#32- What does home mean?

Waiting for my next flight back to Singapore. I always feel like I have so much more I want to do whenever I am about to leave a city. Arghhhh

I visited China and Hong Kong the last few days. The time in China was mainly to visit my grandparents as they decided to move back there a couple of years ago when they decided that it made more sense for them to be back at where they truly belong when the time came for them to go.

Which got me thinking, what is home? Where do I truly belong?

Many of us are global citizens today, and connectivity has revolutionized the concept of home for everyone. We are definitely way more mobile today than our grandparents and parents used to be. Inter-racial and cross-cultural marriages are so common these days.

I was born in Hong Kong. In case you are curious, my life story goes like this:

My parents were both from China. My maternal grandfather and my dad met on a boat which supposedly took them to Hong Kong back in 1980s, when my dad was barely 18. At that point, my mum was already in Hong Kong. My grandfather basically thought my dad was pretty cool and introduced him to my mum, and then of course, love blossomed, and there you go, I was born a couple of years later.

I spent my first 3 years in Hong Kong, studied in a local kindergarden, and lived at one of the poorer areas in Hong Kong, where houses were made of wood. However, during those times, the sense of community was so strong, and that is something I’d never forget even until today.

Thereafter, my dad, being the head pastry chef of a global hotel chain, got relocated to Singapore. That’s where I moved to SG for 2 years, and went to pre-school there. When I was 6, we moved back to Hong Kong again. I was enrolled into the Singapore International School. Until today, I still have fond memories of some of my classmates back then, and some interesting bits about life back then. Here they are:

#1- We used to live in Chai Wan, and I was always the last to alight from the school bus. As the school used to built atop a hill, I used to puke my way through the entire journey.

#2- I was recruited into the drama club because my cheeks had a natural blush, and I remember starring in a play where I played the role of a doll in a toy shop. I vaguely recall that the dolls come alive at night and I was one of them.

#3- My other extra-ciricular activity was the band. I used to play the xylophone, but I totally cannot recall any bit of this now.

#4- My bestie in Primary one was a Japanese girl, whose name I cannot even recall now. Maybe that explains why the fascination with Japanese culture and language?

When I was 7, we moved to Singapore again, and since then, I have never left the country for any extended period apart from my short stint in Japan when I did summer school there.

Today, I have really good friends all over the world, and I know they are more than happy to host me whenever I visit. A lot of these places feel like home to me, and I am starting to question what the notion of home entails.

Hong Kong feels familiar, Singapore is where I was brought up. I cant decide which one of them is home. Due to my amazing friends in the US, certain states like Seattle and New Jersey makes me really at home too. Is it the people who make home for what it feels like? Or is it just by virtue where you are born and raised?

Home is where the heart belongs. But, what if your heart belongs everywhere?

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On a side note, I explored a different side of HK this time round, and I think it is super super cool. I am falling in love with the city again. HK is full of surprises. 

#9- Hong Kong and Spontaneity

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I chose to travel without my camera this time round, as I figured that it would provide me with alot more mobility, so please excuse the lack of quality in terms of photos.

Just got back from Hong Kong this morning. So many things happened, and reflecting on all the serendipitous encounters and experiences in the last few days, I feel some parts of me stirring as I start pondering about the next steps and priorities in life.

This is the first time in my life where I allowed myself to act on complete spontaneity even though there were financial considerations involved for that decision. I extended my stay, at the very very last minute, cancelled my existing flight ticket back to Singapore, and ended up paying a premium for another ticket back to Singapore.  I also had to bear the cost for additional nights of accommodation as well. I have never done this before, and it was really liberating (albeit the slight tinge of regret when I looked at the bank numbers). However, I do not regret the decision, as the extra time allowed for me to meet so many people, and reconnected with so many different parts of me.

I have always had a sense of detachment with Hong Kong, because it was always just a stopover for me. I never felt any connection with the city even though I spent my formative years here.  There is just this part of me living in nostalgia, thinking about how I used to be really happy, when I lived a much simpler life back in HK as a kid. Taking the time to explore the city all over again has got me rethinking my relationship with the city, and maybe, just maybe, there is so much meaning in this city. It is the people that make the difference, I have no doubts about that. But, there is also that element of reconnecting with the me, before I moved to Singapore.

Maybe, just maybe, Hong Kong might be the answer I am looking for, as I continue on my journey to find that missing piece of me. Which begs the question, what is one’s priority in life? What should be the most important to me right now?

~~ Ululatetravels