Hong Kong, 2018

To be completely honest, Hong Kong was not in the list of my dream destinations. You see, I still try to be a reasonable traveler. This year the international country travel goal was Thailand, as the Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Festival dates fell near my birthday. Money permitting, Japan was also included, to experience the cherry blossom season in the land of sakuras. (NB: I am quite aware that Japan is not really the cherry blossom capital of the world and I know that I can experience cherry blossoms in other countries as well, but the girl in me who loved Memoirs of a Geisha remembers the sakura viewing parties Sayuri attended, and why not just go to Japan and experience it myself?) One person argued that I can go to Hong Kong Disneyland, to which I countered that if I want to see Disneyland, I can just go to Japan instead. But the travel bug bit me in June, I wanted to go somewhere and when I jokingly asked my friend if I could come with her in Hong Kong with her family and she said yes, I booked my ticket and planned my OOTD’s and caught the plane to Hong Kong.

In retrospect, I realized that I won’t be going back to Hong Kong. We went during summer, where I discovered that their summers are probably as unforgiving as the ones here in Manila; I didn’t enjoy the shopping as stuff there was waaay too expensive for me to consider it a bargain; everything went by too fast since we tried to squeeze in a lot of activities while we were there; and for some unknown reason, the air just smelled weird. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it because I had a fun time in Hong Kong. There’s just not enough reason to justify coming back there. However, this trip will always hold a special place in my heart (hence why it’s going in the blog) and would always be a remarkable one.

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Prior to the trip, my ex decided to text me after more than a year of not talking. Being my usual fragile self, this has shaken up my world carefully perched in its pseudo state of balance. It wasn’t that eventful, closure-filled conversation, either. It was just catching up in that weird limbo of ‘are we or are we not okay with each other’. Bottomline is, I got nothing from that, except for maybe another set of unanswerable questions.

So the Hong Kong trip was like a palate cleanser of some sorts. It was the break I needed after an exhausting time of my life, and a perfect distraction from the new batch of senseless thoughts floating around in my head when my world was thrown off of its balance.

Moreover, this is my first ever solo-ish trip in another country. I was never allowed to go travel on my own. Since I’m going with my friend and her family but can’t stay where they were staying (booking issues), I was forced to look for a place to stay on my own and to navigate my way to places alone. Of course I have done a day trip around San Francisco last year, but staying by myself is a different story. I have no internet connection outside of the hotel, so I had to rely on pre-searched directions while I’m out, and be always on the lookout for my companions whenever we decide to meet up. As a first time female solo traveler in a foreign land, this was a nerve-wracking experience. My shrink pointed out that surviving it gave her a glimpse of how adventurous and how fearless I am, and I realized that it was who I used to be before I became someone who is always being afraid to make decisions or even to say something. I felt good and felt like myself again after a long time.

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Also, making it to Disneyland and finally seeing the Disney princesses in the flesh and moving right before my eyes are life experiences I could only dream of as a kid. There was this one moment, when I was walking around and trying to find the perfect fridge magnet to get, when I realized that I have been doing things that I initially wanted to do with a special someone. I guess some people are just wired that way, that a goal in life is to find that perfect other half, and for a long time I have considered myself one of those people. Initially I felt sad, because I’m already doing things I want to do with a special someone on my own. But then I realized that I can already do these things on my own and still enjoy myself, and it felt like an accomplishment.

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Upon returning from Disneyland, I spent the night in the hostel crying my heart out because I realized some painful truths about everything in my life. I’ve been depressed for a long time. It’s over for a long time now. And no, he’s never going to explain. But then after drying my eyes it was the first time I have felt so free in a long time. I’m still here. I’m on my own and I’m surviving, I’m getting better, and there’s still reason to celebrate.

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So yea, probably the biggest reason why I’m never coming back there again (except maybe when I have to for work) is because I have left a lot of my negativities in Hong Kong. But it will always be where I found a new sense of freedom, and that always counts for something. #

Love, Lady 💛

(May chika at skwater version din nitong Hong Kong trip ko, na sobrang mas maraming commentary and mas ‘ako’ sa dedicated travel blog ko. Enjoy!)

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