Halftime (pt. 1)

    The term is winding down and that means that some of my friends who are also on exchange here will be leaving very soon.  It’s too bad because we spend a lot of time together, and it makes me wonder what will happen the next semester to fill that gap.  Then again, there hadn’t been many gaps this semester at all, which is both surprising and frightening.  I guess that means I’ve been busy on the one hand; and on the other hand, maybe I’ve been a little lazy.

My friend Jason was talking about how he’s begun to have a sense of identity in just a semester’s time and I wish I could say the same.  I might have adapted to life here but I don’t feel like I’ve become a part of things here any more than I blend in.  I came here to immerse myself but actually it’s pretty tough to do because of what I immerse myself in.  For one, there are elements of Hong Kong that are too Western for my liking.  I am not a tourist out for a good time, after all.  But in some ways it’s the best I can manage.  Sure, strolling down the heart of Hong Kong is pretty amazing, but after all, it’s just a big city that looks nice because people expect it to.

Maybe because Jason comes from Shanghai and is part of Chinese culture that he feels differently than I do.  But he’s one of the many people who are able to speak so much about his own culture as if it really belongs to him, as if he really belongs to it.  I really don’t know how to explain myself to others because even I’m not sure what American culture is like, though I suspect some of my friends may have conceptions of what it might be.  Even if such a thing existed, I wouldn’t be able to speak of it because I don’t feel that it belongs to me, maybe simply that I belong to it, that there are many different groups of people that belong to it, and so the typical American doesn’t exist.

One thing is for sure: I’ve gained an awareness of my own ignorance and how much I live in a bubble.  But it’s definitely not all I’ve gained.

1 comment so far

  1. charlotte on

    hey alex,

    drop me an e-mail w/ your campus address on it!

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