I knew moving to a new country would bring a lot of frustration and emotional turmoil because everything would be foreign...
I knew it would take time to make friends (especially the locals since they don't necessarily love having all these expats living on their island that I affectionately now call a little slice of heaven)...
I knew I would lose weight because I wouldn't have the courage to eat half the food and would get sick of rice and noodles...
What I didn't know was that I would embrace the new culture and the people so easily, that it would be easier to make friends here than back in Charlotte or that I wouldn't lose a pound because of all the incredible dishes, both local and international that are readily available.
Getting to my original point (yes, there is one) I realized I feel more at home in Hong Kong in 5 weeks than I did in Charlotte in 5 years this week. It happened Wednesday night when we had a team dinner hosted by my peer, coach and friend Vanessa. I was super excited because it's not very often Westerners are invited to a local person's home for a meal and from the minute we arrived I felt like I was back at home. It was a combination of things, really - from the sheer amount of food she prepared to the fact that her adorable daughter called me "Auntie Steph" to the fact that we were given the choice to put on slippers to be more comfortable (it wasn't a requirement, just another way to make everyone feel at home). We literally stood around the dining room table and drank wine, ate our faces off and talked to each other for four hours. My friend's mom was also there and she said it seemed more like a social event for friends than a work function. Have I mentioned how much I like my work colleagues? Is anyone getting sick of me writing that yet? The home itself was incredible - she lives on the Peak so the views are breathtaking and everything in the house was feng-shuied (is that a word) for balance. I love the Asian decor! And of course Vanessa was a fantastic hostess. She is 5 months preggers and didn't skip a beat making sure everyone had everything they needed or wanted at all times. Becoming friends with her and Eunice has shown me the Chinese culture is a lot like the Italian culture - everything is about family and food. Joyceee - now I know why we are BFFs!!!!
Gotta go but I wanted to share one more thing ---- after looking at 10 overpriced, old, shoebox-sized apartments for a gazillion dollars a month in 120 degree heat (that might be a slight exxageration) I was taking the escalators back to my corporate apartment....and.....I......fell......on the stairs in front of about 1 million people (okay, more like 20). I was so embarrassed and humiliated that I got up and tripped again! My flip-flop fell off in the second mishap and I skinned my big toe. I just started laughing because what else can you do? The worst part - I was sporting my "Italy" tee shirt today so I completely mortified my peeps back in the motherland.
I guess some things never change :)
Below is a picture of me with Vanessa along with two pictures of our team (minus me, Vanessa, and Jennifer).
Love and miss,