I'm in school right now! I have a free lesson during which I can use the internet, and I forgot my homework in my locker, so I'm gonna blog!

Okay, to start, I'd like to apologize to the world for practically abandoning this blog. My bad. I'm really gonna try to update it weekly from now on.

"Why did you decide to come to Hong Kong?" This probably rates as the #1 question I've been asked here. Schoolmates, teachers, the other exchange students - everybody wants to know. At the beginning of this journey, I would tell people that to me, Hong Kong is an exotic place, totally different from anywhere I've ever been before, that I am fascinated by the unique HK culture in which Chinese and Western ideas clash constantly, or that my version of escapism is to run away to the most densely populated place on earth.

But, these answers are becoming less and less relevant as time goes on. My real reason for choosing Hong Kong is becoming more apparent to me every day I am here.

The real reason I am in Hong Kong is because I have a fascination with people. In Iowa, or anywhere in the USA for that matter, I can see a person, and guess a lot about their personality, likes, dislikes, background, and values. Their hair, clothes, speech, and attitude are usually dead giveaways to what type of person they are, and I find this to be quite boring. Though each person is clearly their own individual, they all belong to certain groups, whether by choice or by birth. So, just by looking around, I can garner a lot of information about the people who surround me. Hong Kong is totally different in this respect. Becuase is it such a tiny place with a huge population, it has many more 'types' of people than Iowa. Also, the types are completely different. I just love the feeling of walking around and having no idea what the people around me are thinking, feeling, or doing. Just by looking at them, I have no idea what sort of personality they have, for the most part, and I am still trying to figure out the 'types' of people here. This is something I never expected to be so enthralled with, but it is quite amazing to me to be surrounded by so many people I feel I just can't relate to in any way. From the MK (a local sub-culture) guys with their dyed hair and strange fashion sense, to the stressed businessmen on the MTR screaming into their mobile phones, I feel like there is just some understanding about life we don't share. And its a good thing. Its what makes being an exchange student here so wonderful. I have the opportunity to live among these people, and learn about their culture from the inside out.

This is the most precious thing I think I will leave Hong Kong with. The knowledge that this crazy world has many crazy cultures that make many crazy people, but that I am just another crazy person out of the 6 billion on this earth. Even more so, the knowledge that the world is truly my oyster, and that by simply going, in person, to experience various parts of the world, I can expand my horizons more than I ever knew before. So, the reason I have come to Hong Kong isn't really any of those simple thing I mentioned before. It is becuase Hong Kong is the perfect place for me to start what I hope to continue in some way for the rest of my life; learning about people, their cultures, their lives, and especially what makes them truly unique. With so many people here, my task is quite simple; I am provided daily with thousands of examples of people created here, living the way they feel is right, and doing what they feel is right, that I could never find anywhere else. Because the change from Iowa to Hong Kong is so clear-cut (almost nothing is the same), I am really discovering that this is a passion of mine; being surrounded by these 'different' people.

Well, that all sounds pretty deep. But its true. I can't possibly put into words all the things I've learned here in these quick 7(ish) weeks, but I can now definitively say that the reason I am in Hong Kong is to learn about the world and its people, and to start my adult life. I feel much more independent and mature than ever before, and I have really just begun to think about what is important enough to me in life to pursue in the long term. I hope my self-discoveries continue througout the next 8 months here, and they can be applied to whatever I do in the future.

I hope this doesn't all come across as sappy. But I'm just having such a great time and this blog seems like a fine enough place to organize and share my thoughts.

Look forward to the next blog post! It'll be about hk, not me. I promise!


Comments (1)

On November 21, 2009 at 7:23 PM , Michael H. said...

Hi Ben,

Love your blog! I was an AFS exchange student in Hong Kong 9 years ago and can't forget it. I just returned from visiting my host family and lot of memories came back. But truly, your blog really describes everything the way it was for me. You do capture the daily life of an exchange student so well. Thanks for that! Good luck with everything!

michael from czech republic