If there’s one thing that I learned about myself over the last 21 years, it’s that I’m great at hellos and horrible at goodbyes. And, if there’s anything I learned over the last 21 days, it’s that what defines an experience is not necessarily what you do, but certainly the people experiencing it all with you. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have made some great friends on this trip, and although I’ve done plenty of exploring, shopping, and eating here in Hong Kong, it’s the people that I’ll miss and the people that I’ll remember fondly. So, having said enough about the places I’ve been to during this trip in the previous posts, this post will be about the people.
Adriana: I think we talked more about Cesar than Hong Kong on this trip, but I really enjoyed getting to know you. Our late night tea ceremonies are some of the best memories I have from this trip. As your great-grand TA, I hope you can take more Chinese classes and have an amazing time abroad (let me know if you have any questions!). I hope we can see each other more often at Williams, and if that hope can come true, well, then there you go.
Jake: I know sometimes we gave you a hard time for using Chinese or being MIA, but I promise it was all in good fun! We’re all just super excited to be friends with a CIA agent. I admire your dedication to learning Chinese and hope you can achieve your 中国梦 (China dream). Remember, English is still the most inclusive language!
Keileh: I’m glad we became friends on this trip, even though you’re from New Jersey. Thank you for sticking with me during that difficult hike, I’m glad our ~athletic~ backgrounds came in handy that night. Go to more Chinese tables so we can see each other more often at Williams! And even if you find yourself too busy during the semester, I think we’ll be Instagram buddies for life, so we’ll be in touch.
Konnor: You are the best roommate I’ve had in Hong Kong. To be honest, yellow is my least favorite color, and you probably aren’t obsessed with watermelons. But after all is said and done, you’ve become my favorite self-proclaimed “Gwai Lo.” I hope you enjoy having your single room back, though I’m sure you had fun in the room while I was out :). Your Tongyu and Jake impressions are spot on, so I hope to see more of that in the future. LET’S DO IT!!
(Hey!)Lee: You are the Lee to my Derek, and I’m really going to miss your making the situation less awkward by saying something witty whenever I say something dumb. Thank you for laughing at my jokes (when I’m not saying something dumb) and for sharing my interest in photography. I hope you learned as much about Taiwan as I did about your sisters on this trip. They say hindsight is 20/20, but even that’s not immune to bleach so let’s just try to see more of each other in the future. *Finger guns*
RB: I’m usually not one to cheer for my opponents, and you were certainly going to be the second victim of my bow and arrow, but somewhere along the way I started to cheer for you. Yes, you’re my #1 draft pick for the Williams in Hong Kong hunger games. I’m convinced you can survive on duct tape, enthusiasm, and harmonica solos alone, but if that doesn’t work out, you can always serenade the boars. Thank you for always doing the right thing, being willing to play along, and exuding positive energy everywhere you go, I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed.
Tongyu: Coming into this trip, you were the one I knew the best, but I’m happy that I got to know you even better during these past three weeks. You’re probably the only person I know who can sing karaoke four times in the span of 10 days for hours at a time, and still have the energy to sing in the street. That Sunday we spent together is one of my favorite memories from this trip. I’m sorry we still don’t have a picture together, but I’m sure you’ll make it up on my wall one of these days. Oh, and take the dang jacket next time you’re cold, it’s not that ugly.
虞老师: Thank you so much for making all of this possible for us! I know I speak for everyone when I say that I had a great time in Hong Kong. I know this trip was difficult to coordinate and that you had many responsibilities back at Williams while you were here, so thank you so much for all the work that you did. I hope you still had enough time to do all that you wanted to do here! You did a really great job with this travel course and, if you’re willing to do this again, I’m sure many Williams students can benefit from this experience. Looking forward to taking your tutorial next semester!
And a very special thanks to the students and staff at Lingnan University for being such great hosts! I’m very sad to leave Hong Kong and all the friends that I made here, but I know that I’ll be back here someday, so, until then, take care of yourselves, and know that it’s not goodbye.