Sunday, December 23, 2012

The End

Well here I am at the end of my exchange experience sitting in the airport.  Its such a bittersweet feeling.  The past weeks have just been finals, and spending as much time as I could with my friends who I may never see again.  Overall, I did well in my courses, which proves I can keep up with the Chinese haha.  I do wish i had done a bit more traveling while here, but I feel like I made the most of my time in Hong Kong.  I really feel a part of this city, and I've grown so attached to it.  Returning home will be a bigger shock than coming here I think.  There won't be anymore MTR rides, or catching mini-buses, and conversations always going on around me that I don't understand. And that view from the atrium at UST was still breathtaking till the last day.  Pictures can never convey the beauty of that view and the campus.

I feel like I've experienced more in these 4 months than I have in my entire lifetime.  It went by in the blink of an eye.  I have never felt more grateful to be able to do this, and I have no regrets about this experience. 

I will greatly miss the friends I have made here.  They are the most unique people I've ever met, and if I never get the chance to see them again, I will always remember them.  They are lifelong.

My friend Louis and I eating Thai Food
My friend Gabriel and I eating Korean BBQ
My friend Elly and I eating Dessert
Elly, Me & Gabriel
My friend Marcus (lived next door)
My Hong Kong band GroGoGuys (Guy, Joven, Me)
Friends at the Wanch (Noriko, Datye, Guy, Me, Sonny, Luis, Joven)
My awesome friend Rong
Although I am going back to the US, I feel that there is a part of me that is staying in Hong Kong.  Something tells me I will return someday, I don't know when. 

Well, this is pretty much the conclusion of this blog.  So thanks for reading, and i hope it was useful to anyone looking for a similar experience.  If you have any questions about Hong Kong or UST, feel free to contact me.

Signing Out

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Last Week of Class

Just finished with my last week of class.  Feels great to be done, but a little saddening to know I'll be leaving hong kong soon. And now I've got big finals and programs/assignments due.  My final schedule didn't work out for me travel-wise because my last final is on the 21st, with other finals and due dates in the days before that, but I can still enjoy my time here in Hong Kong.  The classes here were anything but easy in my opinion, and trying to compete with the mainland chinese students in engineering courses is impossible.  This is because the mainland students who are accepted and go to UST, are the very best of the best of their province or city in China.  Most of them spend every waking minute in the library studying.  The local Hong Kong people are more on my level though haha, and many of them are more social and participate in more functions aside from coursework.  That's not to say that all the mainland chinese are introverts who don't know how to have a good time,  as some of the best friends i've made here are from the mainland. 
    I finished with one of my classes this week, Putonghua, which I actually ended up liking a lot.  We had our final this week, and I think I did good on it.  I'm going to continue studying this language when I go back to Lehigh next semester, considering i have a knack for it.  That way, when I return to China someday, I'll be fluent enough to get around on my own easily.  Its a fun and challenging language, that could be very useful in the future.  and besides, if Hong Kong people can do all the same things I can do, and also know 3 different languages (cantonese, putonghua, and english), I can certainly add another language to my skillset.  It won't be easy. 

This Wednesday,  I attended my hall's House V Annual dinner.  The function was supposed to be held outdoors, but it was raining, like it has been for the past 2 weeks.  They moved the dinner inside the hall, having a different group go to each floor's common room.  The dinner was hot pot,  one of the most popular dinner's in Hong Kong,  and it was delicious as always.  After dinner, it had stopped raining, so we went outside to wrap up the function.  It was all in cantonese, so i wasn't too sure what was going on,  but it looked like they gave out awards and had speeches.  also, they had the lucky draw, which I won again(i won before back in october houseV dinner).  House V is the one place where I can get lucky at chance games. 
 My friend Marcus, lives nextdoor to me and helped me find Guy a room in Hall V

Mindy, Sharon, Donald, Luis, Marcus, dunno (5 for House V)

People on my floor committee
Jenny, Tina, Shanice, skip, Dicky, Carrie, Rossana

left-right:  Michael,  Luis,  Rossana & Amy

On Friday, my friend Guy went out to Causeway Bay to get his hair cut and colored blue.  Crazy idea, but You're Only in Hong Kong Once(YOIHKO).  I went with him to help him take photos.  It took three girls to do his hair haha, but I think 2 of them were sorda in training and dont' get to practice on western hair often. 

