Saturday, November 23, 2013

Not blogging

So apparently I am NOT blogging. I had good intentions but I think I prefer the interaction on Facebook especially since many of my friends and family are there.

I will just say that I am enjoying my time in Hong Kong. School is more challenging than I expected, I spend way too much time trying to learn to write characters, doing homework, studying for quizzes, etc. with less than satisfactory results. The program is quite intensive and my brain is not keeping up as well as I as I would like. And the more I study the harder it is to enjoy what Hong Kong has to offer.

I have a plan to have an easier semester in the Spring. And that will be it. Forget the diploma (3 semesters) I am just aiming for the certificate right now. And forget being a star student, I just want to freaking pass. What's the point of the certificate? For some people it will be useful in either finding a job or as professional development. For me? Not really sure. But after one semester, you don't leave with anything, after 2, if you meet the requirements, you get a certificate, just seems more fulfilling.

Don't get me wrong, I am learning a lot, I like my classes, the teachers and the program. It is just too much for me at this point in my life (yep, sometimes I feel my age).

After the certificate? I would like to stay on, get a job, put what I have been learning to use, enjoy Hong Kong more and travel in the area a bit. Still a tall order but as long as I am having fun and not in the poorhouse, then all is good.

If you want to follow my adventures here in Hong Kong and are on Facebook, let me know, look me up, whatever. If not, I will still attempt to blog here and there.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Jet lag, the heat and housing

I am not sure if it is the heat or if I still have jetlag but I am still tired much of the time. I am sleeping but I usually wake up a couple hours earlier than desirable. It is annoying but I know that it will pass.

I am known for getting cold easily. Often when people say it is hot, I am still rather comfortable. But not here, not now. I am on the opposite side of the world and reacting likewise. I am assuming I will get used to the heat, at least somewhat, but until then I am really trying to keep my exposure to the outdoors minimal.

You can't stay indoors and apartment hunt and I did that for 4-5 days in a row. It really wiped me out. The college connected me with a property agent. This would be to rent an apartment. Honestly, I wasn't sure I wanted to do this but I wanted to give it a fair chance. The agent was showing me apartments I couldn't really afford but at least they were furnished. A couple were shareable but then I would have to find a roommate. For the most part they were rather horrible, terrible layouts and tiny, tiny bathrooms. Then the couple that I saw that I felt I could live in were problematic because of my being unemployed. One landlord wanted a year's rent in advance. Needless to say I wasn't going to do that. It isn't that I didn't understand their position, because I do, but it wouldn't work for me. 

I was on borrowed time, I had booked a room via airbnb for only 12 days. A new friend, a local who used to be an exchange student in the US with my cousins, kindly helped me out one of the days.  As we walked from apartment to apartment she called up service apartments for me. I had already discounted service apartments because of the price but also because there are very few in the New Territories but it was nice to have someone else helping me and coming to the same conclusion.

I had found a roommate matching website for Hong Kong before I left. It is free to a certain extent then there is a small fee. You really need to pay the fee to contact folks but it was worth it. I was lucky enough to only have to go to see two apartments to find one that I liked and that welcomed me. I am now renting a room from a very nice young professional woman in Tai Wai. The location is ideal, I am right across the street from the MTR station. And it is only 3 stations to get to school everyday.

Now some of you who know me may wonder if I will be comfortable sharing an apartment after so long of having my own place. Well, I shared my apartment with my niece my last two months in NYC, then I spent 6 weeks in the home's of my siblings then came here, renting a tiny room in Hung Hom from a great airbnb host. So essentially, I have already been doing it for awhile. And to be honest, financially and stress-wise it is the best solution.

Today was checkout day at my airbnb place. And it was moving day. Perfect timing. I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten this far. Now I can focus more on my classes.

Monday, September 9, 2013


I have arrived!

Despite springing for the more comfortable Premium Economy seat once again I didn't sleep much on my flight here. I wonder if I would sleep if I were in First Class? I may never know, this was already quite a splurge for me. And this time I boarded somewhat sleep deprived since I had to be up at 3 a.m. to get to the airport for my flight to JFK, leg one of my trip. But I already took a nap and I think I will get some sleep tonight. I  always have jetlag so I expect the same this trip as well. My airbnb hostess is very nice and the bed is comfortable so I think I will be fine here.

Tomorrow I will head to Chinese University of Hong Kong and get the lay of the land so to speak.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Progess Report

Phase one of my transition is complete. My move from NYC to Rochester is done. Honestly, I think this was the hard part. I lived in NYC for longer than anywhere else, Rochester may be my hometown but NYC was my home. Yes, I definitely miss NYC already but I am looking forward to my Hong Kong adventure. I am in relaxation mode right now and it feels good, these last few months I have been very stressed and my body needs the break.

Still waiting to hear on my student visa but I was accepted in the Cantonese program (YIPPIE!) so I am confident it is just a matter of time. If they turn me down? I have a plan B, no worries. My mind is made up, my flight is paid for, I am going to Hong Kong no matter what.

Many people find my decision to return to Rochester a bit unbelievable after so long in NYC. To be honest, since I made that decision I have had many thoughts about this that aren't very coherent. Yes, as I get older I feel the pull to be closer to my family again and that is what spurred that decision. But now that I have no job and no apartment to maintain, I feel quite liberated. It is a feeling that I am enjoying right now.

We'll see.

My next blog post will most likely not be until September, when I am in Hong Kong.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Prodigal Blogger

It has been awhile. A really long time. Did you miss me? LOL Actually not only was I not blogging I lost track of many of the blogs I regularly followed. Truly the prodigal blogger. Am I back for good? I can't make any promises but I want to chronicle my next adventure for myself and my friends so I am dusting off the blog.

In a nutshell, I will be unemployed rather soon and that is okay. It is partly by choice. I could have done more to avoid it and I didn't. And I had plenty of time to look for a new job and I didn't. I have been talking about leaving NYC for a long time now. Well, the lease on my apartment is up soon too.

So what am I going to do? I am headed to Hong Kong. But not to work. At least not yet, that's a maybe, a "we'll see." I have sent in my application for a student visa and enrollment at the Chinese Language Centre at CUHK to study Cantonese. I am aiming for the Diploma, which is 3 semesters, a full year of full-time study. I am pretty sure I have enough savings to get me through the year plus do some traveling. I am not a big spender, so I think it is doable.

When I stayed in Hong Kong for 5 weeks back in 2010 I stayed at a service hotel in Jordan. It was okay but not something I want to do this trip. I am going to have to find a long term place. Being that I will basically be a Continuing Education student I have some but not all the privileges of a regular student. No on-campus housing. But I am okay with that, my days of dorm living are long behind me. I can however use their off-campus housing office. I have no idea of how helpful they will be, only time will tell.

I have just sent in my application so I don't know if I am accepted yet. Regardless I am going, I have a one way flight booked and my first two weeks of housing paid for--trying out airbnb for the first time. I have a plan B which is even more relaxed than this plan. Yes, I consider going to school full-time in Hong Kong relaxed. I haven't "just" gone to school since I was 16 years old. First I went to school full-time and worked part-time and when I got older I did the reverse. So being restricted by the student visa to only taking classes will seem like a vacation to me.