The shortest possible answer I could give you: My family is there and I'm comfortable.
Yeah, so what? You were born in Barbados...it's your home...aren't you comfortable here? Honestly. I'd have to say no.
Sure, I do feel a sense of comfort here. It's the place I've grown up for more than half my life. It's safe. I have my friends here. I have that comfort. But living my life here, I'm not truly happy; I'm not comfy...I'm just living it and dying to leave it all. This place...I don't like it.
I don't like standing out like a huge zit on someone's nose. I hate that strangers walk past me while cat-calling all sorts of things like "Ching Chong! Ni hao! Konnichiwa! Chiney!" in complete ignorance. I hate that when I walk through any place, I feel people (adults and children alike) staring at me and when I look them in the eye they suddenly turn the other way and shuffle along their business. Would you feel comfortable living like that? Just because I'm a Chinese person living in a predominantly Black country.
When I was about 12, I hated that I was Chinese; that I was different and attracted all this attention; that I just stood out in the population. I didn't want to be different. I wanted to fit in. But I can't change what I am and what I look like. Eventually, I came to embrace my culture and my differences and, now, I couldn't be any more proud to be Chinese.
Of course, I've visited countries where I didn't stand out. So, why not live in one of those? Why go to Hong Kong when I don't even speak Cantonese? Because the environment doesn't feel right. England is lovely but something about it keeps me feeling unsettled. New York is cool but the city looms over my back and I wouldn't go anywhere there on my own. Miami is nice but something about the air keeps me on my toes. Hong Kong is amazing and my only "but" is that I don't speak the language.
Moving around Hong Kong is easy. Heck, I even led the way when I was told where we were going sometimes. I didn't have to tag along behind, unsure of where to go. The city is as gorgeous as any other with towering buildings and architecture. Yet it doesn't have the incredibly scary and dominating feel to it. There, I'm just like anyone else. No one gets nosey and fixes their eyes at me. I'm not afraid or uncomfortable.
On my trip to Hong Kong last December, we had a family dinner to attend but I was feeling unwell and I everyone to go on without me. I wasn't feeling well and I wanted to stay home and rest. So, I did. My Mom brought it up with me the other night asking "Weren't you afraid to be home alone that night? And we were out so late too." I hadn't realised it until she asked: I wasn't afraid at all. In fact, I felt right at home. I answered the phone when it rang and walked around a bit. I didn't once feel afraid or worried even though I was in a country that I visited only two times prior to this trip. I was practically in a country I was unfamiliar with but it really didn't feel that way.
Since my return in January, I've been saying that I want to live in Hong Kong..for a number of reasons. But it wasn't until two nights ago that I realised just how happy and comfortable I am there. It's a comfort that I haven't felt anywhere else. A sense of belonging.
- I'm comfortable and happy in Hong Kong.
- I want to get to know my family there better. Because even though we don't speak the same language, I'm closer to them as family than I am with my family here in Barbados. Language is a barrier that is simple to overcome.
- And, of course, I can't possibly forget the weather. The summers are really hot like Barbados can be...or maybe even a little hotter...but there is a winter. The half-a-year or so of perfectly cool temperatures makes me happy. It's good to know that I won't have to feel like I'm about to suddenly burst into flames 365 days a year.
There are also a number of trivial reasons for my wanting to live in Hong Kong. When I move away from Barbados, I believe there are two things that I would truly miss:
- Fresh coconut water
- The beaches (even though I rarely go, it's nice to look at.)
Sorry about the somewhat long post. I felt like sharing a piece of myself with the world.
This is who I am. This is how I feel. This is me.