Wednesday evening. Hop Inn Carnarvon. Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Hong Kong. 13.2.19
I knew it was going to happen, the last night, the last time I saw people, the last time I took a swim at Kowloon Park, typed at this computer, ate Asian food cooked in Asia, took a shower in my room, made a cup of tea in the common room, went on the MTR. I knew it, but it still doesn’t soften the blow. It hits me right in the gut. A deep, blow that feels like its going through me. And yet, there’s also the exquisite pleasure of knowing I’ll be back with my loved ones tomorrow evening. Back on familiar ground. But now this is familiar ground too. It’s not the same as leaving a place that I’ve just visited for a week. I have a family. People whose faces I now recognise in a crowd, people who look out for me and recognise me, and hug me. A few faces amongst a sea of Chinese. I no longer look at everyone’s faces and wonder, are you related to me? 3 months and everything has changed.
I know that I will continue to process the extraordinary journey when I am back at home. I hope I will colour up some of the sketchier entries in this blog. Make sense of so much. Little things like hearing how my Mother was kidnapped from a casino in Macau, when I had thought her Mother had sold her. That my Mother liked dogs, but would cook dog meat to please her husband. That she liked to listen to buddhist chanting. I find it hard to reconcile the last two sentences! I will continue to put her small ID sized photos against my own passport photo and marvel at the similarity. To remember the places I have been where she also liked to go, one of them a Taoist Temple where my siblings took me to say goodbye. Our last lunch, in my honour, vegetarian, together as a family. Surrounded by rocks and trees, bonsais, ponds, bridges, waterfalls. Birdsong, the clatter of bowls and chopsticks. A restaurant full of people sitting around late round tables. And 9 of us, a reunited family and partners, all circling our own planet, eating rice, and congee and all manner of delicious vegetarian food. Mock duck and pork and a taro fish. Mock squid and prawns. Different types of mushroom, baby corn, sautéed greens, peppers. I feel my families generosity and love, as I know they are all meat lovers. I eat everything they pile onto my plate, every last last morsel. Most of their conversation flies around me and over my head. A couple of weeks ago I found this distressing, but now let it flow around me, delighting when I can pick out an odd word or two that I recognise.
I say Goodbye to Winnie on the MTR. Her stop, one before mine. A hasty ‘see you again soon’. I think she dislikes Goodbyes more than me. No big hugs on a crowded MTR, but we take a selfie and promise to meet up either here or in England. It seems to fast, too ungrateful and fleeting a goodbye, to just let her go, when she has been so instrumental in giving me the gift of the beginning of my life story, and a family.
So I am back to continue with the packing. And with clarity and focus I turn mayhem into order, putting what is most precious and irreplaceable into my hand luggage, having learnt my lesson from the lost luggage debacle three months ago. The precious and irreplaceable include the photographs of my Mother, my birth records and results of all the searches Winnie did. The records I got from International Social Services here and my ‘in process’ Hong Kong ID application and supporting documents. I do my packing Kondo style, tipping everything onto the bed. It’s a scary moment seeing so much stuff, but the shock seems to goad me into action and I transform this, into this. Hurrah.
I’ve got two watches on, one HK time and one UK time. I’ve slept this afternoon, in an attempt to wean myself onto UK time. I need to stay awake a few more hours yet for this to have any chance of working. Perhaps a walk in the park
So this is perhaps my last HK entry. Thank you for coming along for the ride. See you on the other side.