November 24, 2015

People Everywhere

Twelve days into Hong Kong and the stages of adjustment are  playing out more or less as anticipated, but living-breathing-moving-functioning through them iss o much more  simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting than I had expected.

Of the many stages one goes through when moving to a new country, I'm only at stage 1.2--the adrenaline of landing here and sussing out basic needs is complete and now my body is craving routine and normalcy, which I now savor in the tiniest of doses.

I'm building little routines: waking up early to practice a bit of yoga at my temporary apartment, after which I take the exact same route each day walking to work. Then in the office I try to strike a nice balance between being a total newbie and picking up where I left off in Seattle.

All of these things sound familiar and simple enough, but they look and feel like nothing I'm used to.

Take the commute, for example. I'm staying a convenient 15-minute walk from work, which is made even easier by the above-ground human freeway that snakes one story above the cars, shops and sidewalk below.

The mass of people in Hong Kong is incredible. During commuting time, it doesn't really matter if you don't know exactly where you're headed, because you very literally just go with the flow of traffic. 

Human feet far exceed the intelligence of cars in a traffic jam, there's something intuitive about people walking with one another despite the variance in speed and cadence of steps. It's only when some poor human tries swimming upstream that near collisions occur. I've unfortunately been said human a few times this week.

Among the mass of bodies, it's fun trying to make some sort of interpersonal connection, even if only for a split second--catching a "yep, we're in this mass together," glance. Though it's more difficult than one would think, it seems the majority of folks I join on the great walk every morning have been hypnotized into complacency after taking it day after day.

There are few cities in the world that command energy like Hong Kong. It's like New York, Shanghai, and I imagine maybe Tokyo and Mumbai, in that the city is like it's own creature living, pulsing and feeling the collective highs and lows of its inhabitants. 

It's only when a place achieves a certain mass of people that it can force you out of your individual self and into the collective beat of a population. This is something I have never experienced on a daily basis for any length of time, and is something to work on growing accustomed. I am simply a cell in Hong Kong, fortunate to have the chance to pulse through her veins.

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