able to order my own hui lan shan. (mango pudding shake with crystal jelly or sago... although I'm not really sure still what sago is).
I've tried to compare Hong Kong to impressions of other cities in my past... and it's hard to do. I thought of London, a city that wanted to kill me - with the constant grey weather and opposite street ways and crazy cabs (here in Hong Kong they do have opposite streets, but there is a polite cute noise that indicates when the lights are changing - and also signs on the road with arrows to let you know which way to look)...
Seoul was easy to get to know, but a somewhat snobby/intimidating one (but maybe that's just because of the crowds of Korean girls with high heels and Lv bags and identically made eyes is just naturally intimidating)
I guess that's one thing about living in a foreign place - a new place, is that there is nothing from the past that I really can relate it to. In a way, comparing it to the past or what's familiar is not doing it justice. Instead it's like discovering a new word, a new definition has to be made. It's a strange feeling, but a kind of wondrous one.