A Hong Kong Confessional

It’s lonely out here.

Slowly, minute by minute, day by day, it leaves you. Maybe one day it’s a smell you can’t remember. Maybe a name. It could be the tune of a TV show who’s name you can’t recall playing over and over in your head. It is subtle, and slow. Things disappear. For a long while you don’t notice, as you try to deal with the never-ending conveyor belt of the strange and new that moves past you every second of every day, until slowly it becomes the normal that you learn to navigate. But one day, in a breath, you might turn around and realize you have forgotten once familiar faces and places. And on that day when you do go home for a visit or even to stay – you realize you have lost your culture, and something else has taken hold and changed you.

It could be in the way you walk. How you carry yourself. It could be that you don’t remember proper table manners anymore, or your physical “bubble” has grown larger or shrunk. Somehow, you are different. You don’t belong – not like you used to.

It won’t be like this forever.

“Disconnect” they call it. “Reverse culture shock.” I have been in Asia for three years. I don’t belong here, and I won’t be staying much longer either. The time to move on is approaching. But where? I have no connection with what is happening at home, nor any real desire to return. And now what was once familiar has become foreign. I left home for opportunity, for change and hope. Opportunity I found. Change I found. Hope comes and goes. She is so flighty. Tonight she is probably out hanging on the shoulders of some high rollers in a Macau casino. Or maybe she isn’t anywhere near my vicinity – even if I called her phone is out of range. So here I sit in my apartment and wonder – where do I go from here?

Times are hard. Everyone is saying so. Most days I don’t let myself believe it. I keep pushing on and working hard and hoping for the best. Today I wonder – I am I going where I hope to be going? Is it even possible? I’ve had highs and lows out here. I’ve seen magic and mayhem. I’ve felt misery and joy. The world is laid out as a carpet at my feet for as long as I wish, and as long as I stay clever.

Where to go? What to do? My heart is drumming somewhere out there but I can’t find the source of the vibrations.

I need some god damn sleep.

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