Hong Kong Diaries – Entry #3 – ‘Growing Up’

Hello everyone! So for those of you who don’t know I am spending the first half of my final year of university in Hong Kong. I am documenting my travels on my blog and will update as often as possible. Please follow my blog to keep up with this journey and I look forward to seeing you around! ❀️

🎝 I’m feeling just fine, fine, fine
이젠 λ„ˆμ˜ 손을 λ†“μ„κ²Œ [I’ll let go of your hand now]
I know I’m all mine, mine, mine
Cause I’m just fine
I’m feeling just fine, fine, fine
더 이상은 μŠ¬ν”„μ§€ μ•Šμ„λž˜ [I don’t wanna be sad anymore]
I could see the sunshine, shine, shine
Cause I’m just fine, just fine 🎝

When my nails have been gnawed to stubby, bleeding nubs, when my hair is greasy and hidden in a messy ponytail, when my eyes are heavy and my body curls itself into a ball of exhaustion, having been kicked around by life, I know something is wrong.

In my trip to Hong Kong, I’d say more things have gone wrong than right. I won’t give away too many spoliers because I’m planning to talk more about them in a poem I’m working on, and will be reading out tomorrow at an open mic. But essentially, my ‘getting on with shit’ muscles have been getting a lot of excercise recently. My tearducts are not as active as they used to be, and I wonder – is this growing up?

A broken washing machine causing me to trek back and forth from a laundrette with a suitcase full of heavy, dripping clothes, a pan that burns almost all my food and doesn’t work well, restaurants with hardly any vegeterian options, stares and tuts from disapproving aunties and uncles as I walk past with my blue hair, random unnanounced visits from coackroaches the size of my fist – this has been my past month. I felt like not recording my daily experiences because, generally, those that weren’t mundane were like this, negative. I woke up, went to university, came home, did my homework, went to bed and did it again. If something broke the cycle, it was an unexciting, inconvenient problem which I preferred to forget.

The song I referenced, BTS’s I’m Fine, has been on repeat for about the past month for me, because I’ve had to try and convince myself I’m fine when most of the time I’m not. Life is difficult, there is no denying that fact, and it’s made more difficult by me being so far outside my comfort zone I don’t even know what comforts me anymore. Everything that comforts me, my family, my friends, my partner, my books, were all back home in London. How could I call this place home when I don’t belong here? When everyday, some new disaster strikes? Last week, the police tear gassed a 1-year old boy. The week before, a water cannon with blue dye was sprayed on mosque-goers who weren’t even protesting.

And this week, a fire broke out in my accommodation.

The day had actually been very pleasant, and I was proud of myself for going all the way to the other side of Hong Kong, to Kowloon, to explore the Studio Ghibli Exhibition. I rang my partner, content, calm and proud of my accomplishment of navigating my way back to the island with a phone on 5% battery and nothing but my own extremely wobbly sense of direction. But of course, things didn’t stay that way for long. I smelt smoke, the fire alarm sounded, thankfully pressed by someone on our floor manually. I grabbed my laptop, phone, wallet keys and ran as the smoke clouded my vision. With an intermittent chorus of coughing and distressed yelling, the building clamored down the stairs and onto the road outside our building. I wasn’t sure what distressed me more, the singed building, the police showing up, or the fact I was dressed in half-PJs, half trousers with no underwear and hadn’t eaten dinner! My veggie gyoza plans had been ruined 😭πŸ₯ŸπŸ₯Ÿ

I rang my partner again who added, ‘Don’t worry, by the time you go back dinner will be cooked’… πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„

And those around me remarked – this is growing up.

In a way, I suppose it is.

The caterpillar must eventually come out of its cocoon, and turn into a butterfly. But, are butterflies beautiful for the way they changed, or of how beautiful they are in the moment when they float by you, effortlessly gliding and showing off its colourful wings? Does anyone remember the caterpillar it was before?

I’m not sure. But all I can say is that I’ve definitely been pushed out of my cocoon this month. I’ve learnt how to fly, and the baby caterpillar who never thought I could grow wings this big, wings that spread over 9617km, is very proud of me.

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