Saturday, April 10, 2010

What am I doing?

What am I doing? I am freaking out. Or at least I was. I think I am past the worst of it. At some point I lost confidence in myself and the whole idea of learning Cantonese and going to Hong Kong alone for 5 weeks seemed absolutely absurd. I have been avoiding studying Cantonese and even went back to my roots so to speak and was studying Italian again--probably not that usefull in Hong Kong, LOL Just the fact that I am writing about this tells me that I am coming out of it. And it isn't absurd, it is an adventure. An adventure I have wanted to take for years but couldn't for various reasons. As soon as my freak out is completely over, I will get excited about that again I am sure.

One thing I did do in this time was to decide finally where I am going to take classes in Hong Kong. The 3 week intensive class at CUHK intimidated me and I was worried that I would be spending too much of my trip alone in my room doing homework. I am sure it is a great class, but not really for me, not this trip anyway. So I am going with the classes via The description of the classes seem like something I could comfortably do and still hopefully learn a lot of Cantonese. They actually have a homestay component which sounds appealing on one level and stressful on the other--I haven't lived with anyone in decades so right there that would be quite an adjustment but then to have to only communicate Cantonese with them ... that is for a future trip, not this one.

Now that that is settled, my trip is planned. Which is why it has been frustrating to me that I have been freaking out versus getting excited. And I am getting excited, this is my biggest trip ever. And hopefully it will answer a question I have had about myself for a long time--am I flexible enough to live overseas? In my mind if I can't do it in a big international city like Hong Kong, I won't be able to do it anywhere.

Meanwhile I am planning on doing a lot of vocabulary review in the next few weeks as well as listening to some CDs and mp3s that I have, mostly Pimsleur and those from I have been exposed to a lot of vocabulary, some I know really well, some not so well, the rest I have been exposed to only once or twice and haven't retained. Another blogger advised to focus on vocabulary in a recent post which makes sense to me right now. I have been focused on grammar and word order lately and maybe that has been a factor in loss of confidence.


  1. I don't know why I couldn't do links today, I have been able to in the past.

  2. Just relax and have fun! Of course, you'll be overwhelmed and freaked out again when you first arrive in Hong Kong, as I was. But once you settle in, you're going to have a great time.

    I'll be curious to hear about your course. BTW, where will you be staying?

  3. Thanks duriandave! Exactly, I just need to relax about the whole thing ... I am getting there.

    I am staying in Jordan, at RentaRoom Hong Kong on Tak Hing Street. It is cheap (because I will get a lower rate for staying a full month) and was recommended by a friend. Do you know it?

  4. I've never heard of Rent-a-Room, but I just went to their website and it looks really nice.

    I usually stay at the YesInn hostel in Fortress Hill on Hong Kong Island. It's cheaper, but the rooms appear to be smaller than Rent-a-Room. YesInn also has long-term service apartments in Kowloon, but I've never stayed in HK long enough to try them out.

  5. Hmm, don't recall seeing that one in my research duriandave. I will let you know what I think of rentaroom after my trip. I know one thing I liked about this place was the option of a kitchenette, not that I really cook, mind you.

  6. When I was looking into places before my last trip, I considered Ice House serviced apartments which usually get good reviews.

    I settled on a hotel with a long-term rate instead, though this coming trip this week will be a tiny bit more expensive for fewer days than my Christmas trip.

    There are a lot of a factors here. My first visit involved a very nice hotel that was overpriced. But, more importantly, I got bored quickly with the location of the place despite the nice digs.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that I can enjoy a 3-star hotel in a better location more than I can a 5-star place in a less interesting area.

    But everyone is different. Have a good trip!

  7. Hi Diana -- There isn't a thing to worry about. There are expats who've lived here happily for decades without learning a word of Cantonese (not that that's your goal, but just saying that you're not going to be lost somewhere and not able to communicate).

    It's one of the safest major cities in the world -- way safer than most U.S. cities. It's one of the most developed in Asia. You're going to be staying right smack downtown.

    I think it was smart to avoid both the formal classes and the home-stay. Just relax and have a good time. And drop me a line before you get here!

  8. I agree Glenn, location is very important. I wanted to be centrally located. I chose this place when I was thought I would be going to CUHK for classes. I am a NYer so commuting isn't anything new to me. I will still have a commute but a shorter one to WanChai, which I could do by ferry so I am excited about that. When is your next trip?

    Thanks Joyce, it all comes down to my expectations and aspirations getting ahead of my reality I think. I think I do this quite a bit, actually, something to work on. Yes, I have to remember it is my vacation and I am there to enjoy myself and the city. I am looking forward to meeting you when I get there.

  9. I will be there from 17 April until 03 May. Staying in Wanchai but it's really closer to Causeway Bay and Times Square in my mind.

    I will be updating the blog a lot on this trip -- going to the Twins concert on my first day there and there are a lot of films that I want to see during that time period.

    When do you go?

  10. My arrival date is May 29th.

    Have fun at the Twins Concert. I always check your blog but I will be following with extra care during your trip, only days away ... jat1 lou6 ping4 on1 (bon voyage)!

  11. Hi Diana --

    Hope it's not too hot when you're here! (As Glenn can tell you, I'm sure, make sure to prepare for the heat and humidity -- not just a different culture!)

    But should you freak out... take a deep breath, calm down and try to enjoy. Also, it sounds that you've down a lot of planning and reading -- and I'm sure that will stand you in good stead.

  12. Hi YTSL--now that the basics are all settled, I have gotten almost all the shopping I expect I will be doing for the trip done ... I feel a lot better. I am back to feeling excited.

    Heat and humidity are pretty common in the average NYC summer. Maybe not as hot and not as humid as Hong Kong, but I should be able to tolerate it to a certain extent.

    This is part of my wardrobe planning, light, cool fabrics with a couple of light jackets/sweaters for the times when I will go from hot & humid outdoors to too much AC indoors.

    I don't know of any other way to prepare myself, if you have any suggestions I would love to hear them.

    (Actually right now we have 97% humidity, but only 50F so it isn't exactly hot)

  13. I guess everything is set by now. If not, have a look of the blog of Roy and Jennifer. Seem that they are having fun in this inexpensive and fun Cantonese class:

  14. Hi W! Thanks for the blog link. Sounds like a great class. If I ever move to HK I would definitely want to check it out more thoroughly. I needed something short term for this trip I think.