Hong Kong...or as most like to call it, Home Kong
“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
Those of you that have known me since my adolescent years, know that I have one hell of a story to share. It will be my ultimate story one day when I muster up more courage, but until then-- my story begins here.
I still remember the day I decided to make my solo move across the world. It wasn't one of those wake up, buy a ticket, "#wanderlust" moments. I was 18 years old and I went and spent my first summer ever in Hong Kong. What can I say, it was love at first summer! You see, I didn't have a summer fling with a person, I had a summer fling with a place. And that-- that was when the game changed.
Fast forward to a year later, it was the beginning of another beautiful Seattle summer and I was midway through 19 years old. Although I was thrilled at the idea of moving to Hong Kong, there were serious aspects I needed to consider...
1. I had zero Chinese language skills.
2. I had never lived anywhere outside of Seattle, WA.
3. I couldn't even remember to brush my hair most days (& this still applies...sometimes).
Luckily, what I did and do have are extremely awesome and super Buddhist parents who love me and trust in my journey through experiences. With that said, by the end of summer I was on a plane getting ready to take off, leaning over to share headphones with my dad listening to "Atmosphere" by Kaskade. Perhaps I could've had a better song to represent my last moments as that 19 year old naive girl who's life was about to change completely, but hey, every piece of a moment fits like a puzzle just as it is meant to.
"It's hot." -my first words stepping off the plane.
As quick as this city moves, I was forced to learn at an instant how to survive in it. Firstly, the heat and humidity changed my skin- I gave up on makeup for a while. In fact, I still try to avoid makeup as often as I possibly can. Secondly, the road lanes exist although they are irrelevant 98% of the time. Thirdly, the crosswalk signals do function properly except they are completely disregarded by 98% of the pedestrians. And lastly- just keep walking, FAST. 100% effort when it comes to physical mobility. I probably sound like every other person new to the Hong Kong lifestyle and I guarantee we will say, "you get used to it". Soon these words grow to become, "I love it".
To say that I grew a lot these past 4 years would be a serious understatement. If anyone were to ever say to me, "omg Jamie, you've changed so much", my immediate response would have to be, "I didn't change. Life changed, I just kept up with it". We never really know what we are capable of tolerating or excelling in until we find ourselves in a range of situations running aimlessly in circles searching for a way to persevere. In other words; if you hold on long enough, you climb.
I must admit, for the first few months in this foreign land I was filled with uncertainty and at one point was extremely worried about where my life was going to take me. (Who am I kidding?! I still worry here and there!) Being a full-time bachelor's of science and psychology online student, I was facing one huge issue head on: I needed to figure out a way to afford Hong Kong's high cost of living. Some aunties of mine suggested that I dabble into the model industry in my free time and I am incredibly thankful for their guidance because that decision ended up opening numerous doors of opportunity for me that my previously 19 year old inexperienced self had never even dreamed of.
Aside from the lessons I've learned throughout my time here, it's important for me to acknowledge the people that I have met. Hong Kong is home to a vast amount of cultures, and that is another reason why I love it so much. The locals that I have befriended have always been kind to me, teaching me the ways around the Hong Kong lifestyle. I owe it to any local Hong Kong person I have ever exchanged conversation with, as elementary sounding Chinese stumbled out of my mouth forcing every single one of them to test their patience. Thanks to you sweet saints and angels, I now am around 80% fluent in Cantonese. As for the foreigners that I have grown close with, some being from the Australia, Korea, Japan, all over the UK, and many more locations around the Earth, I have been able to indulge in all the unique thoughts, feelings, expressions, and attitudes that each culture entails. I can only hope that Hong Kong continues to expand my perspective in these ways.
Don't get me wrong though, I had and do have my down days. After all, we are all human. One of the most humbling life lessons I'm sure many of you have experienced for yourselves as well is that relationships come and go, whether it be a lover, friend, or even foe. But I made a promise to myself that I will always remember to find growth at times I don't feel growth. This holds true for small goals and large goals, personal and business, and self-love overall.
So there you have it. A new chapter of my life had began in a fresh place, where I could choose to be anyone I wanted-
& I chose to be me.