Day 4 of 15

Today is day 4 of 15 that we’re staying in a hotel. I’m looking forward to finding a place of our own so we can settle in and start looking for work. At first we thought about getting a month-to-month serviced apartment, but upon further consideration we decided that it would be easier to get long-term housing.

First, regardless of how adaptable we might think we are, in reality we are averse to uncertain living arrangements. Peace of mind matters. Knowing where we’ll be settled means one less thing to worry about. We want to start building our new home.

Second, we don’t want to move twice, with the second move being potentially larger. In the Bay Area we’ve done a lot of DIY moving, but here the logistics are a little bit different. We don’t have our own car and it’s more difficult to move things back and forth. If we needed to buy supplies or equipment such as a computer printer, we’d have to move those things to the new place. Better to do it all at once instead.

Third, we really would like to procure supplies and equipment. For example, having a second computer monitor and having a printer would be tremendously helpful with the job search. Being able to do everything at home instead of having to prep everything and bring it to a printing store would be much more convenient and efficient. Without our own place, it is simply not feasible to buy anything more than small items, and even then we are trying to keep from acquiring anything right now per the second point above.

The drawback of finding a place now is that we don’t know where we’re going to be working, which might mean a commute. Even so, it would be a public transportation commute that would be an hour long at most. We could use the time to read or catch up on email. We’re also going to try to find place in a relatively central location so that it’s not too far from everything. We’d rather deal with a potential commute for a year than to have to find a job under uncertain conditions.

The adventure is well under way!

Do the Wave

KMB Buses

We were on the bus yesterday sitting on the upper deck when I watched a lady on a cell phone standing at a bus stop miss our bus because she neglected to wave it down. In Hong Kong, if a bus stop serves more than one route, the bus driver often will not stop if you don’t signal to him. A simple sticking out of the arm and fluttering of the hand will do the trick.

I have seen instances where a malicious driver will continue driving past a single-route bus stop if he sees a person not stick out his arm, or he’ll slow down waiting for you to signal and then shake his head at you when you finally do. Ah, the intricacies of modern bus-flagging!

To be safe, I now stick my arm out every time.

Here’s some more information about this convention on Wikipedia.

Rest and Recovery

Our flight is over and we have made it safely to Hong Kong. The rest of the flight was uneventful, save for the bumpy landing. Thank goodness for the suspension (or whatever it’s called for airplanes).

I would like to commend the Cathay Pacific ground staff for a job well done. Apparently, someone mistakenly took my suitcase and we had to leave the airport with one less bag, the one with all my clothes in it. After taking our first nap, the message light in our hotel room started blinking: it was 2:30 AM, and it was a message from the front desk letting me know that my bag had been delivered!

Both the gentleman at the baggage carousel itself and the one behind the claims counter were polite, courteous, and reassuring. Despite being exhausted, I experienced minimal stress and was very optimistic about my bag turning up. I wasn’t expecting such a quick resolution, though. Thank you King, Eddy, and Esther!

Speaking of naps, our sleep schedule has been one of fits and starts. Just being in the air inside a pressurized cabin is very exhausting; add to that the equivalent of pulling an all-nighter and the result resembles something out of Resident Evil. Despite this, our bodies still seem willing to follow Pacific time. When it is bedtime in Hong Kong it is daytime in SF, and we’re only able to sleep a few hours at most, as if we’re taking an afternoon nap.

Having said that, we’ve been stringing together these naps and finally got in some extended sleep last night, going from 6 PM to 3 AM. There is a feeling of clarity and alertness immediately after waking up, but very soon after the cloudiness returns. We’re being strategic about what things we want to get done and when to eat, as it seems we’re getting hungry all the time. Right now, it’s about 6:30 AM. I imagine we’ll crash around 2 in the afternoon later today. It will be a few more days at least until we start feeling normal again.

On our way…

After 3 months of living at home we are finally on our way to Hong Kong. We are slightly behind schedule; originally, we had planned to be in Hong Kong by November, but of course we had decided to travel instead and didn’t even make it back to SF until that time. Once we were back in SF, we were (well, mostly I was) back and forth on whether we should take the plunge. It seemed that after traveling to so many places, I was comfortable settling down and making a home for myself. A lot of my thinking had to do with how much money we had spent on the trip.

OK, so if I’m stressing about money and we’ve finished traveling, then the next step is to find a job and a place to live. The more I thought about having to find a job in the Bay Area, the more I didn’t want to. It makes no sense. The Bay Area and Silicon Valley is one of the most desirable places to be in the country, if not the world. Why would I want to leave? Why did I keep getting the urge to live and work in Hong Kong?

An excerpt from my personal journal might explain it a bit:

Looking at how I’ve looked at Hong Kong in the past few years, one could say that moving to Hong Kong is my dream. I’ve thought about it so much. I’ve talked about it so much. We’ve already done so much, getting JC’s ID and opening our bank account. We still have that bottle of Lagavulin we’re planning to open once we’re settled. If I don’t do it now, I will regret it for the rest of my life. If I went and got a job in SF now, I would think “what if” every single day. That is the fact of the matter.

I would do well to remember a lesson taught to me during the road trip, when I went swimming at all those hotels. Just close my eyes and jump in. The instant that happens it is shockingly cold, but after a few seconds it’s perfectly fine, and then I start swimming. After 10 minutes, I have had my workout and get out of the pool, and there is such a mix of good feelings: feeling glad that I jumped in, my body feeling good after exercising, feeling hungry and ready to fill my stomach with delicious food. Now, the shockingly cold moment will be clicking “confirm” on the Cathay Pacific website.

Although we are originally from Hong Kong, we have never actually lived and worked there. I want to know how we’ll do over there. Will we survive? Will we thrive? How will we adjust? It’s actually rather interesting. We have been returning to Hong Kong on an almost annual basis for the past few years, which means we have been immersed somewhat in the culture and the society, but at the same time, going somewhere for vacation and actually living there are two separate things. I suppose in making our decision we also had a “grass is greener” mentality; we know that some aspects of Hong Kong life will be better than Bay Area life, despite also understanding that each place has its own pluses and minuses. We want to give the pluses of Hong Kong a try.

We have taken the first step. 9 more hours to go.