Why not, take a crazy chance? Why not do a crazy dance? If you lose the moment, you might lose a lot, so why not? -Hilary Duff’s Why Not
In twenty one hours, I would have spent my first week out of sixteen weeks here in Hong Kong. If you don’t know yet or have not read my sidebar, I am currrently an exchange student in Hong Kong for the Fall Semester. After deciding to finally leave my LiveJournal which lasted four years, my soul brotha blogger Jose suggested I start my blog with a post that’ssomething like “Hong Kong in a Nutshell”, but because I rarely research about things I write because I think it takes out the fun in writing (boo me), I decided to do something else.
Hong Kong in Seven Days
Needless to say I am learning a lot here. No, my classes have not yet started but the er, realizations I’ve been gaining about how big the world really is, are really interesting and it made me think a lot about a lot of things, not just about how different/same my country is with the world but also about what lies out there that I have yet to see and experience. The big word on this term abroad is: cultural differences. I don’t know if culture is the biggest factor in these differences, maybe in habits, that’s true but differences in perspectives, I don’t know. I can’t even exactly define what culture is and how far it affects something in a person but whatever. I just wanna write down the random things I’ve noticed and learned so far that really interested me.
1. 55555555 | I was chatting in facebook with a new friend I met in the school orientation. She’s from mainland China, somewhere near Shanghai I think. We exchanged messages then she typed a string of 5’s, as in, 5555555, something like that. I asked her what that was about and she said it was her way of saying she’s sad. It was like her version of huhuhu or wawawa. She said it’s because in saying a string of 5’s sounds like your’e crying. I can’t remember if it’s hu or wa, and I can’t listen to google translate pronounce 5 in Chinese, but there you get the point. Haha. Found that pretty cool.
2. Tea Thank You | We’ve been having traditional Chinese food here and tea’s always served. For our first night, we went to Kowloon City and went to this tiny restaurant where the menu was in pure Chinese characters so the local students ordered for us. Tea was served immediately and since recenetly my mom keeps craving for TBoy, I’ve gotten used to drinking tea. However, I was pretty tired from walking all the way to Kowloon City, I didn’t know it was going to be that far. We were all sweating like crazy and the weather here is crazy humid. So Kathleen requested for cold water. The local student asked the waitress but then she said they don’t have cold water, only room temperature water. So they said it was fine, then the waitress came back to say that all they have is hot water. There. Okay, I find that really interesting, okay? Haha. What is different? So we’ve been having tea a lot recently, thankfully I love it and yesterday we were taught how to say thank you when being served tea. You tap your fore finger and middle finger together on the table while saying thanks. I think this was mentioned during one of our school’s predeparture seminars but I can’t remember. Again, I found that pretty cool.
3. Keypads | Another thing I’ve noticed here is that almost everyone is using an iPhone. As in everyone, it’s pretty interesting. Anyway, so we’ve been exchanging our HK numbers and stuff then I had to type my name into a German girl’s iphone. So when I reached ‘y’ in ‘timmy’, I was, “Where is y?!” Apparently, German keypads are different because the Y and the Z are exchanged. I’m not sure if that’s the only thing that’s different but yeah. That’s pretty different already because I’ve always thought keyboards were universal. When I was sharing this to Kathleen, our French friend said, we have a different keypad too. Great, world-shattering. Haha. I felt so stupid but it’s okay, I’m used to it. It was nice to learn that though.
4. Characters | I’ve been seeing a lot of new characters recently, as in like the fancy a with the two dots on top, tons of Chinese characters, strange spelling of names like ‘nh’. I just find it really cool that I met someone with the a-dot-dot. Apparently, each a has a different way of pronouncing it, it’s not that complicated though I think. It’s just like short a and long a but still, it’s cool. Another guy, he’s Swedish but he’s from Vietnam. His name is Binh. The ‘nh’ is pronouced the same way as the ñ. Also, I’ve noticed a lot of people use the “~” here when they chat and type. Then, also, a Singaporean told me when we were looking at the menu at the Floating Restaurant that the Chinese characters there are spoken differently in Cantonese and Mandarin but they use the same characters. Yeah, so that’s just a ton of random observations about characters here. Pretty interesting, I think.
