Journal entry transcription Tai Wo Plaza, 09.00 Wednesday 21st November. Nearest MTR to my birth Mother’s village. Waiting to meet Apple News Reporter/Photographer and HK01 team.
WARNING – lengthy stream of consciousness blog.
I did it! I got from my hostel to the nearest MTR to Kam Shan Village, where my birth mother once lived. My happy face is on (small drawing) BEAMING because I navigated myself here, waking at 07.00am, showering and giving myself plenty of time. I did NOT get lost or fail to get off at the right station, or go in the wrong direction or get on the wrong line.
“So? And?” I hear my own inner critical voice sneering. But today, today I won’t let this voice (think This is me, from Greatest Showman now) take away my cause for celebration. Small pics of balloons, and words she did it, written.
For I am that same girl who once spent 2 hours trying to find the family tent. The same girl/woman who thought the colours of the grab rails on London Underground showed you which line you were on (with disastrous results obviously). I am the Mother whose children knew/know it would twice as long to drive anywhere than it should, whose daughter had to navigate them off the Picos mountains. I am that person who struggles to ‘get’ ski lift maps and once ended having to side step up a very steep mountain because she’d got on the wrong lift and ended up somewhere inaccessible when all the lifts closed for the day. At 58, my earliest memory is of being lost as a small child at the end of my very small street. Standing, confused and frightened, looking left and right and left and right as if watching a tennis match, no idea which way to go.
LOST, LOST, LOST. Always lost, or worrying about getting lost.
At work, in lots of different schools, I was never able to get straight from the staff room to where I needed to be, always in an anxious state, “will I get to where I am meant to be, on time?”
After two months of living in St Ives I still couldn’t work out how you got to the Tate without going down a blind alley.
But today, in a foreign country, I am here, exactly where I am supposed to be. An hour early, sharing a breakfast table with a comb over Chinese man. Both of us eating dimsum, him much more than my two minuscule dumplings. Is his heart beating with joy too I wonder?
Liam Neeson. Remember I said about being married to a Liam Neeson alike from taken? In that film, Taken 2?, the character Liam plays is taken blindfold in a truck to some cell in a foreign country, maybe Turkey, I don’t remember.
From memory, and I could be wrong, he calls his wife, and by getting her to draw some circles on a map, and remembering the sounds he heard when blindfold and the number of minutes it took from when he was bundled in the truck, and the wind direction etc etc he works out where he is. I am married to Martin, a man who can do this. He’s not been abducted blindfold, but he has navigated himself back to a hotel he left and forgot its name and location, had no business card, on day 1 of a business trip to Oman. Martin knows how to use a compass properly, has an inbuilt one, I call him Pembo Nav. Pembo Nav never fails. But being married to Pembo Nav has its downside. My shaky, non existent navigation skills have NEVER needed to improve. I learnt to rely on Martin’s expertise totally. Becoming more and more helpless as the years went on. Just as Martin has relied on my food buying and culinary ‘expertise’. Just before I left for HK, we had brief discussions on how to cook healthy food in our Remoska cooker, Pizza and full English would lose their appeal afer a week we thought. This time apart, could be the making of us.
Perhaps then I came to find my birth mother, but actually found myself?
Footnote. Paddington Bear Story.
When I was a teenager I wrote to Jim’ll Fix It to ask him to dress me up as Paddington Bear and let me be on the show. I know, I know. Weird. But he, it turned out was very weird and I got off lightly as he never replied. I loved Paddington, had a duffle coat, red not blue. And I never understood the attraction, then the other day it hit me. Paddington was a foreign bear, lost in a strange country with a small suitcase and a label asking somebody, anybody to look after this bear. I arrived at London Heathrow and was met by my adopted family at, wait for it, Paddington Station. Aged 15 months, white fur coat and a small BOAC bag. No obvious label, but no doubt wanting somebody to look after me.
Funny how all the jots eventually join up……