A great sigh of relief can be heard around Pok Fu Lam and the vicinity of Hong Kong University. Today marks the last set of deadlines and although a lot of people still slave away tweaking this and that in what is almost certainly a indicator of masochistic tendencies and most worked well past 4am last night in the labs to make everything perfect, we are essentially done. The semester has ended and bar one final lecture I am university-related responsibility free for like a month! I feel like a puppet who has had its strings cut but in a good way, like I can relax a little, like I can physically feel the weight lifting off my shoulders and I wave a two-fingered salute at it as it floats off into the cloud with a big stupid grin on my face.
Now, as the Pet Shop Boys recommend, I go West. In just over 2 weeks I will be back in the warm embrace of the family unit in the freezing cold surroundings of North Yorkshire for 10 whole(ish) days. As there will most likely be no time or in fact desire to sit in front of the computer and blog at the end of the month (though in all likelihood there will be at least one post) I’m going to take the opportunity to do my end of 2010 post right here, right now.
What have I done in 2010? I feel like I haven’t sat down since April so I’ll try to make this as condensed as possible. Needless to say 2010 was an interesting, hectic, stressful but altogether incredible year for me and my first full calender year in Hong Kong.
In no particularly coherent order, and accompanied by the most bizarre page 1 Google picture results for the categories discussed when I don’t have a picture on hand, 2010 was the year that:
I got a ‘proper-job-and-everything’
Yes. Most importantly, because it goes right the hell back to my very first post here, I have that office job that I have convinced to somehow pay me money that I have been wanting for so long. From an internship to a job at the same office to a totally different job and two different office there as well, the world of work has finally accepted me as a member.
I remember the days slouching my way down the road to Fat Face to put in another 4 or so hours wishing I just had a job where I got to wear a suit to work and now I do. Obviously, I didn’t expect it to be all sunshine and lollipops and of course it isn’t. It’s bloody hard work sometimes but it’s much more fulfilling than retail. Sorry Fat Face, you were cool and all but you were right, Life IS Out There. It certainly wasn’t in your store*.
This had to go at the top of the list, it’s the whole reason I’m out here. It’s the thing that most other items on this list hinges on and it means the world to me to finally have it. I can’t wait for the time off mind you…
[*Note: I adore the staff of Northallerton Fat Face. Without them that place would have been unbearable.]
I got a flat of my very own
As detailed in a previous post I moved into my first flat. It’s lovely but I haven’t solved that door problem in my bedroom. And I haven’t bought a sofa yet either but I do have the internet and that’s what’s important right?
The one item of furniture I have obtained since that post went up is a chest of drawers for my spare room/walk-in closet. I got it last night with the assistance of two elderly local gentlemen. Between us we transported it from one side of Kowloon to the other. I was the youngest there by a good 40 years or so and they wouldn’t let me lift a thing. Hong Kong is getting older as a whole but if that means the population will be full of guys like this I’m all for it. I now have a place to pack my clothes away that isn’t a suitcase which is always nice as well as a surface to throw spare change on which all men need.
I love that little flat which isn’t actually so little compared to some of the other flats on the same floor. The neighbours aren’t shy either as exemplified by the old guy who wandered into my living room to ask the engineer sorting out my internet to have a look at his TV while he was there without so much as a by-your-leave. I don’t even know how he knew he was there!
Clairvoyant neighbours aside it’s so great to come home to a place I know is mine, to know I am responsible for everything about it, even dealing with the bills reaffirms that I am a grown-up and that’s nice you know?
My little sister turned 21
She ain’t so little a sister any more. It was bad enough when she turned 18 and could legally get pissed but now she’s a grown up and stuff as well though, just like me, she probably doesn’t feel it yet. I hate that I wasn’t there to usher in the 21st with her (a birthday that carries some significance in the UK but not for any practical reasons any more) but such is adult life. I haven’t even managed to get a present to her yet on account of me being totally useless but I’d like to take this opportunity to wish her a very happy birthday and good luck for her second year at university.
Or maybe I just wanted to post that photo.
I watched from afar as the UK lost its collective shit
On a number of different occasions. Most notably the lengthy and drama-ridden elections in May. After that I’ve enjoyed the chance I’ve had to view the actions of the Cameron/Clegg Hybrid from afar and under the microscope of the World Media and not just the British press who have become more shambolic as the years go by. It doesn’t look pretty for them right now does it? Currently the student population is revolting (insert standard joke here) about the whole cuts business and it’s always nice to see Clegg get a good pasting because of it but really what did you expect? Do you have another economic proposal to prevent these horrendous cuts exactly? It’s satisfying on one hand to see all the wide-eyed idealists who ‘agreed with Nick’ now about-facing and complaining their poor, tear-filled, debt-ridden eyes out because the schadenfreude is delicious. On the other hand it’s nice to see the student population get motivated enough about something to take to the streets even if they’re not entirely clear what it is they’re supposed to be complaining about. Read this excellent and scathing article from the Economist. Sums things up pretty well.
Normally I’d blog like hell about this but I just got through writing a 20 paragraph news piece on it for uni and I’m burned the hell out. Lucky you, you dodged a bullet there.
I went back to education
I started a Masters in Journalism in September and it’s been going pretty well for something that saps all my free time and gives me daily stress headaches. I’ve learned a lot, really enjoyed filming and editing again, reaffirmed how much I suck at taking photos and stretched my writing muscles to breaking point. The building I have all my classes in is lovely to look at too.
I’ve made some new friends who are a cool bunch even though half of them don’t know who I am because I’m only ever there half the time they are and I look alien to them when I’m not in my suit (not so) fresh from work.
Not sure how easily I could have got through the whole semester on my own, overloaded as I was by too many classes, but I’m convinced there would have been ten times as many nervous breakdowns if not for a couple of key people. Especially you Bao. Thanks.
Fell in love
Flew across the world four times
Bought a phone, lost a phone and bought the phone again in what I suspect was an organised plan to make me spend more money amongst the electronic retailers in Tsim Sha Tsui
Organised and hosted a bunch of corporate events
Wrote a seriously mixed bag of blog posts
Merry Christmas everybody and all the best for 2011. I hope it just keeps getting better, for me and for you.