Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hong Kong: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

When in doubt, write about it.

This has been a week in which I have seemingly annoyed or alienated a great many people because of what I've written on here, on Facebook, or in e-mails.

I never claimed to be perfect, or an expert. And this blog has always been a mechanism to express my opinions.

Sure, I'll be the first to admit I was wrong, or that I rushed to judgment, but I really don't want to ever have to apologize for expressing my opinion.

Everything in my life -- my move to Hong Kong, my current relationship, the things I want in a job -- are attempts to correct mistakes I have made in the past.

And all of those mistakes were the results of instances where I punked out and didn't speak up for myself.

So much personal drama could have been avoided in my work-life and personal life in the last few years if I had just spoken up at the right moments.

Once I made the escape from America, I was determined to not repeat those mistakes (though some mistakes occurred here in HK last year with a girl I was dating at the time).

So about Hong Kong...

Somehow, because I had seen literally hundreds of Chinese films, I thought that I wouldn't experience culture shock. I was wrong. I am.

And I use the term culture shock because it really is a case of the culture of Hong Kong.

Sure, it's sometimes difficult for me being the only non-Chinese person at my office, but that's really not a big deal most of the time, especially since we're making English-language books.

No, the culture shock is related to the culture of Hong Kong, the way this city is, and not so much a Chinese/Caucasian divide -- believe me, there's a gap in behavior between me as an American on Lamma Island and some of the Brits and Aussies I see here.

Simply visiting Hong Kong 5 times between 2009 and 2011, for some 80 days in total, was not enough to prepare me for a life living and working here.

Sure, I've considered going home. And, so far, I keep going back to the idea that I don't want to give up on Hong Kong yet.

My job is the kind I've always wanted. That's a fact. I keep reminding myself of that every time things get tough here.

But, I have to be honest and admit that the cut in pay that I took to live here is something that is bothering me.

It's nobody's fault but my own. My bills are my own.

If i didn't have such enormous credit card debt, I could live here quite well on my current salary.

I never want to be at a place again where I look back and say: "I should have said..."

Life is too short for that. That kind of thinking is what was keeping me in America for so long; it's called self-doubt.

I never ever want to intentionally hurt anyone's feelings. I really don't.

I am smart enough to know what I don't know.

In those instances, I will be the first to admit I don't have the answer, or that I don't know what to do.

But for the other stuff, for the stuff that comes down to my goals: I don't want to compromise.

This applies to both work and my personal life.

With my personal life, it's a bit easier as every relationship starts with one goal: not repeating the mistakes of the last relationship.

The one mistake I'm not going to make is to regret anything here.

I accomplished everything I ever wanted to accomplish in Hong Kong by March.

The big problem is that I didn't have goals beyond those early ones.

If everything falls apart next week -- and it really has felt as if things were falling apart this week -- that's okay. I'll survive knowing that I did what I wanted to do in Hong Kong.

So now, the question is do I stay or do I give up?

The answer, so far, is that I stay.

There are many, many things that I'll never understand, or like, about Hong Kong but I could say the same thing about D.C. or Maryland, right?

The reality is that I am 90% of the way towards having the kind of life I've always wanted.

The problem is the nagging 10% that remains messy, confusing, or disturbing.

Still, compared to this time last year, I'm within steps of the destination.

And while I wrote this for myself, I hope that those of you who are following my life here via this blog or Facebook will read this and realize that it's not been easy here; those of you who were jealous of me for moving here need a reality check.

More than 6 months in, here's to surviving another 6 months in Hong Kong...