A little more than 3 years ago, I arrived home with a similar desire to blog about my thoughts after being away for a month. That was also when the idea of this blog was born into life and thus, we can see ourselves here now.
I returned home back to Toronto this past Tuesday after travelling for a month in Asia — to Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan. The original intent of this trip was for attending my cousin’s wedding ceremony at the end of September — planned over a year ago — and since we knew that we would be flying 15 hours all the way back “home”, we initialized a trip to Korea as well. The idea of a family trip to Japan came later.
Travelling to Hong Kong this time, I was completely looking forward to it. I had been looking forward to it for months; wanting to get away from Toronto and this side of the world. There’s been a lot happening this year and I knew that some time away to “escape” would be good for me. As much as I was dealing with what was happening here and healing, sometimes physical distancing works the best — to clear the mind, the body, the soul.
I flew off without a second’s glance behind me and not wanting to think about coming back at all. Some people, after they leave for a trip, may think about their return trip home or feel homesick. For me this time, not at all. I wanted to enjoy the full 30 days of being away.
This time of being away in Hong Kong, I really loved everything. Hong Kong is a fast-paced world. Everyone talks faster, walks faster, eats faster, etc. I love the professionalism in Hong Kong. Anyone working in the service industry, from food to banking to retail stores, are exceptionally professional and there is not one second where you see an employee slacking off or giving attitude of any sort. That’s just the way it is in Hong Kong. You can’t afford to mess up otherwise for sure there will be someone to take your place at the drop of a hat. I really like the professionalism in Hong Kong; especially at restaurants and so on. It’s something that only the most posh places in Toronto contain.
This time in Hong Kong, since we were there for family primarily, I didn’t get to go out to eat and explore as much as I did last time. This wasn’t a huge deal to me but does reflect in the blogs of restaurants that I will be eventually posting about.
I noticed that the Canadian Dollar is so weak now that eating out in Hong Kong is quite “expensive”. It used to be a lot cheaper to eat out, to buy clothes. Now, the prices are almost on par to that of the CAD. Especially for clothes, I found it really expensive to shop around in Hong Kong.
As crowded and fast-paced it was in Hong Kong, I found myself really enjoying it there. I notice that whenever I’m in Hong Kong, I get a little more sharp-tongued and easily irritable — a little more bitchy if you will. I find that’s the case because everyone is so fast and quick-witted that you need to know how to defend yourself or else you’ll be easily trampled. In past visits, I would have kind of resented this and craved for my personal space and me time. However, on this visit, I didn’t find that at all and really embraced the hard exterior. It was more efficient to me to move this way.
The trip to Korea was a self-guided one. I enjoyed this because I truly got to see and feel everything on a local basis. The restaurants we ate at were all unbiased (no tour agency to pick anything ahead of time) and more “raw”. The foodie in me absolutely loved this. Travelling on our own did mean more travel time though since we had to hop on a 3-hour bus, twice. It was more relaxing in a way too.
The trip to Japan was a guided one from a tour in Hong Kong. Hokkaido itself doesn’t seem to offer that much to see in terms of tourist spots. I believe it’s because this northern island is so small already that it reminded me of Okinawa. It had a lot of mountains, rivers, and because the tour was based for the enjoyment of onsens for three nights, it was different from an urban place that had bright lights and city moods. In comparison, I enjoyed Korea this time more even though there were some squabbles when it came to touring by ourselves.
I’m not sure if I’ve said this before about my returns to home, but this time, I vividly miss Hong Kong and the freedom I felt when I was there. Sure, sure, nobody wants to leave vacation to return to “reality”, but this time, I really did want to just stay there and not come back to Canada. Upon coming back, it feels a lot more “boring” here. I never used to think that Toronto or Canada was boring because I always found something to do. This time however, I actually do think it’s boring here. Other than work and friends and the nice fresh air, there isn’t much to do here.
I’m adjusting to a new normal again and so far these are my thoughts. Thanks for reading — I haven’t written in more than a month and so my thoughts are extremely choppy. You should be seeing some food restaurant review posts soon!