Thursday, January 7, 2010

Culture Clash

Even though I’ve considered the possibilities of this trip for the last 5 months, I am still blindsided by incredible experiences. Yesterday was a glimpse into the Western side of Hong Kong and the international students; however, today could not have been any more of a contrast. Welcome to the Eastern side of things!
During our library orientation, I had the same very helpful student ambassadors, Abbie and Albee, from yesterday’s session (also another girl, Joyce). We toured the library and finished it off with lunch in the “canteen” (their version of the caf, I’ll make a post on it specifically later). We talked about many issues in HK vs. America while slurping on our 2 dollar noodles (pho style). It was crazy to hear their side of life, encouraging to see their international interest, and comfortable to just joke around. Albee eats three bowls of rice a day and probably has since birth and thinks big eyes equal beauty. They both commute from their homes from the northern territories, it takes about an hour by transit.
Our final orientation program consisted of a PeaceCore consulate telling us how they will arrest us if we do anything dumb, which I don’t doubt it. We Americans are too comfortable with breaking laws and just letting mom and dad get us out of trouble, not the case here.
But after the program I joined Amelia and Yang (Beijing girls), Lee Han Ki and Youna and another girl (Korean, and again I could not tell age difference to save my life, they’re all seniors), and then a guy named Ander from southern China.

We decided to go out to a place called “Festival Walk”, and little did I know that it would be the biggest mall/shopping center I’ve ever been in. I would say it put Mall of America to shame, but I haven’t been in so long so I can’t compare the two. It had some 7 floors with multifaceted escalators at every convenient location. We walked around the massive consumer heaven and finally ate at a slightly more expensive restaurant ($8.50) which was right next to their skating rink. This place was ridiculous. We learned from each others cultures: food, schooling, language (I was the only mono-lingual person at the table…..awesome). We talked and walked back to school and arrived around 8; totally different than the Western outing last night. They went to Central and drank cheap beer and stayed out until 5 in the morning (fun people, just different than home, a little “real world” wake up call). It’s very interesting to see the differences that come up especially with the Eastern kids (Asians) and the Americans/Europeans. I finished the day by going to a local grocery market and buying some essentials I needed and picked up a dragonfruit that looks like it came from a cartoon with its bright pink and green colors. Today is a tour of Hong Kong with the internationals, should be a great day.

Photo: was shot outside my dorm window (I’m in the reflection). If you notice the laser, HK has a light show at 8 every night on the Bay. Being on the 18th floor has its perks ><

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26


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