Friday, January 9, 2015

Six Months In.


We have lived in this wonderful city for six months now. As one of my friends from Myrtle Beach noted, our family was made for this city. We love the busyness of city living. We love the constant motion. 

There are still some things about this culture that I have not gotten comfortable with. For example, pedestrian traffic is the primary mode of transportation for the residents of this city, yet there are no clear rules {unspoken or written} of how to properly conduct oneself while walking. You might be walking and it's not uncommon for the person walking in front of you to abruptly stop, causing you to have your own form of mini whiplash and to almost topple on top of them. The common curtsey of moving over to the side of the path if you want to stop is not practiced here in Hong Kong. Neither are there clear signs of which direction or side of the path one should walk on. Which results in weaving back and forth between oncoming pedestrians.

One thing I am still getting accustomed to in this beautiful city, is having to dodge animal feces while walking on the sidewalk. Sometimes owners will pick up after their dogs, but a lot of times it is just left there for the public to jump around.  

Do you remember that big push in schools for students to "cover their cough"? In my office when I worked as a nutritionist at the Myrtle Beach Health Department ten years ago, I had posters up on my wall reminding my clients to cover their cough. That message hasn't made it's way to the city of Hong Kong yet. There's no greater irritation than to be standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, and the person behind you coughs that awful lung hacking cough. You try to shield your fresh produce as best you can, but you just know some of those germs managed to land on the back of your neck.

Initially the people working in the shops were not particularly friendly. They regard you with a look of distrust. But over the past six months our family has developed a rapport with the clerks working the registers at our local grocery store and the owners at the bakery we buy our coconut buns from in the morning. Now we're greeted with big smiles and enthusiastic sentences that we cannot understand because they are being spoken in Cantonese. We reciprocate the big smiles and respond in English, which they cannot understand. The language barrier doesn't matter because we both understand what the big smiles are saying for us. 

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