I’ve often thought of myself as someone who’s definitely guilty of delaying work, and leaving things to the last minute, a view shared by many friends of mine as they question why I’ve only just started on a 2000 word essay about a week before it’s deadline. And so one might have good cause to raise an eyebrow at an entire four-month delay between blog posts, but you know what, I think I’m actually going to give myself this one just for once.
So yes, it’s not too often that you have to self-evacuate from your own year abroad study program, but as the old Chinese adage goes, “may you live in interesting times”. And what with the siege of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University being broadcast all across the globe, I, alongside many other students studying at now occupied educational establishments, were immediately given orders to return back home ASAP. Which I did after a few days of saying farewell to friends and getting my own personal affairs in order. And even then I had to contend with a nasty case of tonsillitis over the course of a 15 hour home flight.
So I’m currently writing this at my new placement at Nijmegen, and I’ll go into the process of applying there and my experiences in Holland in another past. But how can I really meditate on my experiences in Hong Kong given that it ended so prematurely? At the time, I was incredibly upset that I had to leave a location that I felt I never really got a chance to fully embrace (“I’ll save up my money for semester 2” being my main rationale for not jet-setting across South-East Asia with the other international students), with courses that I had a major interest in. And even though HKU was literally occupied and wrecked by black-clad protesters, I still felt in my heart of hearts that at the time I could have, and should have stayed (At least for the sake of my local friends as well). But now especially with the Coranavirus outbreak as well, perhaps I did indeed mange to dodge a figurative (And perhaps literal) bullet.
But I’ll remember my time there with an incredible fondness, and an admiration for the truly global feeling of the city. In these times of Brexit, I found there was something to admire about Hong Kong’s internationalist approach to welcoming all who sought to make a life for themselves amidst the hustle and bustle of the sweltering climate, with a wide variety of opportunities for those who wanted to take them. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to visit there again sometime, but even if I do, I feel like I’ll constantly be saddled with the regrets of the opportunities presented to me over there that I never got to take.