The sounds of the airport – excited chatter mixed in with the occasional buzzing of wheels on metallic walkway. The smells – faint odor of cleaning supplies lingers in the air. With a flight that leaves after 1am, the faces of soon-to-be passengers appear to have more wrinkles and shoulders droop from heavy luggages, and I wonder what else they are carrying on their minds. Is it anticipation of going somewhere new? Is it sadness from an end of a vacation or chapter of life? Sitting in an airport lounge always feels strangely familiar to me – even alone, I share a common state that everyone around me is in: transition.
Though I’ve spent the last few days cleaning, packing, and moving out of my apartment, the reality of me being in Hong Kong has just sunk in. My experience last time living in another country was transformative, and I hope to achieve the same magnitude of change.
It’s the first time that I will be in Hong Kong, and it’ll be an interesting time to see how I do there for the next 4 months. Tentative plans include getting to the base camp of Mt. Everest, backpacking Southeast Asia, and going to a meditation retreat to a Zen Buddhism temple. Tentative fears include getting my passport stolen (again), gaining weight from eating dim sum every day, and severe plane turbulence.
Experiencing plane turbulence never fails to remind me about the fragility of life, as well as about the extraordinary advances in technology that our society has undergone in the past few decades. We are literally in a vehicle approximately 40,000 feet in the air, transporting us across oceans, barreling towards a city on the other side of the world – this subjects us to a variety of vulnerabilities often out of our control; looking out from the window on my flight this morning, I saw several bolts of lightning, which made me especially precarious about what could possibly happen.
But watching the colors from a radiant sunset surround us this high in the air, and getting to see the world wake up with just as much magnificence made the flight so, so worth it. The colors of sunrise and sunset, if I were to describe them in one word, would be something that isn’t on a color wheel, but rather a feeling of anticipation. Always precluding a change in day, as if almost announcing the arrival of day or night in color form, these two states are the only two predictable times where the sky is a gradient and not a single swab of color applied to the area as if with the paint bucket tool.
I land in Asia in the morning – the city of Hong Kong awaits, and with the beginning of another new day, my journey abroad has officially begun.