Today is BIG.
Today is my 3 year anniversary of living in Hong Kong! I’m quite proud of that declaration, because while it may have only taken a few seconds to type, it took 1,095 days to live. By now (if you’re a long time reader) you’re probably wondering if all I do is set around and count the number of days I’ve lived in Hong Kong and yes, the answer is yes. But also, I am here to say I have enjoyed many of those days.
Especially the last 134 days.
Three years ago I had a renewed vision for how I wanted to live my life. It required drastic changes. As I worked to achieve that vision, I learned I had to surrender it to the possibility of something greater. Experiencing success in my life didn’t happen until I surrendered to that vision, allowing it to lead me to the next best place.
Somewhere along this path, Hong Kong and I made a turn for the better. It is true, the life of a Hong Kong expat doesn’t have real life responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean it is one without consequence or one without significant impact. Hong Kong, if you’re listening (which you’re probably not because you’re too distracted locating the close door button on the elevator…) I’d like to thank you. You’re a city full of contradictions, where apologies and boneless chicken never happen. But, you’re also the place that toughened me up, taught me how to be more, do more and accept more than I thought possible. And a city I still choose to call home.
I know we all experience change, no matter where we live, but since I’m Ken and this blog is according to Ken, and this post is about Ken, here are some things I’ve learned and experienced over the last 3 years.
First and foremost, I found the love of my life.
I have worked with not one, but two incredibly supportive family owned and managed, Hong Kong based companies. I’m fortunate I get to work today with such a great team, doing what I love to do. On the flip side, (you know me, always keeping it real…) as the only foreigner employed by either of these companies, I have not heard a word of English in 3 years.
After recently moving to my fourth (and last…) flat in Hong Kong, I can now say I’ve experienced calling home to Causeway Bay, Mid-Levels and Sheung Wan.
I’ve learned living in Hong Kong is exactly like living in an amusement park. People love to visit only to discover the brochure was slightly airbrushed, there are long lines for everything, stepping on gum or vomit is inevitable, a good amount of fun and laughter is balanced by fear and uncertainty, bathrooms are covered in pee, umbrellas are the only reliable (and painfully annoying) source for shade, air conditioning (when found) is always freezing cold, food and drinks are over priced and everyone walks slow and holds hands.
I became a proud father of two! If you doubt the positive impact pet ownership can have on your life, come talk to me! After barely surviving my first 8 months, adopting Lily and Grayson brought back a huge part of who I am as a person. Now, living in only 236 sq ft, we have our moments… but I wouldn’t trade one pee stained day for one without their unconditional love and chocolate brown eyes.
Hong Kong may not be prettiest or cleanest or healthiest place to call home, but life in Hong Kong does have its benefits. There’s dim sum. There’s the beaches. There’s hiking. There’s Airport Express. Did I mention dim sum? Well, there’s dim sum.
I have to mention the blog. Combined, new and old, I’ve written (and perhaps you’ve read…) one of my 128 posts, which have been read by over 554,000 readers from 72 countries. I have been published on travel sites, invited to participate in case studies… even asked out on dates. [Side confession: Profile picture
maydoes appear more handsome than actual person.] I’ve never made any kind of conscious decision about what I should and should not write about. Although not always devoted to Hong Kong, my posts have always been… according to me! This blog is, after all, a loose reflection of what’s going on with my life. I may not respond to every email, but reading your regards, questions and (more importantly) details of who you are, what’s going on with your life and what you like most about reading my blog, well, you will never know how thankful I am. Bear hugs for everyone!
What’s next you might ask? Well, travel! I can’t make any promises, but I promise never to return to Bangkok (been there more times than I can count). Bangkok is cheap and easy and, well, cheap and easy are sometimes just easier, and, then there’s the cheap factor. Cheap, typically, is always easy. It’s only a few hours away, and that’s easy, and also cheap. Basically, I know I will return to Bangkok, soon. But that said, I will never go back to Bangkok, again.
ANYWAY. I am super excited for Christmas. Cold weather and Christians here I come! Next month, we’ll be passing through Moscow, Paris, Pornic and Nantes, while making our way to Budapest! Not only Buda and Pest, but also… ABBA on New Years Eve! Sorry, but I just could not keep that to myself another day. Once we get back, do laundry and pay off the plastics, (both tasks taking approximately forever) we plan to continue on with our bucket list of visiting the balance of every southeast Asian country within the next 2 years.
If I had to pick just one lesson, that I have fully learned, from the last three years, it would have to be LIFE IS LONG. So please, wherever you live, slow down and stop trying to make the most out of every minute. Some of us are so consumed with filling our schedules, consistently checking emails and texts, worrying about retirement accounts, contracts, or just exactly how long of a supply of Jiffy peanut butter Hong Kong Island has… I’ve learned there is time for what is important. And with Mom’s help, Jiffy.
Just relax. Be still. Savour it.