14 May 2012

How to say goodbye?

再見,香港!!! Paalam Hong Kong!! Selamat tinggal Hong Kong! Goodbye, Hong Kong!

The last few days have been a whirlwind of farewells and tears and lots of food. 

Friday afternoon Rev. Catherine and I went to The Peninsula for their famous Afternoon Tea. It was elegant, delicious, and we enjoyed beautiful music while we sipped our tea and nibbled our scones. Sitting there in the very opulent foyer of The Pen, where so many have gathered over the years to share in this very British-yet-also-Asian ritual, I just tried to soak it all in. The music was like a mini-concert unto itself; I actually recognized a few of the tunes! I will admit to getting a little misty-eyed when they played the Tennessee Waltz. Who know I would hear my state song so far from home!

In the evening I went with some of my friends to the Shandaar India night at St. John's, a fund-raising event for the ministries of the church. The food was so good but I was still full from Tea so I could only eat a little! Can I have an extra stomach please?? So much good food here... At 8 o'clock we gathered in the Cathedral to hear a musical performance by the group tharangini. They sang songs of their own composition and a few famous ones as well. There was a group of girls, early teens I'm guessing, who performed dances to some of the songs. They were so graceful and made it look so fun (and easy!) but I know they practiced hard for the performance. Towards the end they sang Yan Sang, a famous Chinese song about life's sorrows and joys. They encouraged audience participation, and my friend Eddie started to sing along. We were sitting in the front row, and the performers noticed and motioned for him to come up onstage. He went up and sang with them! It was a great moment and everyone left the show with a big smile and a light heart. 

Saturday I packed up my bags. Yes, it took a while, but I managed to get what I could stuffed into my suitcases (ok so they're mailing some thick sweaters that wouldn't fit). Rev. Catherine offered to let me stay at their place this weekend and take me to the Airport Express on Monday when I fly out. I am constantly floored by the kindness and generosity of the people around me. So after giving Kiko a great big huge and scratch behind the ears, I took one last look at my home for the last ten months and got my bags down to the sidewalk. I wrangled a taxi and then unloaded my things at the Mariner's Club. 

I met up with some friends, Kyle and Crissy, and we went to Sheung Wan for my despedida at the Bethune House Extension. Oh what a party it was!! I had to fight off the tears and I don't think I've really processed the fact that I AM LEAVING yet. I said goodbye to the wonderful ladies at BH, my fellow volunteers, and Ate Cynthia and Mama Edwina. We ate, we sang karaoke (I performed the song I learned in Tagalog, "Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal"), and generally had a good time. I love singing, I love karaoke, but I tried not to hog the mic :P I  even got fellow Southerner Joy to join me on a round of Boot Scootin' Boogie! 

Later on I met up with my friend Alex and we took a ferry to Peng Chau island. He had been by this French place there before and wanted to try it out. Well, turns out all they had was bread, cheese, and some meats... so we got a bottle of wine and enjoyed the evening out of the city. When I got back to Rev. Catherine's I was pretty tired but I managed to get myself up for the 9AM service this morning.

I've spent the day among friends at the Cathedral, had lunch at an anniversary celebration for one of the groups that volunteers at the Give Care event. I rode the tram through the city one more time, sad that it would be my last. In the afternoon the MOVERS volunteer group had a little get together for me, complete with a farewell song and snacks. I will miss all of them!!!

At the 6pm service, Rev. Catherine and Father David said prayers for me and sent me off with kind words and a full heart. They gave me a beautiful cross and a card signed by friends at the Cathedral. After the service I went out to a lovely meal with Catherine and Stephen at a restaurant that had a beautiful view of the harbour. We arrived around 8pm so we had a great view of the light show. It was a clear night, too, so it was even more spectacular.

I spent the night at Rev. Catherine's and my friend Alex came over to keep me company as I tried to finish packing and stay up as long as possible. I slept for a couple of hours before waking at 6AM, and Stephen took me, Alex, and a Roman Catholic bishop who was staying at the Mariner's Club to the Airport Express.

Ate Cynthia met up with us at the station and we rode my last train ride through the city. I don't think it hit me until I was hugging them goodbye that I'm actually going home. I bid a tearful farewell and got myself through immigration and security without any problems (thank goodness!).

 A day later (although it doesn't seem that long) I am safely home and trying to get acclimated. I will update more over the next few days as I process my experience. Thank you, once again, for coming with me on this journey and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have!

Grace & Peace


  1. Asia's loss is American's gain. I'm glad you're home safe.

  2. There are times in our lives that we will say goodbye to the things or people we use to have.Treasure the memories and experiences you had.

    Integrated Way