If the way that you need
Is too much like greed
Decide if you are rich or you’re poor
I went to a wedding the other day, or rather a wedding reception, for a friend who is more like family than friend. I went with my own parents and the parents of one of my oldest friends who are more like than family than friends too. Chelsea Clinton got married that day too, I heard. Poor kid probably had a lot more headaches than we did out under blue skies and oak trees where I used to suffer through cross-country races back when I was doing anything I could to win the approval of my high school coach. We were headache free.
The people at this party were people I have known (had known?) since before I was able to construct complex sentences or form lucid memories. There is something wonderfully visceral about being around people who you know this well, or at least that you knew well enough at a certain point that the relationship is somehow indelible. It’s nice. These relationships are like Sharpie markers; eternally satisfying.
I caught up with people I had not seen in enough years that they seemed to have gone from first grade to adult in one fell swoop. The kids I babysat had kids. The aunties and the uncles seemed more relaxed, perhaps a little more grey (who isn’t if they don’t have a hair guy like me) and the parents were free to not be.
Of course I faced the questions that one expects after statement, “I just returned from five years in Asia,” comes out. I am getting pretty good at answering a lot of these questions, most of which I have no real answer for… But one of them has been coming up a little more these days:
“Do you miss it?”
I suppose that is to do with the fact that I have now been home a month and the questions about where I am going to live or about work must seem kind of uninteresting when there is no ready reply – or perhaps people feel badly for me that I’ve yet to work that out, I am not sure. Either way, the question of the day was whether or not there was anything I missed about Hong Kong.
I thought about this. In concrete terms, aside from my friends over there, I gotta say: Nope. This may change, but at the moment, it is categorical. But there are things less tangible that are gone, like that certain flair that comes with saying you live overseas… imagined or not, I always felt flair-worthy when I said it. And there is also the loss of the built-in caveat for all commitments that has to do with the reality that every visit may be the last visit – for a very long time. But honestly, that fact remains regardless of one’s location if you want to look at things as a matter of fact. So, those are the sort of ego-stroking possibilities that are no longer there. But in terms of anything else?
If I had to pick something – one thing – that I miss about Hong Kong it has to be the ease with which I could leave Hong Kong. Ironic? Not exactly: HK is the pinnacle of hubs for travel around Asia in my opinion. Somehow, (is it magic?) it seems like everywhere is 2.5 hours away from Hong Kong. I don’t know how that can be possible, and I’ll grant you Bali is 5, but seriously… I am going to miss going to Thailand for the weekend. Or Vietnam. Or Japan. Or Shanghai. You see my point.
Otherwise, as I felt in Hong Kong, I feel pretty good to be right here, right now. Because you know, if the way that you need is too much like greed… it is all down hill from there.
Just ask Boy George.