HK Society High // 香港社交生活癮

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Sparklers

Jess fully embraced the expat life when she moved to Hong Kong a few months ago. But a fateful week of reflection led her to realize she was just packing her schedule with parties and people so she wouldn’t face the need to actually be planted in the city.
Jess 幾個月前搬到香港居住,一直過著在港「老外」的生活方式。幸好深思熟慮後,她意識到其實她日夜狂歡只是一直在逃避需要實實在在地融入在香港這個城市裏的事實。

Since moving to Hong Kong a few months ago, last weekend was the first time I didn’t go out to party. I didn’t realize this until I was catching up with friends from home and they asked how I was spending my time. I gave them a rundown of my evening festivities in a typical week:

  • Sunday – dinner party
  • Monday – dinner out (Chinese!)
  • Tuesday – personal training/gym
  • Wednesday – small group
  • Thursday –dinner out (Greek!)
  • Friday – dinner out (Italian!) + beer pong at a pool hall + kebabs
  • Saturday – dinner out (French!) + drinking games + karaoke

And then essentially rinse and repeat the following week:

  • Sunday – dinner out (Indian!)
  • Monday - networking event at work
  • Tuesday - dinner out (Din Tai Fung!)
  • Wednesday – small group
  • Thursday – personal training/gym
  • Friday – restaurant opening party + bar hopping/clubbing
  • Saturday – dinner out (Greek!) + rooftop bar drinks + Hong Kong style café

I’ve gone to bed when it was getting bright out at least one night every weekend I’ve been here. It’s been so much fun going out and meeting new people at bars/clubs/karaoke, then ending with a late night stop to a pizza/kebab/Hong Kong-style cafe. I think this is quite a typical lifestyle of any expat in a big city; but being in a city as dynamic as Hong Kong, while surrounded by expat coworkers who also celebrated this lifestyle, escalated my social life to a whole new level.

I’ve loved making every single day into an extravagant adventure - trying new places, good food, meeting new people – and I’ve especially loved reporting this back to friends to prove that I was “making it” in my new life. In fact, in my first month here, there was a Saturday when I was super sick and stayed home all day to rest up. I felt so awful about being by myself that I left my place at 10:30pm to take the Star Ferry across the harbour – just to be among people and feel accomplished about making the most of a Hong Kong weekend.

I’ve lived as if I were on vacation for the past three months and packed my days to the brim with activities and adventure. I bounced from social event to social event because I never wanted to be alone. Because every time I was alone, I would feel lonely. My thoughts would then spiral down this dark path as I confronted the reality and challenges of building life in a new city. I mourned the loss of a life of comfort and familiarity just six months ago – a boyfriend to share life with, friends I’ve known since college to spend weekends with, roommates I came home to, a job that I excelled at, a body I knew how to take care of, volunteering initiatives I was invested in, a small group where my story was known, a church where I was fed, and a life that I was “good at” because I was in control. In Hong Kong, I shielded myself with people to protect myself from having to confront the insecurities that came from lacking all of these things in my new life. I preferred to be swept up by this expat induction bubble of non-stop drinking, partying and fun. I used my busy social life as a defense mechanism from having to deal with these difficult issues.

I need to start living and making a home in this city. I know God placed the desire in my heart to move to Hong Kong, created a path through my work and sent me with purpose to this city. He has created my heart to love Hong Kong for how dynamic of a city it is – a transient place that attracts many diverse people with fascinating lives very different from mine. I had become so enamored with hearing their stories that I’ve forgotten to continue living my own. But now that I’ve floated among the clouds, it’s time to come back to real life and deepen my roots – to develop meaningful friendships and community, love and serve its people within the church, create some goals in my before-I-turn-30-plan, deepen expertise in new hobbies, and transform my apartment from a place I sleep into a home that is inviting and restful.

I will take advantage of this season of life to plant myself in this city and become the person I’ve always wanted to be – one who finds joy every day and delights in “ordinary” moments. The journey I’m on is already an extraordinary one – not because of my own striving or planning or partying, but because there is One who calls me extraordinary and has made me wonderfully and fearfully. Every moment of disobedience, doubt and mistrust in my past/present/future is already known by the Creator and Father of the universe – yet He still chooses me and walks with me.

My relationship with Him makes me extraordinary.

