Recently I find myself drawn down the memory lane of the past year of my life (it sure seems like I have been doing a whole lot of thought ruminating lately, doesn't it?). Well, I suppose that's what happens when you suddenly find yourself on vacation. Free time to ponder. My down time so rapidly turns into time to contemplate my life. I consider myself very fortunate to indulge in such luxurious meditation. It is therapeutic, and definitely an important step in the process of learning about who I am and what kind of life I am pursuing.
One thing is for certain, the past 12 months were full, and I am thankful for the relaxation and rest I am getting now. Last June I left my life as I knew it in Colombia and relocated to to my high-school hometown of Kingston, Ontario, Canada. I spent 2 months rediscovering my independence and quickly fell in love with living alone. School started and I was promptly served a community-in-a-classroom. The first 3 months of the O.E.E. program at Queen's University were an action-packed adventure sequence, fueled with the making of great connections, cooperative learning and eventually creating solid friendships. The following 3 months were characterized by climate. Winter was serious this past year in Ontario; solid and strong. I hadn't seen snow in 4 years. Through the spirit of O.E.E. and encouraged by a promise I had made with myself to embrace and enjoy it, I spent as much time as possible outdoors. Skiing, camping, fort-building, snow-ball fighting, skating, snowshoeing, and just simply walking around in the furry of it all was wondrous. In early February I attended the International Teacher's Job Fair and landed my dream job for the upcoming 2 years. Let me tell you, this achievement falls within the 5 most exhilarating and emotionally draining experiences of my entire life. I spent the next 2 months in the coffee growing region of Colombia completing my alternative practicum with my good friend Brian. We took some time off at the end to enjoy all the fine things that Colombia has to offer (a self-prescribed and well-deserved holiday). We returned to Canada, to face the last month of school before graduation. That 30 days was brimmed with farewell partying, attentive appreciation for all the little things and shining moments with dear friends. Those days, of course, flew by. I spent May packing up and saying some proper good-byes (not my normal style, but definitely worth the time). Then I headed to Vancouver in early June, and the rest is blog history (see previous postings if you're just tuning in).
Wow... what a fantastic year! And what a lucky girl I am.In just under 2 weeks I will arrive in a crowded city of 8 million people. A stranger will be at the airport to pick me up and take me to a hotel, where I will sleep for 7 nights. In those first few days I will have to figure out how to get myself around the city to see prospective apartments, how to make appointments to see those apartments, how to order/buy food, how to communicate with people who don't speak English, and how to plug in my computer without frying it with 220 volts of electricity. It should be exciting, and maybe frustrating, and maybe scary. But mostly exciting.
I have set a few ambitious goals for myself as I set out to begin a new life in Hong Kong. Redefinition and re-evaluation of who I think I am is a humbling process tied into moving around the globe. Amongst other things, I hope to learn how to use a fancy camera and take better quality photos. I want to join a scuba diving club and get underwater as often as possible (maybe even upgrade my certs). I plan to practice different styles of yoga and maybe take a stab at Wushu, Wing Chun, Tai Chi or even Kung Fu. I also want to write (friends, please remember that I sometimes might need encouragement) both in this blog and on another writing project that I began 3 years ago. Obviously I want to learn to speak basic Cantonese, and I'd love to study Chinese calligraphy. I have discovered that Hong Kong has some fabulous hiking trails and there are groups of expats who organize regular group trips, so I plan to hike as much as I can. I have researched the best city parks for running trails, picnicking and just general parking. I will likely chose my apartment based on proximity to parks and green space. I recently learned that Hong Kong is hosting the equestrian portion of the Beijing Olympics, at the famous Happy Valley Racecourse, so I may end up spending a day at the races!
As for my last 2 weeks in Korea, I believe there are a few adventures awaiting me here before my departure. I will finish up my last English classes on Friday, which gives me 10 days of pure holiday before leaving. In that time Bonnie will have a 3 day holiday, creating a 5-day weekend and we are planning to head East where we will stay at a historic Korean temple. I will also splurge on at least one exorbitant dinner before I go - I am dying to go to this specific Japanese Tuna restaurant, and we'll more than likely hit up another Norae Bang.
Those stories and more, up next! Stay tuned....