“You can leave Hong Kong, but it will never leave you.” – Nury Vittachi, Hong Kong: The City of Dreams
Hong Kong, my reason to get up in the morning and stay up all night. Never could you run out of things to do in Hong Kong. A city that you could ride escalators in the middle of the city, just to get to happy hour on time. A city that built malls with free rooftops to watch the skyline. A city that offers limitless options for a sunset, and each and every are enchanting. Even the thunderstorms and typhoons are wonderfully enchanting. From temples to tsintaos, Hong Kong has it all. A city for adventurers, for foodies, for nature lovers, for parties, for people, for culture.
Arriving in Hong Kong with little expectations made it easier to delve into a new way of life. Coming from a sleepy Irish village into the depths of a city that never sleeps. A new life that demanded adjustment to the language, the MTR, small living spaces, densely populated streets, high rise buildings, time difference and new currency. But all of these challenges were trivial and easy to adapt too. Nothing was ever too large to overcome when you lived in Hong Kong. The city is the most welcoming, fascinating and happy place I have ever lived.
My exchange was with the University of Hong Kong, one of the greatest in Asia and the world, and it was a privileged to be taught by world class lecturers, and the opportunity to learn things that Southampton could never offer me. From being taught Buddhism form a Buddhist monk (*studying one term of Buddhism won’t make you find nirvana) to Mandarin by a local teacher,(*studying one term of mandarin will not make you a Chinese goddess) to teaching me a greater understanding of the Hong Kong Political system. The University of Hong Kong had its historically beautiful 100 year old buildings and vastly contrasted was the new centennial campus making it the greatest university campus I have ever seen – not to forget the discounted Starbucks on campus.
When in Hong Kong – do something different – hire a tram (*mode of transport parties are the messiest)
Crossing the Boarder
Language and culture strains in the capital of China
Featuring, the summer palace, tinnamen square and the great wall of china
Lost in Translation
From one great power to another in the form of Japan
Featuring Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo
Finding the Perfect Paradise
Hong Kong perfect beaches, to channelling your inner Leonardo DiCaprio in Thailand, to the white sands of Philippines, – Asia will guarantee your perfect paradise
South East Asia on a Shoe String
Featuring Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Bangkok, Krabi and Ko Phi Phi
Featuring Siem Reap, Angor Wat and Phonem Penh
Featuring Sapa, Halong Bay, Hanoi and Hoi an
At the end of it all, I realized how much I had grown and changed. I realized the irony of how moving 5,000 miles away from home could lead you to find a place more like home. And because of this, the realization that home goes far beyond nationality or race. I realized how comforting it is to share your city with 7 million other people. And how quickly friends can become family, and making an international network of friends will be the easiest thing you could ever do and they will teach you more about the world than any institution ever could.
That last flight departing from the city of my dreams will stay with me forever. And as hard as it was, it was so worthwhile, it is the cliche of if you are brave enough to leave your comfort zone, and willingly cross oceans and embrace new cultures, you will have the most immensely incredible time of your life wherever the world brings you.
Featuring my favorite memories
Lan Kwai Fong
Wong Tai Sin Temple
Lions Rock Hike
Dragons Back Hike
Nan Lion Garden
Clockenflap Music Festival
Happy Valley Horse races
Wan Chai Wedensdays
High Table Dinners
Wooloomooloo Rooftop Bar
Hong Kong enlightened my life in so many ways, and opened up employment opportunities and desires to work abroad in the future, gave me sofas to crash on across the world, gave me self-sufficiency and independence, time, work and money management, language skills, opportunities to see so many beautiful countries across Asia but most of all, a longing to go back to Hong Kong – my reason to be nocturnal, the city of my dreams, my home, my happy place, my urban jungle.