 These are machines are definitely from the Matrix

  Before and After (was it a good idea haha? I guess HK is the place to try new things)

 The next morning, saturday, I woke up earlier than i wanted to, only because I had received an email about the campus garage sale.  The garage sale was held in the parking garage.  I was expecting almost nobody to go to this, but it was the most crowded garage sale I've ever been to.  I think people outside of the campus even come to this.  Most of the stuff was junk and used items, but they also had people selling homemade crafts and jewelry...

weird backstreet where the show was located

That evening,  I went out to my first underground band show in Hong Kong.  It was out in Ngau Tau Kok, in some sketchy industrial building.  The singer of the one of the bands, Rain In Time, who I met last week at a show, invited me.  I went by myself, but one of my local friends, Joe, from UST was going to meet me there.  When I got off the MTR,  the directions the singer gave me said to take exit B, and then go straight through the tunnel.  Well this seems pretty easy to follow except Exit B contains Exits B1, B2, B3, B4, B5 and B6,   and there were 3 tunnels.... Eventually I figured out the right exit, using one of the landmarks she gave me,  but  then I was lost again after that.  I just called my friend Joe, and he led me to the place.

It was good fun, and interesting to see what the underground music scene in Hong Kong is really like.  A lot of the bands there were of the post-hardcore and emo/screamo genre.  Its really hard for these bands to get a following in Hong kong, and there are only a handful of venues for them to play.  Also, they have to rent rooms in industrial buildings to practice, which can be expensive.  Bands will often split the cost and share the room between two bands, alternating which days they use it.  sometimes they will even convert these bandrooms into a home so they can stay there overnight. This is illegal, but its interesting, because it creates little communities of bands living together in these industrial buildings. This show was in the hallway of one of these band living communities.  Starting a band seems like a big commitment in Hong Kong, as practice space comes at a cost, something I would easily take for granted in America.
及時雨 - Rain In Time
Yo Yo Garrett - the singer who invited me

 couple of the other bands from the night
playing bass with a true bassist would do so
 Just to give you an idea of the venue/band.  I suggest either muting or turning down your speakers, as the sound quality is very bad.  I think these guys can rock.  If you wanna hear what they really sound like --- in my opinion they're the Saosin of HK, very tight

 Now its time to hit the books hard here in the final stretch of my study abroad experience.  I'll hopefully visit some more interesting places in Hong Kong in the next few weeks if I have time.  Also got a few more gigs in Wan Chai coming up.  Time moves faster than ever in Hong Kong.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Typical Hong Kong Sunday

12/2 --- Today I went out with Rong and Sonny for a typical Hong Kong Sunday, we got lunch, saw a movie(Life of Pi), went shopping, had dinner, did more shopping.  Hong Kong is pretty much the best place to do all of these things.  We first shopped at a store popular with the locals, called G.O.D. everything there was kinda expensive and it reminded me of IKEA, but I think this where the wealthy Hong Kong people like to shop for some trendy clothes, furniture, and other items.  We later shopped at the famous "Ladies Market" where haggling is absolutely essential.  Luckily we had Rong with us who is a hard bargainer(also speaks fluent chinese) and was able to get us local prices for all our purchases.  We also saw some odd street performers outside...

  people celebrating ethnic diversity  in Causeway Bay

 Longest Mall Elevator in Mong Kok


Most bizarre street performing i've seen here haha.

About Me

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Call me Reeve.  Lehigh Computer Engineering Alum, Software Developer, Musician.