5. Beaches | Now this is just a funny story. So I met a Malaysian guy a while ago and he asked what was nice about the country or something like that. So we mentioned that there are so many beautiful beaches in the Philippines, like seriously. We were going on and on abou tthe beaches and he suddenly said, “You mean, there are many beautiful girls in your country?” It took me a second and it had me burst out laughing. That was crazzyy. Pronunciation’s a huge factor in conversation these days, seriously. Barok is just not acceptable. Plus, I finally learned that the translations of text in Koko Krunch cereal boxes are Malay. I have memorized them every since I was young, always fascinated with different languages, and I actually got to ask the Malaysian guy if it “Tahukah Anda” is indeed “Did You Know?” Haha. Yes, I knew I could’ve always googled it, but where’s the fun in that?
6. Snow and Ice | I got to hang out with a girl from Czech Republic and New York yesterday. They were talking about the weather, especially since the American girl’s hometown is apparently underwater then. They were sharing that it’s always so cold in Czech Republic and they were sharing stories about snow. They were talking about how such a big hassle snow is, etc. etc. And all I could say was, “Wow, you have snow.” She replied, “Yes, I feel very bad for you” in this sarcastic way and all I cuold do was laugh. It’s pretty cool, we really always want the things we don’t have. I don’t know why that is, maybe because you’re always so curious about things you don’t have. I’ve always wanted to play with snow, and make a snow angel and stuff like that. I could make a kickasz snowman. But here she was, explaining how hard it was to shovel and all. Plus, she said that now they’re getting ice storms. I love how she said it, “Apparently, ice storms are the new thing now. Thanks, global warming.” So true. She said this was much worse, the roads get cleared of ice but the sidewalks don’t. They walk on the sidewalks covered with an inch of ice, scared of slipping in every step. Interesting, again.
7. Art | I’ve met two art exchange students here. One is from Germany and one is from Spain. The girl from Spain has apparently been all around the world and when we were walking in the streets of Lan Kwai Fong, she was sharing how she thinks that the world is ruled by money that’s why people are sort of forced to go into business and these technical things that they don’t really wanna do. (She found out I was studying Business, just like majority of the international students here.) She said that it’s fine since obviously we need money to survive but she feels like we still need to do something for ourselves. The other student was then talking about art with our French friend. She was saying that she thinks the only people who have a shot at being creative are those people who are not afraid to make mistakes. I think this was after she heard this local student practice piano in the piano room here in the halls. She said that they just go and go you know, and that’s what makes them creative. And there I was sitting beside them thinking if I should drop my calligraphy course or not since the building was apparently four stations away. It also again, took me to my piano days. I stopped playing when I screwed up my recital piece when I was in Grade 6. I haven’t played hardcore pieces since then, not even my Grade 6 recital piece which I know, I know by heart. Haay. These people made me really think you know, like that’s so true. Even when I dance I’m always so afraid to make a mistake, but comeon. I miss doing these things, things that make me happy, because I’m afraid to make a mistake. Golly, cheesy, but yeah, they’re so right. (But yes, I think I’m still dropping my calligraphy. But now I’m suddenly thinking again.)
So yeah, technically, it’s still not seven days. But whatever, I’m learning in a crazy pace here and I actually like what I’m learning. Nothing’s conclusive though, and that’s what’s awesome about it. I dove into JTA Sem with only the burning desire to travel (nuks). I didn’t know where I could go. It’s really crazy how I’m here right now (sadly I can’t use the phrase halfway around the world) and how I’m meeting people from all over the Earth. It’s really just awesome.
I’m hoping I get to meet even more people and learn even more interesting things than these. I changed my blog because I felt like it. Change is scary but staying stuck in the same place is a lot scarier. So, why not?
Hilary Duff had it right. (P.S. I'll post pictures soon.)