搬到香港已好幾個月,上個週末是我第一個禮拜沒出去狂歡地吃喝玩樂。我其實也是在跟美國的朋友聊天,當他們問我生活如何時才發現我一直沒停過。我告訴他們我典型的一週傍晚是如何渡過的:

  • 週日- 晚宴
  • 星期一 - 飯局 (中國菜!)
  • 星期二 - 健身
  • 星期三 - 團契小組
  • 星期四 - 飯局 (希臘菜!)
  • 星期五 - 飯局 (意大利菜!)+ 在桌球會裏玩喝啤酒游戲 + 中東烤肉
  • 星期六 - 飯局 (法國菜!)+ 喝酒遊戲 + 卡拉OK

然後下一個禮拜又基本上再重複一遍:

  • 週日- 飯局 (印度菜!)
  • 星期一 - 公司社交聯誼活動
  • 星期二 - 飯局(鼎泰豐!)
  • 星期三 - 團契小組
  • 星期四 - 健身
  • 星期五 - 餐廳開張派對 + 泡吧/夜店
  • 星期六 - 飯局 (希臘菜!)+ 天台酒吧 + 港式茶餐廳

自我搬到香港後,我每一個週末都起碼有一晚是天都快亮的時候才睡的。去酒吧/夜店/卡拉OK認識新朋友,然後再到一家薄餅店/烤肉店/茶餐廳吃夜宵實在太好玩了。對外籍人士來說,這種生活方式在任何大城市當中都非常典型;但是生活在變化多端的香港而周圍的外籍同事亦是「崇拜」這一種生活模式時,我的社交生活就升級到另一個層面。

我熱愛將我的每一天變成花花世界- 嘗試新地方、品嘗佳肴、結識新朋友- 而且我特別喜歡將我所體驗的報告給朋友們來證明我在新生活裡好像「成功了」。 其實,我在香港第一個月的某個星期六病得非常辛苦,所以整天留在家裡休息。但我當時覺得自己一個人這樣太悲哀了,所以我晚上十點半離開家裏去搭天星小輪- 目的只是想身處在人群當中,而且讓自己感覺那個週末在香港有所作爲。

過去的三個月裡好像渡假一般,一天天的活動都排得密密麻麻。我穿梭於各種各樣的社交活動,因爲我不想孤單一個人。因為每一次孤單一個時,我就感到很寂寞。然後,我的思想就像漩渦一樣進入一條又黑又恐怖的道路上……因為我需要面對現實並面對實實在在地新城市裡展開新生活的挑戰。我懷念六個月前已失去的那生活舒適與熟悉的感覺- 有能一起分享生活的男朋友、每個週末都能夠一起渡過的大學時期已認識的朋友、同住的室友、一份我擅長的工作、一個我懂得照顧的身體、已投放了時間與努力的義工工作、知道我故事的團契小組、牧養我靈的教會。总而言之,我懷念那種因爲有著控制權所以覺得自己「擅長」的生活。在香港,我的新生活没有以上一切,我也因而缺乏安全感。我將身邊的人當做盾牌來保護自己,讓自己不用去面對安全感離開後留下的空洞。我比較喜歡過著這種外籍人士初到香港的泡沫生活,滔滔不絕地飲酒作樂、狂歡派對和享樂。我利用了我繁忙的社交生活作為防衛武器來逃避面對困難的問題。

我需要實實在在地生活,將香港變成為我的家。我知道神一直在我心裡放了一個想搬到香港的渴望,祂透過工作爲我鋪路,而且有目的地把我送到香港。祂創造我的心,讓我愛這個變化多端的香港 - 一個吸引來自世界各地各色繽紛的人的流動城市。我迷戀著聽每個人特別的故事,我甚至于已經忘了活出自己的故事。我已飄浮在彩雲有一段時間了……現在是時候回到真實生活當中,加深我在香港的根 - 開展有意義的友誼與群體、愛和事奉在教會裡的人、創造一些「三十歲前必須要做」的目標與計劃、鑽研新嗜好、將我現在只會用來睡覺的住所變成一個又溫馨又寧靜的家!

我會好好利用生命中的這個季節去開展自己在這城市裡的生活,成為一個我一直想當的人 – 一個每一天都能夠在「平凡」裡找到喜樂與樂趣的人。我的旅程已經是很不平凡的- 不是因為自己的努力、策劃或參與的派對,而是因為有一位覺得我是不平凡的,因祂作的我是奇妙可畏的。我的創造者、這宇宙的父早已知道我過去、現在及未來一切對祂的不服從、懷疑與不信任 – 儘管這樣,祂還是挑選了我、陪着我走我的人生路。

我與祂的關係讓我變得不平凡。

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