So Jan and Alice came to visit last week. For 9 wonderfully exhausting days we toured Hong Kong. They both got to participate in their first protest actions – courtesy of Go-to-work-with-Liz-Day. We saw golden Buddhas, very very large Buddhas, and Mickey Mouse. In that order. We ate every food that ends with -ese. We had High Tea in ugly shoes and Vodka in a place where you have to wear a parka. I took them to the Ladies Market where they bought a Mah Jong set and a Chinese dress for Jan’s dog Bella. We didn’t see any live pandas, much to Jan’s great disappointment, but we did see Batman. We watched rugby with a bunch of Aussies and were serenaded in Macau by 3 Portuguese men. Jan celebrated her 27th birthday Hong Kong style with a multi-national pizza, complete with mustard, prawn and satay. We stayed up until 4:30 in the morning catching up, and slept away the morning heat. I got sunburned. Jan got tan. Alice stayed white. There was bamboo, a lot of walking, even more sweating, hours of laughter, deep discussions on books and even deeper discussions on boys. Jan tried her tongue at fun words like Doh Jey and Tsim Sha Tsui. But most of all, there was a sense of home. Two women whom I deeply treasure made the horrific journey around the world (word to all you travelers out there: Apparently Korean Air is the way to go. They serve wine. In coach. Enough said.) just to see me. Well, maybe to see Hong Kong and use me for a free place to stay, but I’ll take it.
I’ve reached a lull. A seemingly impassible wall of loneliness and homesickness. I know that this too will pass. That I will look back on my time in Hong Kong as a time of great growth and wonderful memories. True. But I’m still lonely sometimes. And still homesick more than I’m often willing to admit; to myself or to others. In some ways, I’m ready to move on. To see what’s next. Where my next adventure will lead. What my next placement has in store. But in other ways, I can’t imagine leaving this place. This community of activists and migrants who call this place home for now. So being able to share a little bit of this, my place for now, with people who know me so well (too well?); to have a sense of comfort and home crammed into the 300 square feet that is my apartment. Well, it helped ease a little bit of the struggle. Not the struggle for justice or peace. But the inner struggle of leaving and staying. Of not always knowing my place. To get to play tour guide for a week. Getting to introduce old friends to new friends. It helped solidify this place a little more as home. As least for now.