On a Friday afternoon I walk to a shop in Mong Kok in search of new climbing shoes. The errand itself is unremarkable, and takes 30 minutes. The transit, from my small neighborhood on the island to one of the world’s densest places, takes another 25 each way. The act, of walking through crowds in the sun, listening to music and shopping for myself, makes me feel at peace. In between work calls and projects, in between growing with 5’s and working on fitness, it is good to find and feel myself out in the world. It is good to be able to walk to a store.
In the morning, after my early calls, I walk to a small noodle shop in Tai Hang, pausing in the sun as a taxi passes, looking up. As a colleague told me yesterday, it’s good to look far away in between moments of focus. I do. The noodles are fresh, the concrete not as cold as a week ago. Looking at the walk ups on the streets surrounding the dai pai dong, with their windows flung wide, with laundry on the roofs, I smile. In between each moment of stress is a beautiful moment of peace.
Waking early I greet the cat. It’s seven am and he, like myself, is not fully awake. The difference lies in the schedule, as he was up fifteen minutes prior to eat when his dish went off, settling back onto the furry blanket to knead and nap again, stomach sated, just before I woke. Together we pad to the kitchen, him to search for kernels and me to get my metal cup, purchased in Bangkok last fall. I brush my teeth and dress in the second bathroom, as quiet as I can to let the non-cat household members sleep. Cup in hand, I leave the apartment in search of coffee. Children are waiting for the bus, are questioning their parents. I think of 5’s asleep upstairs and smile. Our future is sometimes strangely visible, laid out like these uniformed youths, their lunches packed and shoes tied. One day.
In the afternoon, after a long morning of calls and before an evening of the same, I walk to a coffee shop some ten minutes away. They serve bagels all day, and have an open storefront that provides atmosphere and cover. It’s early April, and the weather is perfect, warm in the sun and cool in the shade. I treasure these moments, these rare months in Hong Kong where neither air conditioning nor heat are truly necessary. They’re brief, lingering only in March and April, in November and December. Four months a year is enough, I feel, to remind us how good the world can be. Better to cherish each day than to be spoiled by the Bay Area’s constant temperate climate. Or at least that’s what I tell myself, here in the beautiful days before the heat squelches every desire.
These are the good moments, documented to remember the benefit of Hong Kong. After a few rough years I’ve learned to write down the good when visible. My memory will appreciate the augmentation.